What Is a Headlight Door?

A headlight door is a panel that covers and protects a vehicle’s headlights. Vehicles with pop-up headlights usually have these retracting panels.

The headlight door is usually made of durable plastic or metal and is designed to shield the headlights from debris, moisture, and other elements that could damage them.

Headlight doors can be opened and closed manually, or they may be automated. In some cases, the headlight door may also contain the headlight’s bulb and wiring.

Types of Headlight Doors

Headlight doors can be classified into three types:

  • Hinged: These doors are attached to the headlight housing with hinges.
  • Sliding: These doors slide open to provide access to the headlight bulbs.
  • Pop-up: These doors pop up to provide access to the headlight bulbs.

The most prevalent type of headlight door is the hinged door. Sliding and pop-up doors are less common in automobiles, but they are becoming more widespread in newer models.

Headlight Door

Headlight Doors: Pros and Cons


  • Headlight doors help to keep debris, damaging substances, and water out of the headlight area, which can prolong the life of the headlight.
  • Headlight doors can provide aerodynamic benefits by redirecting airflow around your headlights.
  • It can help improve the appearance of your vehicle.
  • Headlight doors can help to improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency by reducing drag.
  • Headlight doors are much easier to clean and maintain.


  • Headlight doors add extra weight to your car, affecting the engine’s performance.
  • They can be expensive, depending on the type and model of your car and the brand and style you select.
  • If not installed properly, headlight doors can cause your headlights to point in the wrong direction, which can decrease your visibility while driving.
  • They can be quite loud, especially when opening and closing.

How to Install a Headlight Door?

Installing a headlight door is a simple task that does not require the help of a professional. This section will show you how to install a headlight door in six easy steps.

  • Open the hood of your car and locate the headlight.
  • Disconnect the electrical connector from the back of the headlight.
  • You should see a vacant space for the housing of the headlight doors.
  • Install the door motor in the housing by lining up the retaining screws. Screw the motor into place. Clip the wires onto the motor.
  • Reconnect the electrical connector to the back of the headlight.
  • Close your car’s hood.

Symptoms of a Bad Headlight Door

Usually, a headlight door malfunctions when the extending and retracting motors fail to function as intended. Some of the most common headlight door malfunctions are discussed in this section:

Failure to Open

The headlights cannot expand due to a failure in the extending motor. This will be a problem since folded headlights cannot provide adequate visibility for the driver. Most headlight motors may be physically stretched by twisting a lever, but they must be extended and sealed physically at all times.

Failure to Close

This issue occurs when there is a problem with the retracting motors. Headlight doors that seem to be jammed open could still give enough illumination for driving at night, but they will need servicing to be fixed.

Functions Erratically

Another indicator of a potentially malfunctioning headlight door motor is inconsistent door action. If the doors expand and close randomly, it interferes with their capacity to produce light. Problems in the electrical circuits can potentially cause similar effects, so getting the car thoroughly inspected is strongly advised.

Makes a Grinding Sound

If the motors create any form of grinding noise while running, they might be broken and have to be repaired or replaced. Typically, motors that generate grinding noises have difficulty folding and expanding the lights.

Factors to Consider While Buying a New Headlight Door

The headlight door is an essential component of the vehicle, so selecting the correct one for your car is critical. Here are a few things to consider while buying a headlight door.


The headlight door is made of a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and glass. You should select the material based on the build and model of your vehicle.


The headlight door should be comparable to the size of the headlight. Before purchasing the door, you should measure the space available for the headlight.


The headlight door should be designed to match the shape of the headlight. You should select the door that completely covers the headlight.

Final Notes

You need to check online to get a comprehensive idea of manufacturers producing headlight doors for your car’s model. For example, if you have a 1967 Ford Fairlane, you need to check with manufacturers like Scott Drake, Crown Automotive, and Classic Industries to buy a headlight door for your car.

The cost of headlight doors varies based on several criteria, including the type and model of the car, the year it was made, and the retailer from where you acquired them. In general, a pair of headlight doors will cost you between $30 and $200.

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