How I saved $125 dollars by replacing a burned out headlight bulb on our 2005 Altima

A few days ago, the low beam headlight on the passenger side of our 2005 Nissan Altima started to malfunction. The light started to flicker a bit and then went out. In the next few days, it kept coming on and off. I knew it was time to replace it. After all, it was 13 years old.

I did some quick research on the Internet and found that I would have to take out the whole headlight assembly to replace it. The high beam and blinker bulbs on the passenger side might be replaceable without taking out the whole assembly. But the low beam bulb’s socket is too big to maneuver it out. Nevertheless, the whole process was still pretty straight forward. I only used a 10 mm socket wrench, a flat-blade screw driver and a Phillips head screwdriver. 10 mm bolts seem to be very common on most Japaneses cars.

The next step was to purchase the bulb. My default car part sourcing is from Rock Auto and eBay. Both, especially Rock Auto, beat Amazon in terms of pricing and shipping most of the time. I cancelled my Amazon Prime after their first price hike. I ordered 2 long lasting Halogen bulbs for 6 dollars including shipping from RockAuto.  They arrived in 3 days.  Local Auto-Zone sells one bulb for 13 dollars.

Here are the steps:

  1. Jack up the car on the passenger side. Leave the wheel on it.
  2. Unscrew the screw on the bottom of the bumper. (Phillips)
  3. Prey open the inner fender and pull it back to access the 3 10-mm bolts that hold the headlight assembly.  (Flat blade)
  4. Unscrew all the bolts. (10-mm socket)
  5. Open the hood and remove the 2 fasteners on the top of the bumper. (Flat blade)
  6. Remove the 2 10-mm bolts on top of the headlight (10-mm socket)
  7. Pull out the bumper a bit to remove anther 10-mm bolt underneath the headlight assembly.
  8. Disconnect the 3 harnesses/plugs by pressing the tab and pulling on them

Now, we can take out the whole head light assembly easily. Once it is out, it is super easy to replace any bulb you want.  Twist it open , replace it and twist it closed.

Thanks to this video from 1A Auto Parts

Total Time spent :  2 hours

  • 15 minutes watching the video
  • 100 minutes  disassembling and assembling
  • 5 minutes replacing the bulb

I made about $60 after tax per hour. Another benefit is that It will take me less time next time. Therefore, It is totally worth it if you ask me.

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