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How to Remove Your BMW Headlights
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

How to Remove Your BMW Headlights

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hours1 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

**

Tools:

Phillips & flathead screwdriver, plastic prying tool, 8mm nut driver.

Applicable Models:

BMW E90 3-Series (2006-11)
BMW E91 3-Series (2006-12)
BMW E92 3-Series (2007-13)
BMW E93 3-Series (2007-13)

Parts Required:

Headlight assembly, headlight bulb

Hot Tip:

Do not touch bulbs with bare hands

Performance Gain:

Repair damaged headlight assembly, replace faulty headlight bulb

Complementary Modification:

Replace turn signal bulbs

The headlight assembly seals can wear out over time resulting in water leaks and repeat bulb failures. On models with high intensity discharge (HID) lights, the HID module is located at the bottom of the headlight. Water can enter the module electrical connector causing headlight faults. If this happens to you, you will have to replace the headlight, the electrical harness and the HID module.

Headlight Bulb Replacing

When replacing headlight bulbs, you can access the high beam bulb from inside the engine compartment; however the low beam bulb can only be accessed from the front wheel well. There is a small access door in the front wheel well liner for changing the low beam bulb. You can also remove the front portion of the wheel well liner, which I prefer to do as it makes access a lot easier.

The procedure below highlights halogen style bulb replacing. Xenon bulb is similar. Xenon bulb replacing will be explained after halogen style bulb.

Low beam bulb:
To access low beam bulb without removing front section of wheel well liner, remove the access door.
Figure 1

To access low beam bulb without removing front section of wheel well liner, remove the access door. Working at front of wheel well liner, rotate access panel locks 180° to unlock. (green arrows) Then remove access panel door from wheel well liner.

With the access door removed, you can service the low beam headlight bulb (green arrow) or the turn signal bulb (yellow arrow).
Figure 2

With the access door removed, you can service the low beam headlight bulb (green arrow) or the turn signal bulb (yellow arrow).

To replace low beam bulb, unlock spring on headlight bulb access door.
Figure 3

To replace low beam bulb, unlock spring on headlight bulb access door. (green arrow) Then remove access door from headlight.

Disconnect headlight electrical connector by pulling straight off.
Figure 4

Disconnect headlight electrical connector by pulling straight off. (green arrow)

Unclip headlight bulb retaining spring (green arrow).
Figure 5

Unclip headlight bulb retaining spring (green arrow). Unclip toward turn signal and fold clip down.

Pull headlight bulb out of headlight and replace.
Figure 6

Pull headlight bulb out of headlight and replace. Reverse instructions for reassembly. Be sure headlight bulb is seated properly before locking retaining spring. Connect electrical connector and check bulb operation.

High beam bulb: For the high beam, I will show how to replace it with the front section of the wheel well liner removed. This will allow a better view of the parts and procedure. If you would like to perform repair this way, see our tech article on front wheel well liner removing. I suggest it doing it this way.
With front section of fender liner removed, unlock spring on headlight bulb access door.
Figure 7

With front section of fender liner removed, unlock spring on headlight bulb access door. (green arrow) Then remove access door from headlight.

Disconnect headlight electrical connector by pulling straight off.
Figure 8

Disconnect headlight electrical connector by pulling straight off. (green arrow)

Unclip headlight bulb retaining spring (green arrow).
Figure 9

Unclip headlight bulb retaining spring (green arrow). Unclip toward turn signal and fold clip down. Pull headlight bulb out of headlight and replace. Reverse instructions for reassembly. Be sure headlight bulb is seated properly before locking retaining spring. Connect electrical connector and check bulb operation. When replacing Xenon bulbs, remove the front section of wheel well liner, see our tech article on wheel well liner removing. Then remove the bulb access door. The access door on Xenon models covers both bulbs. Unclip door and remove from headlight. To replace bulb, pull electrical connector straight off, unclip retaining spring and pull headlight bulb out of headlight assembly. Xenon headlight models utilize a halogen style high beam, see high beam bulb replacing above for the steps needed to replace it.

This photo shows Xenon bulb access door (green arrow).
Figure 10

This photo shows Xenon bulb access door (green arrow). Headlight assembly replacing Remove front section of wheel well liner. See our tech article on wheel well liner removing. Remove front bumper. See our tech article on front bumper replacing.

Models with headlight washers: Next, remove the headlight washers.
Figure 11

Models with headlight washers: Next, remove the headlight washers. To do this, use a plastic prying tool (or lever out using your finger) and lever washer out.

Models with headlight washers: Then grab and pull straight out of headlight, then use a small flathead screwdriver to detach locking clips (green arrows) and remove.
Figure 12

Models with headlight washers: Then grab and pull straight out of headlight, then use a small flathead screwdriver to detach locking clips (green arrows) and remove. When nozzle is pulled out a small squirt of washer fluid is ejected, stay out of way of spray.

Working inside wheel well, remove T30 Torx fastener.
Figure 13

Working inside wheel well, remove T30 Torx fastener. (green arrow)

Working at front of headlight, remove two T30 Torx fasteners.
Figure 14

Working at front of headlight, remove two T30 Torx fasteners. (green arrows)

Working at top of headlight, remove two T30 Torx fasteners.
Figure 15

Working at top of headlight, remove two T30 Torx fasteners. (green arrows)

Pull out and remove headlight slightly, detach headlight washer hose and electrical connector (green arrow).
Figure 16

Pull out and remove headlight slightly, detach headlight washer hose and electrical connector (green arrow). Then remove headlight from vehicle by pulling straight out toward front of vehicle.

With headlight on work bench, remove T30 torx fastener.
Figure 17

With headlight on work bench, remove T30 torx fastener. (green arrow)

With headlight on work bench, remove T30 torx fastener.
Figure 18

With headlight on work bench, remove T30 torx fastener. (green arrow) Then separate bumper mount from headlight. Swap mount over to new headlight and tighten fasteners.

Xenon model, inspect module for corrosion (green arrows).
Figure 19

Xenon model, inspect module for corrosion (green arrows). If needed replace module as well as headlight. To inspect, remove two fasteners from module and remove from headlight assembly. Reverse instructions for reinstallation.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Cris Comments: I can't seem to unlock the spring as shown in Figure 3. Is there a trick to this? I've pushed it up as hard as I could but won't budge. Thanks for your help!
December 7, 2016
James0013 Comments: Sorry I should clarify that my car is a 2008 328Xi with the regular halogen bulbs not Xenon lamps
September 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Got it, thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
James0013 Comments: I have some kind of electrical short in my headlight unit that has taken out my left turn signal. I have already swopped out the bulb holder for a new part and the problem persists I think the only way to replace the whole headlight assembly. Is it a requirement to remove the whole front bumper skin the body color part not the bumper behind it in order to remove the headlight assembly? I understand removing the wheel well liner
September 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, the front bumper cover has to be removed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Davyboy Comments: I'm having condensation in my headlights 2006 320i any answers for that please.
September 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The seals are likely worn. You will have to replace the headlights. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
MoKarzon Comments: Hello, I am missing the headlight bulb retaining spring green arrow as seen in Figure 5. Is there anywhere I can buy this piece? My bulb will not stay in place without it.

2011 BMW 328i drive
June 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Possible. if not, look for used from salvage yard.

Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Steve Comments: I have a 2006 325i E90 and I am asking about the headlight plug shown in Figure 4. The 3 wires are no longer covered with protective plastic. The plug itself seems fine. Even with a new bulb, the headlight symbol comes on. Is the part shown in figure 4 available for purchase?
May 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There may be a wiring issue. Check to see what is missing at the bulb. Power or ground.

pelican Parts can get it for you.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Michael Comments: I am having trouble getting the headlight clip back in place - to hold the headlight lamp securely. My assembly on my 2011 328 with x-drive doesn't look exactly as in your picture. See attached jpg

Any suggestions?
February 28, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The electrical connector should push straight on. The retaining spring is pushed down, then hooks under the metal tab.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jason Comments: The little orange bulb that is right next to the green arrow in figure 9. What size/bulb# is it and how do you change it?
February 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See this tech article: http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-3-Series-E90/BODY-Front_Exterior_Light_Bulbs_Replacement/BODY-Front_Exterior_Light_Bulbs_Replacement.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jt Comments: Looking for the headlight retaining clip for 2007 BMW 330d SE. Where can I order one?
January 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: From Pelican PArts. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Red Comments: Is there an easy way to remove the entire headlamp assembly? The driver's side on a 1997 328i had the high beam lens loosen and slip off of the focusing cone...
November 27, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: All the tech article for your vehicle are located here:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/tech_main_e36.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Gordon Comments: Am I missing something or is there a huge step missed that includes taking off the bumper and grill.
June 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The front bumper does have to be removed. Noted in step 10. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
scott Comments: I am looking for the replacement clip assembly shown in figure 5 above for the 320d e90. I broke one side retainet in the process of changing the bulb
June 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We should be able to get it for you.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Pilot Comments: You can post howto disassemble projector lens of headlight bi xenon adaptive of bmw E91 LCI 2011?
June 3, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Michael Comments: What is the part number for the electrical connector for the headlamp bulb? Mine is fried and I need to order another.
May 26, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn't mention what vehicle you have.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
noahcalhon Comments: I need the access door that is shown here for 2009 328 XI driverside http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-3-Series-E90/BODY-Headlight_Replacement/images_small/pic03.jpg
August 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:21:30 AM