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Do It Yourself: The Fast, Easy Way to Replace Headlights #30DaysofGOOD

How many people does it take to change a headlight? Just one, when you're a DIYer. Here's how to do it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bA1FUxxoAI

Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do 30 Days of GOOD (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for July? Do It Yourself.


How many people does it take to change a burned-out headlight? Just one, when you're a DIYer. Not only is doing it yourself cheaper than taking your car to a repair shop, it's a really fast fix. And by carrying a spare bulb, you'll never risk getting a fix-it ticket while driving home with just one light.

I recently helped GOOD intern Harry fix a dead bulb on his Passat, shown in the above video. Here's an overview of how to do yours.

First, determine what type of headlight system your car uses—the type with a replaceable bulb (like Harry's) or the type where the entire sealed housing gets replaced. You can easily find which you have by searching online for your car model and year or by visiting a local auto parts store and looking in their replacement headlight guide.

To Replace Sealed Housing Headlights
You'll just need the proper replacement housing and a Phillips-head screwdriver. From the outside of the car, unscrew the headlight trim (if there is any), then loosen the screws that hold the headlight housing against the brackets—these are usually three or four larger screws, around the perimeter of the plastic/glass housing. The two smaller screws on the outside and top are used to aim the beam, so try to not alter their position. Once the headlight housing is released, you can pull it forward out of the frame. A few wires connect it to the rear of the housing with a plastic clip. Unsnap the clip, set the old light aside, and pop the wires into the new headlight housing. Slide it into the bracket, and replace the screws that hold it in place. Have a friend turn the lights on so you can make sure everything works. Don't forget to test the brights.

To Replace Individual Headlight Bulbs
These headlights are great—no tools are needed to replace them. Open the hood of the car and look for the back of the headlight. You may be able to find it by looking for the wires that go into its housing, but there may be a plastic cover that helps protect it from the elements (this was the case with Harry's Passat). If a cover is present, a tab on its side will release it and expose the back of the bulb. Grab the bulb and rotate it counter-clockwise so the plastic tabs line up with the slots on the housing to let you pull the bulb out from inside. The halogen bulb is now in your hand. The wires attached to the bulb can be similarly removed by pressing the plastic tab on the connector and pulling it apart.

Make sure to handle the new replacement bulb with care, using a clean tissue to touch the bulb instead of bare skin. The natural oils from skin can cause hot spots and ultimately bulb failure. Clip the wires into the bulb, insert the bulb into the rear of the housing, and line the slots up with the tabs. Twist clockwise to lock into place, put the cover back on (the Passat needed a good push to clip it down), and test it out.

One last note: It's often common to replace bulbs in pairs, to make sure they have a consistent amount of life and brightness.

If things go as planned, you are now free from the hassles of concerned police officers, and ready to get back to safe nighttime driving.

Read more of Mike Senese's DIY tips and projects at DO IT.

We're giving away $1000 for you to share your own DIY skills with others. Participate in our Host a GOOD Workshop challenge.

Articles
via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

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According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

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"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

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But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

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