How to Change Headlights on an E39

Written by matt scheer
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If the headlights on your BMW E39 are burnt out or broken, you need to replace them. Fortunately, replacing a headlight on an E39 is a rather simple and straightforward process. The front end of the car was designed so that no special tools are needed and no extraneous parts need to be removed to access the headlight bulb inside the headlight assembly. For these reasons expect the whole procedure to take less than 15 minutes.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Turn off your E39 if it was on and prop open the bonnet.

  2. 2

    Look behind the headlight assembly for the wiring harness connected to it. Disconnect the wiring harness.

  3. 3

    Twist the headlight bulb socket counterclockwise to remove it from the headlight assembly.

  4. 4

    Disengage the metal retaining clip by pressing it inward and pull the headlight bulb out of the headlight assembly.

  5. 5

    Insert the replacement headlight bulb, taking care not to touch the glass with your fingers as the oil from your skin can shorten the lifespan of the headlight bulb. Follow the previous steps in reverse order to finish the installation procedure for your new headlight bulb.

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