Home / DIYs / LED City Lights DIY for B7 Audi A4/S4/RS4

 

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I recently took my headlights off to replace a faulty D1S bulb, so while I was at it I used the opportunity to update the City Lights, too. Unlike my LED DRL DIY, these bulbs actually don’t need resistors as the can-bus module is built-in, so the installation was plug-n-play! Another great thing about this mod is that you don’t have to remove the bumper/headlights to install, as you can access the bulbs through the side port/opening of the headlight, making them very easy to install. This DIY should be applicable to all B7 Audi A4, S4 or RS4 regardless of whether it is equipped with xenon or halogen headlights – my 2006 Audi S4 with bi-xenon headlights is pictured in this post.

Update: after using these for several months, these may trigger a “parking light” error when you first turn your car on, but that will go away as soon as you turn your main beams on, or as the car warms up. It doesn’t happen every time, just some times. If you want to add a resistor to fix this so they NEVER show an error, I have amended this post with details on how to do that!

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The exact bulb I’m using is a CAN-BUS enabled 194 wedge bulb made by JDM ASTAR that was purchased off Amazon. So far I’ve used them for about a week without an errors, flickering or other issues, so the error-canceling technology (CAN-BUS) built-in to these bulbs seem to work well with the 2006-2008 B7 Audi A4/S4/RS4. If you try a different bulb, be sure to buy one that is smaller, as the hole/opening in the headlight housing will not accommodate anything much wider than stock, and you’ll want to make sure it has a built in error-canceler/CAN-BUS system otherwise you’ll need resistors.

As you can see, the color of the bulbs is white with a hint of blue, which matches my other LEDs quite well. Despite this being a pretty small bulb, it emits nice light and looks very good. The City Lights, unlike the DRL bulbs, come on when the parking lights or headlights are engaged, but are not typically on during daytime use – they’re basically the opposite of a daytime running light and usually only come on in night-time use. If you have bluer headlight bulbs such as 5000K+ D1S bulbs, then these LED City Lights will match those quite nicely, as opposed to the stock 194 halogen bulbs that look yellow in comparison.

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This is a very easy mod so not much else to write here – it’s a great value at under $15 with shipping and tax, and seems to work as well as other bulbs I’ve seen on sites like ECS Tuning for almost tripe the price! If you have any questions or issues, post in the comments.

Adding Resistors (Optional)

If you’d like to add resistors, you can pick up some fairly low watt and ohm resistors for this. While a number of different resistors will work, Audi’s CAN-BUS system only looks at Ohms, so pick up anything greater than 6hms with the lowest wattage you can find and you’ll be good. I went with these resistors, then ran the wires outside of the headlight and mounted to the inner fender:

If you wanted resistors that are “plug and play” in terms of install, then pick up these instead – they’ll run a little hotter, but as long as you mount to metal such as the inner fender it shouldn’t be an issue:

 

About the author: Nick Roshon

 

Nick has been an Audi owner and fanatic for the last 10 years, and started Nick's Car Blog in 2009 to share DIYs and pictures of his A4. Currently he drives a 2012 Audi TT-RS, and has previously owned a B7 S4, B7 A4, and an 82 Audi Coupe (GT) LeMons race car. In his day job, Nick is a digital marketer and lives in San Diego, CA, USA.

 

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54 Comments

  1. Do you have to twist the socket inside the headlight housing counter clockwise to remove it or does it just pull out with a little force? Thanks for the help and great job man your S4 looks fantastic

  2. Yes, twist to the left (counter clockwise) then pull out to remove it. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Hi Nick,
    I have to say you have done a very nice job both with your cars and this blog – a wealth of information here. It has inspired me do take on many of these mods (including the carbon fiber hood I wrote you about recently) and a few others for my brilliant black 2008 S4 cabrio. I am working the drl and city light led mods and am having “some” difficulty removing the city light from the passenger side due to access and the rad pipe. Any tips, tricks, or otherwise to get that baby out of there (less removing the bumper…).

    Many thanks,
    Tony

  4. It’s definitely a pain, Tony – I usually just wait until I need to take the bumper off for something else, then tinker with all of my headlight bulbs at the same time. You can sometimes use some needlenose pliers to get in there and twist the bulb to pull it out, it doesn’t need much pressure it’s just an awkward angle to fit your hands in at…

  5. Wow, thanks for this. The previous owner put in some bulb that has basically melted itself and burnt the housing around it. I didn’t see an easy way to get to this bulb in my car though, am I missing something? 2006 B7 S4.

  6. There is a cap on the side of the headlight housing that you press two tabs open and then can access it. It’s not in there very snug so you can twist and pull it out pretty easily.

  7. Sooo much better than the Ziza LED City Lights I’ve been using from ECS. I thought they were great until I began having the flickering issues recently. I swapped them between each headlight housing and recently upgraded to the European headlight assemblies and the Ziza still would flicker or stay off on the passenger side so I decided to try these. Ran across your post, purchased, installed and actually preferred the look of these and they work! Even better in my opinion too. I have 6000k Xenons and these compliment very well. In case it matters, I got my European headlight assemblies brand new shipped from Latvia in Europe for $600 flat. I paid $695 but they weren’t n stock and a month later they let me have the set for $600 shipped. Assemblies were manufactured January 2015 & August 2014 sealed in factory boxes OEM. A steal compared to ECS Tuning prices of $1,200~$1,600. Purchased my headlights through Ebay but this is the dealer website: http://www.autobodyshop.lv & https://www.facebook.com/cars245 Pics of my car is on their Facebook, pics show the Ziza LED City Lights before crapping out on me.

  8. Nice! I know a few people who have bought the headlights on Lativa, I actually just picked up a drivers side assembly from them since my auto-leveling motor went out.

  9. Nick, nice write up on the LED city lights. I was having some issues with the ECS Ziza light and switched them out to these. They work great! One thing thats been bugging me is my Audi will say ‘bulb out’ for both city bulbs. That is until I turn them on. Then the warning will go away. Any suggestions to what might be happening?

  10. I get that intermittently too, I think the bulbs just need to warm up for the resistors to take full effect. It’s very sporadic for me, so it hasn’t bothered me some. Hopefully it’s the same for you?

  11. I bought the LEDs you linked to on Amazon, and they seem to be quite fragile. The first one I tried to install broke off between the LEDs and the connector when I was inserting it into the headlight assembly. Right now I’m on the fence between asking for a refund and ordering a second set and keeping a spare. I am afraid I will break another, it just snapped under modest pressure trying to insert it fully into the socket. They’re inexpensive and they look great once installed!

  12. Eh, it gets to me sometimes. OCD with my Audi haha. Wondering if I fuse a resistor to the city bulb wire I can make the warning signal go away. Either that or try to Vag-Com it. Next time I’m under the hood I’ll see if I can make it happen.

  13. Just fyi, I sanded down the side edges of the bulb board and bottom base nub that was protruding on mine when they arrived. Made it fit more snug and less risk before I inserted mine into the tight headlamp housings. FYI, I also get the bulb out warning briefly but only when I crank the car and while there off, if I turn city lights on and back off, no warnings and never warns when I turn lights on anyways at night. Had them for a few weeks now ; )

  14. I continually get the ‘right/left parking brake’ (aka City Lights) warning on my 2006 B7 S4 25th Anniversary edition utilizing the JDM ASTARs referenced above. Granted, I’ve only driven it when it’s been dark w/headlights on a few times. Any thoughts? Has anyone added an additional resistor?

  15. Yeah, I’m getting this now too, although very sporadic. I’ll update the post. I’m sure a small resistor would do the trick.

  16. Has anyone found any good-looking aftermarket headlights with the built-in LED trim that are compatible for use with HID? I would like to mod my headlights but I currently have HID’s and there seems to be nothing that is compatible. Looking for something similar to this: http://www.carid.com/2006-audi-s4-headlights/anzo-halo-projector-headlights-44171658.html#product-details-tab

  17. Thanks Nick, appreciate the blog and your help! Any idea if disconnecting the battery and then reconnecting would help at all?

  18. @Matt – can’t say I’ve tried it, but I suppose it doesn’t hurt to give it a go? You’ll need to reprogram your key, but that’s easy to do (turn key on/off but dont start engine 7 times and you’re set). LMK if it works and i’ll update the post.

  19. Check out fly300kts kits, his email is TBM850@GMAIL.COM

  20. So, I disconnected the positive terminal last night while installing the license plate resistor….the error for the city lights has stopped for the moment since reconnecting:)! We’ll see long that lasts.

  21. Nice. I just got the lights in the mail, also drl’s. Think I’ll wait on your report..

  22. gregory douglas

    Hi Nick, I have a question. I had a bunch on white led’s for the city/park lights what wattage and ohms resistors can i use with them to use as a city/park lights.

  23. From what I understand, only the Ohms matter for Audi’s CANBUS system, not the wattage, so go low wattage. Generally for a bulb this size something in the range of 6-8 Ohms is sufficient, since these have built-in resistors you may need a little less than that since the built-in resistors probably have a small amount of Ohms already being added.

  24. So should I get resistors for city lights too, or just disconnect and reconnect the terminal?

  25. Most likely, I had the warning come on again yesterday.

  26. I just ordered some 8 ohm resistors to try those out too, we’ll see if that does the trick.

  27. This is a great blog, Nick. Really appreciate all of your posts (and ideas!). Just picked up an 08 B7 of my own after a decade of running an MK4 Jetta. I love my VWs I guess.

    Any chance you have an update on whether your new resistors solved the error in the dash…or have you not received them yet?

  28. Thanks Desmond. I’ve gotten some resistors in but haven’t installed anything yet, the error really doesn’t bother me since it only comes on if my headlights aren’t on at start up, and every morning I leave for work it is dark out and coming home I’m in a parking garage, so the error barely ever comes on for me. I’ll try to get around to it this week 🙂

  29. Hey Nick, could you direct me to a purple LED bulb of this same size that I could use for my City Lights? Thanks!

  30. Not sure on purple, you might want to check out my site sponsor iJDMToy as they have a huge selection: http://store.ijdmtoy.com/

  31. Was looking to replace the LED bulbs that were in my headlights on a 2008 A4. Ordered the JDM ones you used and to my dismay they don’t really fit through the light housing (they fit, but I had to wedge them in and when trying to remove the bulb housing, the LED stayed wedged in the light housing). Not sure if the housing sizes are different b/t the A4 and S4 (I can’t imagine why they would be). Not sure if anyone else has run into this issue?

  32. Jesse – it is super tight, and you do kind of have to force them through – or you can just sand the ends of them a little and that will help. You do have to be somewhat careful as you don’t want to break them, but they do require some force to push through the opening.

  33. Hey nick. I bought the exact same bulb as u do but my mechanic said its too big to fit it thr housing. any solution? how did u get it to fit in it?

  34. It’ll fit, but it i a REALLY tight squeeze. You have to either apply a little pressure/force to get it through, or you could take some sandpaper and sand down the edges some to make it squeeze through easier.

  35. Hi Nick, checking back to see if you have had time to install the resistors for the city lights that were causing error? If so, did they work? And could you share the link to the resistors?

  36. Hi Taybin – yes, the resistors took care of the problem…check about halfway down the post where I have the “Adding Resistors (Optional)” section and you can see the exact products I used, I went with the first option where you buy the resistors, wire, and wire taps separately so I could mount them out of the way against metal. No problems since then!

  37. Hey Nick
    Just curious exactly which wires need to be spliced with the resistors. I thought I got the right ones, but I keep getting the warning for both sides. Thanks!

  38. There are really only two wires for the City Lights, a blue one and a brown one. You can see a picture of it here: http://i2.wp.com/nickscarblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/IMG_3209.jpg

    Are you sure the wire taps have a good connection? Is the resistor getting hot? If not, you may want to strip the wire a little where the wire tap connects them to make sure they connect wire to wire, those taps don’t always slice through the plastic covering on top of the wire by themselves.

  39. Hi Nick, I wasn’t sure which page to post this question so I hope this works. I have completed all of your lighting mods including using resistors for city lights, daytime running lights and fog lights. Everything is working but I am getting an error on my dash “right mainbeam headlight”. Could you please help me narrow the focus as to what is causing this error? I have checked all connections to bulbs and resistors. Thanks for the help.

  40. Hi Taybin – it’s probably either the right DRL or right City Light, if it were the actual headlight it would dipped headlight. If you turn your headlights on/off again does it go away? If so, it’s probably the city lights. If not, it’s probably DRL. Are the resistors definitely getting hot / carrying load? Sometimes you think you have a connection but it’s not 100% there.

  41. Thanks Nick. After checking the connections again I ended up pulling both the DRL and the city lights to follow the wires to the very end (or beginning?) and it turns out that one of the DRL wires actually came disconnected from the bulb. I knew it was a tight fit and my hands are a bit big for this project but I guess I must have pushed or pulled too hard. All fixed now. Thanks.

  42. Cool, glad it worked out!

  43. Hey Nick.
    The link shows 50W resistor yet the bulb is 5W only. W5W bulbs.
    Is that ok. I will not toast my wiring or blow up a fuse ?
    Thanks.

  44. It will be fine, it just means the resistor is rated to handle up to 50W…these are the same resistors I’m using and have been using on my car for years 🙂

  45. Hi Nick,
    I just bought a 2009 A4 quattro. Left headlight bulb was burned out (xenon hid) I replaced it and thought the day time lights would work but they dont. I think they are called projector lights. How do I fix them? Please advise me.
    Thank you.
    Ricardo Figueroa

  46. Hi Ricardo, there daytime running light is a seperate bulb, check out this post for more info: http://nickscarblog.com/diy/b7-audi-a4-s4-and-rs4-led-daytime-running-lights-drl

  47. Thank you so much for your advice. I so appreciate it. I’ll start working on it right away.

  48. I was replacing an LED that went out on my ’06 a4 and it seems that the T10 socket itself has been broken on the right citylight. Is it easy to replace the socket? Is there something in the socket that needs to be “adjusted? The LED flashes when I wiggle it and I’ve tried numerous bulbs. Please advise.

  49. I’m not really sure what you mean – you don’t need a socket or torq bit to remove the city light…they just screw in and out. Can you take a picture of what you mean? Did the bulb just disconnect from the base?

  50. Thank you for the quick response, Nick. I’ve had LED’s for my city-lights for months. I just had to replace the bulb on the right city-light because it went out. I believe the city-light bulb socket itself is broken because I tried two new LEDs as replacements but they still did not light up. I can get them to light up, however, if I wiggle the LED’s while the are in the socket. That’s what leads me to believe there is something loose in the socket itself. I don’t want to replace the entire socket but I will if I have to. I wanted to know if there was a way to make a firmer connection by using tweezers or something in the socket to tighten it. I’m in upstate NY and it’s freezing out so it’s difficult to do any intricate work with my hands. I hope this makes more sense. I appreciate your help.

    Here’s a link to the socket: https://www.ecstuning.com/b-genuine-volkswagen-audi-parts/front-city-light-bulb-socket-priced-each/8p0941953/

  51. That makes sense Matt. Honestly for $30 I would just replace the socket, all you need to do is splice it in which is probably your easiest course of action. It does sound like the socket is bad if wiggling it helps. Something probably is bent out of shape but tough to say how much playing with it will work, and eventually it will probably loosen and need fixed again.

  52. Michael T Panning

    Glad to see Nick is still monitoring this. I installed these bulbs on my 06 A4 and notice I get a slight flicker out of the passenger side and noticed the drivers side did the same thing! Hoping the 1 replacement bulb will clear that up… also its pretty cold in OH right now for what its worth

  53. If not Michael, then add the resistors in and that should take care of it. Flickering is probably due to the bulbs not drawing enough current.

  54. Michael T Panning

    Sounds good, I figured with my car being an early 06 (non CANBUS) I might be okay but I will tack some resistors in there and see what happens!

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