How to open and modify car headlights for DRL LED board replacement

How to open and modify car headlights for DRL LED board replacement

At DRLsDirect, we understand the desire to customize and enhance the appearance of your car headlights. One popular modification is replacing the Daytime Running Lights (DRL) boards, which can significantly improve the overall look and functionality of your headlights. In this guide, we will provide you step-by-step process for opening and modifying car headlights (removing the lens from the housing), to facilitate DRL board replacement. 

If you were linked here from one of our products, it means that this type of installation applies to your vehicle. We understand that we do not currently have detailed instructions for every vehicle, so we have carefully drafted this guide to give you a thorough understanding of the DRL board conversion process. If you follow these guidelines, you should be well prepared for a successful completion of the installation.


Note: For DRL boards that require a headlight opening for installation, this guide will guide you through the process of safely removing the lens from the housing. Please note that this guide is intended as a general guide as we may not have detailed installation instructions for every headlight design. If you feel uncomfortable or unsure during the process, we strongly recommend that you seek the help of a professional or watch instructional videos on platforms like YouTube.


Step-By-Step Guide


Step 1: Preparing for the Modification

Before starting the modification process, it is crucial to gather the necessary tools and equipment. Here's what you'll need:

  1. Heat-resistant gloves: To protect your hands from heat and ensure a secure grip during the procedure.
  2. Milwaukee tools or suitable screwdrivers: To remove screws securing the lens and other components.
  3. Oven or heat gun: The preferred method for softening the adhesive and opening the headlights. The oven provides more consistent heating.
  4. Butyl headlamp sealant: Rubber butyl adhesive used to reseal the headlights after modification.
  5. Clean work surface: A clutter-free area to work on your headlights and keep the removed components organized.


Step 2: Preheating the Oven

If you choose to use the oven method, preheating is essential. Preheating allows the oven to reach the desired temperature consistently, reducing the risk of melting the lights. Follow these steps:

  1. Set the oven to a low temperature, around 220°F (104°C). Ensure you are using Fahrenheit instead of Celsius to avoid excessive heat.
  2. While the oven preheats, proceed with the next steps to prepare the headlights for modification.


Step 3: Removing the Lens Screws

Carefully examine the headlights to locate all the screws holding the lens in place. It's crucial to remove all screws to prevent damage during the modification process. Here's what you should do:

  1. Use the appropriate screwdriver or Milwaukee tool to remove the screws securing the lens. Take extra care to find hidden screws concealed by sealing or other components.
  2. Ensure you remove all the screws, including any sneaky ones that might be easily overlooked.
  3. Keep the screws organized and set them aside for later reassembly.


Step 4: Softening the Adhesive

To safely separate the lens from the housing, you need to soften the adhesive that holds them together. While you can use a heat gun, using an oven provides more consistent heating. Here's how to proceed:

  1. Place the headlights on a heat-resistant surface inside the preheated oven. Ensure the lights are not in direct contact with any metal surfaces.
  2. Allow the headlights to warm up in the oven for a few minutes, ensuring the adhesive softens without causing damage.
  3. Avoid opening the oven door while the headlights are heating to maintain a consistent temperature.
  4. After sufficient heating, remove the headlights from the oven using heat-resistant gloves. Be cautious not to touch the hot surfaces directly.


Step 5: Opening the Headlights

With the adhesive softened, you can now carefully separate the lens from the housing. Follow these steps to open the headlights:

  1. Locate the points of the lens where they are pushed into place and the tabs that hold them.
  2. Bend the tabs gently out of the way, ensuring they can be bent back into place later.
  3. Find a spot that is reinforced, such as a mounting tab, to use as your strong arm.
  4. Apply even pressure to push the lens forward while keeping the back part of it closer to you. This should create a gap between the lens and housing.
  5. Pull the lens towards yourself, making sure it does not sit back down into position. Apply controlled force to separate the lens from the housing.
  6. Avoid using screwdrivers or prying tools that can cause damage or leave pry marks on the headlights.


Step 6: Modifying the DRL Boards

Now that the headlights are open, you have access to the DRL boards for replacement or customization. Follow your specific DRL board manufacturer's instructions to remove the existing boards and install the new ones. Be sure to handle the DRL boards with care and avoid touching sensitive components.


Step 7: Resealing the Headlights

After completing the DRL board modification, it is crucial to reseal the headlights to ensure proper functionality and prevent moisture or dust from entering. Here's what you should do:

  1. Inspect the lens and remove any excess glue or debris that might hinder proper resealing.
  2. Examine the internal bezel and ensure no glue obstructs its placement. Clear away any obstructions.
  3. Take the rubber butyl headlamp sealant and apply it around the perimeter of the lens, ensuring a complete seal.
  4. Slide the lens back into place, aligning it correctly with the housing.
  5. Check for any stringy flyaways, excess glue, or butyl that may interfere with the seal. Use a suitable tool to keep them away from the lens.
  6. Ensure a secure fit by applying even pressure along the lens edges, allowing the sealant to adhere properly.
  7. Check for any scratch marks or imperfections on the lens surface and clean them if necessary.


Step 8: Reassembling the Headlights

With the lens resealed, it's time to reassemble the headlights. Follow these steps to complete the process:

  1. Retrieve the screws removed earlier and carefully insert them back into their respective positions.
  2. Securely tighten thescrews to ensure a proper fit and alignment of the lens.
  3. Double-check that all screws are in place and tightened correctly.
  4. Inspect the headlights for any visible gaps or misalignment. Adjust the lens if necessary to achieve a seamless fit.
  5. Clean the exterior of the headlights to remove any fingerprints, smudges, or debris that may have accumulated during the modification process.



Installing The RGB Version Of DRL Boards

If you're intrigued by the prospect of adding a vibrant twist to your car, you might consider installing the RGB version of the DRL boards. However, keep in mind that the RGB version may not be as bright as the OEM, and the installation process includes a few more steps due to extra wiring. Also, remember that this RGB version's control doesn't rely on the in-car switch but is managed through an app, and it activates when the car is on or off, not with your welcome lights.


Step 1: Installing The RGB Boards

The initial steps for installing the RGB boards are the same as those for the lemon yellow version. Once you've successfully installed the boards, you'll find there are extra wires to manage.


Step 2: Connecting To Switched Power

Next, you'll need to connect the harness and Bluetooth module to a switched power source. There's a switched power source available in the engine bay fuse box on the passenger side. However, using an add-a-fuse here won't allow you to replace the fuse box cover. If you're unwilling to leave the cover off or cut it, an alternative option is to run a positive wire to the trunk and use a switched power source from there.


Step 3: Managing The Harness And RGB Controller

Run the wiring harness from the boards to the RGB controller. The controller features a QR code on its back for you to download the required app to manage the RGB control.


Step 4: Managing The Wiring

The wire from the RGB boards gets pinched between the headlight housing and the foam gasket of the heat sink. This doesn't exert too much pressure and the foam gasket seals around the wiring to prevent water ingress.

As you go through this process, keep in mind the considerations mentioned above, as these will help you decide whether or not the RGB version is a good fit for you. Despite the extra steps and considerations, if you're an RGB person, this addition can add a fun and vibrant touch to your car.



By following this comprehensive guide and taking the necessary precautions, you can achieve professional results without causing any damage to your headlights. Remember to work carefully, use the appropriate tools, and reseal the headlights properly to maintain their functionality and aesthetics. Enjoy the enhanced appearance and improved functionality of your customized headlights from DRLsDirect. If you have any further questions or need assistance, don't hesitate to contact us. Happy customizing!


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