I was able to replace the drivers side bulb without removing the battery. Two clips can be challenging. The first is the one holding the bulb in place. It is hard to see and reach. To release it, push is slightly in toward the bulb and then down; it easily releases this way. The secret to putting the wire snap back on is to engage the top of the wire in the hole first before sliding it back over the cover. Don't try to put the wire back over the cover and forcing the top of the wire into the hole (like I did). This won't work and causes great frustration. If you put it in the hole first and then move the wire over the cover, it is easy.
There is a cover behind the lamps that is clamped down with a metal wire. Slide that wire to the side and pull out the cover. The lamps are in a plug-in fixture. You will have to take the battery out if the lamp is on the driver's side. Just don't force anything too hard and you should be okay.
As stated above, there is a cover on the back of each headlight housing that must be removed. However, you usually don't have to remove the battery. Unplug the harness from the bulb. The bulb is held in with a spring-like wire. Slide this up or down and it releases the bulb. Put the new one in in reverse order, being careful not to touch the glass or force it. Bulbs are pressurized.
if you do happen to touch or get dirt on the bulb during installation, I use 99% isopropanol (rubbing alcohol), that you can get at Safeway, to clean it.
To replace the low beam bulb (H-7) on a 2002 Golf diesel TDI do the following: If the defective bulb is on the driver's side, first remove the plastic cover identified by a logo symbol for a light bulb (circle with rays). It is held down by two Phiilips screws. Then remove the battery cover. This will give you enough room to work in the headlight compartment (unless you have unusually large hands). Next, remove the wire snap on the headlight cover plate and slide the cover to the left and out of the compartment. You now have access to the plug for the lamp. Remove the plug and as described earlier, slide the left side of the spring clip (which holds the lamp in place) down and let it open. Remove the defective bulb and replace it with the new one, being careful to handle it by the prongs, do not touch the glass. The bulb fits in place with its metal tang in the 12oclock position. As indicated in earlier answers, just reverse the procedure to close it back up. You may have to use a flashlight when replacing the headlight cover plate so you can see the two slots that the right end has to go into. My hat is off to FAQ Farmers for running a really useful, consumer friendly website. Many thanks.
1. If the burned out bulb is on the drivers side, remove the plastic cover identified by a logo symbol for a light bulb (a circle with rays coming off it). It's held in place with two Phillips screws.
2. Remove the battery cover from the battery. This should provide enough space to work in the headlight compartment.
3. Move the wire snap on the headlight plate cover to release the headlight plate cover. The gauge of the wire is a little heavier than a heavy gauge coat hanger wire. It's a clip that pivots to the inside of the car, and releases the headlight plate cover. The headlight plate cover is about the size of an average book - maybe 8" x 6" (20.3 x 15.2 cm). Once the headlight plate cover is unclipped, it slides toward the inside of the car, and can be removed. This provides access to the headlight compartment.
4. It may be necessary to unplug the headlight bulb before removing the wire snap that holds the headlight bulb in place. Not sure if that is true on all Golfs. But with the headlight plate cover off, unplug the low beam headlight bulb (which should be on the outside edge of the car).
5. Then, to remove the bulb, slide the inside edge of the spring clip (right side for the passenger side bulb, left side for the driver side) that holds the headlight bulb in place down, and let it pop open.
6. Holding the headlight bulb by the two prongs, remove the old bulb, and replace it with the new bulb, being careful to only handle it by the prongs. If the glass is accidentally touched, or gets dirty, clean it with isopropanol/rubbing alcohol. There is a small metal prong no more than 1/8" (0.3 cm) sticking out from the otherwise circular disk surrounding the bulb. Be sure that is positioned in the 12 o'clock position (pointing straight up).
7. Reverse the procedure to close everything back up. A flashlight may be necessary to see two slots the headlight plate cover goes into to close up properly.
NOTES: I had a little difficulty uncliping the wire snap for the headlight plate cover on the drivers side of my Golf. An old screw driver or a small pry bar can be used to lift the wire away from the headlight plate cover, making it easier to unclip the wire.
I don't know how necessary it was, but I also noted which of the two wires was on top when I unplugged the headlight bulb, so I could replace everything the same way. You may want to remember that when changing out the bulbs on your car.
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