How to Change Headlights on Mazda Carsby Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017
The headlights on the Mazda car are a plastic housing with a halogen bulb that installs from the rear of the assembly. If one of the bulbs burns out, it is a good idea to change them as a set so that the light emitted from them is the same color and intensity. This will also keep the life expectancy of the bulbs very close to each other. Replacement bulbs are available at any auto parts store.
Under The Hood:
- How to Change Headlights on a B3000
- How to Change Headlights in a Mazda 6
- How to Change a Headlight on a Mazda 3
- How to Replace a Headlight on a Mazda 626
- How to Replace a Headlight in a 2002 Mazda
Open the hood of your B3000 and locate the negative battery cable on the battery terminal. Remove the retaining bolt with a wrench and lift the cable off the terminal.
Locate the electrical connector on the rear of the headlight bulb, lift the locking tab, and slide the connector off the bulb. Lay the wire and connector off to one side for now.
Turn the locking ring on the back of the headlight assembly counterclockwise 1/8-turn then remove the headlight bulb from the assembly. Discard the old bulb.
Insert a new bulb into the headlight assembly then turn the locking ring clockwise to secure it. Push the electrical connector onto the rear of the bulb, making sure the locking tabs engages. Repeat the process on the opposite headlight.
Connect the negative battery cable to the negative terminal on the battery. Insert the retaining bolt and tighten it with a wrench. Close the hood and test the repair by turning on the headlights.
Ensure that the Mazda 6 ignition key is not in the ignition and the power switch for the headlights is in the "Off" position. Some manuals will tell you to disconnect the battery--but unless you're being careless, this is not necessary in order to replace a headlight.
Release the hood latch. Open the hood, and locate the back of the headlight assembly. You will see two separate black plastic dome covers with the words "Top," "Open" and "Close" stamped on them. Turn the cover in the direction of the word "Open" until the cover separates from the headlight assembly. Set the cover aside.
Use a small mirror to assist your vision, by positioning it down near the opening of the headlight assembly. You will be able to see the wire plugged into the blades of the headlight as well as the wire retaining clip that holds the headlight inside the assembly.
Pull the wire harness off the blades of the headlight.
Note the screw on one side of the wire retaining clip. This also acts as a hinge for the clip, so on the opposite side of the screw locate the release tab of the clip. Push inward on the tab and then slightly away from the locking notch. The clip will open and allow you to pull the headlight out of the assembly.
Note the position of the flat edge of the headlight base. The base is round except for one spot. This it the top of the headlight; you must install the replacement headlight in the same position.
Put on the latex gloves before handling the replacement headlight. Oils on your hand can create weak spots on this high-intensity headlight bulb and cause it to burn out prematurely.
Insert the headlight into the assembly with the flat part of the base in the upward position. Swing the wire spring clip into position and push inward on it again, then toward the locking notch, until it latches properly. This is more difficult to reattach than to disengage, and the mirror will help you out tremendously here.
Plug the wire harness onto the blades of the replacement headlight, and test it by turning on the headlights. Check the gasket of the black cover to make sure it's seated properly. Replace the cover by inserting it and turning it toward the word "Close" until the word "Top" appears on top.
Items you will need
H1 replacement headlight(s)
Purchase a new headlight bulb. When purchasing a new bulb, give the store clerk your VIN (vehicle identification number) to make sure the bulb will fit your Mazda 3.
Disconnect the vehicle's battery (see Resources). The battery box on the Mazda 3 can be found on the driver's side of the engine bay, close to the windshield. The battery should be disconnected every time you work with electrical components.
Locate the headlight bulb module, located behind the headlight assembly. The Mazda 3 has ample room to access it without removing any other components. Turn the module counterclockwise to release it.
Remove the bulb by turning it counterclockwise and lifting. Discard the old bulb. Place the new bulb in the slot and turn it clockwise to lock it.
Place the module back into the rear of the headlight assembly and turn it clockwise to lock it back in place. Reconnect the vehicle's battery.
Items you will need
Mazda 3 headlight bulb
Pliers (to disconnect battery)
Open the hood of your 626 and remove the connector from the back of the headlight. Push down on the small, plastic release tab on the top of the headlight connector and pull it off of the headlight.
Pry the rubber dust cover from the back of the headlight housing.
Loosen, but do not remove, the screw that holds the spring clip on the back of the headlight in place.
Pull the spring clip off the back of the headlight. It won't come off all of the way, but that's OK. It will come off just enough to remove the headlight.
Pull the headlight out of the headlight housing and install the new headlight. Installation is the reverse of removal.
Items you will need
Replacement headlight bulbs
Turn the headlight switch and engine off. Life the hood and support it with the prop rod.
Remove the two 10mm bolts from the plastic coolant reservoir (if you're replacing the passenger-side headlight bulb in a Mazda 626 with the V6 engine). Lift the coolant reservoir up and set it back a few inches--but do not disconnect the hoses. Moving the reservoir allows access to the back of the headlight. (If replacing the driver-side headlight on a 626 with the V6 engine, this is not necessary; nor is it necessary on the other 2002 Mazda 626s.)
Squeeze the sides of the electrical connector attached to the back of the headlight. Pull the connector rearward to unplug it. Twist off the headlight sealing cover to access the headlight bulb.
Unhook the outboard side of the headlight retaining wire; pull the wire back to allow removal of the bulb. Grasp the bulb by its plug; pull it straight back to remove it.
Insert the new bulb. Move the retaining wire back into position. Twist the sealing cover on and attach the connection into the new bulb's plug. Position the plastic coolant reservoir back in place, if moving it was necessary. Tighten the two bolts.
Items you will need
Replacement bulb 9003
10mm socket wrench (V6 626 only)