Sunday, August 4, 2013

I Fixed It Myself!

Whenever possible I prefer to take on small auto repairs on my own. Little things like lights and topping off fluids I should be able to handle, so when one of the head light bulbs burned out on the truck I went ahead and put in a new bulb. I must not have locked the collar behind the bulb into place because after a few days of driving the light was out of place and the truck had taking on a new smell of burning plastic. I popped open the hood and jumped up on my trusty step stool to see what happened. The bulb had burned through the plastic backing of the light assembly. I could replace the bulb but now there was no way the collar would fit on the assembly to hold it in. This meant I would have to replace the head light assembly.

I pulled the bulb out completely and planned to tackle it on the weekend. My truck was built in a Ford plant in Canada so it has daytime running lights. There is no way to turn them off so I was now at risk of being pulled over every time I drove with the head light out. I live on an Island which no longer has an auto parts store, so I would have to head 20 minutes down the highway to get to the closest one. The first store I went to on Saturday morning told me they could have the headlight assembly on Tuesday and they would have to charge me for freight. I called the other shop in town in hopes that they would have the part in stock. I was quickly reminded why they were my second choice store, apparently they aren't used to women who do things on their own.

Me: "Hello, I'm looking for a driver's side head light assembly for a 2000 F250"
Guy at Parts Store: "pause... We only have the passenger side in stock.. another pause .. And it's only for a white truck"

Me: " Um, this is a white truck, but I need the driver's side.. wait what does the color have to do with it"

Parts douche bag: "Ha! there is no difference they are the same, I'm just messing with ya!"

Me: "NO they are not! I am looking for the assembly not the bulb, I have the bulb. I need to replace the assembly because it melted"

Parts guy: searches inventory on computer " I have one in the warehouse that I can have here by this afternoon"

Me: "Fine. I'll take it" I really didn't want to give them my business but I also didn't want to either risk a ticket or keep the truck sitting for something I could fix.

Google is my friend so I put in "How to Change Head Light Assembly for F250" and found an awesome video from an online parts store. I had it on my cell phone while I worked on the truck and came back to it many times in the process. There is zero wiggle room to work with when replacing head lights or bulbs on the heavy duty Ford Trucks. The headlight assembly butts up to the battery casing which looks like a bigger pain to remove than to just squeeze my hand in there. On the driver side there is something mounted in a cage which I have to jam my hand past to get to the light. I wore gloves until the point that I had to take them off for feel. To get the bad assembly out I had to remove two clips and then reach down behind the light to release a bracket. I had to bring in a flashlight and a screw driver as my bracket was much harder to release than the one on the video. I should have been able to squeeze it with my fingers to release but the thing wouldn't budge. Finally I got it to give and the light popped out:

It's out! Too late to turn back now.

Melted! Why do they make those things out of plastic?

New Light Assembly Is In!

And It Works!

So Much For My Manicure!

The moral of the story is - don't be afraid to take on simple auto repairs on your own! Google is your friend and you can go toe to toe with the guy at the parts store. Actually the moral of the story should be - make sure the damn bulb is locked in tight the first time and you won't have to replace the entire head light assembly!


  1. I am so proud of you, Melissa! You can do whatever you set your mind to.

  2. Saweet! Nice job! Now onto the oil!

  3. In April or May, my 2008 Chevy Malibu blew a headlight. I went and bought the bulbs and set out to replace both of them myself. Until I realized that I couldn't get to them...wth, I thought to myself. I googled and found several tutorials on how to change the headlights...all of which involved taking off the tires and the front bumper just to GET to the lights, nevermind the hassle of changing the bulbs. It cost me $200 and change to get them replaced because of labor. I traded it in June, and made sure the newer model had headlights I could change myself!!