Headlight bulb replacement - VW Passat B5.5
How to change the headlight bulbs on VW Passat B5.5
back to 1000q: 2004 2005 VW Passat TDI "how to" index
This article shows how to change the low beam headlight, high beam headlight, city lights, and turn signal bulbs.
If you would like to add an HID lighting kit into the low beam spot, see 1000q: HID kit installation. Do not install a HID kit into the high beam spot because it's a reflector housing and will have excess glare. Reflector housings don't have sharp cutoffs and can't control light like the low beam's projector lens.
low and high beam light bulbs are H7.
city light and front turn signal bulbs are 3457A fog lights are H3-55W
You have to remove some items for clearance. On the passenger side, remove the 3x phillips screws holding the air intake snorkel. Then pull the air intake snorkel off. These are outlined in yellow below. The air intake snorkel is 3 pieces which just pull apart. (the engine cover and air filter cover were removed in the below picture for other stuff)
On the driver side you have to remove the cover around the power steering reservoir (yellow arrow, shown after removal of the cover). It has some plastic clips underneath, pry them to the sides before pulling it up. While you're here, check the power steering fluid level. To change the power steering fluid, use a turkey baster or hand vacuum pump to suck the old fluid out of the reservoir. Refill it with clean Audi, VW, or Pentosin synthtetic power steering fluid and start the engine. Turn the steering wheel all the way to the left and right and hold it there for 3-5 seconds. Then turn it back and repeat. Shut off the engine and repeat the empty the reservoir/refill/turn the steering wheel process until the power steering fluid is relatively clean.
Below is a spare headlight for illustration (the upper mounting tabs were broken).
Remove the high beam cover by releasing the latch at the top. The low beam rubber cover just pulls off. The city light is a small light in the high beam housing. They're always on whenever the headlights are on but aren't really noticeable unless a low beam is burnt out. It's mostly for looks. If you have a euroswitch they can be turned as parking lights.
To release the low beam bulb, first pry away the metal tab ears holding it down. Then you can remove the black plastic plug.
Then rotate the metal clip holding the bulb in place. There's an up and down so don't reverse it. The high beam clip looks similar but can't be swapped with the low beam clip because they are slightly different.
When you install the new bulb, make sure the bulb is seated flat and both sides of the clips are in place. The rest of installation is the reverse of removal. Make sure the bulbs are flat and locked. Do not touch the bulb with your fingers or get it dirty at all! If the glass gets dirty, wipe it down with a lint free cloth and rubbing alcohol.
If you notice that your headlights are shaking when stopped at a stoplight, you could have excess vibration from the engine, the driveshafts (see 1000q: CV joint replace), or the headlight housings aren't supported well, see 1000q: headlight shake fix on Passat for more details.