The H5 headlight fitting - unnecessarily complex? Apparently not ....... if you're German!

Changing a headlight bulb in your - a 12 step program.

by Don T of CA

How difficult can it be to change a headlight bulb?

The premise is very simple. Undo a few screws, remove a trim ring, remove a couple more screws, pull the light unit out of the car, whip out the old bulb, in with the new and then do everything in reverse. Simple .... right?

We're all adults here, we don't need no stinking instructions. That is, not until we discover that we just might have undone the wrong screw and now need some original factory assembly tooling and the aid of the Lord if there is to be even the slightest chance of ever getting our headlight to shine somewhere near our side of the road at night. Don T of CA leads us through the 12 steps.

The changing of the bulb.

I've never been very happy with the poor light output of the stock H5 headlights that my came with when I bought it. I'd heard a lot of good things about the Silver star Osram replacement bulbs, so I decided to replace my bulbs with the 9004 style bulb.


The tools you require to perform this task are few and readily available in most toolkit's.

[1] #2 Phillips Screwdriver (Magnetic)
[2] Flashlight

The 12 steps.

Step 1)   Remove the screw at the bottom of the headlight trim ring. Remove the trim ring and place it along with the screw off to the side where it can't be stepped on.

Step 2)   There are four Phillips screws that hold the headlight assembly in the headlight bucket. Remove these while holding the headlight assembly in place, the requirement for a magnetic screwdriver becomes very apparent during this step.

Step 3)  When the screws are out, gently pull the headlight assembly out of the headlight bucket and remove the headlight wiring plug, it's a simply lift and pull the plug.

Step 4)  Lay the headlight face down on a soft cloth and remove the white plastic headlight bulb retainer ring by tuning the ring counter clockwise and lift off.

Step 5)  Lift the headlight bulb out of the headlight housing, do not touch the bulb with your fingers, the oils in your fingers, once on the glass will spread like a film of oil on water when the bulb heats up. This film of oil will then reflect the light back into the bulb and it will overheat and burn out sooner than normal.

Step 6)  Open the package of the replacement headlight bulbs, lift out the bulb, use a soft cloth to hold the bulb, remember don't touch the bulb with your fingers. Insert the bulb into the headlight housing, the bulb is indexed, it will only go in completely one way.

Step 7)  Install the while headlight bulb locking ring and lock in place by turning clockwise.

Step 8)  Now would be a good time to clean the headlight bucket (and for the more anal of you to wax it .....) if you so desire.

Step 9)  Pick up the headlight assembly and plug in the headlight.

Step 10)  Holding the headlight assembly in place, install the four mounting screws, this is when the magnetic feature of the screwdriver really comes in handy once again as the screws are slightly offset so access is not as easy as it could be.

Step 11)  After mounting the headlight, start the engine and turn on the headlights to test both the high and low beams. Check the pattern against the headlight you haven't changed yet and adjust the light with the two adjustment screws. One is on the top and the other is on the left side of the headlight assembly. If you didn't move these screws, then at most just a slight adjustment will be needed.

Step 12)  Install the headlight trim ring and screw and you're done and ready to do the other headlight..

TOTAL Time: 10 minutes per light.


I discovered 80/100 watt bulbs in my headlights. The Silver star Osram bulbs only come in a 45/65 watt size for the 9004 style H5 headlights, yet the light is noticeably brighter. Porsche's headlight wiring system integrates the headlight switch in the circuit, so using a bulb over 100 watts can overload (overheat) the wiring in the circuit and is not recommended. Headlight bulbs over 100 watts should only be used after installing a headlight relay system. Using the Silverstar bulbs (45/65 watt) actually decreases system wiring load while giving a better driving light.

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