How to Install HID Headlights (7-Step Guide)

Wondering how to install HID headlights yourself? We're about to make it much easier!

In this guide, you'll learn:

  • What HID Headlights are
  • Typical cost of HID headlights
  • Whether you should DIY your HID headlight installation

And much more!

How to Install HID Headlights

When driving at night, the value of a quality set of headlights can never be overlooked.

Headlights illuminate the road ahead, providing you with the visibility that is necessary to keep you, the occupants of your vehicle, and others on the road safe. 

A quality set of headlights project light in a manner that provides you with an enhanced level of awareness regarding your surroundings.

Luckily for you, a number of HID headlight retrofit kits have become available in recent years that significantly increase nighttime visibility and aid in the avoidance of hazards. 

HID bulbs are capable of producing a level of light discharge that far exceeds that of most vehicle’s stock halogen bulbs. 

So, if you're looking for our top recommendations on how to install HID headlights, keep reading to learn our top tips!

What Are HID Headlights?

HID stands for High-Intensity Discharge. The Bulb that is being referred to when someone speaks of installing an HID light, actually contains no filament, as do those featured in halogen headlights. 

The light emitted from HID headlights is far crisper than that of many stock OEM headlight assemblies, and can assist drivers in the quicker recognition of hazard, allowing for increased stopping times to avoid a collision.

Did you know: HID headlights last up to 10X longer than standard headlights. This is because they don't have a filament that can be broken or degraded.

Should You Install HID Headlights Yourself?

HID headlights can be installed by most mechanically savvy individuals in under an hour, without the use of any specialty tools.

This makes a job of this nature the perfect candidate for a weekend DIY project.

The costs associated with the installation of a HID conversion kit typically costs no more than that of the kit that is purchased. These kits range in price, but the following figures reflect average expenditures.

Low-End Cost: $25-$30

Average Cost: $50-$60

High-End Cost: $85-$100

How Much Money Will DIY Installation Save?

By installing a HID conversion kit yourself, you will save a significant amount of money over the cost of professional installation.

This stems from the fact that you will be avoiding the payment of expensive labor fees.

Average shop labor rates run anywhere from $60-$100/per hour. This leads to an approximate savings of 50 percent over the cost of professional installation when choosing a DIY route.

Read More >> How to Install a GPS Tracker

Supplies You'll Need to Install HID Headlights

Perhaps one of the most inviting aspects of DIY HID installation is that very few tools are required.

Other than a few wrenches of typical sizes for disconnecting your vehicle’s battery and hooking up ground wires when a relay harness is used, this is a tool-free endeavor.

It is also advisable to have several zip-ties on hand, as they will be needed to secure wiring upon the job’s completion.

How to Install HID Headlights (7-Step Guide)

The installation of a HID headlight kit is rarely difficult or time-consuming to complete.

Though the process itself is straight-forward, several steps must be completed to achieve satisfactory results.

As when installing any aftermarket accessory, you should consult your chosen kit’s installation guide before beginning.

Step 1 - Disconnect Battery

Begin by disconnecting your vehicle’s battery. Simply remove the battery’s ground cable as this kills all power to your car’s electrical systems.

This step is of immense importance, as it minimizes the risk of accidental damage to electrical circuits during installation.

Step 2 - Unplug/Remove Headlight Bulb

You will now remove your vehicle’s old headlight bulb. Some models require the removal of an access cover that is located at the back of the headlight.

A simple twist and pull will remove this cover. Next, push the release clip on your headlight bulb’s electrical connecter, while pulling the connector away gently.

To remove the headlight bulb itself, twist the bulb ¼ turn in a counterclockwise fashion and pull outward.

Step 3 - Install New HID Bulb

Before handling your new HID bulb, dawn a pair of rubber gloves, as the transfer of natural oil from human hands can shorten a bulb’s longevity.

In the event that hand to bulb contact does take place, rubbing alcohol can be used to clean the affected surface. Place the bulb into the receptacle portion of the headlight assembly, and turn it ¼ turn in a clockwise fashion.

Step 4 - Hook Up Connections

This step varies slightly from one kit to the next, as included wiring can differ. In kits that feature a basic light to ballast configuration, plug the designated wiring pigtail from the HID ballast into your new headlight bulb’s electrical connector.

The other ballast originating pigtail will hook to your vehicle’s stock bulb wiring harness connector.

If your kit includes a relay harness, you will need to connect the designated eyelet to your vehicle’s battery, and one ground eyelet per light to a viable chassis ground.

At this point, the harness will connect in a similar fashion between the vehicle’s headlight bulbs and ballast as previously mentioned.

Step 5 - Reconnect Battery

You will now reinstall your vehicle’s battery cable that was disconnected during step one.

This re-establishes your car’s electrical functions for the step ahead.

Step 6 - Test For Functionality

Turn your headlights on to check for proper function.

Your headlights should be illuminated as expected. If no headlight function is observed, double-check that all connectors are properly seated.

Step 7 - Tie Up Wiring/Ballast

With the installation complete, you will now tie all wires in place, as to prevent contact with moving parts, such as your engine’s fan.

This can easily be accomplished with the use of zip-ties. Additionally, your HID kit’s ballast should be secured in place with the assistance of zip-ties as well.

Attempt to secure the ballast to stationary items such as a fender well to cut down on vibration.

Read More >> How to Install a HUD

Taking Visibility To The Next Level

When faced with extensive post-sundown drive times, the installation of HID headlights can be of immense value.

With an hour's worth of work and a minimal financial investment, you will be well equipped to see whatever the open road throws your way.

About Your Mechanic

About Ryan Nichols

Ryan here! My pro mechanic career began as a technician for Mercedes-Benz. After two years of that great experience, I went out on my own in both the automotive and construction fields. I've since pulled my share of salvage yard parts and fixed more vehicles than I can count.

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