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Roger, BMW Master Tech
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 3044
Experience:  10 yrs. experience as BMW Master Technician, shop foreman and dealer.
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Customer Question

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: BMW
Expert:  Phil_Harrison replied 6 years ago.

The trick is to look closely at the parts before you remove the headlight bulb. You don't want to turn the entire socket assembly -- just the black locking ring. It has a top and bottom tab that fits into the headlight assembly. Grab the square ring tab, which appears at the top right in the picture below, and twist it a short 1/8 turn counterclockwise (like you were sitting on top of the engine, facing forward). In the picture below, 0 is unlocked; 1 is locked. It will take a little effort to turn it to the unlocked position, but not that much.

Now, just pull the old H7 halogen bulb straight out and push the new one in, trying not to touch the new bulb directly with your oily fingers. Used tissue paper to handle the bulb. You can see in the photo below.

There is a small, narrow slot in the clear, yellowish headlight assembly. You can see it at the bottom of the picture below, slightly to the right of center.

This yellow slot accepts the tab of the black locking ring. Barely. You really have to work at it to seat the socket assembly correctly.

You can see the block-looking black tab on the inside of the arm in the picture below.

Now, make sure the tab is in the unlocked, or "0" position. Then line up the 2 tabs, which are on opposite sides of the socket assembly ring, with the 2 slots. You won't be able to see them because your hand is in the way, so just give it your best guess. Then push the socket containing the bulb into the headlight assembly. Using trial and error, you will eventually be able to feel when the socket is seated correctly.

Then, use your thumb on one tab and the middle finger on the other tab to line up the tabs and twist. Give a quick glance to the front of the car where the headlight is, and make sure that the bulb looks like it is seated correctly, and wiggle the part a little.

The only other bit of advice is one side is a REALLY TIGHT SPACE. So, give yourself some more room and take off the cover of the square air filter housing. First, release the 2 clips for the hose containing the air flow sensor. Then release the 5 clips holding the air filter housing cover to its base. That should give you enough room to take a stab at the headlight assembly.

Good luck!

Edited by Phil_Harrison on 2/24/2011 at 2:57 PM EST