This article gives detailed instructions on replacing the xenon headlight bulb in a 2004-2007 (pre-LCI) BMW 5 series vehicle with a xenon headlight assembly. Even though we used a 2006 530xi touring wagon to perform this repair, this article can be applied to any BMW E60/E61 5 series vehicle with xenon headlights and a production date up to 3/2007 (pre-LCI) with minor modifications to the repair steps.
A BMW E60 xenon headlight bulb replacement is an easy repair for the home mechanic that can save a very expensive trip to the dealership.
The BMW E60 xenon headlight option, also know as “bi-xenon” headlights, was available as an option on 2004-2010 5 series sedans and touring wagons. They are called bi-xenon because the xenon bulb functions as both the low and high beam light source in the headlight.
The BMW E60 xenon headlight bulb is located in the outer reflector of the assembly (see image below). When the headlights are on, the bi-xenon bulb can be manually switched between low and high beam by pressing the turn signal lever back and forth. The H7 halogen bulb in the interior reflector only serves the function as a “flash to pass” light when signaling another driver in front of the vehicle – it is not the high beam in bi-xenon headlights.
In order to perform a BMW E60 xenon headlight bulb replacement, the entire headlight assembly must be removed from the vehicle. There is simply not enough space to get to the rear of the headlight assembly with it installed…even through the fender liner. This should not intimidate the home mechanic in any way – the headlight assemblies are simply held in place with four fasteners and can be removed from the vehicle in about 5-10 minutes. The full step by step procedure for performing a BMW E60 xenon bulb replacement are below, along with a complete parts and tools list for your convenience.
1. Bi-xenon headlight bulb (required) – Always use an OEM quality xenon headlight bulb in your BMW. Cheap aftermarket bulbs don’t last as long as superior quality ones – the money you save with a cheap bulb can quickly disappear when you have to replace it in 6 months! We give you several excellent choices bsed on your budget and brand preference.
2. Parking lamp/angel eye bulb (optional) – This pesky little bulb can be tricky to remove with the headlight installed. Since you will need to remove the headlight assembly to perform this repair, now is an excellent time to replace it.
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As discussed at the beginning of this article, in order to replace the bi-xenon bulb the entire headlight assembly must be removed from the vehicle. The good news is this is a very simple procedure – the headlight is held in place with four fasteners. Use extra patience when removing the headlight from the bumber…it tends to get hung up unless rotated out as shown below.
- Locate the two upper mounting bolts anchoring the headlight assembly to the frame of the vehicle.
- Using a T30 torx bit, remove the two upper mounting bolts from the headlight assembly.
- Next, locate the inner lower mounting screw anchoring the headlight. This screw DOES NOT have to be removed…only loosened it enough so the headlight can be slipped out from underneath it. Use an 8mm socket wrench to loosen it a few turns. Avoid completely removing the lower mounting screws…they can drop underneath the bumper and get lost very easily.
- Locate the outside lower mounting screw. Once again, use an 8mm socket wrench to loosen it a few turns.
- Grasp the headlight and pull it forward slightly until it releases from the two lower mounting screws.
- To free the headlight from the bumper cover, rotate the outside corner up as shown below then pull the entire assembly free.
- Remove the main wiring harness from the back of the headlight by sliding its plastic release back and unplugging it.
- Unplug the second electrical connection on the back of the headlight.
- Lay the headlight assembly on a bench so the rear xenon bulb cover can be removed.
- To remove the rear bulb cover, use a flat blade screwdriver to depress the plastic tabs as shown below. Pull the cover free from the headlight assembly.
- Unplug the xenon bulb by squeezing the plug and pulling it free.
- Remove the xenon bulb from the headlight by rotating it counterclockwise until it release from the reflector.
- Install a new xenon bulb, being careful not to touch the glass bulb with your bare fingers. The oil from your skin can cause it to overheat severely limiting its lifespan.
- Simply follow the above instructions in reverse to replace the headlight. USE PATIENCE reinstalling the headlight back into the bumper cover. Forcing it in can break the mounting tabs on the bottom of the assembly.