Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Changing a headlight bulb on a 2007 Aveo with a headlight spring

This post has everything and nothing to do with homeschooling.

As homeschoolers, we teach our daughters to do a lot of different life skills, including auto maintenance   But, this one, we had to figure out on our own.

My 2007 Chevy Aveo had a burned out bulb on the drivers side headlight.  I called a dealer, who wanted $120 to change the bulb.  He would have put in the same bulb that I found at auto zone for $14, or a 2 pack of bulbs for $24.  Being the frugal homeschooling wife/mom that I am (aka cheapskate), I bought the 2 pack of bulbs, and figured I would change it myself.

It couldn't be too hard, could it???  After all, back in 1970 something, I took powder puff mechanics and learned to change light bulbs, oil, belts, unflood a carburetor, change the air filter, change a battery, charge a battery, check and fill all fluids......  Only trouble is, they don't make cars like they did back in 1970 something.

Chevrolet, it is NOT funny that you now have to remove the grill guard/radiator guard to change a simple headlight bulb.  This used to be a simple project, now its a major ordeal.  And your how to car manual??  Its for the birds when it comes to the headlight spring.

The manual tells you to remove the spring, it doesn't tell you to see how the spring fits first, nor does it have a clear picture of it (neither does anyone on the Internet), nor does it tell you how to put the spring back in, nor does it tell you it will fly off as soon as you touch the screw.

First step, assemble all your tools, including a good cat.  Why a cat?  You will need that cat once the spring flies off and you can't find it when it lands 10 feet away in the gravel.  If the cat had not jumped down from her perch on the engine and pounced on the spring, I'd still be looking for it. (nice kitty).

Anyway, I had to get the husband involved on this project, and we ended up having to remove the other headlight to study it see how to put the tension spring in.

This is what it should look like while together.  I thought this post might help someone else trying to find a photo of how its supposed to look, as I could not find any other on the Internet, and the drawing in the book is not clear.

Hopefully these pictures will help someone reset the spring.  FYI, if you notice, the spring isn't a normal corkscrew spring.  Its actually a almost square shaped wire, with some loops and corners in it, set under a screw to apply tension to hold the bulb in place.  Good luck!!

Needless to say, we got it done.  I still think the dealer charging $120 to do this is robbery, but I now understand why.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, I used your photograph for a refrence. By the way, it is possible to do this without the cat. However, I see your point about needing the cat as despite your warning, my spring flew off. It would have indeed been much easier to find the spring had a cat been available to show me the way.
This was the first headlamp to burn out. When the second one comes up for a change, I believe I will indeed borrow a cat to assist. (It took me over an hour to find the dang blasted spring after it flew off, as I failed to put a cat into my necessary tools as you indicated for what would be needed).

Do you find any particular colored cat or breed as being better than the others? Or will any cat work?

April said...

In my vast experience of cats, I find that any cat with good vision will work. However, you will need to make sure the cat is awake and paying attention and not napping, as cats will often nod off if they get bored, (hence the term "cat nap").