How Many Ford Mechanics Does It Take To Change a Focus Headlight?

I don’t know, but it is going to cost me at least £30 on Saturday to find out!

I set off for work this morning to discover that the passenger side headlamp bulb on the Focus had blown. No problem I thought, when the drivers side had gone, I’d gone over to Halfords on my lunch break and they’d sold me a new bulb, and even fitted it in about 10 minutes.

Today, the guy at Halfords wouldn’t do it, and suggested I either do it myself, or take it to a Ford dealer, as he said it was too fiddly. (The point of the service I thought was to do a fiddly job for you).

I phoned the Ford dealer nearest to work, who was proposing to charge me £30 for the pleasure, but described how to do it over the phone (basically unscrew the bolts holding the light in place, and get the whole unit out) and suggested I should be able to do it, so tonight I thought I’d do it myself…

A lot of hassle later I still haven’t changed the bulb, mainly because I can’t get it out as the battery mounting blocks the back of the headlight cluster. I’ve tried removing the headlight to get at it that way, but it is blocked by a screw underneath somewhere that I can’t find (and the Ford dealer didn’t mention), and the front grille, that includes the locking mechanism for the bonnet. From previous experience with Ford plastics I’m loathed to force it as it will probably break. Much to my disgust it does look like I’m going to end up having to pay a Ford dealer to change the bulb for me.

Apparently the new Mondeo and Fiesta just tell you to remove the headlamp, and then say that you should have the headlight alignment checked by a dealer. Certainly when I phoned Reg Vardy to book it in for Saturday morning, the person making the booking didn’t seem surprised.

A definite Ford money making scheme methinks…

223 thoughts on “How Many Ford Mechanics Does It Take To Change a Focus Headlight?”

  1. I have got a 56 focus tdci and 08 fiesta zetec's.changed my headlights 2 H.I.D's and i had no problem wat so eva takin the light out and puttin it in

  2. Ok, not quite sure why it seems to be costing everyone double figures and a headache to change a headlight bulb..have read quite a few comments here and the more I read the more confused I'm getting.

    Admittedly the thought of doing it yourself is somewhat worrying, but have just needed to replace the dipped headlight bulb in an 08 Ford Focus Titanium and it took me all of 10 minutes to do.. I did take about 15 to read the manual which wasn't much help as it missed out one vital part, so it was ' too hell with the manual ' and found it out myself.

    There is one top screw to undo (normally grey) and after undoing this you put your hand down to the other side of the light unit and push down a long plastic bar which releases the whole unit. After replacing the bulb which was just a matter of pulling off the rubber cover, removing the connector, replacing bulb, connector and rubber cover, you just put the light back in, the 2 bars snap in place at the bottom then screw the 1 screw back in and your all done!

    The bulb cost me £3:09 from LDS Motor Factors in Barry (nr. Cardiff in South Wales)

    Halfords wanted to charge me £9:99 for the bulb and an extra £5:50 to fit it. Ford wanted to charge me £30 for fitting plus the bulb on top..I didnt even dare to ask how much the bulb was!!

    My advice would never to go to Halfords OR a main Ford dealer as they both rip you off!!

    Maybe the older models are somewhat harder to replace bulbs in but the 2008 model is a doddle..
    Perhaps I should do a blog on how to change light bulbs in Ford Focus's the easy way lol..
    If you have an 08 Focus and havin problems changing a bulb, give me a shout [email protected] and I will be more than happy to help you 😀

    1. Yes thanks for the extra info about pushing down on the long plastic bars which releases the whole unit.
      I could see the one nearest to the engine but had to use a torch to see the one nearest to the wing.
      And none of this is mentioned in the Ford manual, Bastards!
      As you say, once that is done it’s a 2 minute job!
      Thanks again!

      This was on an 08 Focus!

  3. Hi chaps, sorry to appear thick but on my 2008 focus I cant identify the long plastic bar, any pointers appreciated

  4. Cheers Lostboy – certainly wasnt obvious – but after reading your post took 5min tops. Would probably have dismantled front of car to find out how to do it otherwise….

    Spencer – sure youve done it by now – but on my 08 focus its 2 short plastic bars – one of which i needed a screwdriver to reach.

  5. On the driver’s side it’s somewhat more difficult to see the plastic bar. Have a look on the passenger side and you’ll see the tab / bar next to the mount, halfway down the assembly. I found it by putting my fingers behind the assembly and pushing a flat tab that I touched… Headlight popped out easily

  6. i have a 2005 focus built in 2004. just changed the bulbs, easiest way is to remove the headlight, there are 2 screws on top of light which are easy to get at, but the other screw is under the wing. remove the cover under the engine, 3 screws at the back, 2 screws at the front ant 2 screws in each wheel arch. once this is removed, you can get to the screws inside the wing. remove this then pull the headlight out (you may need to remove front grill (2 screws). once headlight is out it is plain sailing from there to change bulbs

  7. Hi

    I changed my Focus 09 pllated headlights no problems (after reading several forums and u tube video clips!) Do I need to align the headlights on a 09 plate. They were fine before?

  8. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU – I spent 30 minutes trying to “get to” my Ford’s headlamp…now I have a mechanic changing the lamp.
    I agree with your assertion that Ford creates these repair nightmares to ensure $$$$ for their dealerships.

    1. I am having the same problem trying to change the sidelight. One forum said that you need to use pliers on the long plastic thing (looks like a ice lolly stick) and pull straight up. Apparently you dont twist as it may snap off?? Also, dont try this in icy weather as plastic and easier to snap in cold. I dont know how reliable that info is so prob best to search around. I havent had chance to do mine yet, let me know how you go.

      1. By Lin “the long plastic thing (looks like a ice lolly stick)” which is pulled out to get to the side light. Does any one know where to buy these from as I have snapped one of mine and now the side light doesnt sit in properly and comes on & goes out quite frequently when turned on.


        1. Hi John, I was led to believe that Ford charge for a whole unit! Not sure how true that is. i think it depends on model / year. Best to ask at local garage. Sorry couldnt be of more help, good luck.

  9. Hello People,
    Yep, there’s a lot of this crap “design” about: to really suffer get yourselves a Renault Modus (Google “Modus headlamp change”. You won’t be doing that one at the side of the road! Makes a bit of a mockery of those countries that have a legal requirement to carry spare bulbs in your vehicle.

    The bit below has turned into a bit of a long rant. Sorry bout that, but this “modern design” malady is a lot more general than you think. I’m posting it to the Renault forum too, as they’ll identify with it very readily.

    I’ve got a 1994 vintage Renault Espace, a vehicle whose MPV concept, fibreglass body shell, galvanised chassis, 7 seats with a variety of configurations and 2 litre fuel-injected engine makes it a very good choice for my needs. I’ve got a couple of them, one being one of the first of the curvy-shaped variety of Espace. Amongst many “design” improvements/foibles over the squarer-shaped Espace the washer bottle sits inside the front bumper (passenger side) so any replacement needs the bumper to come off..cos that’s the only way you can access the washer bottle mounting bolts.which means undoing the mounting bolts (some almost invisible/difficult to see/access) on both sides of the engine bay for the various ECU computer/relay modules so you can move them and their cables to one side (in very little space) to reach the bumper mounting bolts (oh and you need to firstly remove the big air filter container after disconnecting it from the intake trunking to deal with the above on the passenger side). Oh and the bumper still can’t come off cos you haven’t yet removed the headlamps because there are two hidden rivets underneath the headlamps. God knows what Renault would charge you for a new washer bottle (cos its shape is unique so you won’t be getting one off the shelf at your local motor stores) but throw in the above rigmarole and the reassembly is the reverse of disassembly bit and I reckon you’d be lucky to get away with £150 at least just to have a duff washer bottle fixed! Oh and it has 3 pumps on that bottle so the possibilities of pump failure (with much the same access problems) could lead to some nice earners for your local dealer too!

    Oh and one brilliant design innovation they just had to do to improve it over the square model has just cost me a cracked cylinder head on my Espace which was running fine at 155,000 miles +. There followed the pain of doing 2 engine out exercises (remove one from donor vehicle, remove the other from the curvy Espace with the now cracked head) and the placement into the curvy Espace of the donor engine. All done outside on the drive (no garage).
    The reason for this exercise in mechanical purgatory was that Renault moved so much stuff into the engine bay in the redesign (including the ECU and many of the relays that had previously lived in the cushy and dry environment of the cabin at the bottom of the radio stack) that now the only place for the engine air intake was just ahead of the front wheel on the passenger side. Hit deepish water (and not that deep, maybe 5″ or 6″) as I did on a dark country lane at a quite slow speed (as it was hosing down) and my hot engine objected violently to being asked to become a water pump as it ingested cold water. Result cylinder head cracked! On the old square Espace my air intake is via the front grill (a good 2 feet above road level).
    On the subject of engine removal: you can’t get an engine crane into position to lift the engine until you strip out the heater/blower box (big) with its mounting bolts right back on the firewall and again very difficult to access. Oh and you still can’t remove the heater box unless you remove the wiper mechanism first. We won’t mention the wonders of the combined adjusters/mounting plate for the alternator/power-steering pump (which plate/mounting has to be partially dismantled to allow the power-steering pump to remain behind during engine removal). As for the pipework/fittings around/under the injection manifold ’tis a wonder to behold (what you can see of it). Taking of many photos is recommended if you wish to be able to refit it and get all the hoses back into place. The intake manifold flange to cylinder head is part of that wonder to behold too: 8 nuts on 8 studs and the bottom 4 just visible (removable by something like 1/16th of a turn at a time using a very short open-ended spanner (only thing that will fit!). As for actually pulling the engine out: on my 1984 Renault Trafic: easy: the front cross-member of the chassis unbolts so the engine is simply wheeled out on the crane. On the Espace the front cross-member is welded into place. Much juggling/swearing, altering of chain and lift positions is needed to get the engine out.
    No pain, no gain exemplified!

  10. 2010 Focus Dipped Headlight change.
    Mine was overdue a MOT but needed headlight changing. manual with car says ‘remove screw from top of light fitting’. Does not mention about the two clips I now understand are underneath-inaccessible as usual. Booked in for MOT and told them it needed the light changing before testing which they said OK will do. £ 45.00 cost. After MOT theres a failure certificate and a pass certificate. Good I thought all done. NO after a day or two find light not working and a bulb under the car seat. 20 mile round trip to workshop needed so, found a guy down the road to do it for me. So much for Ford Main Dealer servicing.

  11. Halfords in Great Yarmouth changed the low beam bulbs on my Focus 2011. He said it was fiddly, but he had no problems doing it. Great job.

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