How to Replace the Headlights on Nissan Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Nissan car has the new halogen headlight bulb inserts. It's not like the old days when the sealed beam units were replaced. To gain access and room to the halogen headlights, it may appear at first that you'll need to have the motor lifted out of the engine compartment, but it's not quite that complicated. You might have to remove some components to get them out of the way, but you should be able to replace the headlight units in your Nissan car without recruiting the help of an expensive mechanic.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace the Headlights on a Nissan Maxima

Replace the Headlights on a Nissan Maxima

Turn the steering wheel all the way in toward the engine on the side you are changing the light bulb in. For the driver's side bulb replacement, turn the steering wheel all the way to the right. For the passenger side bulb replacement, turn the steering wheel all the way to the left.

Turn the ignition switch to the off position and remove the keys. Make sure the light switch is in the off position.

Remove the retaining clips and screws from the front of the wheel well area, including the bottom splash shield valance underneath the front of the Maxima. The valance is attached to the wheel well and can be left intact. Use the Phillips head screwdriver for the screws and the flathead screwdriver to pop up the center post of the clips and then pry the clips out. Remove enough of the clips to gain access into the front fender cavity.

Locate and turn the outer low-beam headlight cover counterclockwise to remove it. This will reveal the bulb and socket.

Turn the bulb counterclockwise to remove it from the headlight assembly.

Release the retaining pin (if applicable for theft deterrent package).

Remove the wire harness plug from the bulb socket and then remove the bulb.

Insert the new bulb into the socket without touching the glass of the bulb. Reverse the procedure to reinstall.

Replace the High Beam Headlights on a Nissan Maxima

Release the hood latch if you're replacing the high beam bulb only. Then lift the hood. Locate the two 10 millimeter bolts at the top of the headlight assembly and remove them with the ratchet and the socket.

Locate the four fascia retaining pins and remove them using the flathead screwdriver. This will allow flexible movement of the fascia to remove the headlight assembly.

Place a shop rag or towel between the tight gap of the fascia and the bottom of the headlight assembly to prevent scratching the fascia.

Maneuver the headlight assembly forward away from the front of the Maxima. There is a guide pin still retaining the assembly in place so apply equal parts of determination and gentleness to remove the assembly without scratching the lens or the fascia.

Remove the headlight assembly far enough to get your hand behind it and remove the seal from the back of the high-beam headlight. Turn the seal counterclockwise to remove.

Turn the bulb counterclockwise to remove from the assembly.

Release the retaining pin (if applicable).

Unplug the wire harness from the light bulb and remove the light bulb.

Plug the new replacement bulb into the wire harness without touching the glass of the bulb.

Reinstall by reversing the procedure.

Items you will need

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • Phillips head screwdriver

  • 3/8 inch drive ratchet

  • 3/8 inch drive 10 mm socket

  • Replacement bulb(s)

  • Shop rags or towel

 How to Change a Headlight on a 2004 Xterra

Turn off the car engine and then pop open up the Xterra hood.

Use a wrench to remove the negative battery cable (the minus sign on the battery indicates the negative cable, and a plus symbol indicates the positive one). Twist the nut that holds the negative cable connector on the battery, and then pull the cable off.

Locate the headlight bulb socket and remove the electrical connector from it.

Turn the ring on the bulb retainer counterclockwise and pull it off.

Pull the headlight bulb out of the socket, being careful not to touch the bulb. If you are worried about getting your hands on the bulb, use some latex gloves.

Insert the new bulb, and then twist the ring back on the retainer.

Attach the connector back by pushing it into the back of the bulb until it snaps into place.

Reconnect the negative battery cable and close the hood. The light should now function properly.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Bulb #9007 (HB5)

  • Latex Gloves

 How to Change a Headlight on a Nissan Almera

Open the hood and unplug the electrical connector on the back of the headlight.

Grab the headlight by the base, or collar, and turn it counterclockwise to release it from the headlight housing.

Slide the new headlight into the back of the housing, secure it to the housing by rotating the collar clockwise, and then reconnect the headlight connector.

Items you will need

  • Replacement headlights

 How Do I Change a Headlight on a 1998 Nissan Sentra?

Locate the headlight socket. This is at the very front of the vehicle and plugs into the lens assembly. It will have two wires leading into it.

Remove the headlight socket by turning it counterclockwise and pulling it straight out.

Remove the bulb from the socket by pressing the locking tab and pulling the bulb out of the socket with your hands.

Push the new bulb into the socket using your hands. Do not touch the glass part of the bulb assembly, as this can cause the bulb to blow out prematurely. Press on the plastic part of the bulb.

Push the socket back into the hole from which came and twist it clockwise to lock it into place.

 How to Replace a Headlight in a Nissan Xterra

Open the hood to the Xterra.

Determine which bulb needs to be replaced and what you're going to have to move to get to. For the passenger side, remove the battery bolt with the ratchet, extension and a socket. You won't have to remove the battery, but you will have to be able to move it around some to fit your hand in front of it. For the driver's side, you may have to move the air box cover by unclipping it.

Unplug the wire harness plugged into the back of the headlight unit. You will need to pull up on the locking tabs while pulling away from the headlight to release it.

Turn the metal retainer counterclockwise to release the headlight from the headlight assembly. Remove the headlight.

Place the new headlight into the retainer ring lining it up properly. Do not touch the glass bulb of the new halogen headlight because oils and alkaline in your skin can compromise the life of the bulb or damage it altogether.

Insert the headlight bulb into the headlight assembly and turn the retainer ring clockwise until it locks into place.

Plug the wire harness back into the plug of the headlight.

Test the lights by turning them on. Once you confirm that they word, you can replace the battery hold down bolt or air filter cover.

Remove the tools and old headlight and close the hood.

Items you will need

  • 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket set

  • 3/8-inch drive, 10 to 12-inch extension