One of the bulbs in my front passenger side headlamp has blown. It's not the side light or the main beam but the other one that would be used in normal night use.

I have a couple of questions regarding the process to replace it, since I don't actually have a clue what to do but have a fairly comprehensive toolkit available to me, so...

  • What bulb do I need to replace the bulb that has blown?
  • How do I actually get to the bulb to replace it?
  • Once I get at the bulb, is it just a simple case of unscrewing the old one and replacing it?

The car in question is a 2001 Ford Focus EU spec phase 1 hatchback.

2 Answers 2


The first question is easy to answer - find your local automotive parts supplier and they will be able to look up and supply the correct bulb type for you. I would expect it to be either H1 or H3.

Getting to the bulb is often harder - it varies a lot by car. I think the Focus is a more traditional design, so hopefully you can get to it without having to dismantle the car. On the back of the headlamp will be a round cover, these usually have a bayonet type fitment, so you twist them and pull to remove - providing you can actually get to it in the first place!

Once in, pull the plug off the back of the bulb, and you'll find a wire spring clip holding the bulb in - remove this (which can be tricky, depending on how much access you've got), and the bulb should fall out.

Fit the new bulb, making sure not to touch the glass with your fingers - the grease from your fingerprints can cause the bulb to fail prematurely. Refit the spring clip (again, a tricky job), and the plug and cover. Refit anything you had to remove to get to it...

  • 1
    When Nick says not to touch the glass with your fingers, he means bare fingers. Use a clean cloth, paper towel, or wear clean gloves to handle the bulb. Feb 11, 2014 at 12:40

Got this sorted in the end. For this specific model of car (EU spec Ford Focus MK1 [1998 to 2004 in Europe]) the bulb sizes are going to be H4 or H7, depending on whether you need a double filament bulb. The easiest way to tell before you start taking stuff apart is simply look in the head lamp - if you have three bulbs in there, you need H7 and if you only have two bulbs in there you need H4 (since the double filament bulb acts as both your dipped and main beam).

To replace the bulb on the left side of the car as you look at it, right side if you're sat in it (ie: the side that doesn't have the battery) isn't much of a problem, simply remove the back of the headlamp, unclip the wiring and remove the bulb (turn the clip holding it in clockwise), swap it with the new one and put it all back together.

To replace the bulb on the other side of the car (ie: the side with the battery), I had to remove the battery in order to get the back of the headlamp, before unclipping the wiring and removing the bulb (the clip holding it in needed to be turned anti-clockwise on this side).

  • Note; I have tiny hands, if this isn't the case in your instance you might need to fully remove the battery casing in addition to the battery to get the back of the headlamp off.
    – Flyk
    Feb 18, 2014 at 8:21

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