Eventually, light bulbs on your Jeep will fail. Headlights tend to be the most common to wear out. You can change the headlights and other bulbs on your Jeep with a few simple tools and a few minutes. In this article, I discuss tips for how to change headlight light bulbs on your Jeep and other light bulbs as well.
When it comes to changing your Jeep’s headlights light bulbs or other bulbs, the best place to start is your Jeep’s owner’s manual. Why? It will give you the exact light bulb part numbers and specific instructions on how to change a dead light bulb in or on your Jeep. Be careful with some directional signal bulbs, as they might be an amber bulb as opposed to a white lightbulb.
How Do I Change My Headlights on My Jeep?
Typical tools for headlights, and most bulb replacements for that matter, should be in your basic on-board Jeep tool bag or box.
Here is typically what you need to change Jeep headlights and lightbulbs:
- Screwdriver set – A simple set of screwdrivers would include two long and two stubby screwdrivers. A Phillip’s head and flat head respectively
- Allen wrench set – An Allen or Hex head wrench set may be required, but usually, the aforementioned screwdrivers will suffice
- Basic wrench set – A basic ratcheting wrench and socket set with 8 and 10 mm sockets should cover you for most Jeep lightbulb replacement jobs
- Pick Set or Small Flathead Screwdrivers – Some interior lightbulbs in your Jeep, may require popping or prying trim panel pieces to access the lightbulbs
- Disposable Gloves – To keep your hands and the new Jeep lightbulb clean
- Dielectric Grease – This is a protective grease to avoid corrosion from water. It goes on the metal connector of the lightbulb and in the lightbulb socket
Here is what to do to change Jeep headlights and lightbulbs:
- First, review your Jeep owner’s manual for the correct part number for the dead lightbulb. There is a page or page that list all the lightbulbs in your Jeep, along with the correct part number. I like to pick up the lightbulb at the auto parts store prior to the replacement job
- Next, review your Jeep owner’s manual for the process and procedure for accessing, removing, and replacing of the Jeep lightbulb in question
- Now, go to your Jeep with the replacement lightbulbs and the appropriate tools for the job at hand and remove the necessary parts and lightbulb housings or headlight bulbs
- The headlights on old Jeep CJs, Wrangler YJs, Wrangler TJs, and Cherokee XJs are headlight bulb units that are replaced as a unit once the bezel (usually about three screws) that holds the headlight in place is removed and the headlight is disconnected
- The headlights on my Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJs, and most newer Jeeps have headlight bulbs that untwist and are removed from a headlight lens casing and are then disconnected
- Most of the exterior directional and running lights on my Jeeps require either unscrewing 2-3 screws or 2-4 bolts to gain access. Then twisting the lightbulb socket a quarter turn counterclockwise to remove it from the housing and pulling the lightbulb. Replacement is the reverse action
- Interior Jeep lightbulbs are relatively simple to get to, but may require carefully popping trim panel or covers first
- The most difficult lightbulbs in your Jeep are in the instrument and dash panels. These are not undoable, they just require more work in removing and taking things apart to gain access to them. The good news about these lightbulbs is that they tend to burn for years before they go out
- Your Jeep’s license plate lightbulbs are usually a five-minute screwdriver job
- Once you have gained access to the dead lightbulb replace it, but don’t close everything up yet. Put the key in the ignition and engage it, without starting the Jeep. You want to test that the new lightbulb is good
- If you are satisfied that the new lightbulb works, turn the key to the off position, Then carefully close everything back up
- Finally, clean everything up and put your tools away
Some Tips and Advice When Changing Lightbulbs on a Jeep
There are a few things to consider and keep in mind when removing and replacing a headlight or other lightbulb in your Jeep. Consider these tips:
- When changing any lightbulb, avoid touching the glass part so a clean, clear bulb gets installed in your Jeep
- When removing your Jeep’s headlights, be sure to loosen and remove the right mounting screws. There are also screws around your Jeep headlights for adjusting the beam of the headlights—again, your Jeep’s owner’s manual can help you identify these adjustment screws
- If your need to adjust your Jeep’s headlight beams, perform that adjustment after the new headlights are installed. Your Jeep owner’s manual will outline the procedure for your respective Jeep, but turning one adjustment screw raises or lowers the beam, and turning the other adjustment screw moves the beam right or left
- Always consider replacing headlights and other lightbulbs in pairs. The reasons are twofold: 1) to keep the intensity consistent, and 2) logically, if one headlight or lightbulb on your Jeep burned out, the other one probably isn’t too far behind
- Additionally, I would recommend using some dielectric grease to protect the connection from moisture.
Changing Most Headlights and Lightbulbs on Your Jeep is Pretty Easy Work
Most Jeep lightbulbs are very easy fixes and take just a few minutes of work to replace and a very good place for a beginner to start working on their own Jeep. However, I must report that I have spent an hour or more on a bulb job. Those were the lightbulbs in the instrument and dash panels.