Before you try removing the headlight housings, check for a blown fuse first, since the headlight circuits on these cars are fused. The fuse is located on the regular fuse panel inside the car, on the left side of the dashboard behind the removable cover.
Well, since there are no visible screws anywhere around, how do I get the headlight out? It’s not that hard at all.
Open the hood. Locate the seam between the nosepiece and the front fender (either side). Go up between the first two fender mounting bolts and look down a few inches. See a small knob sticking out at you? That is a release lever for the headlight assembly. Push in on it slightly and pull all the way up as far as the lever will go.
Now push on the headlight from behind with one hand and be prepared to catch the assembly with the free hand from the front. It may take a bit of a push because there is some gooey adhesive between the headlight and the fender.
Once you have the headlight out, pull the connector off the back of the housing and take the headlight somewhere where it is easy to work on. Put it on a pillow or something soft so you don’t risk scratching the lens.
There is a black plastic cover on the back of the housing. See a tab on it? Push on this tab and pull the cover down to expose the bulbs.
There is a metal spring clip that holds these bulbs in place. Undo this and the bulb will fall out. Take out the new bulb and compare it with the one you are replacing. Make sure the wattage is correct, since they are both H1 bulbs.
Never touch the glass part of the bulb itself with your fingers.
Use the soft cloth to handle the bulb if needed. Line up the tabs of the bulb base with the slots in the reflector housing and drop the bulb in. Put the spring clip back on and make sure the ends of the clip are in securely. Put the bulb cover back on.
Now is the time to clean up the mess around the fender where the headlight mounts. Remember seeing that nasty-looking goo seep out from around the rubber seal on your headlights? That’s the adhesive I was talking about earlier.
Take the adhesive remover on the paper towels and remove this stuff from the fender before putting the headlight back in. Don’t remove all of it from behind the headlight itself, as it is there to keep excess amounts of water from getting behind the headlight. Just remove enough to where it won’t make a mess anymore. A little wax around the mounting area on the fender will detail things out nicely.
Position the headlight up to the fender. Push on the wire connector. Line up the tabs on the headlight assembly to the slots in the headlight housing in the fender and push the whole thing in. Sometimes things won’t line up on the first try, but keep trying. The headlight should go up against the fender fairly easily.
Once you get it to this point, grab the release lever, push all the way down, and lock the headlight assembly into place.
Don't know if this link will open for you, but it is the VW manual pages for 2006-08 new headlight removal procedure. Shows the 5mm hex lock/unlock tab, that requires jiggling to release the assembly, and shows the tab that will next need to be pressed to completely remove assembly.
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This is not a fun job. The headlight retention system sometimes becomes locked up due to dust and grime on the mechanism. Even if things are clean, it is VERY difficult. Take my word for it, a VW dealer is the best bet for you. The headlamp mounting system on the Beetle is one of the stupidest setups I've came across in 45 years of fixing VW's. And you can bet VW designed it to force you to go to the dealer.
Open the hood of your Beetle and look between the first two fender-mounting bolts. Then, look down a few inches from there. There is a small knob, which is the release knob for the headlight-housing assembly.
Push the release knob down and then all the way up as far as it will go.
Push the headlight housing forward from the back of the housing.
Unplug the headlight connector from the back of the headlight.
Push down on the plastic tab on the back of the headlight housing and slide the black plastic cover down to reveal the headlight.
Remove the spring clip from the back of the headlight by pulling it off with your fingers. The headlight bulb will come out of the back of the headlight housing when you do this.
Install the new headlight bulb and replace the spring clip to secure the headlight to the housing. Installation of the removed components is the reverse of removal.
This is based on my 2001 Beetle, so hopefully they didn't make it any more complicated by the 2006 model year.
Open the hood and look at the inside of the headlight housing. Going from the back of the housing toward the front, there's a metal clip, then a plastic lever, then a little rectangular button with dots on it. These are all right next to each other. Pop off the metal clip, press down on the little rectangular button, then pull up on the plastic lever. It's kind of like a childproof pill bottle cap, I guess. Once you've done all those maneuvers, the headlight housing should slide out the front. Then you can unplug the wires and replace the whole unit, or open up the unit and replace just the bulb.
Since you're working on the driver's side, you'll also have the added joy of trying to work around the battery compartment. You may have to take the battery cover off to get enough room.