DIY: Changing my own car headlight…

Soooo my mom has always taught me to be self-reliant. 
Backstory: Growing up, my mom and I replaced gutters, put up dry-wall, painted, changed oil, etc. She wanted me to be prepared to handle anything and to feel confident in knowing that I had the ability to do it myself. Not that I couldn’t ask for help when I needed it, but being able to fend for myself would ensure that I’d always be ok. So that’s usually what I do… except when it comes to car stuff. Small things I can handle, like putting air in my tires, putting oil in my car, replacing the air filter, etc, but the bigger stuff I pass on to the people equipped with the know-how to do it better and faster: my dad, my brother, or whoever I’m dating at the time. (I feel sorry for every boyfriend I’ve ever had and my ex-husband, as they constantly dealt with all my car issues.) 
Moving on to the point: 
I’ve had a headlight out for a couple months now… so I went to Autozone and picked up a new bulb. Usually, if you buy a small part there, they’ll offer to install it for you for free, but this day the store was packed, there were 10 people in line behind me, and they didn’t offer. I was bummed, but thought it was all good though. I can put in my own headlight. This will be a good learning experience and maybe I’ll blog about it. I can do this all by myself! I nearly roared… 
Three months later…
I’m still driving without a headlight and just waiting to get pulled over and get a ticket. 
Pull it together, Ami! It’s just a stupid headlight. 
How hard could it be to change it yourself? 
I knew that it wasn’t going to go as fast as I thought, 
so I waited for a day when I had a few hours to spare. 
Today was that day. 
First, I went outside, opened the hood, and stared at everything for about a minute. 
Then, I came back inside and googled that ish. 
This video actually helped a lot. I didn’t even know you had to unscrew shit! After I unscrewed everything and moved it aside, I had to turn the lights on to see which bulb to replace (there were 3) and I discovered all 3 were working. 
It wasn’t the RIGHT SIDE light. It was the left. 
SON of a…
On the left side, you don’t have to unscrew anything.
Lesson learned. But 15 minutes wasted. Whatever.
I did the first couple parts fine: undo the electric thingy, pull off the rubber thingy, then it came time to undo the metal retainer clip. “Just push down and then swing it to the side” it said. OK. 
This was not effing working!
After consulting the manual again

and consulting the youtube video again

to confirm that you were supposed to push down, the clip came undone
the moment I pulled up and wiggled! 
So 45 minutes,  
one beer,

and several bruised and sore fingers later, 
pulling up was what got it to unclip. 
And out came the bulb! Bitch. 

Moving on… Next step: 
“Take the old bulb from the holder by simply pulling straight back.”

Straight back my ass!
 You know when you’re trying to open a plastic bag and you don’t want to pull too hard and rip the whole thing open, but pulling lightly isn’t working and you can’t find the happy medium? This was that moment. And I was getting pissed. 

Hence the second beer. 

Finally, I called my brother, and he told me to try and pry it off with a screwdriver. Genius! That worked quickly and easily. He offered to do it for me if I came to his place but NO. I was doing this. But thanks for the tip, Nathan! : ) New bulb in place, it was now time to reverse the order of everything and put it back together (thanks for the instructions, Mazda manual). That took about a minute and a half and BOOM! Light was working!!! 
The whole thing took me an hour and 42 minutes. 
I timed it. 
(I know… weirdo)

I was supposed to use this at some point
but I didn’t. Oh well. It’ll be fine. 
Obviously somebody didn’t use it to begin with 
since it was so hard to remove…

Would it have been faster/easier to let somebody else do it? Yes
Do I now know how to do it myself? Hell yes. 
we’ll see how long the bulb stays in there… 
What have you done by yourself that should have probably been done by a professional? 
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  1. The best part of all this…you changed attire mid headlight change!

  2. haha! I know, it was getting really hot in the dark tank. Had to switch to a lighter color after the first hour! 🙂

  3. You should be very proud of yourself!
    Men?! We don’t need no stinking men! 😛

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