General Tips for Replacing Motorcycle Headlight Bulbs

  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 5-15
What You'll Need
New bulb
What You'll Need
New bulb

In earlier times, motorcycle headlight bulbs were all much the same. But times have changed. Now there are dozens of motorcycle headlight bulbs in use. So, when your bike's headlight goes out and you find yourself alone in the dark countryside, do you continue driving along in the dark and risk getting into an accident? Or, do you change your bike's headlight bulb alone there in the dark? Search the information below for a few helpful tips.

Tip 1: Be Prepared

Before you find yourself without a spare light bulb, check your owners manual for the type of bulb your bike will use. Your bike's headlight may need as many as 4 different bulbs. Shop around for the type of bulbs you need. Order from the Internet, if necessary. But, don't drive without a spare. Not even during daylight hours.

Tip 2: Learn the Correct Bulb Replacement Procedure

Look in your owner's manual for the procedure you'll need to use to change your headlight bulbs. If your bike headlight has 2 bulbs, this could mean the bulbs are the H7 variety. If so, you'll have 2 bulbs, and you'll likely have to change one of them. One may be easy to replace, while the other may take some practice. Waiting until you need to figure out how to change these bulbs in the dark is not a wise choice. Give it a trial run while you're at home or with a buddy who can offer suggestions.

Tip 3: Learn Details About your Bike's Headlight Requirements

Don't take anything for granted when it comes to motorcycle headlight bulb fittings. Take one of your bulbs to your motorcycle dealer so you can properly identify the replacement bulbs you'll need. Some headlights require you to use conversion adapters with certain bulbs. You should know all this information before getting stranded in the dark.

Tip 4: Compare Bulb Prices

If you're going to stock a few bulbs to keep on hand for emergencies, you might want to shop around for the best prices. Check prices at auto parts stores, discount stores, bike shops, and even wrecking yards, for the best prices. Some cheaper bulbs, depending on their prong configuration, can even be adapted to fit.

Tip 5: Choose the Best Place to Keep your Spare Bulbs

Determine where on your bike you'll keep your bulbs. Try to determine by feel which is your headlight bulb and which is your tail light bulb, so you can find the right bulb even if you don't have a flashlight. Figure out a way to keep them separate in a place you'll remember.

Tip 6: Changing your Light Bulb

With your bike parked on a level surface, use a screwdriver to open the casing containing the bike's headlight. Do this by removing the screws on your headlight lens unit. First, disconnect the coupler, then the bulb cover. To get at the bad bulb, unhook the bulb holder. Then, unscrew the bad bulb, replace it with a good bulb, and replace all the parts you disconnected or moved.