Changing car light bulbs is often easier than you think. Our vehicle light bulb finder helps to choose the correct lamp size for every passenger car, SUV or light duty truck.

Which lamps can be changed on the car?

Before you examine the car bulb size chart, first take a closer look at the existing equipment.

What are the types of headlights?

LEDs, HIDs and halogens are the three main types of headlights.

Xenon and Bi-Xenon

So-called xenon-based gas discharge lamps are occasionally used for high and low beam headlights. In order to generate light, an electronic ballast (EVG) must provide a current of up to 25,000 for a short time. Contact with this high voltage can be life-threatening for people. For your safety, you should always have xenon car light bulbs in your car changed by an expert.

LED light bulbs

The abbreviation LED is derived from the expression "light-emitting diode." Some LED lamps, which are designed like conventional car light bulbs, you can change yourself. However, modern LED car lights that are an integral part of the rear light or headlight cannot be removed and installed separately. In this case, there is no way around a specialist workshop to rectify defects.

Halogen lamps

Most of the lighting systems in cars today consist of halogen bulbs. Specifically, you can find halogen car light bulbs in the following places:

  • Headlights and fog lights
  • Front turn signals
  • Side or position lights
  • Rear lights, possibly with extra reversing light or rear fog light
  • License plate light
  • Interior lights

When looking to replace the light bulbs in your car, your first question should be: what size do I need? There are many light bulb types charts online, but you can easily find the answer yourself.

Is it possible to tell what automobile bulb will fit my car?

Choose the make, mode and year of production of your vehicle to display check that will fit it.

Additionally, you can also look in your vehicle's owner's manual in the section on lighting. Remove your old bulb to identify the type of replacement bulb you need if you do not have the registration number or vehicle manual.

Finding the headlight bulb size

To find out what size headlights your car has, you can contact your vehicle manufacturer or dealer. Most of the time, you can get this information by supplying them with your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). In most cars, the VIN is on or near the dashboard.

Low beam and high beam headlights size

Your car must have both headlights. For regular nighttime driving, you would use the low beam. When it is incredibly dark in urban areas without street lighting, the high beam only needs to be turned on. Standard halogen bulbs are used for low beams, followed by HID bulbs for high beams.

Using aftermarket headlights

For most people, replacing the bulbs, they use for normal nighttime driving is what they're looking for. The most common names are dipped beam, low beam, and headlight beam. A good reason to replace your car's stock headlights with aftermarket models is that they offer more functionality than standard-issue ones, and they allow you to customize your vehicle to meet your tastes.

Choosing fog lights sizes

A universal fog light can be installed on any vehicle, and they are easily installed. All you need to do is find a place to mount them and pick the style and size you like. Among fog light colors, yellow produces the best results because it hits your retina in a way that allows you to maintain focus on the road. Constant exposure to white light can fatigue the eye, and darker colors like blue and green have a limited wavelength.

Picking the brake light bulb size

The taillights and brake lights on many vehicles are the same bulb. There are two filaments inside the bulb, one for the tail light and one for the brake light. In some vehicles, the tail light and brake light are separate bulbs. Lighting options for brake lights include LED or halogen, typically in P21/5W and P21W fixtures.

Choosing tail light bulbs

Brake and tail lights often share the identical bulb, but there are two different circuits inside. There is one filament for the taillight and one for the brake light in the bulb.

Picking the right size of license plate light bulb

License plate lights, also called tag lights, allow other vehicles to see your license plate at night. The license plate can only be illuminated by a white lamp. Any other rear facing light must be red, or amber for signaling. In most cases, license plate lights use the Sylvania Long Life Clear 1157 Incandescent Bulb.

Using the car bulb size chart

Each car needs a different type of bulb. The list goes on and on - headlights, fog lights, brake lights, indicator lights, sidelights, interior lights, etc. Additionally, there are different fittings for different bulbs, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Most cars come off the assembly line equipped with halogen headlight bulbs.

It is not difficult to measure the size of a bulb because it is based on its diameter at its widest point, which is expressed in eighths of an inch. As an example, a bulb with the designation "T12" has an inner diameter of 12 eighths of an inch (12/8").

Reviewed by Brent Ordway

Brent Ordway is an ASE-certified car technician. He has been working on cars since he was a teenager and loved helping people keep their vehicles running smoothly. Brent's skills as a mechanic are unrivaled. In 2022, he earned his place on the list of winners for the ASE Master Automobile Technician of the Year award.

Follow me

Join Us