Changing the headlight bulbs in a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta—not a lot of fun, but it is doable. Below are some basic instructions from my car repair experience as a service to fellow Jetta owners.
The passenger side headlamp is pretty easy. You just pop up off the little cover, untwist the ring, pull out the bulb and pull out the chord. Sometimes the chord is a little tricky—thanks to a sneaky tab, but that’s it.
The driver side headlamp on the other side is a different story, thanks to Mr. Battery. The easy thing to do would be to remove the battery and get total access to your headlamp housing. But this is supposed to be a simple do-it-yourself job. Removing the battery is a bit more involved. No thanks. But doing it without removing the battery could use some instruction in order to do the job with a minimum of profanity.
First you have to remove the little cover with the universal symbol for hard to reach headlamp. Once that’s out of the way, it might be helpful to remove the battery cover. Not required, but it gives you a little extra wiggle room, and you’re going to need every millimeter.
Next you need to remove the cover over the headlamp housing. Just like on the other side there are two bars holding it in place that you need to pop off. Of course the battery is in the way, as is the plug for what looks like the turn signal. Unplugging the turn signal might help—just don’t use a screwdriver to pry it apart. Not a good idea.
Once you get the headlamp cover off you need to pull out the bulb. This is the tricky part. As soon as you stick your hand in there you’ll notice how little room you have thanks to the battery. I found that if you try it from the side coming up along the battery you have little more room. Small, girlish hands would be helpful.
Once you can get to the bulb, don’t just pull. It’s never that easy. There’s a little tab/clip thing on the plug that holds the bulb in place and most likely this won’t come free without a fight. I found it worked better to untwist the ring and pull out the entire bulb, plug and all still attached. Now you can work the bulb and plug up to where you actually have some room and you can work the little clip and get the bulb free.
To put in the new bulb I recommend putting the bulb in first, unplugged. Secure it in place with the ring, then snap the plug in. It should go much easier that way. When you have it all plugged in, just check the light to make sure it’s tight, and put the rest of the assorted covers and plugs back.
Piece of cake. My bulbs lasted about 55,000 and 65,000 miles (one went before the other), so hopefully this isn’t something you’ll need to do often.
What’s really fun, if you haven’t done it yet, is the rear lights.