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2002 Hyundai Accent: how to replace a broken headlight

I like deer. They're cute, they're furry, and in the right setting, they'll eat out of your hand.

Unfortunately, deer are also dumb as fuck, which means that sometimes they'll run across a four-lane road in the middle of the night, right in front of your car.

In one such high-speed late-night battle between car and deer, my Hyundai Accent claimed a pyrrhic victory. The deer, sadly, is now an ex-deer. The Hyundai, even more sadly, now frequently elicits the question "what happened, hit a deer?" Yup.

But my Hyundai didn't let a little front-end damage get in its way. I pried a deer chop out of the front fender, hosed off the blood, and tweaked the hood so that the latch would line up again. Since then everything's been fine.

how to replace a broken headlight on a 2002 hyundai accent

Except this: rain would get into the broken headlight housing, and cold rain turns a hot halogen headlight bulb into a piece of broken glass post haste.

how to replace a broken headlight on a 2002 hyundai accent

So I bought a used headlight housing on eBay right away. Did I install it right away? No, because I realized that if I just wedged a rag into the hole in the top of the old headlight, it would keep the rain out. That worked great for a few months, until the weather got really sloppy, and I got really tired of replacing eleven-dollar headlamps.

So I finally got around to installing the new headlight housing. And you know what? I forgot to document the process. But here's how it goes:

1. Unplug the old wiring (this can be the hardest part, because it's a tight squeeze and the plugs are sticky)
2. Unbolt the old housing using a 10mm socket
3. Install the new housing using the same bolts
4. Plug everything back in.

how to replace a broken headlight on a 2002 hyundai accent

how to replace a broken headlight on a 2002 hyundai accent

Here's how the new-used headlight looks after installation. It's cockeyed, because, y'know, I hit a 150-pound deer at 45 miles an hour. But it doesn't have a gaping hole in it where the cold rain can break my hot headlamps.

how to replace a broken headlight on a 2002 hyundai accent

I got lucky, because my used headlight had a working bulb. I don't know how long that's going to last, so I'll buy a spare and carry it in my glovebox.

how to replace a broken headlight on a 2002 hyundai accent

And finally, here are the tools I used to replace the broken headlight on my 2002 Hyundai Accent: a Craftsman 1/4" ratchet, extension bar and 10mm socket. I also used a flat-blade screwdriver to pry the old plug off of the used headlamp.

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