How to Install Headlights in VW Beetle

Written by barry index
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How to Install Headlights in VW Beetle
The VW Beetle has different bulbs for the low and high beams. (headlamp image by apeschi from

Replacing the headlights on a VW Beetle has always been a straightforward operation, and it still is. The only important thing to consider when changing Beetle headlights is whether the high-beam or low-beam bulb needs to be replaced. They both have the same part number, H1, but the high-beam bulb is a 60-watt bulb while the low beam is a 55-watt bulb. So make sure you know which bulb is needed before purchasing it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Replacement bulb
  • Ratchet and socket set

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  1. 1

    Release the hood latch from inside the vehicle. Make sure the headlamps are switched off. Exit the vehicle and lift the bonnet. Prop up the hood with the rod that runs along the driver's side of the vehicle. Disconnect the negative lead from the battery terminal using a ratchet and the appropriate socket as a precaution when working with any electrical components.

  2. 2

    Reach down directly behind the headlamp assembly and find the release lever. You should be able to feel it as easily as you can see it because there is plenty of space in the engine compartment. Push on the lever to release it, and then pull it up toward you, wiggling the light assembly to loosen it, if necessary.

  3. 3

    Pull the headlamp assembly out and unplug the wire harness from the back. Push the tab on the back of the assembly and pull out the circular cap to expose the bulbs inside. Undo the metal spring clip and pull out the burnt-out bulb. Wear rubber gloves while handling the bulb to avoid contaminating it with oil from your skin. Make sure you have the correct wattage and insert the new bulb into the slot.

  4. 4

    Push the spring clip back into place and return the circular cap back over the bulb assembly. Plug in the wire harness into the back of the headlamp. Line up the four tabs on the headlight with the slots in the headlight housing in the fender. Push the whole assembly into place until the tabs snap into their slots. Sometimes getting the tabs to line up can be tricky.

  5. 5

    Push the release lever back into place, making sure it snaps into position. Reconnect the battery using the ratchet and socket. Switch on the headlights from inside the vehicle to make sure they illuminate properly.

Tips and warnings

  • Determine whether you need the 60-watt high-beam or the 55-watt low beam by turning the key to the "Accessory" position and switching on the headlamps. Then get out and see which bulb is burnt out.
  • Avoid handling VW Beetle replacement bulbs with bare skin, because the heat generated by an illuminated bulb will burn the oil left behind and may result in premature bulb failure.

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