While I normally write (and sometime film) about technology products, sometime “real life” issues hit and I need to do a little pivot. This past week, the front headlight of my 2013 Hyundai Elantra burnt out. So, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to film and write about the process of replacing the burnt out headlight bulb with the goal of hopefully teaching and empowering others to be able to replace the headlight bulbs themselves. (Note: the instructions I provide most likely works for 2011-2016 Hyundai Elantras!)
I, like many others, frequently turn to YouTube to see how other people did it as well as how they documented the process. I spent time watching a variety of videos, reading through all of the comments and recommendations of others, and then thinking through the process and how I would approach it.
In the end, not only was I able to film the entire process of replacing both the passenger and driver-side headlight bulbs of my 2013 Hyundai Elantra, but I was actually able to do the entire process fairly easily. And, I’m hoping that my video will help enable and empower others to be able to DIY on their own Hyundai Elantra.
Hyundai Elantra How-To Videos
While many of the videos I watched are a few years old, they still are helpful in learning what to and not to do. For example, I saw some videos saying that you needed to remove the bumper or other portions under the hood. This trial and error of others was very helpful in my eventual solutions.
Before I jump into the problem and solution, I have to point out that I really DON’T know autos that well. Sure, I can fix some things, like how to replace the side mirrors on the Hyundai Elantra and how to replace the rear brake bulbs as well. But, to be honest, I still have my oil changed by someone else. Maybe someday, I will get there, but for now, I’m doing repairs and fix-its that are somewhat “tech” related.
If I hadn’t taken the technology path, I probably would be very into customizing and fixing cars, but I elected to work are a much smaller form-factor and do things like replace hard drives or batteries or screens. I always say that I think I was a little old watchmaker or watch repairman in a previous life.
Replacing the Headlight Bulbs
So you would think that changing a lightbulb would be an easy process. I have found that it really depends on a variety of things: the type of vehicle, how well (or not) it was designed to be repaired, the age of the vehicle (older vehicles seem to be a lot easier because there isn’t as much complexity – I blame tech for that), and your level of confidence.
The 2013 Hyundai Elantra is fairly well designed…except when it’s not. In the case of the headlight bulb replacement, the passenger side headlight bulb is easy to access (but it is a bit difficult to see into the headlight enclosure, meaning you have to do some of the process by feel and not much sight).
The driver’s side headlight bulb is a bit more complicated, due to the design. The dust cover for the headlight enclosure is completely blocked by the fuse box. That means, you actually need to remove the fuse box (NOT what I did, nor did I try), or remove the entire headlight part (which IS what I did and documented in my video).
In the end, the process doesn’t take that long, at least in my experience. It takes some patience and a tiny bit of sweat. But despite what others may have filmed, it’s pretty straight forward.
Below (and on YouTube directly) is my 15-minute How-To video. My desire was to make it as clear as possible, with good lighting, clear instructions, and the good (and bad) parts of the bulb-replacement process.
Tools needed for this are basic:
- Rubber gloves – so you don’t touch the lightbulbs (finger oil decreases the life of the bulb)
- Socket wrench
- 10mm & 12mm sockets (some Hyundai’s might not have the 10mm bolts and have a Philips head screw, btw)
For the headlight bulbs themselves, this is more of a personal preference. The size of bulb is H11. Here’s an Amazon list of Philips or Sylvania bulbs that may work. Remember, the brighter the bulb, the shorter the life of the bulb.
Lastly, be sure to replace both headlight bulbs at the same time. When I had a bulb burn out, it was just one and the dealer only replaced that one bulb, so naturally, it was the other bulb that later burnt out.
If you found this video helpful, please leave a comment and/or give it a thumbs-up on YouTube. And, if it worked for you, please do share this article or the video itself.
I write and film these fix-it and how-to pieces of content to help educate people to attempt to do things themselves. I feel that I’m sort of at the lower end of this type of content, meaning there are truly some amazing DIY-ers out there filming, writing, and sharing their content, and I’m aspiring to hit that higher level.
But the end goal of all of this Fix-it and DIY content from all sorts of content creators is to help others (at least that is my goal). Remember that with any type of DIY or Fix-It effort, there is always the risk of failure or messing something up. You do assume that risk with anything like that. But if you don’t try, you don’t learn. (And you probably end up paying someone else a bunch of money to do it for you – not the end of the world but definitely your choice.)
Yes, technology, cars, consumer electronics, home appliances, you name it, have all become increasingly complex. But, for now, they have been designed by humans, and, for now, most are designed to be repaired by humans. So if you have the confidence and the desire to learn, fixing things yourself is a great opportunity to extend your learning beyond school alone.
Happy repairing and DIY-ing!
HTD says: Replacing the front headlight bulbs on a 2013 Hyundai Elantra is a great example of DIY empowerment. It’s truly not that difficult and quite rewarding in the end!