PT Cruiser madness. "You have to what to change a headlight?"
Robin's PT Cruiser and I are not getting along too well. When we left on vacation, the water pump froze up and broke the timing belt. We had to leave the car at Thurston Chevrolet in Ukiah for 11 days while they ordered parts. It was over $1,200 because they had to almost take the engine out and we had to rent a car to finish our trip to Arizona for nearly $600. (I wonder how much a new engine would have been?) Big financial ouch. So I was hoping to not have any maintenance issues for awhile. Then I find out that the one of the headlights was out. No biggie, Robin left me the car to fix, and I am pretty good at taking care of small issues like changing batteries, hoses, lights, fuses, tires and such. So I went to Kragen and bought a light and opened the hood in the parking lot and could not figure how to replace the light. I asked the Kragen guy if he was familiar with how to change a light and he told me you had to go in under the wheel wall. I read the car manual and it didn't say how to change the bulb so I went online and this is how to change a headlight on a PT:
Step 1 Park the PT Cruiser on a flat, level, paved or concrete surface.
Step 2 Open the hood to the PT Cruiser. If anything, it will allow daylight into the engine compartment and allow you to see a little better.
Step 3 Break the lug nuts loose on the front tire of the same side as the burned-out headlight. Don't loosen them too much, and don't remove them. You can try to replace the headlight without removing the tire by turning it all the way inside, but you're most likely going to find that you'll need a little more arm room to remove the door panel in the wheel well.
Step 4 Lift the Cruiser with the floor jack and place a jack stand under the rocker panel.
Step 5 Remove the lug nuts and wheel.
Step 6 Pry the tabs of the door panel in the front of the wheel well (directly behind the headlights), using a flat-head screwdriver. The panel tabs are hard rubber/plastic and more inclined to break during colder weather. The warmer it is, the more tenacious you can be about prying them out. Pry the outside one out first and work the screwdriver around the circumference of the panel to the inside tab.
Step 7 Reach inside to remove the headlight. This is a good opportunity to get up and physically look at the headlights in the front of the Cruiser. The high beams are on the inside sockets; the low beams are on the outside sockets. Make sure when reaching in from behind that you're grabbing the right bulb for replacement. Turn the headlight 1/4 turn counter-clockwise and extract it from the headlight assembly. Even with the wheel removed for the Cruiser, you're going to have limited hand room through the door panel to the headlight. If you have large hands and arms, consider recruiting someone to help.
Step 8 Unclip the headlight from the wire harness and discard it.
Step 9 Insert the new headlight into the wire harness until the lock clips into place. Don't touch the glass light bulb of the new headlight. Only handle it from the plastic plug part.
Step 10 Insert the new headlight into the headlight assembly and twist it 1/4 turn to the right until it locks into place. Test the headlight by turning the ignition key to the accessory position and turning on the headlights. Turn the key back to the "Off" position when you're done.
Step 11 Reinstall the door panel. It's going to be as much of a pain to reinsert as it was coming off.
Step 12 Replace the wheel and lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts snugly and then lower the Cruiser to the ground. Re-torque the lug nuts in an alternate fashion, using the adjustable torque wrench and a 19mm socket.
I Am Humboldt – Oliver’s Story - 12 year old Oliver Zuniga is featured on today's, "I Am Humboldt."
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