How to Change a Headlight Bulb on 2009 BMW 328xi

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A friend of mine told me that I had a headlight out the other day on my 2009 BMW 328xi. It was the low beam on the passenger side (right side). For days, I had to drive around with the brights on, just to avoid getting a ticket for the outed light. That was embarrassing.

I did a bit of looking around online and learned that the low beam and high beam halogen bulbs are interchangeable. You can use one type of bulb for either one, which was handy. I also learned that the average price per bulb at most outlets online, such as AutoZone or other auto parts stores, was around $25. I thought that was a bit much for a light bulb. I then checked my favorite online auto parts website (RockAuto) and discovered that they were selling the same brand name bulbs for under $3 each. With shipping only costing $2.99, I ordered two Wagner brand bulbs and received them yesterday.

I thought I'd write a post describing the process I took to change the bulb for anyone out there who might have to do the same thing. I hope you enjoy.

First of all, if you read on the internet that you don't have to take the front tire off for the side of the outed bulb, ignore that, unless you have hands and arms like spaghetti. You definitely need to remove the tire to gain access to the panel and the bulb. Since the bulb was out on the passenger side, I removed the tire from that side. Then, I looked under the wheelwell and saw the access panel I needed to remove. I used a quarter to turn both plastic pieces that held the panel in place.

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The photo above was taken while the wheel was still on the car.

I then pulled the access panel off. Here's a photo of that.

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Here's the area behind the access panel. As you can see, the old bulb is still installed.

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To the left of the panel opening is another plastic panel. It's held on by a small metal fastener. I unclipped that and removed the additional panel.

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Doing this exposed the back of the bulb.

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The bulb is held in place by another small metal clip. I unclasped that and pulled the bulb right out.

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This is the old burned out halogen light bulb for the BMW. I placed the new bulb in and attached the clip again. One word of note here. When placing the new bulb in, I made sure to line it up properly. There's a small notch that needs to face directly upwards. Once I took care of that, I reattached both plastic panels and put the wheel back on the car. Perfect job that took all of 15 minutes. For under $10 for two bulbs and the repair, I'd say that's not bad.
 
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