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This article gives detailed instructions on replacing the xenon high/low beam, angel eye, parking light and turn signal bulb in an E53 X5. Even though we used a 2005 X5 3.0i to perform this repair, this article can be applied to any 2000-2006 X5 vehicle with minor modifications to the repair steps.
See all vehicles this article applies to
E53 X5 Series X5 4.8is
E53 X5 Series X5 4.6is
E53 X5 Series X5 4.4i
E53 X5 Series X5 3.0i
E53 X5 Series X5 3.0d
A BMW E53 headlight bulb replacement requires removing the headlight assembly from the vehicle.
We get a lot of "donor" vehicles here at the Repair Guide; our wonderful local BMW enthusiasts allow us to perform repairs on their vehicles so we can post the articles on our site. Sadly we encounter a lot of repairs that could be avoided...especially when it deals with headlights.
One of the most abused parts we encounter are the headlight assemblies...especially on 2000-2006 X5 models. Home mechanics will try and replace the bulbs without properly removing the headlight assembly from the frame, snapping off plastic covers that seal the light allowing moisture to enter. When they soon realize they can't get the bulbs out (or back in) with the lights installed, they cause further damage by incorrectly trying to extract the headlight from the vehicle. We have repeatedly encountered over the years the carnage left behind by frustrated BMW owners who have tried to force the headlight out of their X5's.....breaking brackets, losing mounting screws, and stripping wires. It's easy to find the battle scars on a X5 headlight that has been brutally forced out of the vehicle.
You must remove the headlight assembly from 2000-2006 X5 vehicles to change the bulbs. We can't be any clearer than that. Even the angel eye and parking lamp bulbs, which enticingly look easy to access with the headlight installed, can become a nightmare to replace unless the assembly is sitting on a bench in front of you. With a little practice, the X5 headlight assembly can easily be removed in under 10 minutes.
This article covers replacing all of the bulbs in the 2000-2006 X5 headlight assembly, including the "bi-xenon" high/low beam, angel eye, parking lamp, and turn signal bulbs. Although you may be referring to this article to only change one of the above bulbs, the BMW Repair Guide strongly recommends replacing all of them while you have the headlight removed from the vehicle. Bulbs are relatively inexpensive, and if one is burned out it won't be long till the others follow. We give detailed step-by-step instructions below in removing the headlight and bulbs.
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Section 1 - Removing the X5 headlightIn order to properly replace the headlight bulbs in 2000-2006 X5 models, the headlight assembly must be removed from the vehicle. Attempting to replace the bulbs without removing the headlight assembly is extremely difficult and can cause major damage. Even the angel eye and parking lamp, which seem easily accessible with the headlight installed, can become a nightmare to reinstall without the headlight removed from the vehicle.
- Begin by removing the top headlight mounting bolts with a 10mm socket wrench. There are two of them.
- Move behind the headlight and identify the two rear mounting bolts. Use a 10mm socket wrench to remove them.
- Next, the fender well trim fasteners need to be removed so the bumper cover bolts can be accessed. Usually, there are only two fasteners that need to be removed as shown below, but this can differ among models. Just remove what is necessary to fold the trim back as shown below.
- Locate the two bumper cover mounting bolts as shown below. Use a 10mm socket wrench to remove them.
- Locate the two bumper cover mounting screws. Remove them with a phillips screwdriver.
- Grasp the bumper cover and pull it loose from the body of the vehicle.
- Move back to the engine compartment and remove the two radiator frame bolts using a torque wrench.
- With the radiator frame and bumper cover loose, you should now have enough room to gently remove the headlight from the vehicle. DO NOT force the headlight out. If you cannot get the headlight out, find an assistant to help spread the bumper and radiator frame while you negotiate the headlight out.
Section 2 - Replace the headlight bulbsAs discussed previously, the headlight must be removed from 2000-2006 X5 models in order to properly replace the bulbs. Even with the headlight out of the vehicle and on a bench, the bulbs (especially the angel eyes), can be a challenge to remove. Exercise patience when replacing the bulbs to avoid breaking a very expensive headlight assembly.
- Place the headlight assembly on a bench and remove the rear xenon bulb cover with a torx bit. It is held in place with four torx screws.
- Locate the xenon high beam/low beam bulb. Unclip the ignitor and turn it counterclockwise to remove it.
- Unclip the xenon bulb and remove it from the headlight assembly. NEVER touch a new replacement bulb with your bare hands...the oil from your skin can cause it to overheat severely limiting its life span.
- Locate and identify the turn signal bulb. Twist the bulb socket counterclockwise to remove it from the headlight.
- Remove the cover off of the angel eye/parking lamp.
- Identify the angel eye socket. Turn it counterclockwise to remove it from the headlight. The angel eye bulb can often be difficult to remove. If it is stuck and will not turn, try using a pair of pliers to gently turn it counterclockwise until it release from the headlight.
- The parking lamp is located behind the angel eye. Unclip the parking lamp and remove it from the headlight as shown below.
Section 3 - Final Notes on reassemblyReassembly is simply the above steps in reverse. Be very patient installing the angel eye bulb...they are notoriously difficult to get back into the headlight (and almost impossible if the headlight is still in the vehicle).
BMW E53 Headlight Bulb Replacement Finished - 2000-2006 X5