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AAA World | Auto
A Cheap, Easy Fix for Dimmed Headlights


Q: The headlights on my 2004 VW Jetta have turned yellow and are dim. The dealer tells me that replacement of the headlight assembly is the only sure fix, but the price quoted was about $500. What happened to the affordable replacement headlights that were once used on cars?
Explain how headlights installed with car
A: While many cars have this problem, unfortunately, the days of sealed-beam headlamps that could be replaced easily are gone. Today, headlights generally use plastic covers and separate replacement bulbs. Replacing a bulb is usually, but not always, a minor repair. When it is time to replace the entire headlamp, however, the cost can he high.

Not only are headlight assemblies more expensive than the old sealed-beam headlamps, but labor costs are also a factor. The grille, the collar surrounding the grille and the bumper cover must be removed to reach the retainers holding your Jetta’s headlight assemblies.

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Before you replace the headlamps, you might want to try a headlight restoration kit, which can remove the yellow film and make the lens covers clear again. These kits are available at many stores for about $20. It is a do-it-yourself project that will take an hour or two on average. Be sure to follow the instructions and protect painted areas around the headlight with masking tape before using abrasives. The results can be excellent, though the plastic covers may yellow again as the years pass.