VW Beetle: Headlight Replacement

September 29 , 2005 296 comments

So my friend Jenny told me that my headlight was out.

This would be an easy fix on any non-German car but alas I own a VW Beetle circa 2001. So I found an on-line article 3 years ago.. I tried to find it again… no luck. But wait, I found the printout that I kept just in case! So I pressed the secret x marks the spot place inside the hood of the car near the headlight, and pushed the lever (these are not obvious BTW) and out came the headlamp.

Beetle headlight right side taken out

Things you will need

  • The light bulb replacement (i.e. the headlight bulb)

    Sylvania H1

  • gloves or a paper towel


If you want to further your knowledge on your VW beetle. I bought this book to help guide me along. It has some tips and its a nice reference to have.

Let's get started

NOTE: Click on the photos and there are notes on the photos.

  • Pull the lever to open the hood inside the left side under your steering wheel

    Pop the hood

  • Open the hood

    Pull the hood lever

  • There is a black plastic lever on the column to the Passenger's side view vs. Driver's side:

    Driver side: headlightDriver side: headlight

  • Push it so that it "loosens" the column holding the light casing
  • Gently push the column forward to get the entire casing for the headlight bulb out
  • Unhook the wires attached to the light

    The grooves

  • Take the light out on a table and unclip the black tab

    Passenger side lightBack of the vw beetle headlight

  • Then I took the lovely piece to the kitchen
  • Unhooked the clips on the side of the casing, and then the wire clip holding the bulb. (Closed clip versus Open clip)

    Side view of the clip:locked Side view of the clip unlocked

  • Touch only the metal part or use a paper towel to hold the new headlight bulb (halogen bulbs do not like oil from our hands)

    Don't touch the bulb (glass) with your fingers

  • Reversed the process and put it back in the car!

  • And voila instant fix. :) Saved the $70 the dealership charged my co worker for the same thing.. cost of the bulb $7 from Walmart! or get the Sylvania light that ran $18.95 plus tax for the H1 (blue light its supposed to be better)

    Additional Posts about VW Beetle Lights

    If you are looking for how to change out VW Beetle Tail lights or replacing your VW Beetle Third Brake Light. Please don't ask me about any additional VW Beetle fix it questions. I only post what I have done. It keeps me out of trouble. I am not a mechanic and I no longer own the VW beetle. Thank you!

    Like the tip?

    Leave a tip :)


Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 03.20 pm

Cary Weinberger

Dear Cindy,

I followed your instructions and replaced the brake light and turn signal light on each side of my 1999 VW beetle.  It worked like a charm.  Thanks so much for your assistance.



Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 03.50 pm


No problem! Glad it helped and go you for taking the time to do it yourself!


Thu Aug 3, 2006 at 02.55 pm


These are great instructions, wish I had seen them earlier.  Do you have the same for replacing a brake light?Thanks.


Sat Aug 5, 2006 at 03.17 pm


I just posted it for you to check out! VW New Beetle: Third Brake Light Replacement


Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 02.41 pm


Thanks for your instructions, they worked perfect!  My daughter has a beetle and everytime she needs headlights it is a trip to the dealer.  Today both my daughter and wife were out so I searched google, found your instructions, and could not believe how easy it was.  I changed the bulb for $7 and bought a replacement spare also.  Thanks Cindy!


Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 03.05 pm


:) Cool! How much were you spending in your neck of the woods?


Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 04.56 pm


Wow!  It worked.  I struggled to remove the back of the light from inside the car for an hour. Then I looked on line for the instructions.  I’m not even a guy. :-)  Your instructions worked like a dream.  Took me five minutes.  Thanks a bunch.


Sat Sep 23, 2006 at 02.21 am

Bill Piper

Thanks for the great help


Mon Sep 25, 2006 at 12.50 am


Thanks. The pictures were a great help.  Now my air bag warning light came on.  Wonder if I hit something when I worked on the headlamp?


Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 09.32 pm


my lever won’t go up!!!


Sat Sep 30, 2006 at 04.53 pm


You might have to jiggle/nudge it a bit. Be careful you can accidentally break it.


Sat Oct 21, 2006 at 03.56 pm


Cindy - thank you SO MUCH!  you’re a saint.  The pictures are great, and the process was easy.


Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 06.37 pm


thank you very much your help was appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!


Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 04.57 am


Cindy!  You are my hero - er, heroine!!!  My husband and I read through our so-called “owner’s manual” trying desparately to find the how-to of changing my headlight bulb.  What a waste of trees that thing is!  All it says is, “take your VW to your local dealership…” whatever!!  It should read, “Logon to www.cindyli.com and she can walk you through it.  Thank you!!!!


Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 05.00 am


I believe that is the funniest comment so far. :) I agree. I got a bit frustrated when I found the same info in my owner’s manual. The only thing I’ve used it for is to call VW when I got stuck in park and needed to ask for help. :)


Wed Nov 1, 2006 at 02.15 am


As my friend (who’s very mechanical) and I struggled to intuit the headlight replacement procedure we both said , almost simultaneously….....“let’s Google” and our angel appeared.  It was a cinch.  Just one thing I didn’t see in your description: there’s a button next to the lever that needs to be pushed in (on my 2004, at least) before that lever will lift.
Thanks so much.  A VW mechanic may be $100 poorer, but we feel proud of ourselves!


Sat Nov 4, 2006 at 05.34 pm

Nat & Eric

Dear Cindy: My husband & I also fell for the “must see VW dealer for safe replacement” the first time a headlamp went out. After the $70+ installation fee the “once bitten twice shy” feeling caused us to investigate an alternative. Searching the web for headlamp instructions brought us to your sight. We were soooo excited to see, not only instructions, but pictures!! Auto Zone and similar sites had no current info for VW’s.
Thx for your “technical support”. The other comments were great, too.


Mon Nov 6, 2006 at 12.39 am


Yesterday, a friend and I spent an hour and a half trying to figure out how to replace my brake light.  He was so determined to figure it out that he started taking the body panels apart. Guess what? That’s wasn’t the seceret either.  Wish I had thought to try Google prior to our attempt.  Thank you for the information and photos.  It will save me $57.


Wed Nov 8, 2006 at 03.10 am


I was not able to push out the headlight after pulling up the handle. Any suggestions?



Wed Nov 8, 2006 at 04.45 am


Are you sure you pushed the headlight release lever completely up? I had to jiggle it up a bit after and pull the housing slightly forward by pushing on the back of it? I have no idea if the model makes a difference. Mine is a 2001.


Thu Nov 23, 2006 at 02.46 pm


Thanks a lot!  You saved me $30-40 labor charge and the hassle of taking car into dealer/repair shop.  They’ve made Beetle headlight replacement a big secret.  I’ve been told “we have to remove parts of the car such as the air conditioner unit and battery, to change the bulb”. 
Well, not any more!  Thanks again!


Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 02.27 pm


Thank you so much for the info. I’ve worked on cars all my life and never saw anything like this to change a headlight. After finding this article, it was a five minute job.  Thanks again.


Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 11.29 pm


Thanks so much! I knew there had to be an easier way to change a headlight. My own mechanic said the battery and air filter had to be removed and was going to charge me at least $35 to do it. I just went out to my driveway and did it in 15 minutes total! Thank again!


Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12.02 am


Thanks so much for the information.  My Driver side headlight went out last year and the dealer charged me $70.00 to replace.

Used your instructions and it was a 15 minute job.  I put some WD40 on the groves and the headlight assembly went back in very easy.  Thanks again.


Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 05.05 am


Hi Cindy - You have a great sense of instruction!  I have a 2003 and was worried that things had changed.  The important points about getting that little lever up so far, then wiggle the light, then push the lever, then wiggle the light.  That’s what finally got the silly thing out!  Whew - a little longer than 5 minutes, but still not 30 and saved the aforementioned trip and cost of the dealer.  Thank you for posting this.


Tue Jan 2, 2007 at 12.29 pm


Thanks Cindy your reach is worldwide, you even saved money over here in the UK. VW garages - don’t you love em.


Thu Jan 4, 2007 at 04.04 am


i have done this reading and i will let you know how this turns out. i am i a wheel chair so it sounds easy enough to try. see you with my story tomorrow it does look promising and i am hopeful.thank you so much for the information glad that you are here…........danny


Fri Jan 5, 2007 at 09.24 pm


My husband did not whant to fix it and bring it to the dealer.Thanks to you i showed him how a blond is fixing a light bulb….


Tue Jan 9, 2007 at 05.27 am


Hey cindy
This is super, I found a couple of the website and it makes no sense to me.  But I have a problem loosing the headlight, it looks like the lever is up but it won’t come out, it feels like it is half locked, Do you know why?


Tue Jan 9, 2007 at 06.33 am


Sometimes it takes a little more force. It could be dirt or its just tight. See if you can move it around a bit? Jiggle?


Tue Jan 9, 2007 at 06.48 pm

stephanie Barksdale

How do I know which bulb to buy?


Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 06.15 am


YAY Cindy thx a bunch! saved me money and made me feel like more of a man:-P


Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 06.25 am

cindy li

Sylvania H1 or there should be a book near the bulb section to look up the model/year.

Glad I could up your manly quotient!


Tue Jan 23, 2007 at 07.31 pm




Tue Jan 30, 2007 at 02.01 am

mike shannon

I spent an hour and a half, and was never so perplexed in my life.  I’ve rebuilt transmissions, motors, you name it, and this had me stumped.

then i read your instructions.

thank you sooo much.


Fri Feb 2, 2007 at 03.13 pm

Dan Balasses

Great work, thanks a lot.  My wife HAD to have this car, a 2000 bug that her friend had got for a 40th birthday present. I thought it was a great car until I tried to work on it! So again, THANKS!!! You saved us $$ plus she did’nt have to listen to me bitch!


Sat Feb 3, 2007 at 04.07 pm

Bob Shaffer

Cindy.  Thanks so much.  Almost gave up, after first thinking that I could do it without instructions.  Just like a man, huh?  Went to the web and found your posting.  Worked perfectly.  The local automotive store had the bulb for the 1999 VW at $20 with tax.  Still better than the trip to the Dealership, wasted time waiting, and the $80 or more that they would have charged me.  Thanks for taking the time to make your post



Mon Feb 5, 2007 at 06.49 pm


  I can’t seem to get the lever to go up at all…I’ve tried jiggling it and everything else you suggested, but it still won’t even budge…Please help..


Mon Feb 5, 2007 at 07.21 pm


Try pushing it the other way and see if it helps unsticking it, then go back the correct direction. It is really frustrating when it gets stuck(some dirt could have gotten in it).


Mon Feb 5, 2007 at 09.55 pm



You are a goddess!  In the last month I’ve had to replace both a rear brake light bulb and a front headlight bulb on my ‘01 Beetle.  You saved me lots of anguish and all those emotions and verbalizations that normally would surface.



Tue Feb 13, 2007 at 07.42 am


Thank you for your great advice on headlight replacement. The photos helped a great deal especially for those who aren’t very VW-mechanically inclined. I was wondering where I can find that same exact beetle service manual. It doesn’t look like the Chifton or Haynes service manuals that you find in auto parts store. Can you please tell me where I can find that same exact one? Have a nice day.


Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 11.18 pm


It worked so easy thanks very much


Sun Feb 18, 2007 at 09.39 pm


Thanks for the 411. Would not have succeeded if we didn’t find your Web site. If anyone has trouble re-inserting the bulb and getting it to click in, the WD40 worked wonders. There was also a plastic wire thing next to the lever (at least on a 98 VW Beetle) that we also pushed up, and that seemed to help too.


Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 12.16 am


Thank you so much for these clear instructions and the photographs with the details.  I just changed my roommate’s headlight for her and we were so impressed with how easy it was.  Your instructions were invaluable!


Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 02.20 am


Thanks so much for this information! It was really helpful. But there was one little piece missing ... there is a black corrogated button right next to the lever that is the release for the lever itself. Otherwise, it won’t move. But thanks again for the info!!


Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 10.13 pm


You’re right be careful, if you push lever too hard,it WILL break!


Sat Mar 3, 2007 at 04.31 pm


A goddess, indeed!  If ever in Austin, we’ll buy you a drink.  You saved us much effort and $$.  Thanks for sharing, H&R


Wed Mar 7, 2007 at 08.41 pm


Good afternoon again! I was wondering if you had any pointers on changing rear brake pads?


Fri Mar 9, 2007 at 03.48 am


Cindy, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I made an appointment this morning with the VW dealership to replace yet again the same headlight I had replaced less than a year ago (5th time for this headlight) and to fix the AC for the 3rd time on I guess my super duper lemon ‘99 VW beetle. I found your site and thought why not save myself the yearly $90 expense and do it myself. I put on a pair of gloves and with a $15 double bulb halogen pkg began looking for the lever. I couldn’t find the lever to remove the headlight. I was very confused!  ?:/  I printed out your photo of the lever and realized the VW service specialists had BROKEN the lever off!!!! I easily slid the headlight out and replaced the bulb in less than 5 mins. I was furious!!!! (Over the $90 and broken lever) :mad:...  I even did the other side. (It did have a lever.) The back of the headlight was just sitting in the headlight compartment. The black clip was BROKEN!!!!!  The VW service people and I will be having some VERY strong words when I arrive for my appointment.


Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 06.39 am


Thanks so much for everything!!  It worked, your instructions were great!!  Saved us a trip to the dealership.


Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 10.26 pm

Mr Seabury

Well, imagine how happy I was to find your well crafted instructions.  I brought my car back from the dealertoday with one bulb to change on each side, thinking there is surely a method I can find to spend £82 on beer or books rather than on swapping bulbls.  My German engineering mates will be happy to claim credit for a complex but workable design, you get the credit for community spirit and altruism - I hope you get a warm feeling from the recognition.  All I have to do now is do the job without breaking the lever, wish me luck.  yours Cousin Tom


Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 03.14 am

Jim Bob


As Arlene said there is a small square button next to the lever which may need to be pushed slightly before the lever will raise.  It will have a diamond pattern or might be painted white.  Careful you can break it if you push too hard (I did, but no big deal).  Work the lever up and down before it will go all the way up. As you do the lens will free up and you can get your fingers under it to pull it out.  I decided to clean the sliding mechanism as it had a lot of sand around it making it sticky.


Sun Mar 18, 2007 at 09.13 pm

Mr Seabury

Update to this the most ontologically specific part of the whole internet:

1/ The button must be pushed, no iffs or buts.

2/ for clarity - the lever is part of a collar (about 270 degrees of ta circle) which wraps around the removable part.
This collar slides around its centre point in a track, and the track does get grit in it over time making the aformentioned jiggling necessary.
2a.1/  After a bit of jiggling, if necessary, is most effective if the removable unit is held diametrically oppostite to where the lever is, so if the lever is at 10 O’clock at the back (inside the car) then hold the unit at 4 O’clock from the front, i.e. underneat the glass and towards the ouside.  This posture gives your lever operating force the best chance of spinning the collar, and do juggle at the same time.
Time to change a bulb this way after learning the technique = 2 minustes or in main dealer speak £41 (i.e. $60)
Do have a new bulb ready (H1 55 Watt most likely)
Next time I do this fine acrobatic operation I shall think of you all. I expect it will be another 4 years though. Bye


Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05.00 am


You are the BOMB Cindy!!!!!  Thanks alot.  These instructions made it so simple, even a man could do it, if he had to!!


Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 03.57 am


Hi Cindy,

I have a 2003 Beetle and my airbag light is on and won’t go off… do you know how to fix this?  I went to VW today, but they want to charge me $140 just to look at it.  Any help you can give would be appreciated!



Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 11.01 pm


Just wanted to say thank God for your site.  Without your instructions I wouldn’t have had a friggin’ clue as to how to replace that lowbeam bulb.  Some stuff would’ve definitely gotten broken tonight.


Tue Apr 3, 2007 at 04.27 am


Thank you so much for your beautiful instructions complete with visuals! Love that.  It worked like a charm on my 2004 Beetle.  The whole job took about 10 minutes.  The only B*tch was getting the headlight back INTO the hole…because the plastic collar (that the lever is attached to) was off track in two places…took 2 HOURS to get the flippin’ thing back in there. GRRRRRR….BUT that had nothing to do with your instructions for which I thank you profusely.  However, I will never buy another VW.  I’ll stick with Toyotas!! They’re so much easier to do this type of maintenance on!


Tue Apr 3, 2007 at 02.24 pm

Buzz and Cal



Sun Apr 15, 2007 at 03.07 pm

Rich In Kenosha Wisconsin

WOW WEE!!! I Love YOU! You saved me some big bucks! XOXOXOX


Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 10.59 pm


I happened on your site when I googled headlight replacement after I heard a co-worker say she spent about $170 getting both headlights replaced at the dealership. Naturally I laughed in her face since I’ve always driven VW’s and do the basic work myself (bulbs, radiator hose, spark plugs, distributor cap and rotor, sunroof motor, door panels)!  I knew she could do it for less than $20 (cheaper bulbs) herself. Now I don’t know if I want to show her your site, or keep it to myself and gloat silently.  Thanks for my silent smile!
(btw, I’m a blonde female in my mid-20’s)


Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11.09 pm

Mr Seabury

Hmm a moral conundrum?
Give your friend clear instruction to ask you before ever paying a main dealerto change a bulb, as you are sure you can find a way to do it cheaper. Nothing else.
Does that work?
Tom (btw, I’m not blonde female nor in my mid-20’s, but glad to hear they still exist)


Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11.34 pm


I think you should. Always help a friend out. Inspire her to do it herself. :)


Sat May 5, 2007 at 04.15 pm


I am OLD.
I am an old WOMAN.

My ‘mechanic’ has changed my headlight many times, each time whining, each time having to pull other guys off of other jobs in the shop to ‘help’ him and each time charging me at least $40.

The first time, they went into a coma because they ‘broke the tabby thing’ which is, apparently,the highly technical term for the lever that needs to be raised. It took over an hour for them to figure out what to do from there. It DID get done. But everytime since then, they whined because there was no ‘tabby thing’ and it was ‘haaaarrrrrrrddddd’ to do, justifying another $40. They bite.

Last month, the headlight went out again. It wasn’t so bad at first because of the ‘pididdle’ effect (any of you over 45 might know what that is) and I got kissed alot, but eventually I had to get it fixed.

I went to my local parts emporium and paid $7.49 for the bulb.

This morning, in the pleasant warm salty spring air, in my very own driveway by the sea, I took the leap.

Yep. They had broke off the ‘tabby thing’ alright.

However—being a determined old woman, I persevered, lifted everything that needed to be lifted, slid what needed to be slid, wiggled and prodded, reversed the prodding, wiggling, sliding and lifting and VOILA~~~!!!!!!

We have lights!!!!

>>dancing all around my office<<

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to
I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul


I don’t need no stinking men!!!!!

PS: Thank you, really. This is a huge accomplishment in more ways than I can tell you!!!

Thank you thank you thank you


Sat May 5, 2007 at 04.22 pm


Oh, and by the way, to Tom (see above)—

Of course we’re all glad there are blond 20 year old’s out there~~but let me tell you, there is a HUGE demand for red-headed 50 year olds who haven’t forgotten the 20 year old stuff..just improved on it, got smarter, made it better and


(PS: I say this in a humorous, giggly happy way, not a sour-grapy, cantankerous way..can’t always tell in a post! Just wanted you to know!)


Sat May 5, 2007 at 06.45 pm

Mr Seabury

And glad to hear of the singalong crew too. Regards the undisputed demand for red-headed 50 year olds If this were a long distance dating site I’d say I was in the line.


Mon May 7, 2007 at 01.27 am

Fred Hawksley

Thank You
Even though it took me an hour to perform your steps,i finally got it.My Step Daughters passenger side release was broken so i had to drill a one sixteenth hole in the slide arm inorder t “grab” and slide the arm up. Question,  is there a safety wire to finally release the assy ?  cause, if there is,  i missed it. If there is,  please can you tell me where it is and how to release it. As soon as i could grab the arm,  it unlocked and the assy released. THANKS A G   A   I N  

NOTE   i laughed a most all of the experiences specially the one about two 2 people 5 hours in his shop.


Wed May 16, 2007 at 02.11 pm

rick taylor

Thanks for the information. It cost ne 6 dollars the bulb and about 10 minutes to fix.  I never would have figured it out without you.


Thu May 17, 2007 at 05.18 pm


It’s about time someone put pictures with instructions. Thank you for doing that. Guess what I’m doing tonight thanks to your page?


Sat May 19, 2007 at 09.19 pm

Matt Combs

Thank you very much.  Local VW dealer said it would take 2 hours of labor and you needed special tools.  With your instructions I did it myself in 20 minutes, plus time to go to Walmart to pick up the bulb.  We have a 2002 VW Beetle, so the instructions worked for that year.  I had to push a little bit hard on the back and do a little jiggling, but it worked great.  You saved me $65.  Thanks a lot.


Sun May 20, 2007 at 03.14 am


I was just reading through and your instructions worked great. I also noticed someone said their air bag light was on. I had this same issue and found out that the battery voltage was low at some point which will cause this to happen. Low voltage could also cause the date to revert to 24hrs and the temp to revert to celcius. Just thought I’d share.


Sun May 20, 2007 at 04.23 pm


Woo-Hoo!! My dad and I just changed the bulb in my 01 beetle ourselves - thanks to your directions and photos. Ooooh, the photos - soooo helpful!

I know it’s cheesy, but…

Bulb at Wal-Mart - $4.97
Soap to clean dirty fingers from changing bulb purchased at Wal-Mart - $.99
Clear instructions with pictures from Cindy Li so you don’t have to pay the VW Dealerto do it - priceless!!!


Tue Jun 19, 2007 at 12.38 am


this was so helpful! Also, saved me about 40 bucks.  THANK YOU!


Sat Jun 23, 2007 at 04.36 pm

david Termini

Dear Cindy, I can not thank you enough for the headlight information. My friend who is a mechanic (not VW) spent 3 hours and could not do it. I am buying the VW book you reccomend.Thanks again Dave


Sat Jun 30, 2007 at 07.48 pm

tanya Runyan

That was perfect!!!!! I had no time to take the car to the dealer and the dealertold me there was NO WAY I could do it myself ... He was wrong!!!
Thanks so much ...my husband is so greatful!!!!


Fri Jul 6, 2007 at 12.41 am


Thanks for the assistance.  It was fairly easy to remove and replace.  The tricky part is trying to get that casing back into the car.  I can’t get it to lock in place.  It appears a mechanic will be getting their hands in to this and my wallet after all.


Sat Jul 7, 2007 at 09.39 pm

Jeromie Clark

Hey Cindy -

Thanks for the pictures, they were totally helpful.

On our ‘01 Beetle, the retaining ring was packed full of grit, and was very difficult to turn.  Lots of WD-40 and jiggling did the job.

I pulled the retaining ring out after I got the headlight out, washed it out, greased it and put it back in. 

If you’re having tough time getting that lever to move, taking a couple minutes to clean all the grit out of it will make the replacement go much smoother. 

Thanks again,
Jeromie Clark


Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 05.35 am

Pat Throckmorton

Cindy thanks for the info, used my Chilton book and figured out what I needed to do, but when I went to pull the lever down it would not move, tried the button and no luck> so Iwent to your web and founds others had problems so finally removed the 3 screws to take the part out what I refer to as the slide that holds the headlight in and finally got it to move, there was some dirt but also could be caused by the expansion of the plastic from heat. So i thought I pass that infromation on encase someone can not at all move the lever. If nothing else you can get the part number and go buy the part and save on the labor by installing it yourself.  Hope this helps someone.


Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 04.47 pm


Thanks sooooo much for the tips!  They worked perfectly to replace the bulb in my 2004 VW Beetle!  I will definatley blog about your site! 

Also, here’s an unrelated tip:  If anyone needs to replace their VW hood emblem, just use thick fishing line.  See saw it back and forth, it comes off quick! And the replacement emblems can be bought cheap on ebay!



Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 09.02 pm


Cindy, I can’t tell you how great this was for me. I was so frustrated. Money is tight right now and I took my Bug to Pep Boys to change the light. They said they wouldn’t touch it. Well, I bought some torx wrench bits and came home to take a look at the light (I did need a torx bit to change my reverse light, which conveniently went out with my headlight). I was waiting for a WikiAnswer when I came across your site. WOW! How much simpler could you have described it!?
Also, for everyone talking about “pushing the button”—that is the passenger side headlight, and I believe is true for 2003 Bugs and newer. That button is a pain in the ass!
Thanks again, Cindy!


Sat Jul 28, 2007 at 12.10 am


You are my new best friend.  After waiting 2 days for my son to take a look just to see if he could do it. I took matters into my own hands and found your site and am beholding to you and you photos.  Took me a little longer after reading some of the comments, progress was sweeeeet.


Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 03.48 am

Kevin Armendariz

Thank you for the tips; it got me started. I ran into some problems with the casing releasing. I pulled the lever over and over. I drove up the street to the local sevice station and the mechanic could not release it either. After returning home and shedding some tears I decided to spray-lube the casing to death. I then put a screw driver into the hole on the bottom and lifted the front of the casing free which must have been stuck. It popped out and from there I was able to change the bulb. Thanks again! Kev
Tip: When purchasing the bulb make sure you read on the package whether its high beam or low beam.


Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 08.46 pm


Any chance that somebody has insight into 06 vw headlight repair—There seems to be some kind of allen wrench shaped lever that may be the release? But it is like the wrench, not the hole aa allen wrench would fit into???


Mon Aug 20, 2007 at 08.46 pm


Hi Cindy
Thank you for taking the time to make these instructions.  This was exactly what I was looking for!


Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 12.58 pm

Mike Hancock

  After reading your headlight replacement process which is so well explained, I decided (again) to give it a shot my own self.
  While being frustrated and not getting anywhere with my efforts, I read your procedure.
  Do to almost everything being plastic, I didn’t want to put much pressure on anything since I’ve been known to alter the looks of plastic parts by applying too much pressure. Your explaination was well defined.
  I figured that if a woman could figure this out, I could probably do this.


Sun Aug 26, 2007 at 03.41 pm


Thanks so much!!!  It was easy to do and saved me money!


Sun Aug 26, 2007 at 09.43 pm


Thanks for your web site and all the information from the grateful and helpful comments.  I was able to do the driver’s side of my 2003 Beetle, after discovering the “secret” button.  However, I previously broke the passenger side slide tab, not knowing about the button.  In reading the comments, it appears people have overcome this problem by (1) drilling a 1/16” hole in the plastic and inserting a replacement tab to move the slide or (2) “removed the 3 screws to take the part out what I refer to as the slide that holds the headlight in and finally got it to move,...”  Having using a screw driver to get the slide down to a point where it would allow the buttom to go down, I don’t know if option 1 is in the picture.  Do you have any other suggestions or detail on option 2?  Thanks for your time!

Having been driving VW’s for over twenty years.  This car is a big disappointment despite its great style.


Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 04.29 am


Cindy,  I am SO relieved to find your website!!!  My heart SANK when I got in my bug tonight and the second headlight was out… I have been driving with just one headlight for about 2 months (everybody says they are at least $300.00 to replace) so my husband and I just limited our nighttime driving… But when the second one went out tonight, I wanted to cry!!!  I just found your page and we will change the lights tomorrow!  I can’t thank you enough!!  I even called the dealer, and they quoted me at least $300.  I just hope we are all talking about the same headlight (everyone here is saying no more than $70)  Anyway, we’ll give it a whirl tomorrow!  thanks agaain!!


Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 10.53 pm


thank you, i have a 2004 beetle. it worked great


Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06.29 pm


My 99 Beetle has gone through:
2-head lights
1-tail light
1-fiber optic bulb for the console($135.00)
1-mirror adjustment knob

The car is qute but the workmanship is lousy.Buy AMERICAN you will get a quality automobile,i did.


Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 10.12 pm


We have a 2000 New Beetle.  Earlier this year the battery went bad (car had been sitting without being driven for several months).  The dealer replaced the battery, but when we picked it up, the air bag warning light was on and would not go off.  The dealer said that the air bag harness in the seat needed to be replaced, and it had nothing to do with the replacement of the battery.  We paid $350 to replace the harness.  Now six months later the air bag light is on again, and the dealer says now that the passenger air bag needs to be replaced.  Does this sound right?  Help!


Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 12.54 am


Paul, I am not a mechanic. I just had my seat belt replaced for $450 out in San Francisco because my sensor was lit up.


Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 07.51 pm

Oscar Guevara

Hi Cindy,

Thanks for your well detailed instructions.  I was able to replace my wife’s lowbeam headligths on her 2001 VW 1.8L Beetle, but they don’t seem to work still.  I checked the fuses and had to replace one of them.  They still don’t work.  Do you know if there is a relay for the lowbeam lights located somewhere that might have gone bad or could the lowbeam light switch have gone bad?  My wife lost the owners manual, so I don’t know if the vehicle has headlight relays or not.  I have ordered the service manual you mentioned, but it is in back order till the end of October.  Can you help?



Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 02.28 pm


Cindy, You Rock! Thank you so much. I just changed both my lights in my buggie. Tip for 2004 owners—like someone else said there is a button next to the lever that you have to push to allow the lever to move. Also, for the driver’s side which is blocked a bit, remove the plastic black cover next to the lever area—there’s a cut-out allowing easier access to the lever. One more thing, spray lubricant on the lever and it will move up much easier (I was having a difficult time with mine!). Thanks, again. My dealer quoted me $93 for one headlight; Goodyear quoted $300! I went ahead and changed both even though only one was out.


Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06.36 pm

paula carter

I just want to thank you!!!! You just saved me $50.00!!!!


Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06.46 pm

paula carter

Thank You,Thank You,Thank You!!!! instructions were great.had a little trouble getting the whole assembly back in. You just saved me $50.00!!


Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01.19 pm



Thanks for the help and as everyone else has been saying, saving me the $70 to replace the headlight.  I read where one of the comments had to use WD-40 and that was very true for mine.  Our check engine light has been going off and on with our 2001 TDI and when I called the dealerthey wanted $100 to hook it up.  A friend of mine has the software on his laptop to do the diagnostics (cost is about $70 I think) and then the adapter to connect car to computer was $15 with shipping.  A good investment in the long-term.  If someone does choose to do their own diagnotics, just be sure and google about the air bag module as it seems to be the one area that is funky when diagnosing your own.  Here is another option if one doesn’t want to spend the extra $$$ on the software:  http://www.autonostics.com/product.php?productid=1&cat=0&bestseller;.  Blessings, and thank you again from Denver!


Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 08.50 pm


Thanks Cindy.  You are a lifesaver for all of us VW bug-lovers and dealer-haters.


Mon Sep 24, 2007 at 09.35 pm


Thanks for your info i never thought i would do it but i did the local parts shop only charged $5.30 for the bulb.the dealership where i had already made my appointment before i saw your info was going to charge $130.

thanks again


Tue Sep 25, 2007 at 06.37 pm


HELP!!! My husband and I have been trying for three days to get the lever all the way to the top on our passinger side headlight. We have jiggled, sprayed with tons of wd40, wiggled the headlight, over and over. We pushed the lever down, sprayed wd40, moved it back up…. many, many times… but it won’t go that last 1/8”. We have gotten it to where the headlight has moved out about 1/3 of an inch.

Arizona is HOT, DRY and DUSTY!!! We thought maybe there is sand/dirt compacted at the ‘top’ of wherever it is that we are moving up with that lever???

Are we missing something? (Of course we pushed in the little lock tab… it broke off)


Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 03.13 pm


>>Elizabeth in Arizona>>  I wiggled, jiggled, pushed, twisted, all to no avail, untill i did them together - move the lever up a little, tug the light assembly out a little, push a little more on the BASE of the lever (to avoid breakage), move the light a little bit more, etc.  It took a lot of repeating the process, but FINALLY the lever went to the end of it’s stroke and released the light.  (At the end of the cams the retainer groove is quite steep, so a small move of the lever makes a big move of the light)


Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 12.45 am

Jenny Kreuczunas

  I have a 2006 Volkswagon beetle conv. The headlights on this model are different and I suppose they will be the same on the 07’ and future models. As all of us VW owners know, Workin on these cars is a nightmare!!! The space is small but it can be done, and will save you $$$. Now back to the headlights… the 06’ has a lock on the side of the headlight. if you shine a flashlight you will see the lock and unlock icon, Turn it to the unlock position and listen for the light to come loose. Now comes the tricky partor at least the part that took us an hour to figure out. In addition to the lock that needs to be turned, You need to push on a little silver lever(flimsy feeling peice of metal) that is still holding the headlight, Push down and pull out the headlight. The lever feels flimsy as if its going to break but it wont and that is the key to getting the headlight out. The second hedlight came out as easy as butter once we figured out you gotta push the lever down and pull or push if you can get in there behind it. Hope this helps….


Wed Oct 24, 2007 at 01.22 am


I Love you.


Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 09.50 pm


Great article. Can you tell me if the battery is accessble. It doesn’t look like it ha.


Sat Nov 3, 2007 at 08.24 pm


Thanks very much.  You are my hero.


Sun Nov 4, 2007 at 07.56 pm


Thanks for the directions; what you didn’t say is that instead of pushing the lever up, you have to pull it towards you to release the headlight assembly.


Sun Nov 4, 2007 at 11.24 pm


YAY!!  Me and my fiance just did it together.  He told me it was my mission to figure it out online and then we would do it.  Sure enough, with the two of us working on it, it worked like a charm!  (though the hardest part was getting them back in).

we did it on a 2004 vw beetle convertable turbo.


Mon Nov 5, 2007 at 09.07 pm


We changed the headlight okay, but a few hours later it popped out again, perhaps because we didn’t latch it firmly.  This is on a 2003 New VW Beetle Turbo.  Can anyone suggest the right way to put the driver’s side headlight assembly back and get it to latch?


Mon Nov 5, 2007 at 09.16 pm


It could be just the plastic/black lever you forgot to put it back to the original position.


Tue Nov 6, 2007 at 09.23 am


larrh7@aol.com sent this message:I bet you didn’t get all the dirt and grime cleaned out good on the rail and latch. It went back in but not far enough to completely latch. Try cleaning it out real good. You can see where it slides back in on what I call rails. Mine was real dirty and gritty.


Tue Nov 6, 2007 at 04.55 pm


Thank you so much for all the helpful information re: changing my headlight on vw beetle.


Tue Nov 6, 2007 at 06.51 pm


would you know where to find the
maf sensor on a 2001 vw beetle?


Tue Nov 6, 2007 at 10.17 pm


Thank you SO much! My boyfriend and I were able to change the headlights on my 2002 Beetle this weekend in about 45 minutes!


Fri Nov 9, 2007 at 03.44 pm

tom reko

Cindy , you are the best , you saved me hundreds of dollars. first I was told the bumper needed to come off to replace a headlight , then I was told the housings needed to be replaced , then I found your article and Voila , x did indeed mark the spot 20 min in and out new bulb. 14.00 spent, Fantastic. Thank you


Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 02.19 am

Mary Lou

My right headlight has now gone out for the 3rd time within 2 months. Anybody have an idea of what may be going wrong? Thanks!


Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 06.29 pm


THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! this is probably the last place i would have thought to look for help on changing a headlight…but it is literally THE BEST RESOURCE out there! thanks again cindy…leave it to a woman to solve a problem! = )


Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 07.09 pm


Dear Cindy,

We called the VW dealer and were told we had to tap firmly on the headlight while holding the lever up, but that didn’t work.  I sprayed the three internal tracks that the headlight housing slides on with WD-40, as well as the entire circumference of the locking ring, but that didn’t work either.  We took the car to the Jiffy Lube that could have changed the bulb (but didn’t have it in stock) and they removed the cover over the fuses to gain more leverage on the black lever, pushed it down hard while someone else pushed the headlight in hard, then pulled the lever up to lock in the headlight assembly.


Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 09.52 pm


Hi Cindy,
as you’re such an expert in lamp changing - i’m hoping you can help with reverse lamp replacement. My reverse lamp is situated in the bumper, and i’ve no idea how to access the innerds as it were! I have the bulbs from Halfords but haven’t a clue where to go from here…
any ideas would be really welcome…
thanks a million


Mon Dec 3, 2007 at 08.34 am


I am going crazy. My lever is broken and I’ve pushed and pulled and tried eveything under the sun and I can’t get the darn headlight to slide out. It starts to, but it seems there is something still holding it back that I can’t get to. I used screw drivers to try and wiggle around where the lever should be. I have had numerous guy friends try to help. I live in a small town and the couple of car shops here wont help because they’re unfamiliar with bugs. Pleeeezzz help me.


Mon Dec 3, 2007 at 10.38 am


Thanks for putting such great info up.
I manged the driver side but broke the passenger side (lever) and it still wouldn’t budge… any ideas on what to do to replace the lever or salvage the situation?
Thanks again for your great picts and directions!!  Keep up the great work.


Thu Dec 6, 2007 at 05.27 pm


I got this from larrh7@aol.com, “If the lever is broken you might have a problem. I know on mine the lever was hard to move but it didn’t break. If you can get some plyers on the part that is left try that. I had a hard time getting mine out even when the lever moved. Those lights are in there and they get set up or something. You might try to soak it down with a good lube and rust remover like PB BLASTER. I use that all the time.”


Thu Dec 6, 2007 at 05.38 pm

lakeland linda

does anyone know how to change the little rectangle light in the back just below and off to the side of the brake lights?  Please help


Fri Dec 7, 2007 at 01.16 am


Hi Cindy,
Thanks 4 the fdback.  I sprayed it down with some lube a couple of days ago.  I’ll probably go back to it tonight to see how that worked out.  Maybe I’ll try drilling a hole in it or something.  I have no idea… or get stuck paying the $200+ for the dealer…  Gd luck on your new job!


Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 04.46 am


Thanks for the tips…..I just helped a friend change the lamp in her bug. She was told that it was a 6 hour job at one of the local shops. Your advice was very accurate.


Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 11.46 pm


OMG! Thanks so much for this AWESOME advice! The headlight go out on my car at least once every two months. This will save me tons of money. I hate the friggin dealer, motherless swine! (ok, I’m being a little over the top)
thanks again


Thu Dec 20, 2007 at 04.13 am


This is fellow friends called “Corporate America” - 80$ for 30secs of their time - MAGNIFIQUE will say someone - me i will say shame on them, shame on us for letting it go our majesty THE CONSUMMERS who are always F…. This is called slavery of the 21st century.Thank you Cindy.By the way on 2006 New Beetle and above, there is a metal bolt and a white painted locker picture with arrows showing the direction it must be turned to unlock the headlight unit.


Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 08.14 pm


Thanks for the advice. It worked like a charm. The new bulb was less then $5 bucks at Wally world.
Much appreciated on the site.


Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 07.24 pm


The lever must go up all the way. If it won’t, spray some lubricant such as WD40, wiggle, jiggle and push the assembly. Then push the lever up, it will go up a smidge. Keep doing the wiggle, jiggle, push, push thing. It could take a few minutes or a few hours. DO NOT force the lever as hard as you can, just keep going a little at a time. Mine just took 2 hours.


Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 02.39 pm


hi cindy and all who read this.many thanks for the info the first time i went to donaldsons vw on long island it was 300.00 not including the light bulb change another 82.50,oh buy the way besides your headlight i see you need a new battery and a timing belt?i said any thing else?how about a new car they said we have great deals going on.by the way i have a 2000 1.8 turbo with 50000 miles.the dealerships are geared to move product so let the buyer beware.so all you longislanders beware of donaldsons vw RIP OFF!


Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 01.24 am


I am still trying to replace the passenger side headlight. After pushing the plastic lever,in your directions you say to “Gently push the column (which i am assuming is the black outter shell?)forward.” I tried that but it feels like the Light casing is still attached to the column even after it is “loose”. Am i going to need to unscrew something?


Fri Jan 4, 2008 at 01.53 pm


Put a flower in your vase from me
Super instructions .


Sat Jan 5, 2008 at 08.19 pm

Just bought used 2000 beetle

It worked; thanks for the Pics.
It required way more force to get the headlight housing out of the fender then I would have thought. Not to mention the force required to pull the lever up.  But after
3 days of frustration I just forced it & it worked w/ no breakage.


Sat Jan 5, 2008 at 09.44 pm

Jason C

been replacing customers headlight bulbs, wipers and other things for 20 plus years, I found you’re info very helpful in a heads up kinda way before the boss comes in with this.  I believe that it was third or fourth on the “beetle headlight” search i did.  Even parts veterans need to learn new tricks. . .lol


Tue Jan 8, 2008 at 11.57 pm


Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I do a lot of driving and have wasted so much money (up to $70 a light) replacing the headlights on my 02 Beetle multiple times a year.  Both of them finally burned out before I looked on the internet for some easy instructions.  Your directions and pictures worked like a charm - and I feel at least $100 richer!  Thanks, Cindy Li!


Wed Jan 9, 2008 at 11.59 pm


The info was great. I’ve replaced several in my wifes bug. The back tail, stop and turn lights are easy to if you know how. Inside the trunk you pull back the material and you will see a hole right inside where the rear light asembly is. Reach inside and there is a big platic nut. Turn in counterclock wise it it comes off. Don’t drop it down inside the inner wall. Take a small screwdriver of knife and on the outside right at the seam in the metal pry it out. It comes out just like the front one does. the whole assembly comes out. You can see the wires going to the bulb housing. Just turn them counterclockwise one click and they will pop out. They are the cheaper 1156 and 1157 bulb available from any autoparts store. Put it back together in reverse order. Save some big money.


Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 12.05 am


Anyone out there having problems with the airbag light being on in the dashboard. My wife’s is on and a friend of hers had the same problem. She took her bug to the dealer and they charged her $500 and in a month it came back on. I am leary to pay that much and not have there fix last. If anyone has the problem and has had there repaired please let me know at larr7@aol.com . Thanks


Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 05.04 am


These directions for changing the lowbeam headlight bulb on the 2004 bug were great, especially having the pictures. Thank you. It was very easy and probably saved $80+ on the labor and 1/2 a day having to deal with the auto service department. Bulb was $10 at Krazen Auto parts. Thanks again, Mike


Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 05.15 pm


I have a 2005 beetle convertible and the drivers headlight is out. I printed out the instructions, popped open the hood - and realized my inside looks different! :( The battery seems to be blocking access. Do i have to *remove* the battery? This sounds scary to me, is it something that would be easy/safe? Please help if anyone else has experience with an 05!!!! Thanks!


Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09.09 pm


I don’t think you have to. I put mine in on my 2001 one both sides and I don’t think they have changed and don’t think the convertable would be any different that the normal bug. Check out the one on the passengers side. You should be able to see the lever. It will be just like that on the other side. The battery might be hiding it but it should be there. Take your time and look around. You shouldn’t have to take out the battery.


Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 12.51 am


For the 2006 Beetles
FYI - The bulb for the 2006 is DIFFERENT than the 98-05 beetles
GE - H7 55w

I will start with the tools I used:

(Locking mechanism)
1/4” drive ratchet with a 10” extension and a 3/16” socket.
* A 3/16” bit driver will also work if the handle is long enough

(secondary locking mechanism)
wooden paint stir stick (freebie from your local hardware or paint store)

Passenger’s Side
This is the easiest of the two as there is not as much in your way of both locking mechanisms. If you shine a light towards the front of the bottom of the light housing inside the engine compartment you will see a small silver pin with a 3/16” head that has instructions on how to lock/unlock the primary locking mechanism printed on the black plastic above the pin. Turn the pin ONLY 1/2 a turn and take care as the pin should turn VERY EASILY. Now the light housing should be able to move slightly out of it’s seat, but it will not come more thant about 1” out of the front of the car. A secondary locking mechanism still holds it in place. If you look a little further back, about 3” - 4”, from the primary locking pin; behind a wrapped wire, a/c line, and the power steering resevoir; you will see a horizontal silver lever, about 3” - 4” in length, pointing towards the front of the car. Just simply hold this lever down about 1” to 2” and pull out the light housing at the same time. The entire housing should freely and easily come completely out of the front of the car. Take care removing it as there are no wires connected to it and it will fall to the floor if you are not holding on to it. Just open the back of the housing and replace the bulb that is out.

Driver’s Side
This is the most difficult one. The battery location is your enemy. In front of the battery, if you look with a flashlight, you will see the primary locking mechanism. It is the only silver looking pin there with a 3/16” head. It looks like the headlamp adjusters on other cars. There are instructions printed on the black plastic above it. You should ONLY turn this 1/2 a turn, and you will NOT need to put much effort into turning it as it should turn very easily. You are not done yet. The entire headlamp assembly should be able to pull out of the fender about 1” now, then it will stop as if something else is holding it. There is a secondary locking mechanism that is just a simple metal lever. If you look on the back of the battery, between the air filter housing and the battery, you should see the end of the small shiny silver lever. Just simply hold this lever down about 1” to 2” and pull out the light housing at the same time. The entire housing should freely and easily come completely out of the front of the car. Take care removing it as there are no wires connected to it and it will fall to the floor if you are not holding on to it. Just open the back of the housing and replace the bulb that is out.


Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 09.46 pm

Gino Curcuruto

Thanks Cindy!

You have now helped me change a brakelight and a headlight - I really appreciate it!

Be well,


Sun Jan 27, 2008 at 03.29 am

Andrew Merrill

My low beam headlight had gone out in Dec 07. I went to a nationally know car parts chain to buy a replacement bulb. The guy behind the counter asked me if I was going to change the light my self. I said “Of course, I’ve always done my own repairs”. He said “I’ve been a mechanic for over forty years, and that is the hardest headlight I’ve ever changed”. He said it would be over an hour of work, at the very least. So I bought the bulb and took it to a local garage. All told, spent around $20 - $30. This Friday, the other side went out, I went to the same car parts store, bought the same bulb, $8, and brought it home, since it was late. Saturday morning, while surfing the Internet, I stumbled across your website. The directions looked simple enough and the pictures were straight forward, I decided to change the bulb myself (with a bit of trepidation). Ten minutes later, I was back in the house, surfing the Net. The bulb change went flawlessly. The directions you gave were exactly what I encountered. Perfect. I “Thank you” a thousand times.


Wed Feb 13, 2008 at 08.41 pm


So i finally got the passenger side bulb replaced, and i tried to do the driver’s side but the black lever on the light bulb casing wont move. What should i do???


Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 07.28 pm

Adam Coale

Thanks for the diagram, i work at a carquest and this really helped us out


Mon Mar 3, 2008 at 03.08 am


Thank you so much for these instructions, they are awesome!  I do have one question for you, my passenger side bulb went out last summer and I used your instructions to change it (used the Sylvania $18 bulb), as soon as I got in the car and turned on the lights, the driver’s side bulb went out…back to Wally World to buy another bulb…no biggie. So here we are in March and the drivers side bulb is out (thanks to the side mirror breaking due to cold weather and a push on it…ergh.) anyway, changed out the bulb again, and now the dang passenger side bulb is out.  Is this normal?  when you change one side do you have to change the other?  I have a 2004 Beetle Convertible…just wonder if anyone else has had this occur.  Thanks again for the great instructions!


Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 02.00 am


Thank you so much for these instructions!  My mechanic should be ashamed of himself for charging $70 to do what took me 10 minutes to do!!! Thanks to your awesome instructions of course!


Sun Mar 16, 2008 at 09.17 pm


Thank you SO much. I have a 2003 Turbo Beetle and have been driving around with one headlight for weeks, nervous about trying this myself. Just did it and it took 15 minutes and $10 for the bulb. The tab had been broken off on mine as well, but I just used a key to press it in and then was able to move the lever just fine. The most time-consuming part was getting the lamp back in, it took me a few minutes to line everything up and slide it into place. I am thrilled!!!


Wed Mar 19, 2008 at 07.18 pm

Mr Fraine Fledderman

I just could not resist letting you know how appreciative I am I found your site. It saved my family money and time and for that THANKS!! But the purest joy of all is keeping VW dealerships from receiving any profit for this job. They were going to charge me 90.00. Giving me some BS about how dificult it would be and how I needed to be careful to not cause any further damage. BUT TU Shey right to the point and YA Altruism should be rewarded. THANKS CINDY


Thu Apr 3, 2008 at 12.32 am


Thanks so much, you made my day. The trick is make sure the lever is all the way up and push from behind the headlamp. This was so easy. That nasty man from the dealership said this is really hard to do and that’s why it cost so much…...HA!


Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 10.07 pm


I also have a 2001 Beetle and bought the book you mentioned.  It has saved me countless dollars.  I’ve replaced both headlight bulbs several times as well as the foglight bulbs.  I also replaced my own cabin filter which was a pain, but considering the local dealership wanted $180 to do it and I did it for $20 it was worth it.  The dealership here asks $150 for changing a headlight bulb.  I wish someone near here would give a “How to care for your New Beetle” clinic.  The only problem I have encountered is getting the headlight to line up properly when replacing it.  This sometimes takes me 10 or 15 minutes before it will go back in correctly.  I have one that I can’t get the lever to go all the way back up.  I gave up and just left it.  Any suggestions?


Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 03.52 pm


This is a great web-site and I tried it on my 1999 Beetle.  After 2 very frustrating hours I’ve determined it is worth the mechanic fee!  I finally got the headlight removed however now cannot get it back in.  The black seal isn’t flush with the car frame and no matter how much jiggling the light won’t fit snuggly in so I’m concerned water will get in and ruin the electrical conncetion.  I still cannot figure out what good that black lever thing does.  After removing the headlight I thoroughly checked out the inside, to see if I could better understand why it is so difficult to remove, and that black lever doesn’t really move anything.  Unless of course after 9 years what it’s supposed to move is stuck from grime. 

Any advice for putting the light back in?  How do you get it flush with the frame?  I have a good enough gap that I’m worried about water damage.

This web-site is amazing though, I have forwarded it on to my Beetle friends.


Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 09.43 pm


This website was our little miracle however my boyfriend and I still had a very difficult time with the passenger side headlight this past weekend. Apparently so did my Bugs previous owner since the track was broken when we finally after much sweat got it out. That little puppy was in so tight it was unbelievable. Then getting it back in proved to be quite a challenge and it is still not great. The little arms or pegs that fit into the groves that secure the light would not line up. We wriggled and jiggled and finally got it in enough to make it work. We broke the waffle shaped square as well as the arm so now it looks like I am off to search for a whole new locking bracket. I think the Ideal of design is great but it sure needs some tweaking and maybe some sealing to keep all the dust and dirt from mucking up the works. My advice is patience. You’ll need it. And for the record my boyfriend has a saint’s patience.


Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 12.09 am

Ray Bertalon

Cindy, Been working on cars for 40 years (since 16). I told my wife this didn’t look very promising though. Wanted to work on my motorcycle tonight anyway. On a whim, I went on line and typed in replace 2001 VW Beetle bulb. Your site popped up. Sure saved me some bucks and a headache! Great job! Better than some of the instructions I’ve seen in the “Professional” guys manuals. Thanks again!


Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 03.55 pm


You have no idea how thankful I am to have these instructions!! I LOVE my Beetle, but I absolutely hate the idea of having to go to the dealer for the smallest repairs. *ugh*
You’re the best, ever.


Fri May 2, 2008 at 09.40 pm

Betsy hasenflue

Thank you for such a comprehensive posting. After reading all your comments we were successful. We jingled and lightly pushed the housing and now we see the light.


Sat May 3, 2008 at 11.10 pm


Can’ deny it.
Great stuff, A friend of mine just asked me to replace her BULB. and (DIN DONG)... I found this PAGE.
Well… I was a litttle inpacient and made a small crack when removing the headlight.
But it worth it 1:30 minutes.
Go go go


Wed May 7, 2008 at 07.14 am


Do you have a guide like this one that will show me how to switch out the brake light on the passenger side?

Thank you


Wed May 7, 2008 at 08.03 pm


Okay… if it was this easy then why have the five guys who have tried to help not been able to figure it out??? Have a 2005 Beetle with passengers side headlight out. Please help!


Wed May 7, 2008 at 08.37 pm


Sorry if re-post…
Have to say it’s not that easy. Had 5 guys try to get passenger side headlight out of my 2005 Beetle to no avail. Please help!


Thu May 15, 2008 at 12.17 am


I posted everything I did at the end of the instructions on this page. I only post what I have done. 

@stacy:Unfortunately,if you and your friends can’t figure out the headlight you might just be better off paying the $70 at the dealership.

I knew guys who couldn’t even figure out the garbage disposal. Not everyone is mechanically inclined.Sorry!


Mon May 19, 2008 at 07.56 pm


Thank you so much. I’ve been able to successfully replace the headlight on my 2000 NB for four times by referring to your post. Every time it’s a charm. By any chance, would you know how to replace the fog lights?


Wed May 28, 2008 at 07.14 pm


does anyone know how to replace a passenger side front fog lamp on a 2004 beetle convertible?


Wed May 28, 2008 at 07.21 pm


My 04 Beetle convertible has cost me plenty and at 62k it needs a $6,000. transmission replacement. unload your beetle before this happens to you. Nothing is covered unless you have the extended warranty if anyone else has had this issue and knows of some history or information that might help me fight VW for a new transmission. Please resond to this post


Fri Jun 6, 2008 at 09.23 pm


Kudos again,I recently purchased a used o3 Beetle and the passenger side low beam went out a few days ago. Found this site after a short search and followed the instructions above. 30 mins and
7 dollars later I saved myself a $94.00 diagnostic fee which the local VW dealer wanted just to tell me the bulb was bad. Thanks again.


Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 06.03 pm


Although I’ve seen posting requests re air bag light on queries, I’ve still not seen answers on this forum. Today the VW service department told me that if I do not replace the warning light on my 2004 VW turbo convertible, the air bags may not work at all. The cost for the repair or replacement is to be over $500. I don’t know if the warning is a legitimate warning or not. Obviously I need car air bags, but I sure don’t want to be ripped off. What do you all think?


Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 09.40 pm


Thank you so much for this information. i was about ready to trade my car in because of the cost of maintenance. you saved my lil green bean! thank you!


Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05.21 pm


Thanks so much for these instructions & pictures.  We thought we were going to have to take out half the engine to get to the headlights.  This really helped! Thanks again for taking the time to help the needy!!!


Tue Jul 1, 2008 at 03.37 am


Thanks so much Saved me $40+! Although i found it pretty hard to get the light back in. I cleaned the case and everything out. But it felt a lot better then droping $dollars to have a bulb replaced! Thanks Again!! P.S. My turn signal bulb was so much easier!


Wed Jul 2, 2008 at 09.35 am


Thanks so much for this guide. I have an 03 Beetle ragtop. Like everyone said it took less than 10 minutes from start to finish. I tried to change out the battery once but spent an hour without any results. Let the stealership do it. The rear window of the ragtop fall out, stealership said $4,500 for the top found a guy the dealers use to do it for $1,600. Last time I’ll have a ragtop. Again thank you.


Wed Jul 2, 2008 at 12.36 pm

capt'n sack

Thanks for help on headlite, one immediately blew after installing, found that metal clip connection to bulb was loose and probably arching.Squeezed connector with needle nose pliers onto bulb. No problems so far. VW dealers should be ashamed of the price they charge to do this simple task.


Fri Jul 4, 2008 at 08.22 pm


I just bought a 1999 Beetle and the highbeam driver’s side is not working. I read your instructions but on the driver’s side the battery is right in front of the light. Do I have to take the battery out first?


Fri Jul 4, 2008 at 08.37 pm


Does anyone know how to change the driver’s side headlight? It looks like the battery has to come out and I’m not sure what to disconnect to get it out.


Tue Jul 8, 2008 at 04.42 am


I just replaced my bulb in my drivers side! YOU DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT have to take out the battery. The you pull the headlight out after push the lever up no need to take out the battery..


Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 08.52 pm

Dennis Staropoli

Thank you Cindy…a great help. Another suggestion for loosening the handle when beginning…after soaking with WD-40, use a small hammer to tap lightly in the desired direction (up). This works better, and is less likely to break it vs. pulling harder and harder. As everyone has mentioned, wiggle it until it loosens, and then lubricate all the tracks afterwards.


Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 10.57 pm


you left out that you need to break the seal lever by pushing in with a screw driver it has some type oof glue on it you push it in then move the lever up I broke my leverr and barely got it back in you need a closer pic so it can show what I am talking about it is just to the left of lever


Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01.54 am


these directions are awesome thanks alot they saved mke alot of headache trying to figure out how to replace them


Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 11.34 am


Thanks for the info it work great,only took me 15 minutes.saved a lot of money


Sat Jul 26, 2008 at 03.02 pm

Xenon Headlight Bulbs

I would certainly recommend that everyone changes their own light bulbs. It only takes a couple of minutes and it quite easily accomplished on my model cars. You simply need to look in your owners manual or you can find it online how to change your bulb. The beetle seems to be a bit more difficult to change than most cars which you do not have to complete remove the whole headlight.


Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 06.24 pm

David Frizzell

YOU ROCK!!!  After a minor accident i needed to replace the entire passenger assembly and bulbs…. Local (and only) VW dealership wanted $778.00 plus tax to replace it.  Found the assembly online for $110 and bulbs locally for $8.  I’m not mechanical at all and never would have found the lever much less kept wiggling and jiggling until the seals released.  Thirty minutes and $118 later and it looks like new!


Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 05.47 pm

Allen Feinberg

Hi! The instructions appear so good. I am retired and do not want to spend the money to pay someone to do something I should be able to do myself. My passenger’s low beam went out. I am really determined to fix this myself just alone for pride, plus I am fed up with VW dealers. Mine is a 2000 with 38,000 miles. I hardly drive it because of gasoline and the economy.  I purchased two H1 Sylvania bulbs from Advance Auto at $5.88 each. It is really hot ouside but when it cools down, maybe in the morning, I will try again.

Is there a button to push while trying to move the lever, like a criss-crossed square? And also, I assume trying to move the lever counter-clockwise? Is that correct? So push the criss-crossed area and move the lever counter-clockwise, plus the “jiggling” of the lever and the housing to get it to slide? So far, I can’t get the darned lever to budge. I refuse to give up though. It’s hot out and the engine is hot anyway so another day.

Any response will be welcomed. Great directions though. Thank you!


Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 09.06 pm

Allen Feinberg

I used WD-40 on the lever area, then I pushed in on the criss-crossed area and did get the lever to move up, but it goes to a point and clicks as if to tell me that’s as far as it is supposed to go. So I kept wiggling and pushing and grabbing from underneath the front rubber gasket on the outside around the headlight and all I ended up with so far is a blister from trying to grasp it from the outside as the housing moved about an eigth of an inch from the flush position. Any help?


Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 04.44 pm


Thank you so much !  I was trying to find a dealer that wouldn’t charge me a lot to change a simple light bulb.  I decided to look to see if I could do it (was told the battery would have to be removed to change it) when I found your site.  The only problem was getting it back in.  We had a hard time, but after wiggling, pushing, pulling, etc. it snapped back in perfectly. 
Thanks !!


Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 09.02 pm

eddie c.

cindy, thank you so much for your info, I just replaced the low beam bulb on my wife’s 2002 vw beetle, after looking at your site, I could not believe how simple this was to do, prior to that it looked very daunting! again thanks for making me The Man!!!!!


Fri Oct 3, 2008 at 03.21 pm


The most important picture does not show where the lever is on the column.  I am not sure what the column you are talking about is.  Could you respond to that?


Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 01.09 am


Hi Cindy.

The instructions are great, but we have problems (and still do) trying to pop the headlight in the car.

Are there any specific instructions on how these things are supposed to align, because it just wont pop in.


Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 01.20 am


@cheryl No I’m sorry I cannot. I no longer own the beetle.

@sharon: Put it on the track and push it in, your going to have to make sure its far back enough for you to push the that lever back into the original place. I can’t help more than this, I no longer have the beetle.


Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 03.15 am


Thanks Cindy!

We didn’t know about the lever :)

We figured it out… and we are still talking to each other…..  couples should never fix a car together.


Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 09.18 am

Duncan McDine

Thank you very very much for the detailed and idiot-proof instructions. I just saved £40 from the rip-off merchants at VW (though I’m sure all dealers are the same).

Many thanks again. Duncan.


Sun Oct 12, 2008 at 03.46 pm

Joe, Sr

WOW, I was so surprise to see all this valued information on the lamp replacement, but….. I was never able to loosen, giggle, or anything else on moveing the level up to release the lamp housing.  I was afraid I would brake the lever and then be a more trouble.  I don’t believe I was to timid with it either. The level moved about 1/4 of an inch and no more, and I was able to notice the lamp housing trying to move outward from the fender.  Could something else be holding the housing inplace??  I have a 2000 GLS- 2S Beetle.  Thanks,  Joe


Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 05.47 pm


Thanks Cindy - it worked like a charm - guys need pictures more than we need instructions - and saved countless buck; the day after the light was restored I sat opposite a cop at traffic lights and never trembled.


Sun Nov 2, 2008 at 03.26 am


Many thanks for the great tutorial, the pics help a lot. My girlfriend’s headlight just burnt out on her Beetle and I was about to start taking things out under the hood to get to driver’s side headlight when I decided to check internet first. I figured there had to be an easier way and there is no way I’m going to a dealership to change bulb lol. So glad I did I checked here first.


Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 05.22 pm


CINDY! My dealer was going to charge an arm and a leg and told me I couldn’t do it myself, HA! I followed your instructions & photos and they worked PERFECTLY. Six bucks. Take THAT dealer!

Thank you so much!


Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01.36 am

Emily Wise

Wow! That was easy! Thank you!!! It took us about 30 minutes! You’re awesome, thank you for taking the time to post this information!


Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01.55 am

Herb Turner

thanks, this was much easier than the first posting I found that said to take the headlight out.  I didn’t spray anything, I moved the lever and just pulled the thing out….I had to nudge it a bit, but it came…now back in and if it doesn’t fall out (ha-ha) it will be a total success!  thank you!!!


Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10.22 pm


On the drivers side (battery in the way) of a 98 Beetle, I can get the plastic lever up about 2/3 of the way, before it stops. I used lithium grease to free it. It looks like there is about 3/4 of an inch to go. The headlight is loose and comes out about 1/2 inch before getting stuck. I’m concerned about pulling too hard and breaking it.

Is this as far as the lever goes? There is also a wire/metal latch on the assembly should that also be opened?


Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 12.15 am

gary gardner

Thanks so much.  I would have been able to change the headlight if it had not been for you.  I had to tap on the lever to get it up all the way so the headlight assembly would slide out.  I really don’t know what the manual is for.  It never said anything about removal. Again, thanks for your info.



Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 10.44 pm


Your instructions worked like a charm! The toughest step was probably the first, sliding that little lever up.  I’m SO grateful that you had pics posted to help guide the way. 
Thanks and take care,


Mon Dec 8, 2008 at 01.39 am

Kate Marshall

I wish I would have found this $8 ago (it would have been $30 if I took it to the dealership).  Most websites were telling me I had to remove the battery and the air filter and everything else under the hood, so after about 2 hours of putzing around and realizing I didn’t have the right tools I took it over to Farm and Fleet.  The guy that changed the bulb told me he removed the air filter and all that and then he found the “secret switch.”  He pointed this out to me next time I wouldn’t have to pay so much to fix it. 

Thanks for the posting.  And make sure that when you get your light bulb changed, it is not always common knowledge to not touch the glass on the bulb.  When the dealership replaced my bulb the first time, they touched the glass and BOOM a week later it had blown up from the oils in the skin.  They did not offer to replace it for free.


Mon Dec 8, 2008 at 07.35 pm


Thank you so much…we had some difficulty replacing the high beam but that’s because my fat fingers couldn’t make the clasp close. In the end of all the effort the new bulb as no good so we needed to buy another one…regardless your instructions were awesome and I thank you for saving me 200.00+ duckets. ~Andrea~ bmore baby!


Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 10.23 pm


I’m having trouble getting the lever to budge (step 1) in my 05 beetle convertible. Does anyone have an 05 convertible to confirm its the same as the pics? I’m afraid to break the lever by pushing too hard, its just not budging! :(


Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06.20 pm


FANTASTIC! Thank you! Although, has anyone confirmed this worked on a 2005?

Also, for the airbag people…

My airbag light recently came on randomly (and stayed on). The dealertold me that if the light comes on there IS a problem with the airbag system. According to the code that came up on the computer, mine had to do with the airbag weight sensor on the passenger side. They ran some diagnostic tests, determined that everything was operating as it should be, and cleared the warning code. $99. So far the light has not come back on and the weight sensor seems to be working correctly. If you think your dealer is ripping you off, I suggest taking it to another dealer. Some of the are SHAAAADY! But some of them are really cool (like mine—they never do any work I don’t need)


Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06.50 pm

Paul King

I tried this and it eventually worked with some modifications, thought I would share my method.

I would raise the lever till it stopped, then take a flat screwdriver-like thing (you could probably use a rubber spatula) and pry the headlight out just a little bit from all corners.

Repeat, repeat, repeat until the headlight comes out.  Don’t use more than about 5 pounds of force on the lever at any time, the prying of the headlight was what got it out for me.

After getting the headlight out I noticed the rails looked like sludge.  Cleaned those out, sprayed them down with a wd-40 like substance, put the headlight back in and viola.

Best price I could find for a mechanic around here was $45 to touch it for 30 minutes.


Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 12.50 am


Your article was hepful.  I have a 2006 beetle and there are some differences.  First, on the headlight housing there is a lock.  It’s located on the drivers side @ bottom front ouside corner of large black wiring box.  On passenger side its very visible toward front of housing. It looks like a 2inch long silver socket extention.  Using a 5mm socket gently turn this toward the front of the car. Secondly, the release levers is much harder to find.  It is a silver push lever that goes down.  dont push too hard.  the one on the driver’s side is behind the big black box and between the light housingand this box. I used a long ratchet extention to push it down. Passenger side its toward the back of the housing almost underneath.  This on i could reach with my hand.  gently push down and slide housing foward.  When putting light housing back in be carefull to line it up to wire plug in or the lights wont work.  Once i found these items it took five mintues to change.


Thu Jan 8, 2009 at 04.43 pm


Thank you Cindy!!!


Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12.45 am



My 16 year old daughter just bought a used 2000 Beetle and the passenger headlight went out - in the middle of a January snow blizzard.  Didn’t know how to replace the bulb.  Was planning to take it to the dealer in a couple of days but decided to try the internet first.  Your instructions were great and my daughter thinks I’m a hero.  Thank you very much.


Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 12.51 am


I am trying to remove the airbags.  I dont know where the airbag module is located and airbag sensors?  can you help me find these?


Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 01.09 am


@melissa You forgot to read the part of .. I am not a mechanic. I no longer own the beetle. I posted what I have done only. Good luck!


Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07.21 pm

Revery Rountree


Thank you very much for the head light information. I thought I was going to have to take it to the VW mechanic to fix it. I am a single parent and pretty much do everything myself. It saved me money and I was able to do it with no problem. Thanks again.  Sincerely,  Revery


Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11.59 pm


I don’t see the black handle I’m supose to lift to take the headlight out. Would you be so kind as to put an arrow on your pic?

Thank you very much^^


Sun Feb 1, 2009 at 08.05 pm



I am so happy to see that you are still checking these posts as I want to thank you SO MUCH!  Let me start by saying that I am a guy and consider myself to be mechanically savvy.  I do extensive work on ATVs and often change the lights and perform other routine maintenance on my Chevy truck.  But, when my girlfriend’s lights on her bug went out, I took one look at the casing and assumed it would be more work that I wanted to get involved with.  I then made the mistake of seeking advice from a mechanic at Firestone (crooks!) who ensured me that it was very complicated and expensive.  I took him for his word and paid just over $50/light.  I did this several times before finally finding your post.  Now to the root of my post…THANK YOU!!!  I can’t believe how easy it was.  I feel like such a doofus!  Thanks again…you’re brilliant.



Sun Feb 1, 2009 at 11.16 pm


Thank you! It took some wiggling, but the headlight did come out! Have been paying a dealer for years, it was nice to do it ourselves and save some $.


Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 05.20 am

Tim Murphy

Cindy, Thanks so much for your help and for taking the time u did to post pictures, i don’t think u know how many other humans u have helped!!  It took me much longer than 5 minutes, (probably 20 to 30 minutes actual time, but more when i had to walk away and fret ahahh)  but Garden Grove VW quoted me $75.00 if only the bulb was bad and that bit me the wrong way.  The bulb cost me $5.99 plus tax (pep boys)  a Sylvania H1 55 watt, they had a better bulb but only sold it in a two pack for $40.00.  I had trouble getting it out, the lever was stuck (i have a 2002 Turbo Sport Beetle) and it’s the first time i can remember changing the bulb.  i sprayed some wd40 3 different times at various stages to get things moving.  Took me a few minutes too to figure out how to undo the clamp that holds the bulb in. If anyone else runs across this look at the wire, you have to move it a bit to the right to unlock it.  Also another tough spot for me was reinstalling it.  The last inch or so it just wouldn’t seat properly. i would pushing it in, it walk away from it more than once, even sprayed some wd40 to try and smooth things out. I evened took a q-tip to clean out the bar that the lever moves at it had some grit stuck underneath it.  just when i was about to give up,  i applied just enough pressure while sort of wiggling it and it finally seated just right.  One thing u need to know when u put it (the headlight assembly)  back in is there are 3 tracks it fits into. u need to line up the bottom first and then the left and right fall into place.  Before u install it look at the lever that u push.. it has to be where u left it when u took it out.  there are 2 things on the back of the headlight assembly that fit into the ring that the lever moves.  sort of tricky, sounds more complicated than it is, but the main thing is to go slow and not use too much force, u just have to work it. If you live in the orange county area and need help i’ll be glad to assist you as i want to pass on the good deed that the original poster did when they posted this.  murphsbooks@yahoo.com thanks Cindy u rock!!!!!


Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 05.31 pm


Cindy thanks so much! I got pulled over by the police monday night saying i had a headlight out on my 05 beatle, and thanks to you it was easy and inexpensive to replace!!! Thanks again!



Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02.52 pm


2002 beetle, lever is behind fuel filter, hard to see and reach. there is a locking tab to front side of lever that has to be depressed before lever will lift. Lever will break off if tab not depressed, I KNOW AS FACT! Not sure what all will have to be replaced now, if I can still get headlight out! Saved job for another day to prepare for all day job! TAB MUST BE DEPRESSED!!!


Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 10.22 pm


i did the headlight conversion and the taillight bulbs with no problem once so ever i looked at your pictures and instructions is was pertty good, how did u ever find out how to do the replacements?


Mon May 4, 2009 at 01.59 pm


Your instructions are the BEST on the web. Thank You, Thank You and Thank You


Thu May 21, 2009 at 12.29 am


Cindy,  Great job! your photos and comments are better than most repair manuals.  I was a mechanic at one time, and I could not have figured this out without your help. Thanks for keeping this going even tho you no longer have the car.  vw of garden grove does charge $70 and they say they can do it in 1 hour while you wait!


Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 12.17 pm

Mark Travis

Thank you, Cindy.  The best part of your instructions are the photos.  In particular, that showing the headlight assembly release mechanism.  I found written instructions elsewhere online to be insufficient to help me find that item.


Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 07.30 am

share dealing

I found your blog on google and learned a few of your other posts. I meet added you to my Google News Reader. Continue complete the good process. Look smart to recording to a greater extent from you in the future.
share dealing


Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 04.38 pm


My left headlight ‘catch’ ring was broken and jammed. I had to remove the battery to make room for working, but still I could not release it.  I had to cut up the ‘can’ to finally pop out the headlight. To remove the rear torx screw I had to remove the fender liner. A new can and ‘catch’ ring $100 and I could not push the headlight all of the way in.  A piece of plastic from the ‘catch’ ring was stopping the headlight from seating correctly. I pryed this up with my left hand and pushed on the headlight. It then popped in very easily and I locked the ring in place. All this for a $3 light bulb.


Mon Jun 29, 2009 at 03.31 pm

Dianne Becker

You are my new best friend….thanks so much for the help…it worked like a charm


Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 02.25 am


thanks so much these instructions helped so much i was done in 15 minutes :)


Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 05.22 pm

Maureen Reis

The first time we had headlamp trouble my brother sxearched the manual for a solution adn was steered towards “see the dealer”.  He took my 2003 VW Bug to the dealer to change a headlmap.  By the time they were through with us we had $100 bill for labor, we bought the bulb at Walmart.  In addition, they ended up breaking a part and had to replace that as well adn I had to pay for it.  My brother watched and learned.  When he got home he Googled adn found you, crisis averted, problem nipped in the bud before it got a chance to bud!  We are so grateful to you for your input and expertise.  You aved us over $100 this time around.  God bless you, keep up the great work.  Sorry to see you got rid of the bug. They are truly great cars.
Maureen & Jim


Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 05.33 am


Thanks instructions very good could not have done it without help.  But be careful Don is right TAB MUST BE DEPRESSED in a 2002 beetle or lever can not be moved.  It will break.  There is a locking tab on front side of lever that has to be depressed before lever will lift (rotate). Just changed my light and rotating that locking ring is the hardest part both to release and lock back in. Had to use a lot of WD40 to loosen up the mechanism before it would move. Then had to use a screw driver for leverage.  Before replacing light casing had to use a lot more WD40 on the entire ring that rotates.  It was full of grit and would not rotate back to the locked position.


Sun Jul 26, 2009 at 01.19 pm


hey cindy,with so many people visiting your website about the beetle , if you don’t mind me asking, why did you get rid of it?


Sun Jul 26, 2009 at 01.23 pm


my alarm system sometimes for no reason, do you have any idea why this is happening?


Sun Jul 26, 2009 at 05.37 pm


Look at the one on the passenger side first,you can see it better.Spray a little silicone lube around the lever. There is a little button close to the lever with a cross hatch pattern that has to be pushed in while you pull up on the lever.


Sun Jul 26, 2009 at 10.00 pm


I have no idea about an alarm.I got rid of the beetle because
1.the turbo was dying and it would be too expensive to replace
2. I wrote the instructions so other people could benefit but it doesn’t really help me financially to continue writing it and I’m focusing on other things re:my career vs this my hobby.
3. I live in San Francisco so I needed a car that was more fuel efficient and a hybrid.

Re:your alarm system
No I have no idea. I post what I know and that is all. I am not a mechanic. I have replaced lights and a couple of things on my car.

You may have missed this part of the post:
Please don’t ask me about any additional VW Beetle fix it questions. I only post what I have done. It keeps me out of trouble. I am not a mechanic and I no longer own the VW beetle. Thank you!


Mon Aug 3, 2009 at 04.47 pm


You rock…each time I change it there is a lot of cursing…..BUT NOT THIS TIME


Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05.39 pm


I had followed these very helpful instructions a year ago to replace
one low-beam bulb on a 2003 beetle and had few problems.  Today I did
the other size and had a devil of a time getting the headlight unit
back in place.

I was very careful to have all three rails lined up, the collar was
sliding freely, but could never get the headlight assembly to slip
into place.  After several hours of fiddling, WD40, jiggling,
thinking, and cursing, I went back through all of the comments and found
one that helped me to solve my problem.

The sliding part of the collar is held in place by plastic guides.  One
end, the one where the lever is attached, was outside of it’s plastic
glide. I was easily able to flex it and snap it back into place behind
the guide.  The headlight then went in with no problems.


Sun Aug 23, 2009 at 09.32 pm


Thanks for the pictures.  They were a big help.

Two biggest problems:
1.  Stiff black lever.  Hard to move it EITHER way.  I tried 3-in-1 oil, silicone spray, and WD-40 without great success.  Long screwdriver and lever action force did the trick!

2.  Always check twice to remind yourself which bulb needs replacing!  I pulled out the driver side only to remember after testing it that it was the PASSENGER side that was burned out.  I replaced a bulb twice. Guess that makes me an EXPERT!


Mon Sep 28, 2009 at 11.32 pm

Bobby & Steph

Thanks for the awesome instructions and pics! My girlfriend’s 99 beetle needed the passenger headlight bulb changed and these made it a breeze. You saved us $50. Good Karma is on its way to you!


Fri Oct 2, 2009 at 02.36 pm


Hi Cindy! Just want to say a big THANK YOU for putting these steps and pictures on the internet! I have an 05 VW Beetle and I followed your steps exactly and it took me maybe 30 mins to fix my headlight! Not only did it save time but it saved a ton of money! The hardest part was getting the light fixture to pop out, other then that it was a breeze! Thanks again!!


Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03.13 am

Gary Johnson

Thank you so much!  it was a snap, The toughest part was sliding over the plastic clip. I used wd40 to marinate the dirt.  Thanks for your knowledge!!! Gary J


Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 11.46 pm

Wesley W. England

My daughter has a 2004 Bettle. Headlight burnt out. Shop wanted 250.00 She found your website came to my house with a bulb and a Laptop. We fixed the light in 10 Min. 7.00 from Pep Boys. Thanks a lot I’ve been looking under the hood all day and couldn’t see any way to replace the bulb. It was so easy thank you very much. I would like to have a job replacing bulbs in VW’s. Bless you my child.


Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 02.26 am


I fixed the driver’s side (side of the battery) which was a bit harder.


Thu Nov 5, 2009 at 02.32 am


Well, I’m a loser.  Even with these wonderful directions, I couldn’t get the stinkin’ light out.  Off to the dealer to bend over…


Mon Nov 9, 2009 at 01.54 am

Joy Frye

You are seriously my angel!!  You saved me tons of money plus two A’s in my classes because I have two quizzes due by midnight plus a two hour drive back to Pensacola… which was almost postponed til morning becaues of my light!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!


Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 04.30 am


Changed pass headlight per your pics & instructions: PERFECT ! I owe you a beer!


Fri Dec 4, 2009 at 07.36 pm

Jinjer Hundley

I was prepared to follow your fabulous instructions if I had to, but luckily my mechanic replaced the passenger side headlight for $21.00. Took him less than five minutes.

I highly recommend Paul’s Automotive on Van Nuys Blvd just south of Magnolia in Sherman Oaks. They are the best!!!!! I’ve been going to them since 1996, first with my Honda, now with my 2005 New Beetle.


Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 04.40 pm


I’ve had my 2004 Beetle Convertible since 2004.  The headlight bulbs seem to burn out prematurely.  In my case:
1. Approx 2007 - One burnout
2. Approx Apr 2009 - One burnout
3. Dec 2009 - One burnout

Each time, I have replaced both sides.  The first time, I measured voltage in the socket and while I got 12 volts, it would not light a new lamp.  Dealer said I had the wrong bulbs but I swear I had doublechecked that, so I paid him the big bucks.  Second time, I changed the bulb myself and everything was fine.  I’m curious - HAS ANYONE ELSE NOTICED that the life expectancy on these bulbs is shorter than one might expect.  I drive the car approximately every other day, since real estate has been a little slow this year, but it IS going to be better in 2010 !!!


Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 01.57 am


Thanks! It worked like a charm! The pictures really helped!


Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 11.21 pm


Thank you, especially for the photos.  I should have read your post the first time I tried.  With your help, the second time, with a bit of wiggling, I got it out and replaced the bulb.  The hardest part for me was getting the unit back in.  After giggling, pushing, and pulling for a while, it is in.  Not perfect but a lot better then paying the dealer way to much for the work.


Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 10.23 pm


Your site is fantastic—but my boyfriend and I just couldn’t get the headlight out.  We spent nearly 2 hours doing it and it simply wouldn’t budge.  We checked to make sure the lever was all the way up—and we’re quite certain it is.  We’ll likely end up at the mechanic.  Is there something we should do to make sure it’ll be easier for us the next time? Thanks!


Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01.37 am


Thank you so much! I ended up taking it to the dealer anyway because I couldn’t get the headlight to stick back into the   slot as tightly as it should be. They had to shave off a tiny bit of some troublesome tab to get it to fit. Best part was I had already changed the bulb so they didn’t charge me! Thank You!


Mon Feb 8, 2010 at 11.08 pm


We cannot get the headlight back into the car to have a snug fit.  We’ve used wd40 on the tracks and guides and the collar.  When the headlight is not in the collar slides around smoothly and the lever goes up and down but once we put the headlight back in we cannot get the lever all the way down and the headlight does not have a snug fit.  The lever needs about one fourth inch to be all the way down.  Does any one have any suggestions?  Can we drive it like this?


Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 08.33 pm


Hello!  This gives me hope.  My questions is this…do these instructions work on a 2006 Beetle, seeing as specs and stuff change every year?


Sat Mar 6, 2010 at 04.43 pm

paul litteldale

Fantastic post, you saved the day, cash and time.


Sun Mar 7, 2010 at 05.04 pm


This is all very good BUT I have an 06 new beetle convertable and it does not look the same.
I would be greatful for any information!!!


Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 03.37 am

Eric Haven

Thank you Cindy for posting those pictures! It made ALL of the difference! ;-)  I just went out to replace the headlight on my father-in-laws 2003 Beetle, and it took us about 20 minutes to do. TO ANYONE HAVING TROUBLE PULLING OUT OR PUTTING BACK IN THE LIGHT HOUSING - PLEASE, look for the little release button (it’s a little vertical rectangle marked with an X pattern right next to the lever) and hold it down/in as you pull the lever down. If this button is not all the way in, you could break the plastic lever right off. Once you get the light housing out, you will want to hit the locking ring track that the lever controls with WD-40 to get it loosened up. This lever must be all the way UP when you slide the light assembly back in, otherwise the light won’t seat properly, and the lever won’t lock all the way back down. Ours had quite a bit of dust in the track, and it really hampered the locking ring’s travel until we used the WD-40. You will also want to clean out the three mounting tracks that the light assembly sits in. All-in-all, the job was a bit of a struggle, but definitely worth it considering our local shop wanted $120 to do the job.


Sun Mar 21, 2010 at 06.55 pm

Vinny & Cindy

After seeing the same “take it to your dealer” advice, and then being told by the dealer AND an auto repair car that it would take a “standard rate” of $75 not including $10 for the bulb, and being warned that it would take US “hours” to do, we can’t wait to recall the dealer, ask what their fastest time to replace the headlight was, and then cancel our appointment after bragging of our 10 minute replacement!  THANX!


Fri Mar 26, 2010 at 05.30 pm


Since you will probably have to do this again at some distant point in the future, I suggest that after you have finished replacement efforts, you get the brightest, cheapest red nail polish you can find, and paint the lever tips.  Then next time you have to do this, you’ll be able to find the levers in a hurry, even in sub-optimal lighting conditions.



Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 07.32 pm


My comment is Cindy’s guide was so valuable I left a small tip in thanks.  If everybody uses paypal and tips something then do-gooders like Cindy will be rewarded and the web will become even more useful. -tr, 2004 turbo conv Aquarius Blue to match my wife’s eyes (her car)


Sat Apr 3, 2010 at 09.46 pm


I got the headlight to come loose but it won’t come out. Do i just yank the thing out or do is ther something I need to press??


Thu Apr 8, 2010 at 03.52 am


We were able to change the bulb but we were not able to put the headlight back in.  We tried and tried but could not.  Had not used the bug since February and when I was going to take the car out of the garage to go to the dealership the battery was dead. We charged up the battery and today I took it in to the dealer and they charged me $77 to put the headlight back in.  They said they usually remove the battery when they change the bulb on that headlight.  They say they charge $95 for the headlight that is on the side of the battery and they charge $75 for changing the headlight on the other side.


Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 01.51 am


My husband and I were able to change the lightbulb following the directions but we could not put the headlight back in. We ended up taking it to the dealership in April and paying $77.  They said that the headlight on the side of the battery was the harder side to change.  They take out the battery to change the bulb.


Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 11.17 pm

2000 TDI Owner

I didn’t attempt to do it myself being very mechanically challenged I went ahead and searched google first and I am so glad I did! The pictures helped A LOT! I had a little trouble getting the housing to go back in and sit flush but I was able to pull up on the lever under the hood a bit more and that was enough for it to go in all the way so I could push the level back down. Thank you so much Cindy!!


Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08.34 pm

Dan Thomas

Thank you very much. Nearly cussed myself to death before finding your web site. Your information and pictures were a great help.

One addition that might help others; the headlight lever on my wife’s 2005 Beetle would not move, no matter what I did.  I noticed a small “tab or button” right beside the lever. I sprayed it with penetrating oil and pushed it in ever so gently while pulling on the headlight lever at the same time. The lever was then very easy to pull up. The “small tab or button” must be a lock or release of some kind.

Replaced the bulb, put gobs of vaseline on the tracks, reinstalled the assembly and easily pushed the lever back down to the lock position.

Thank you very much for you help.


Mon Apr 26, 2010 at 08.55 pm

Dooky Brown

I just did it on a 2003 Beetle, passenger’s side.  There is a tab to the left of the lever that needs to be pushed in so that the lever can slide up.  Mine broke off, but then the lever worked fine.  It looks like the tab needs to go in far enough to slide underneath the plastic when the lever goes up, but not so far that it snaps off!  The Lo-Beam is also a little harder to get to because you have to reach pretty far into the assembly to get at it.  Other than that, it was a snap!  Thanks for the instructions, easy for everyone to find when they google headlight replacement.


Tue May 4, 2010 at 01.15 am


I just changed my 2005 beetle convertible headlight out on the passenger side. It was still a little tricky but I NEVER would have figured it out with out the pictures you posted!! AWESOME! Thank God for the internet!! The only thing is, I don’t know what i’m gonna do if the other side goes out bc there is something blocking from getting to that casing. Don’t know what it is, I JUST got this car two days ago. Definitely book marking this page!!


Sun May 9, 2010 at 11.42 pm


Getting ready - I hope - to finish changing bulbs in 2005 convertible.
Actually got the passenger side out by myself, still having issues finding levers etc on driver’s side.
One thing - payed $5 for Sylvania H1 bulb at the Wal. Noticed on ebay could get a pair of xenon blue bulbs including shipping. Got here in about 3 days.
Taking the Sylvania back.


Mon May 10, 2010 at 12.25 am


Okay, I’m stupid.

First, I’m in the US. Americans need to take that into consideration when reading about “Driver” and “Passenger” side.

Also, I was squinting at the photos trying to figure them out. Then I realized when you click on them, not only do they enlarge (I DID know that) but also the tips appear on the screen. I kept reading how easy the pix made it and thinking, “it’s not THAT easy.”

Thanks so much, but I do have a question. On the AMERICAN drivers side, my gray lever was gone. I pushed on the diamond pattern tab and it easily broke off.

Any suggestions on how to proceed?



Sun May 16, 2010 at 03.05 am


Thank you so much!!! Without the pictures & detailed instructions I never would have been able to do it. It took only 10 minutes for both headlights~


Tue May 25, 2010 at 12.28 am


awesome and detailed instructions wish i would have found them before I tried. Cause in the process I managed to break my catch bracket (release lever).
would anyone happen to know what that part number is I own a 2003. any help would be appreciated….


Thu Jun 3, 2010 at 01.22 am

Lea Anne Locke

I LOVE YOU, CINDY LI!!!  I just pulled the headlight and will get a bulb from Wal-Mart tomorrow.  You completely rock.  THANK YOU!


Thu Jun 3, 2010 at 06.28 pm


Hi Cindy, I found your website, but not sure if there are two different bulbs for low beam and high beam bulbs, I just hand bulbs replaced in October 2009 at a cost of $62.00 for both, but now the low beams are both out again, the high beams work, I also heard that bulbs need to be greased??? Thanks for your help.


Tue Jun 8, 2010 at 02.13 am


Figured out the bulb replacement on my ‘03 Beetle pretty quick…  Anyone else seemingly “burning” through low beams, ofr it seems I am constantly replacing them.  Also, be wary of replacing your standard wattage bulbs with the Silverstar higher voltage bulbs.  They DO work, but draw MUCH more energy and ended up causing problems with my wiring harnesses…  And the outer clear lens on the headlight assembly WILL EVENTUALLY COME LOOSE, which is a surprise at 75 MPH! I believe the glue holding the lens on starts to breakdown in high heat/humidity situations.


Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 10.42 pm


THANKS SOOOOOOOO much for this.  I used this for my wife’s 2005 Beetle and was done in about 10 minutes.  I’m a guy that follows written instructions well, and this was simply perfect.


Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 12.11 am


Thanks for the great instructions! My husband and I had looked online for instructions on changing the driver’s side headlight and found several sites stating that the battery would have to be removed; thanks to you, we were able to change the bulb ourselves in about 5 minutes. Great work!


Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 01.15 pm


THANK YOU, Cindy! Your instructions are more clear than any of those I’d found that read like the Manhattan Project to my non-mechanically-inclined eyes. Following yours worked like a charm! I did the whole thing in 15 minutes! Bless you! and thank you SO MUCH for taking the time you did!


Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 04.51 pm


The pictures were great! Thanks for the help!


Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 01.59 pm

Da Nang

Thanks for sharing your experience. The pictures make things easier.


Thu Sep 9, 2010 at 06.35 pm


OMG, I’m so mad at my dealer. They charged me $90.00 to change on bulb. I’m demanding my money back now!


Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 12.59 pm

kevin ryan

just replaced bulb, great instructions, was easy, some people might think the lever is stuck and may be worried about breaking it. a set of grips will help if smal enough, spray on some lubricant(wd40) night before trying and then in the whole compartment to help ease it back in.


Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09.48 pm


Thank you, Cindy! You are a lifesaver! Combined with WD-40 and you are incredible. I needed the WD-40 to clean and lube the retaining ring so I could pull the lever back into position to lock the light in.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 at 06.25 pm


Tried to replace my moms lamp today, there is something binding on the bottom of the housing, I don’t have time right now to remove most of the front end to get to whatever is binding.

BUT she had a lamp replaced by Capistrano VW awhile back and I noticed they managed to completely break the retention tab.

For anyone who can’t do this themselves inspect the housing and the receiver under the hood if you pay to have it done, if it was recent I would have gone back to Capo and told them to replace the receiver.


Mon Nov 1, 2010 at 10.06 pm


Thanks a million!  Quoted for 50 bucks, found this page and cost me 7?



Sat Nov 6, 2010 at 04.18 pm


THANK YOU!  I own a 1999 New Beetle.  I followed your instructions as best I could, I’m 59 years old and haven’t even changed my oil over the past 20 years as I left that to my kids.  What I couldn’t understand at first was that even though you showed (in pictures) the hole where the can that holds the headlights gets pulled out…right through the front of the car…I couldn’t quite grasp the concept.  That was until I began pushing in that “secret” tab and then lifted the lever on the driver’s side, adjacent to the battery and with a little bit of help from my wife ...we both grasped the rim of the can while wiggling it a tiny bit from side to side and then we pulled it straight out thru the front panel.  Concept grasped and solved.  I brought the can back into the house and followed your instructions and changed the low beam light bulb.  I then lubed up that rotating ring with WD40 and also the lever…up & down, up & down until it moved freely.  After replacing the bulb as shown and connecting back the electrical cable I aligned the gray-colored plastic guides on the can with the metal guides where the can is placed back into the hole.  I gave the headlight can a shove back into the hole with a little bit of torque from my right knee.  I slid that lever back down until it seemed to have snapped back into place and wouldn’t go back upwards.  I used a 4 or 5 inch medium phillips screwdriver to push into that “secret” little tab that was holding the lever in place.    Thank you for this site.  Danged…you sure saved me a good $70 to $120 in service costs.  Also the low beam bulb I bought from NAPA Auto Parts only cost me $6.99 plus sales tax.  What a bargain.
If the high beam blows out or any of the passengers side bulbs blow out…I’ll know exactly what to do.  Total time spent…about 10 to 15 minutes.  Time spent typing this…maybe 30 minutes…I’m a crummy typist.  Can’t thank you enough.  Best Wishes!


Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 10.53 pm


I would like to thank you for your easy directions! I’m pretty are illiterate and I was able to change my headlight no problem! Only took about 20 minutes! Thank you also for talking the time to take the pictures along with your “DIY”, it made it that much simpler!


Sat Jan 8, 2011 at 12.40 am


Tomorrow I am going to help a friend replace one of her headlights.  I am hoping that it goes as well for me as it has for the majority of the posts here.  I have to laugh….VW has lost thousands of dollars in business due to the idiotic design of their headlights and the price that they want to charge to replace them.  And the fact that they have to be replaced so often is quite curious too.  I’ll never own a VW.  Thanks Cindy!!


Sun Jan 30, 2011 at 09.44 pm


OMG THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! You just saved me money and a headache!!! Was very easy after i got the hang of it.


Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 08.57 pm


Okay these were the easiest to follow directions on how to change that light bulb! I was very intimidated at first because of what I have heard from others! BUT WAYYYYY EASY, following your directions! I’ve read other directions and none were as clear and easy to follow! Thank you very much for posting this!! Whoop!


Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 07.53 pm


Cindy you rock girl the pics and the write-up made this a snap job and as a technician I’m always looking for the easy way…my undying gratitude for the info.Phil


Wed Mar 2, 2011 at 04.25 pm


I have lost my job and have trouble with a headlight which I paid $250 to replace from a foreign car repair place going out after only 3 years.My engineering student son found your website by googling to see if he could help me out…he said I was definitely taken…but this time my wonderful son will do it for me free!The foreign car place said they had to remove all kinds of parts from under the hood to replace the light…what a shame that car repair places such as this still rip women off the way they do…


Fri May 6, 2011 at 05.11 am


It’s to late for me.HEADLIGHT ASSEMBLY 260.00$ HEADLIGHT RETAINER   19.80$ BULB 12.48$
LABOR 49.25$ totl 341.53…
I wish I would have looked
here frist. and now there is a gap   like it did not fit rite
back in place.


Sun May 8, 2011 at 01.30 pm


I have replaced the low beems on my wifes ‘99 about 8-9 times each side in the last 2-3 years (no, i did not touch the glass). I dont know why they keep burning out. I think it is a bad design and should be recalled! the bulb itself is not a proper headlight bulb, it should never have been used as one. Also, the whole damn assembly is an ugly mess of levers, buttons, sliders, spring clamps, locating pins, and tight spaces. I have asked two VW mechanics what they think and have been told “thats just the way it is”. I just saw the car pull into the driveway with a light out that I changed 2 days ago. I thought it may be moisture getting in there but there is no signs of that. I would have expected more from German engineering !!! Any tips or ideas?


Fri May 20, 2011 at 07.18 pm


Great instructions, My daughter has a 2007 Beetle and like everyone else in the world that owns the new Beetle her headlight was out. I bought 2 new bulbs and started with the passenger side first. I unlocked it and pushed down the lever and the headlight assembly came out no problems. I reinstalled the assembly and it did not work. Bottom line, the headlight assembly was not seated correctly. So I then went to the drivers side and removed the air cleaner box and again unlocked it, pushed down the lever and when I went to remove it it came out a little to easy. I reinstalled it without changing the bulb and it started to work. I think that if it is not seated 100% correct then you may have a headlight not come on down the road. Thanks for the great instructions.


Thu Jun 2, 2011 at 09.57 pm


Thank you so much for the how to, I rarely leave feedback but you were so helpful I just had to say thank you. I was dreading a trip to the dealership for a simple headlight change that I figured someone out there dreaded it just as much as I did. Simple took me less than 5 minutes with your help and saved me $$$ which during times like these every dollar counts.


Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 05.23 am


Cindy, the blue lights keep burning out in my 03.was told they draw more juice than the system can steadily produce, went thru 3, now I can’t get the hl back in the new plastic lock mechanism. Got a screw holdin it in. Fought it 4 4 hours. Cleaned it all up and white greased the slots too. Can’t do it. Now my trunk won’t pop up like it did new, dealer installed a new latch, cuz it locked back down 4 I could get my fingers under it to lift it up.


Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 08.54 pm


WOW The pictures show it all, Thank you from a Thankfull old man, and that he has a blonde that has computer access and is willing to show him up…..
Your website showed the secrets that the vw dealewrship wants kept quite, Thanks for sharing


Tue Aug 9, 2011 at 07.12 pm


WOW! Thanks Cindy. I just replaced both front light bulbs. Additionally, last year I replaced the rear light bulb using your web site. Clear and easy to follow. Thank you again.


Fri Sep 2, 2011 at 09.50 pm

Tom Gordon

Thanks, Cindy! Your instructions and photos helped immensely!


Wed Oct 5, 2011 at 06.17 pm


I’m having trouble finding the right assembly. It’s for a 2004 new beetle turbo convertible. My neighbor thought he’d help and tore the lense cover off. Found that out after it was lost. The only one I can find has about a 6 prong boot. The car however has a 3 prong one. Any ideas?


Fri Oct 28, 2011 at 05.26 pm


AWESOME!! After being charged $20 to replace a license plate bulb that I probably could have done myself, I headed to the internet when I was told I needed a low beam on my 2003 Turbo Beetle replaced. He quoted me $50 plus another $20 for the bulb, but couldn’t get one on the day I was there - LUCKY ME!! Since mine was on the driver’s side I had the battery and the air filter to work around, but with some help from a co-worker WE DID IT!! $8 for the bulb and it’s in and working. Took a bit of work to get it in so that the ‘tab’ locked the lever - good old WD40 did the trick! THANK YOU.


Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 02.13 am


Thanks a bunch. I bought a 2003 Beetle for my wife thinking I could do the little maintenance things myself. Wrong! VW makes what should be the simplest matters very complex! Without your help it would have cost a bundle to change headlight (and stop and signal lights)and been a hassle. Very grateful for all your generous help.


Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 03.22 am


Low beam headlight bulb on 2004 Beetle was burned out. VW quote was @ $300 as $75 for bulb, $80 for labor,and #178 for wiring harness. I told dealer oil change was all I needed, my 1964 Ford F100 pickup had the original wiring so VW had a manufacturing problem, and got out. My wife bought an $8 halogen and we pulled the headlight and replaced. However, the locking mechanism was stuck in the locked position. Removed and found an imperfect molding deposit preventing locking of the headlight; obviously it was just crammed into the fender. After remanufacturing by filing, razor cutting, and application of silicaon grease, the locking mechanism locked the headlight in the fender. Now I just have to fix the broken handle on the glove box so I can put my screwdriver I use to open the glove box back into my tool box. I drive a Ford truck to work; we just bought the VW as a fun car for our anniversary. Hope this alerts others to potential problem on replacing bulb and securing headlight into the fender.


Thu Dec 1, 2011 at 05.27 pm


Would these instructions also work for a VW Passat (2001)?

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