This post is for anyone thinking of trying to change the headlight bulb on a UK Mark IV VW Golf.
Print this out so you can refer to it when working on your car or use an iPad :)
By the way if your looking for information on changing a rear bulb then I also made a video on which bulbs are which - VW Golf MkIV:How to identify which bulb is which on the rear light cluster. Brake, indicator,fog etc.
This is what a H7 Headlight Bulb looks like:
The passenger side (near side) headlight bulb had gone and reading online this one seems to give people all sorts of problems. Having looked at lots of mk4 forums before doing this there seemed to be lots of people having great difficulty and even having to resort to taking the bumper off the car! Some people taking several hours of time to change a bulb. Not being put off by this I decided to have a go and document just how easy and quick I found it. Once I had changed the drivers side and knew how it all came apart I found it really quick and easy to change the passenger side. I would say it took me less that one minute to change the passenger headlight bulb !
Looking at it I can see why someone have problems and its mainly to do with not understanding how to remove the bulb retaining clip because you can't actually see it unless you put a camera in the small gap.
In my photographs you will see I have a good shot of the bulb retaining clip and you can see how it operates so it does not matter that you can't see it!
What I have done here is documented in great detail with photographs so you should have no problems what so ever in doing it yourself. All you need is good lighting, patience (as always when working on your car), a pair of new H7 headlight bulbs, A large screwdriver.
There is no need to remove the bumper,the battery or anything else for that matter.
You don't even need any tools but I suggest you use a screwdriver only to remove the risk of loosing skin when working in the tight space.
By the way when I say Headlight I am referring to the bright lights that come on when you set the rotary headlight switch to its last position (1=off,2=sidelights,3=headlights). Where as the "full beam headlight" is operated by pushing forward the indicator stick and this is a different bulb (H1 448) But you can follow my guide for replacing that one too as that's also accessible when you change this bulb.
You are always best to change bulbs in pairs rather than just the one that has gone.
So you may ask "why do i have to change h7 bulbs in pairs", well you don't have to but if you only change one then the colour of the light will be different between the new and the old. If your lazy and just want a quick fix then just change one.
I highly recommend that you change the drivers side one first so that you can get a real good idea of how to do it and this will then make it a lot simpler for the passenger side as there is no a lot of space behind that one because of the battery.
All of my photographs refer to the Drivers side (off side) on a UK Golf mk4 model (2000 year). The passenger side is an exact mirror of the guide.
The replacement bulbs I got were from Derby Autocentre on Elton Road in Derby.
There were only £4 each and are Narva H7 477 bulbs made by Philips. You can of course spend lots of money on bright headlight bulbs if you wish.
You can even get bulbs that are 90% brighter than the standard ones, these are called Night Breaker Headlight Bulbs and can be bought from Amazon or your local car parts retailer.
My step by step instructions with photographs.
Click any photograph to view a larger version if you want more details.
1) A Close up view of the H7 Headlight bulb (drivers side). This is the bulb we are going to change.
That metal cap thing is part of the lens cluster and not attached to the bulb.
Lift the bonnet and you should see on the drivers side something like this in front of the screen washer bottle :
2) Here is a view from above the drivers side headlight and back cover retaining clip.
Using a large flatblade screwdriver ease this retaining clip out of its notches and push it over to the right.
3) Here you can see I have unclipped the retaining clip out of the way.
Now the retaining clip is moved out of the way you can remove the back cover.
4) Here I have started to open up the cover to reveal the bulb connections.
This back cover has a rubber seal so you may have to use a bit of force if its dirty. It hinges on the left side
5) This is what the back cover looks like when removed.
The bit sticking out on the left is the hinge part.
6) side view of the power plug on the back of the H7 headlight bulb.
Here you can see the power plug on the back of the headlight bulb.This is easy to remove, just wiggle it while pulling it off away from the bulb (towards the screen washer bottle). Once disconnected move the plug loom out of the way so you can remove the bulb.
7) Here is a view of the bulb connections and the bulb retaining clip.
The H7 bulb is latched in place by that spring clip. Its hinged at the bottom.
See the next photo down so you fully understand how it operates.
8) Close up view of the bulb retaining clip mechanism.
As you can see in order to remove the bulb you need to press your finger against that top bar so it moves it out of the way into the recess first, then push it to the right (towards the front offside wheel)
Important : Now you have unclipped the latch, keep your finger on the back of the bulb and drop the clip down (don't worry it wont fall to the ground as its attached). Once the clip is out of the way slowly pull the bulb out of the light cluster towards the screen washer bottle. Make a note of the keyway on this bulb as you MUST replace the bulb in the same way!. If you get it wrong then they won't point correctly.
I think the keyway was at the top on my bulb.
9) The H7 477 Headlight Bulb and replacement one ready to go in.
Get your new bulb out of its box making sure you do not touch the glass. Hold it by the pins at the back.
To fit the bulb its simply the reverse of above. So place the bulb slowly until its fully home and lift the retaining clip back up and push it forward and then to the left and release it into the latch recess.
You can now reconnect the power plug, refit the back cover and slide the cover retaining clip back over the cover. that's it done.
Passenger side :
The passenger side is exactly the same as above, the retaining clip has to be pushed towards the curbside as its a mirror of the drivers side. There is slightly less room for your hands to work in.
To test your bulbs start the car and set the rotary headlights switch to position 3, check they both light up.
Hope this helps anyone contemplating changing the bulb.
Please leave a comment if you found my guide of help and any other tips you may have for doing this job.
Tweet this article for others.