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Car Fuses and Wiring
Headlights Tail and Brake Lights
Nissan Altima

How do you replace the headlight bulb located on a 1997 Nissan Altima?


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Wiki User
2010-09-01 22:13:57
2010-09-01 22:13:57

I am assuming you want to change the bulb and not the entire unit. If so, just follow these instructions.

1. Open the vehicles hood and secure it. 2. To gain access to the headlamp socket, you must remove the coolant resvoir (on the passenger's side) or the battery (on the drivers side).

3. The ring is located about 8 inches from either end of the car. Twist and it should unlock. Unfasten the ring and remove the socket assembly. There will be a rubber gasket. There is a retaining clip that will fit over the lightbulb. If necessary, gently pry the socket's retaining clip over the projection on the bulb (use care not to break the clip). Pull the bulb from the socket.

To Install:

4. Before installing a light bulb into the socket, ensure that all electrical contact surfaces are free of corrosion or dirt. 5. Line up the replacement headlight bulb with the socket. Firmly push the bulb onto the socket until the spring clip latches over the bulb's projections. **WARNING** DO NOT TOUCH THE GLASS WITH YOUR FINGERS! Oil from your fingers can severly shorten the life of the bulb. If necessary, wipe off any dirt or oil from the bulb with rubbing alcohol before completeing installation.

6. To ensure that the replacement bulb functions properly, activate the applicable switch to illuminate the bulb which was just replaced. 7. position the headlight bulb and secure it with the locking ring. 8. Close the car's hood.

After just having done it, here are some tips. The coolant reservoir, after removing the hold-down screw, comes out by pulling it straight up. I found that I was dealing with 5 parts: the bulb proper; a spring holding the bulb in place; a rubber boot covering the bulb; the rubber WIRING boot connected to the prongs of the bulb; and a plastic ring locking the rubber boot BUT NOT (AS IN NOT) the bulb or the wiring boot.

I found that FIRST I needed to remove the rubber wiring boot connected to the prongs of the bulb, removing it from the bulb. PULL and wiggle and it will come off. Then I removed the plastic ring, turning it to the right (CW looking toward the rear of the car). Then I pulled the rubber boot off leaving only the bulb and it's holding spring. Look at the spring, a "paper clip" shaped lever needs to be pressed down and to the right to remove it from it's "c shaped" locking bar. (Get a mirror and see what that c shaped locking bar looks like.) You'll see you need to do to remove it. There is a second part of that spring holding the bottom left side of the bulb that releases with the "paper clip."

Remove the bulb- it should simply fall out--note the three flat locating pins as well as the three electrical prongs.

Hard part is done.

Position the new bulb in according to the locating tabs--concentrate on the 12 o'clock positioned locating pin. When it's positioned right you can't rotate it. Reconnect the paper clip onto the c shaped bar. (I found this easier to say than do!) Now the bulb is secure and does not wiggle. Reconnect the rubber boot.

PUT THE PLASTIC RING OVER THE RUBBER WIRING. Plug in the wired 3 prong connection to the bulb. Position the plastic ring and turn it ccw until it clicks into place.

If you are doing the passenger side you can test your work by turning on your lights (high and low beams). The driver's side requires you to replace the battery--ground side first and positive post last. The coolant reservoir snaps into place by pushing it straight down. Reconnect the top bracket with it's screw.

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