Question about 2001 Pontiac Grand Am SE

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My headlight is out on my 2001 Pontiac Grand Am gt. My husbadn bought a new bulb but the whole thing is so tightly configured we can't get in and replace the darn thing. A mechanic at Walmart said that I'd have to take it to a dealer and pay $150 to get it installed. Is that true? $150 for a headlight??

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Just in case you haven't fixed this or bought bulbs yet, the grand am requires a 9007 headlight bulb, it is dual filament. (meaning it is both the low beam and high beam) Basic sylvanias at an autozone/schucks/etc. should go for $30, I would recommend sylvania silverstars ($40) or silverstar ultras ($50) depending on what weather conditions you normally drive in. No matter what, never touch the bulb itself as this could cause premature failure (oils from your skin can cause part of the bulb to get hotter, then ka-boom and a big mess.) so make sure you only carry the light by the socket/base.

You will need:
Flat-Head Screwdriver (maybe two if you can't fit your finger in to pull up the L-shaped tab)
9007 Dual-Filament Headlight Bulb
(Optional) Grease for the O-ring on the bulb housing (This helps keep the elements out and makes for smoother removal later, but is not needed at all) Ask your local autozone/schucks/etc. staff if they carry this if you would like some.


Replacing the bulb is quite simple, Remove the plastic screws holding the cover that's over the headlights, don't be afraid to give it some elbow grease, use a big flathead screwdriver if needed. (I've found that you can just remove the two farthest screws if just replacing the headlight bulb)

After you have access to the right side of the driver's headlight (or left of the passenger's), look for a L-shaped black metal tab with a hole in the top of it, put the flat head between this tab and the headlight housing so that the notch in the tab is clear of the headlight housing, then pull firmly up on the black metal tab. Be sure to take note of how the tab keeps the white plastic piece in place, it will make reassembly easier.

This will release the outer side of the headlight assembly, from here all I do is rotate the headlight assembly so that the inside corner goes into the car and the outside comes out. This allows easy access to almost (if not all) bulbs in the headlight housing.

Just reverse the process to put the headlight assembly back in, if you are having trouble make sure of four things:

1) That the 2 bolts are lined up with the holes
2) That the plastic adjuster (these are what you can use to modify the headlights angle by the way) on the bottom bolt is aiming up and down so that it sits flush with the housing aroung the hole the bolt is supposed to go into.
3) That the inside corner of the headlight assembly isn't getting snagged on anything.
4) That when you do get the assembly flush with the housing, that the black L-shaped tab is being pushed down on the correct part of the white plastic so it holds the headlight assembly firmly in place.

Legend:

Headlight Housing - Looks like part of the fram of the car, should not be moveable. You can see up to 3 skinny bolts going through the back of the housing from the headlight assembly

Headlight Assembly - Plasting encasement that the bulbs rest in.

Black L-shaped tab - Has a hook that keeps the tab from moving up accidently

The Cover - It may just be some big black cover that looks nice (or bad depending on how well you have treated your car :D) but is a pain to get under, it is held down by many black plastic screws

Black Plastic Screw - Exactly that....


P.S. While the Headlight Assembly is out, you mind as well take a wash cloth and clean off the bumper where the car washes have not been able to get. (i.e. under and arround the rubber seal)

Posted on Jul 26, 2009

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I do believe that Walmart "mechanic" is stretching the truth. Call a dealer for a quote, or a good garage near you. I've worked at garages for years, and some are difficult, but not like that.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009

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