How to Replace Headlight Bulbs on a Chevy Sonic (2012)

how to replace headlight bulbs on chevy sonic

Time required for replacement: 15-25 minutes

The Chevy Sonic is one of the easiest vehicles to replace the headlight bulbs. If you have the 1st and 2nd generation Chevy Sonic, the process is almost identical for both. What I want to show you step by step is the process to replace the low beams on a 2012 Chevy Sonic LT (this applies equally to years 2012 to 2016).

You can choose either LED, HID, or Halogen bulbs to replace the factory ones. In this instance, with the 2012 in this example, the vehicle came with the factory halogen bulbs.

After more than 10 years of use, it was time to replace them and make this car might brighter at night.

Chevy Sonic Bulb Sizes for Low and High Beams

As mentioned above, aside from the relative ease of replacing the bulbs on a Chevy Sonic, it’s important to know what size of bulbs are necessary for both low and high beams.

If you want to replace the low beam headlight bulbs, the size to look for is H11.

If you want to replace the high beams on the other hand, you’ll need to look at 9005 size.

Getting to the high beams is by far the easiest task, where-as the toughest ones to get to (relatively speaking), are the low beams. Below I will show you step by step how to remove the old H11’s and install new ones.

Tools Required to Change Bulbs

To tools necessary to replace bulbs on a Chevy Sonic are the following:

  1. Nitrile Gloves. I recommend you wear nitrile gloves if you plan to replace your old halogen bulbs with another set of filament bulbs like halogen or xenon (HID’s). Oil from your skin when touching halogen or xenon bulbs, can prematurely burn them out. Wearing a set of light to medium duty gloves can solve that. 
  2. 8-12″ Flathead Screw Driver. At times, it can be difficult to unplug the old bulbs. Using a long flathead screw driver can help you pry open the clips and pull-off the plugs much easier. Do this cautiously as prying too far can snap the clips off and cause a loose connection. 
  3. Flashlight (optional). Depending on what time of day you are doing this, get an LED flashlight to ensure you can see what you are doing. Even during the evening or early morning, trying to see the headlight housing can be difficult. I recommend getting a magnetic LED flashlight to ensure you can easily attach it to the hood or frame of the vehicle.
nitrile gloves
flathead screw driver
led flashlight

Removing the Old Bulbs

Let’s start out by first turning off the headlight and letting them cool-off for 15 to 30 minutes. Once the bulbs have cooled off, latch open the hood and start removing the washer fluid reservoir tube.

*NOTE: If some liquid pours out when you remove the tube, simple use a microfiber towel to soak up any fluid at the bottom that pours out. 

Step 1

open the hood on the Chevy Sonic
Latch open the hood

Step 2

Grab and twist upwards to remove the washer fluid reservoir tube

Step 3

Remove plastic cover by twisting to the left.

Step 4

Remove plug and twist to the left to remove old bulb

Once you have clear access to the driver side low beam bulb, proceed to remove the plastic cover by twisting it to the left. While it can give you some resistance, continue to slowly twist it until it comes off.

From there, you can use a screw driver to unlatch the plug from the bulb and twist towards the same direction to remove the old bulb.

Reinstalling the Old Bulbs

Remove plastic cover by twisting to the left.

This entire process should take you less than 10 minutes to do. Re-installing the new kit can be just as easy as removing the old. In this instance, the new LED bulbs were slightly bigger than the halogen units. The one thing to note here is if that’s your case, be sure to plug in the new bulb before you lock it in the headlight housing. Doing so separately might not work due to lack of space.

Old halogen light bulb for the Chevy Sonic
New replacement LED light bulb for the Chevy Sonic

Once you have the new bulbs installed and ready to go, before you put the covers back on and the washer fluid tube back in, go inside the car and turn ON the lights to ensure everything is working accordingly.

Test the lights to make sure they are ON for both sides.
Turn ON the lights before you place all the covers back ON.

Once you have the new bulbs installed and ready to go, before you put the covers back on and the washer fluid tube back in, go inside the car and turn ON the lights to ensure everything is working accordingly.

This should take you no more than 30 minutes to do from start to finish. The amount of tools required is minimal, and you can save about 50% of the total cost of having someone else do it by doing it yourself.

NOTE: Go online, order the H11 and/or 9005 size bulbs for your Chevy Sonic. Getting replacement bulbs locally can often cost 2-3X the amount. At AvtoWow, we recommend going online to major e-commerce sites to save money.

You Can Also Watch Our In-Depth Video