The stock headlights that come standard with all Jeep Wranglers are inherently high quality. However, there comes a time in every Jeeper's life where they want to branch off from the stock and develop their own look with aftermarket parts. When that time comes, it's very common for Jeepers to start off by swapping out their old headlights for a shiny new set.
New Jeepers might need a little help figuring out how to get started on their customizing journey, so we've decided to create a general help blog to assist any Jeeper on how to go about installing headlights.
1. Remove the Grille
The hardware necessary to install your headlights is all located behind the grille. There is no way, barring some creativity, to replace headlights without removing the grille.
The first thing to do is remove the black tabs on the top of the grille. You'll see that the tabs have a center piece and an outer piece. You must remove the center piece first. This piece applies pressure to the tabs, expanding them to prevent the grille from falling off naturally. Use your fingernails or a flathead screwdriver to gently remove the central tabs.
Once the center piece is removed the outer rim should pull out easily. Remove those tabs the same way across the top of the grille. Once they are removed, pull back on the grille with careful force to unlatch the metal tabs. If you have a winch, you may want to loosen it to make room.
Then just lift it and set it aside.
2. Remove Retaining Ring
Holding the headlight in place is a circular metal ring. There are four (4) screws attaching the retainer to the body of the Jeep. Unscrew all four and remove the frame while holding the headlight.
Be careful not to let the headlight slip, as this may risk damage to your headlights and harness.
3. Unplug old headlights
Pull the headlight out slowly to reveal the harness connecting the headlight to the power source. Disconnect the headlight plug and remove your stock headlight.
4. Install DRL (if applicable)
Some aftermarket headlights, like Xprite's Exhibit series, feature a DRL (Daytime Running Light). This light remains on whenever the engine is running, so it needs a separate connection to the Jeep's fuse box.
First, connect the headlight's DRL wire to an extension wire that should be included in your set. If there is no included wire, then any 12-volt wire can be used as long as you can establish a decent connection.
Next, run the wire to the fuse box and connect it to a fuse tap which should plug directly into the accessory power (ACC), not the constant power; That way the light will not remain on when the engine is off.
Once the connection is made, ensure the wire is tied up in a safe location, out of the way of any of the engine's moving parts, and hoisted up to prevent the wire from falling.
Turn the Jeep on to make sure the light is properly connected.
5. Plug in main headlight
Your headlight should come with a harness or canbus that will assist with general stability or plug adaptation. Insert the male end of the harness into the Jeep's headlight plug and the male end of the headlight into the female end of the harness.
6. Secure with retaining ring
There should be notches that show exactly where the headlight should be placed. Hold the headlight in place and put the retainer over it with all of the holes lined up properly.
Then, screw all of the screws back in to secure the light in it's place. Test the headlight's features including the high beam and turn signal before moving onto the final step.
7. Reattach grille
Once the headlights are secured and tested, you can put the grille back on. Start by lining the metal tabs back up with their slots and applying pressure to the grill until you hear them snap into place.
Then, apply the black tabs onto the top, starting with the outer ends, followed by the inner plugs. Once, that's all done you can lower the hood and reapply the hood latches.
Follow these steps and you could install almost any aftermarket headlight. Good luck and happy Jeeping!