Bulb Socket Buyer’s Guide
- A light bulb socket is a small device that supports the bulb while providing an electrical connection from the central power source to the compatible lamp.
- Bulb sockets vary according to the type of light bulbs your car is using.
- Bulb sockets are also rated by the voltage labels depending on the power requirement of the bulb.
- Bulb socket material matters simply because it needs to insulate the electric current being sent by the power supply to the light bulb.
- There are various bulb socket sizes as there are different light bulb sizes out there.
- The symptoms of a failing bulb socket are comparable to those of a faulty bulb or bad wiring so make sure to do a visual check to verify which component is causing the problems.
- If the broken socket is the one that’s holding a headlight or tail light bulb, it is advisable that you replace it immediately as you will be putting you and your passenger’s safety at risk.
- The price for a bulb socket replacement on CarParts.com varies from $7 to $105 depending on the brand and series.
Are your lights flickering, dimming, or not turning on? Do you suspect it’s the bulb that’s causing this problem? Although it may sound obvious and reasonable that the aforementioned symptoms are caused by a failing bulb, other factors must be considered. On some occasions, a faulty bulb can be due to damaged wiring that has compromised the bulb’s longevity.
Sometimes, a corroded bulb socket can be the culprit so make sure to inspect the assembly thoroughly. Here’s everything you need to know if you ever find yourself facing a broken bulb socket.
What is a bulb socket?
Your car’s headlights and tail lights are not the only ones that provide illumination. Of course, you have various interior lights like the door courtesy lamp or puddle lamp. These light sources use some kind of sockets that connect it to your car’s power source so that they may be able to light up. A light bulb socket is a small device that supports the bulb while providing an electrical connection from the central power source to the compatible lamp.
Things to Know when Buying a New Bulb Socket
When buying lighting components for your car like a bulb socket, you have to know which type of light bulb is fitted in your car. The bulb type often dictates the kind of bulb socket you need as various light sources can use different light bulb socket adapters. Here are some factors you should consider when buying new bulb sockets for your car:
Light bulb types
Bulb sockets vary according to the type of light bulbs your car is using. One example would be the push-and-turn (PT) socket, which features a simple and lightweight design that’s often used to fit tail light bulbs and turn indicators. Meanwhile, wedge-type sockets are designed to withstand harsh environments better than other types so they are used for lights that are purposely designed to be exposed.
Bulb sockets are also rated by the voltage labels depending on the power requirement of the bulb. Smaller bulbs that are usually found in the interior of the car need less power than the headlights or tail lights. When changing bulb sockets for the interior lights, use a replacement that’s rated between 6 to 8 volts. For exterior lights, sockets that are rated 12 to 14 volts are usually the go-to as headlight, tail lights, or fog lights require more power to operate.
Sockets for headlights and tail lights: typically 12 - 14 volts
Sockets for interior lights: typically 6 - 8 volts
Bulb socket material matters simply because it needs to insulate the electric current being sent by the power supply to the light bulb. Among the commonly used materials for bulb sockets, porcelain is most favored by consumers as it insulates electrical current better than any other material. But if it’s durability you’re after, then go for ceramic as it is more resistant to heat, meaning it’s perfect to preserve the longevity of the bulb.
Common bulb socket materials:
Lastly, one of the most, if not the most, important factor you should consider when shopping for a bulb socket is the size. There are various bulb socket sizes as there are different light bulb sizes out there. Will it be for a headlight, the side trim light, a fog light, or an interior light? Before you make a purchase, make sure you have the specifications right and matched to the bulb you’re using.
Symptoms of a bad bulb socket
Suspecting a failing headlight or interior light bulb? Well in most cases, the symptoms you are noticing aren’t from a failing or bad bulb. It could be due to an open or shorted wiring or a corroded bulb socket. The symptoms of a failing bulb socket are comparable to those of a faulty bulb or bad wiring so make sure to do a visual check to verify which component is causing the problems. Symptoms of a bad bulb socket include:
- Dimming or any unusual changes with the lights
- Flickering light
- Light won’t turn on
Does a bad bulb socket need to be replaced immediately?
As mentioned, there are different lights in a car. Interior lights are often designed to provide convenience while exterior lights are more of a safety component that makes driving under low-light conditions less dangerous. If the failing bulb socket belongs to an interior light, you can loosely schedule a replacement.
If the broken socket is the one that’s holding a headlight or tail light bulb, it is advisable that you replace it immediately as you will be putting you and your passenger’s safety at risk. You may even get a ticket for driving with a headlight or tail light out. For both safety and legal concerns, replace a bad tail light or headlight socket right away.
How much is an OE bulb socket replacement?
The price for a bulb socket replacement on CarParts.com varies from $7 to $105 depending on the brand and series. They are sold in single pieces, as part of a kit, or in a set of two to match your needs. For an easier and more convenient shopping experience, you may indicate the year, make, and model of your vehicle to filter the list. You may also select from the categories listed under the Refine By section on the left to narrow down your search
Things to Know when Buying a New Bulb Socket
When one of the lights in your car goes out, you automatically assume that you have a bad light bulb. But when you've changed the bulb and you're still left with a busted car light, it's about time you get to the root of the problem-your bulb socket. Here are the things you need to know when buying new sockets for your car:
Light bulb types
Bulb sockets vary according to the types of lights in your car. Is your headlight or tail light busted? Then you should get a Push-and-Turn (PT) socket. This type of bulb socket is lightweight, and its simple design is made to fit rear-combination lights and turn-signal lamps. Bulb sockets of lights that are exposed to harsh environments are fitted with standard wedge-type sockets. Wedged sockets are more durable, and these offer a robust design made for rougher applications. So if your door courtesy lamp or black plate light needs a socket replacement, it's best to go for this kind of bulb socket.
Your bulb socket's voltage will depend on the power requirement of your car light. Generally, smaller light bulbs, such as the ones found on your car's ceiling, require less power. So if you need to replace the bulb sockets of your interior lights, you should get one that is between 6 to 8 volts. On the other hand, bigger and more specialized lamps-such as tail lights and headlights-require bulb sockets with a voltage of 12 to 14 volts.
Out of all the materials used for bulb sockets, porcelain is the most popular. Its ability to insulate electrical current makes it a popular choice among manufacturers and widely used for different kinds of bulbs. However, if you're looking for a bulb socket that is more durable, a ceramic-type bulb socket would be your best bet. It is more resistant to heat, and it prevents your light assembly from melting down.
Steps when Replacing Your Car's Bulb Socket
You've had a busted car light for days. But no matter what type or brand of light bulb you replace it with, it still won't work. If this is the case, the damage lies within your light's bulb socket. Although there are different kinds of bulb sockets, installing them is a breeze with this easy installation guide.
Difficulty level: Easy to moderate
Tools you'll need:
- New bulb socket
- Phillips screwdriver
- Wire cutters
- Electrical tape
NOTE: Before replacing your old bulb sockets, make sure that you've purchased the right one. You don't want to end up installing a headlight bulb socket for your tail lights.
Step 1: Open your hood and remove the negative cable from your battery. Be sure that all electrical connectors are disconnected as well.
Step 2: Using a Phillips-head screwdriver, loosen your light assembly (this includes the lens and gaskets). Once you've removed the screws, pop out the light assembly from your car's body.
Step 3: Now that you've removed your light's housing, you should be able to locate your light bulb and its bulb socket. Unscrew the bulb socket from the base. Cut the exposed wires attached to the socket to free it from any existing connection and remove it completely.
Step 4: Prepare your new bulb socket by stripping 1/4 inch of the insulation off the wires. Connect them to the existing electrical wires by twisting them around the matching colored wires of your socket. Secure your connections with an electrical tape.
Step 5: With your new bulb socket connected to your car's electrical wiring, install the socket and secure it in place.
Step 6: Insert your light bulb into the socket. Don't forget to wear gloves while installing the bulbs to ensure you don't leave any cloudy prints on the glass. Push the bulb in to secure it to your new bulb socket.
Step 6:Reinstall you light assembly. Reconnect your battery's negative cable to start checking your new bulb socket. If all is well, your lights should be able to respond quickly to your car's switches.