Replacing headlights: a DIY safety improvement

Safety should always be a top concern for any RVer, so consider replacing headlights as a DIY project to tackle. We did this in our Chevy-based Roadtrek 190 Popular 4X4 and it was quite easy.

Note that I am talking about replacing headlights, not upgrading the wattage or type of bulbs. Some people prefer LEDs and there are ways to upgrade almost any vehicle to those now. But I just wanted to have the stock headlights perform better. For some time, the lack of light when driving in the dark has frustrated me. Some of that was due to scratches I think the van received before the previous owner put the Rhinoguard on. The composite headlamps are also a constant topic of conversation among Roadtrek and Chevy owners. Apparently, their plastic lens covers become cloudy over time from normal weather and road exposure.

In our case, the light from the bulbs just wasn’t able to penetrate the scratches and cloudiness enough to perform as they should. I found a replacement set on Amazon for a reasonable price. Removal of the original equipment and replacing headlights with the aftermarket brand involved very little work. Two clips and two 10mm bolts hold the units in place. Other than that, I just unplugged the old bulbs from their wiring harnesses and plugged in the new ones.

Below is a photo gallery with highlights on why we did the project. For a more in-depth look at how we did it, check out this video on our YouTube channel.

scratched Chevrolet headlight
The scratches and cloudiness on our original equipment headlights kept the light from getting where it needed to be: on the road in front of us.
scratched Chevrolet headlight
The Rhinoguard grill guard we have in place made replacing headlights a little trickier. After figuring out how to angle them up and out, the project went smoothly. This is the original scratched-up passenger side light.
brand new Chevrolet headlight
The difference in the look and operation of the new headlights versus the old, damaged units is night and day. (No pun intended!) Taking pictures and video of the new units was difficult because they are so shiny and reflective now.
new Chevy headlight
Now that our headlights have clear covers again, the light they emit is much brighter, increasing safety for us and others who are sharing the road with us.
Chevy Express van with headlights on
At this point, I had replaced only the driver’s side headlight. As you can see, the difference in light output is impressive. The bulbs are the same wattage. The new, clear covers are letting all of the light through. The scratched up and cloudy one on the passenger’s side is blocking some of it.

 

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