Even though they are incredibly high-quality luxury cars, Mercedes-Benz C-class models still require regular repair and maintenance. Parts wear out on these vehicles just like any other, with some requiring replacement on a regular basis. Among the parts you can expect to wear out several times over your C-class's life are the headlight bulbs, which are considered to be regularly wearing parts. Here's everything you need to know about the headlights in your Mercedes-Benz C-class and what to do when you need to replace them.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Headlight Components
Like all headlights, the headlights of the C-class models are actually systems made up of many different parts. By far the most important of these parts is the headlight bulb itself. The bulb is plugged into an electrical connector, which in turn is wired into your car's electrical system via the main wiring harness. Together, these two parts allow your headlight to function as it should.
Beyond the main electrical components, there are also several parts of the headlight assembly meant to hold and protect the bulb and its electrical connector. A lens in front of the bulb, of course, allows light to pass through onto the road. A gasket around this lens prevents water from seeping into your headlight, potentially causing damage to the socket and its wiring.
Why Do Headlights Wear Out?
There are many reasons that a headlight can go bad, but the most common reason is a simple bulb burnout. Like any other kind of light bulb, the bulb in your car's headlight has a limited life span. If used long enough, it will grow dimmer before eventually wearing out altogether.
Needless to say, a bulb burning out isn't the only reason your Mercedes-Benz C-class headlight might go bad. If the gasket that keeps water out breaks down, for example, your headlight might receive internal water damage. It's also possible for electrical issues elsewhere in the vehicle, such as a bad alternator, to cause headlight and tail light malfunctions.
Knowing When to Replace Your Headlight
Many car owners wait until a headlight actually burns out to replace it. In the case of newer Mercedes-Benz C-class models, a dash light will come on to alert you of a bulb burning out. Though this is the absolute and certain sign that your bulb needs to be replaced immediately, you can also be more proactive about headlight replacement.
As your bulb ages, it will generally get dimmer before burning out altogether. If you are having trouble seeing on very dark roads at night because your headlights are too dim, it's a good sign that you need to change them out. Often, the dimming of a bulb will happen slowly over a long period of time, so you may not notice it at first. Keep an eye on how well your headlights perform as they get older so that you'll be aware of any diminished lighting capability.
Even if only one headlight seems to be unusually dim or is burnt out, it's usually a good idea to go ahead and replace both. If you do, the aging of both of your headlights past that point will be synchronized, meaning they'll wear out again at about the same time. If you only change one at a time, you'll have to keep performing headlight changes at alternate intervals as each bulb wears out individually.
Another point about replacing headlights is the fact that some drivers, even when they see that a headlight is burnt out, will procrastinate about changing it. It may seem like it isn't too big of a deal, but driving with one headlight can have serious consequences. By reducing your ability to see on the road at night and at the same time making your Mercedes-Benz C-class less visible to other drivers, driving with a headlight out drastically increases your chances of being in an accident. Since doing so is illegal almost everywhere, waiting to change out a bad headlight could also lead to a hefty ticket.
How to Change a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Headlight Bulb
Unlike some other luxury car brands, Mercedes-Benz makes its vehicles fairly easy for anyone to work on. Nowhere is this better displayed than in how easy it is to replace a headlight bulb in a C-class model. Behind each bulb is a round-shaped black plastic access panel which can be removed simply by turning it counter-clockwise.
Behind this panel, you'll find an electrical connector that attaches to the bulb. Remove that connector, which will allow you full access to the bulb. Now, you can remove the old bulb and put the new one in its place, re-attach the electrical connector and replace the plastic access panel. Just like that, your headlight is ready to be used again.
How to Extend Headlight Bulb Life
Because they use halogen bulbs, the headlights on Mercedes-Benz C-class models already have a fairly long life. If you want to make them last a little longer, however, there are a couple of ways you can go about it. The first and most important is to keep up with your car's maintenance, especially with regards to its electrical system. As discussed above, electrical malfunctions can cause issues with lights and other peripheral electronics.
Another way to extend the life of your headlight bulbs somewhat is to avoid driving too much on bumpy roads and especially gravel roads. Being jostled around isn't particularly good for even modern light bulbs. Intense vibrations and impacts will, to some degree, affect the life span of your headlight's bulb.
Whether you just need a replacement bulb or a full set of parts for your Mercedes-Benz C-class headlight assembly, get your parts with MercedesBenzStarParts.com. We offer a complete lineup of genuine OEM parts for all Mercedes-Benz models. Just use our selector tool to choose your year and model, and you'll find all the parts you need to maintain your beloved Mercedes-Benz and keep it in tip-top condition.