Was replacing the front left marker light on a 2012 VW Passat when the bulb just bumped off and fallen off the holder inside in headlight fixture.

Any tips on how to remove the bulb from the fixture without removing the grill and headlight fixture itself?

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  • 1
    Will a magnet fish it out, or lift it up the front "glass" of the headlight so you can get hold of it from inside? The base part of a typical halogen bulb that clips into the bulb holder looks like a bit of pressed steel, but I haven't got one here to try if it is magnetic or not. But If you broke the glass bulb off the base by "bumping" it on something, this won't work.
    – alephzero
    Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 11:30
  • @alephzero Thank you. I got combined your idea with Solar Mike's and bought a flexible magnetic pickup tool. Full answer is in the answers below. Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 3:49

2 Answers 2


A bent stiff wire with a sticky end...

  • Thank you. I ended buying a flexible magnetic pickup tool that did the job. I updated an answer with more details. Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 3:48

My thoughts were:

  1. Use a vacuum suction to try and grab it
  2. Get a double-sided tape on a wire and try to tape it out and grab it.
  3. Use magnets.

What I ended up using was a $9 19" flexible magnetic pick-up tool I got from a local Harbor Freight (hardware store). At first I tried to pry out the bulb via the Daytime Driving Lights (DRL) bulb hole, but I kept on failing. I realized that when the bulb died it melted the housing area and made it to a shape that the bulb was not able to pass through (in reality, I cannot install a new bulb because the bulb fixture wont stay fixed withing the headlight fixture).

To take out the bulb, I removed the headlight bulb, and pried the bulb using the Magnetic Pick-up tool (can see the two empty bulb slots in the last picture below). It worked.

Pictures for reference.

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