I had to replace the headlight bulb on my 2004 Volkswagen Jetta today. This is how I did it, told through Instagram.


  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Replacement bulb
  • Bulb grease
  • Ratchet (Only if you have a two piece battery cover)

Note: This tutorial focuses on the driver’s side headlight, however these steps will work for the passenger side as well. In fact, they are a step shorter, as you won’t need to mess with the battery.


First, pop the hood and take a gander at the engine. Above the headlight should be a plastic cover held down by a few screws. Unscrew them, but hold off on removing the cover for now. We’ll remove the battery cover first.


The battery cover has a button on the left and right sides (you can see my thumb on the right button in the photo). Press these down and pull the top off. You should now be able to remove the plastic cover from step one. Depress the tab on the left side, and pull it up and out.

Note: My jetta has one piece covering the battery. Some models have two. In those cases, you’ll need to remove the top cover, then you’ll need a ratchet (and possibly an extension) to remove the bolt on the bottom-front holding the second piece in place.


Now that the first layer of covering is off, on to another layer! You’ll remove the plastic headlight cover by first unclipping the two metal clamps holding it in place. There is one on both the left and right sides of the cover (my finger is pointing to the right side in the photo). Be careful with these; Sometimes they pop open rather easily, and other times you may need to pry them up out of their seating with a screwdriver. Once both clamps are off, you can just pull the plastic cover off.


The power connecter has a clip on the side. Pull up on the clip with your thumb…


… and unplug the power to the light.


Next, unscrew the circular ring around the light socket base.


This will enable you to remove the light bulb.


Before you put the new bulb in, it’s good to coat the connector with bulb grease. This will make it easier to get the bulb in, and it apparently extends bulb life. Before you put in on, check out the next photo.


Make sure to only put the grease around the connection area that sits in the socket. DO NOT put it on the bulb itself.

Now you can put the bulb back, and it’s essentially doing the steps in reverse to get everything back together. Make sure to test the light before you put all the plastic back on, so you don’t have to take everything apart to triage any problems. Other than that, you should be good to go.