How to Replace Xenon Headlamps

by Patrick Nelson
Aaron Fink/Demand Media

High-intensity discharge, or HID, xenon headlamps use a higher voltage than ordinary halogen lights. When replacing them, the entire bulb assembly needs to be replaced rather than just the bulb. Car manufacturers like Ford recommend that factory-installed HID xenon lights be replaced by a dealer. However, if you have an after-market HID xenon kit installed, you can replace the bulbs yourself.

Step 1

Turn off the headlamps and open the hood. Reach in behind the headlamp assembly and remove the rubber boot if it’s there. You should see a number of colored wires protruding from the light assembly. Make a written note of the connections.

Step 2

Remove the HID xenon bulb and its assembly from the light housing. There may be a clipped spring you need to release. Remove the wires at their connections, not at the bulb itself.

Replace the HID xenon bulb and its assembly in reverse order. Push the bulb into the headlamp housing and push the wires onto their respective connections using your drawing to guide you. Use pliers to get a tight connection. Don’t use too much pressure as you can damage the surround and don’t touch the bulb’s glass. Reseat the clip or spring. Test the lights by turning them on.


  • Clean bulb glass with isopropyl alcohol if you touch the glass. Grease from your fingers can cause overheating and premature failure; the alcohol will remove the grease.

Items you will need

  • Pliers

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