How to Replace E36 Headlights

Updated July 20, 2017

The BMW E36 uses two bulbs for each headlight: an HB4 for the low beams and an HB3 for the high ones. Both install the same way in minutes, without tools. The standard replacement bulbs can be purchased from most auto stores.

Turn off the engine and open the bonnet. Put on the gloves.

Rotate the two bulb holders at the rear of the headlamp assembly counterclockwise. The inner bulb holder contains the high beam bulb. The outer bulb holder contains the low beam bulb.

Pull the old bulbs out of the holders and replace them with new ones. Place the bulb holders back into the assembly and rotate them to the right to secure them.


If you do not have gloves, use a cloth or paper napkin to install the bulb. Never touch the glass of a new bulb with your bare hand.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean gloves
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About the Author

Daniel Valladares began his career as a medical writer in 2008. He has written patient education brochures for several pharmaceutical companies and has worked as an auto mechanic at Kim's Speedy Auto Service since 2007. Valladares holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Rice University and is currently studying to become a personal trainer.