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Mazda MX-5 mk.1 headlight bulb replacement guide

It’s remarkably dangerous to drive with one headlight out—not necessarily because it reduces your vision, but because it reduces your visibility to other road users. It’s all too easy to look like a motorcyclist, and hence a much narrower hazard, to a tired driver, with potentially lethal results.

It’s therefore wise to get a blown headlamp bulb changed as quickly as possible. On the Mark 1 Mazda MX-5 (Miata in the USA, Eunos Roadster in Japan), while it’s not as straightforward as on some cars, it’s nevertheless not a difficult procedure, as the following guide will show. I’d recommend the purchase of the Veloce Mazda MX-5 1.8i enthusiast’s manual (if you have the 1.6i, this version of the manual is preferable), which assisted me along the way. As for the replacement bulb itself, you need a 12V 60/55W bulb, such as this Lucas LLB472 bulb. I obtained one from my trusty local mechanic (thanks Gary!), who was even kind enough to drop it off at my house.

  1. Turn the lights off, and raise the headlights using the centre console switch.
  2. Remove the four screws, two on each side, on the sides of the headlight. These hold the plastic headlight surround in place. Be careful when removing them, since they each have two small washers on them.
    One side of the headlight assembly

    Mazda MX-5 headlight
    The other side of the headlight assembly

    One of the four screws to be removed. Beware of losing the two washers on each screw
  3. Lift the headlight surround away.
    Remove surround
  4. The screws that hold the headlight unit should now be visible. Be careful: there are three that hold the headlight in place, and two others that merely adjust the headlight beam. Don’t touch the latter, and be careful with the others, as I’ll explain.
    The screws to be removed are highlighted by green circles. Don’t touch the two screws marked with red crosses.
  5. You need to loosen, not remove, the three that are spaced roughly 120 degrees apart. When I first did this, I didn’t realise that I didn’t need to remove them, and indeed it’s quite tricky to remove them all, due to their positions. Just loosen them enough to allow the shiny headlight retention ring to rotate slightly, causing the screws to line up with the larger holes in the ring. Have WD-40 at the ready to lubricate them.
    One of the three screws to be slackened, in the locked position

    With the screw slackened, the ring can be rotated to this position.
  6. Rotate the retention ring and remove it. In my case, it had become stuck to the headlight unit, so I ended up removing the unit at the same time, as described in the next step.
    Remove retaining ring
  7. Carefully start to remove the headlight unit.
    Remove unit carefully
  8. The wiring loom will be connected to the back of the unit: disconnect it to release and remove the unit completely.
    The connector

    Disconnect connector
  9. Pull the dust boot off. Note any damage: if it’s no longer sitting snugly over the assembly, you’ll need to replace it soon.
    Remove dust boot
  10. Undo the bulb clip.
    Clip holding the bulb

    Unclip bulb
  11. Remove the bulb carefully.
    Remove bulb
  12. Install the replacement bulb, making sure you don’t touch the bulb with bare fingers—this can leave a residue on the bulb that leads to the bulb’s premature destruction. Clip the bulb in.
    Insert new bulb
  13. Reassemble carefully.

With your new headlamp bulb thus installed, you’ll be all set to get safely back on the road.