It used to be so simple to change a headlight bulb on your Volvo, Saab, Audi, VW, BMW or Mercedes. In recent years it has become next to impossible with the aerodynamic design of modern headlights and the cramped spaces under the hood. In fact, you may have to remove an under-hood component or two to gain enough access to change a bulb, most notably on some Volvo S60 models.

Saab headlights are particularly difficult to replace as they have a wire retaining clip that must be released by feel as you can’t directly see the bulb. If you have hands larger than a three year old, access can be a frustrating issue.


Why do we know this? We do a lot of routine repairs on import cars here at Southwest Auto. And, we applaud our customers when they come see us about these repairs — because simple fixes keep you safe.

For instance, if you are having trouble seeing while driving at night your car may have one or more headlight problems. If your headlight beams are pointing at the ground a few feet from the front of your car, or pointing up to the sky, the bulb may be installed “clocked” incorrectly. Some headlight bulbs have a locator pin that should be in the upright position when the bulb is properly placed. We see this “clocked” problem all the time on Volvo headlights. It’s become more common as headlight aim is no longer checked during your yearly state safety inspection.

Others import cars are much easier to maintain. For example, the user friendly Volvo XC90 headlights that are removed by extracting two metal retaining pins.

But, that doesn’t solve all headlight repair headaches. In the last ten years plastic headlight lenses have become more common. As they age a cloudy oxidation forms on the surface of the lens, which drastically reduces the amount of light shining on the road surface, making it unsafe to drive at night, especially if you have a pair of eyes older than 40.

But, just like you can get new lenses for your old glasses frame, we can restore your headlights for $60 for the pair — verses up to $1,200 each to replace.

Replacing wiper blades is another part of a maintenance plan that we’d like to see our customers follow more often. In the Dallas Fort Worth area we have air quality issues that attack the rubber of your wiper blades, causing them to deteriorate far quicker than in past years. They can require replacement as often as every six months, if your car stays outside most of the time.

Couple the hazardous headlights with wiper blades that are not clearing your windshield in the rain and you have a dangerous cocktail of safety issues.

At Southwest Auto, headlights and windshield wipers are just two of your European car’s systems we monitor to keep you safer on the road. Keeping our customers safe is important — it’s that simple.

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