Replacing low beam headlight bulb


There are several threads on changing headlight bulbs in this forum. I just sifted through a lot of them. This post condenses the best information to make someone's search easier.

I was riding this morning when the yellow triangle warning light came on with the alert, "LAMP!" I was near a shopping plaza so I pulled in and rode up to a big store window where I could see my reflection. Sure enough, my headlight was out. The bright bulb worked fine and the brake lights were fine.

Overall conclusions after replacing the bulb:
-- You don't have to remove any tupperware.
-- It's a 5-minute job the SECOND time you do it. Figuring it out the first time will take 20 to 30 minutes.
-- BMW's spec for the bulb is H7 55W (watts) 12V (volts). All you need to look for is H7. Any auto parts store has them. Walmart has them. You don't need an OEM bulb.
-- There are threads on this forum that get into bulbs that are better and brighter. I went with a Sylvania "Basic" H7 because it is rated at 270 hours, while the premium Sylvania bulbs were rated at 150 hours (which means more frequent bulb changes).

PRO TIP: You have to do this job by feel. Use your cell phone camera to reach up and take pics to see what you’re working with.

PRO TIP 2: When you get the old bulb out, practice putting it back in place like it was the new one. I got pretty good at it, so when it was time to put the new bulb in, it took me minutes.

The owners manual recommends removing the upper right faring so you can see the back of the headlight assembly. Four screws, easy enough. But you still can't see any of the parts you need to manipulate. I found removing the faring entirely useless.


1. Turn the handlebars all the way to the right, like you're making a right turn.
2. Reach up behind the right (low beam) headlight and pull off the round rubber boot covering the entrance to the bulb housing. Push it to the side out of the way. It’s attached to the bike so it won’t fall to the floor.
3. Unplug the bulb assembly from the bike – just pull straight back. There are two metal prongs like you'd plug into a wall.
4. There is a vertical wire clip shaped like a skinny horseshoe that locks both sides of the bulb assembly in place. It is open at the bottom. On each side, squeeze the wire IN at the bottom and guide it back to release it from a metal hook. The clip is attached to the bike and won’t fall to the floor.
5. Once both sides of the wire clip are loose, you can pull the bulb out.


1. Wear protective gloves or be very careful you don't touch the bulb. Fat from your fingers can cause it to blow out.
2. Lift the wire horseshoe clip about halfway up, like a garage door about to receive a car.
3. Push the new bulb under the clip and through the hole into the headlight. The flat part of the new bulb base faces up, in the 12:00 position. Bring the wire clip down over the bulb assembly to hold it in place until you lock it.
4. Using your left arm, reach up and hold the bulb assembly in place, then use your other hand to lock each side of the wire clip in place – push in and forward, then release so it expands and locks into the metal hook. This is the part that may test your patience. Eventually you will feel a satisfying “click” on one side as the wire clip locks in place. The other side is much easier after that.
5. Plug the bike’s wiring into the bulb assembly and replace the rubber boot.

I started up the bike, the headlight worked fine and the warning light was gone ... $12 for the bulb vs. what a BMW dealer would charge for the whole operation.

Here is an inadvertent self photo ("Dear in the Headlight") that I took when the bulb was out. You can see the wire horseshoe clip locked in place. I practiced locking it and unlocking it until I was proficient and then put the new bulb in. You can see the round rubber boot pushed out of the way at the 4:00 position.

Behind headlight bulb socket.jpg
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