Home / DIYs / Replacement D1S Headlight Bulbs for B7 Audi A4/S4/RS4

 

Replacement HIDs B7 S4

After upgrading my fog lights to 6000K HIDs, my headlights looked yellow in comparison, so I upgraded my OEM D1S headlight bulbs, too, and wanted to share some pointers. This is also great for those who have the dipped headlight warning, as often times replacing the bulbs will take care of this. DIY will work on any xenon-equipped B7 Audi (2006-2008) including the A4, S4 and RS4, but unfortunately replacing the bulbs on your Audi is not as simple as you’d think – you will either need to remove your bumper (and headlight housings) completely from the car, or take apart and move components in the engine bay to access the bulbs. This is still very DIY-able, but don’t think you can do this in 5 minutes like you would on a “normal” car, instead set aside a good hour and plan on doing other mods while you’ve got the bumper off to take advantage, like LED City Lights, LED DRLs, Clear Corner Mod, and even blacked-out headlights, blacked-out grille, or RS4 Grille to complete the look.

Which D1S Xenon Bulbs to Buy?

First, let’s start with what you need to buy, and where I made my first mistake – I went to Amazon and bought the cheapest 6000K bulbs I could find, which cost just $29.95 with free shipping – bad idea! After taking apart the front-end of my car and installing them, I had one burn-out in 30 minutes of use…given how tedious it is to change bulbs on this car, this is not something you want to cheap out on. The OEM bulbs are made by Sylvania/OSRAM and run about $50/bulb and produce light at about 4300K. If you want something that’s a more clean white go for 5000K and for a slightly blue tint go to 6000K, and stick with a major brand like Philips, Sylvania or – I generally don’t recommend anything higher than 6000K as the light is too blue and you actually lose some light output/functionality, so IMO it’s a lose-lose in terms of looks and purpose. I always recommend changing both bulbs at once – even if only one bulb is out, the other one probably isn’t far behind it, so you might as well change the second bulb as a preventative measure and save yourself a headache.

From left to right (and yellowish to bluish) – OEM 4300k bulbs, 5000k Philips bulbs, 6000K Philips bulbs.

If you need new ballasts (i.e. if you are troubleshooting the dipped headlight error), then you can pick these up for $50 per side as well:

How to Install Headlight Bulbs on a B7 Audi

This part isn’t that difficult, just time consuming and annoying. You have two options:

  1. Full Bumper Removal – to remove the headlight housings, you must remove the bumper
  2. Removal of Air Intake and Power Steering Module – and have small hands, too.

While plenty to have claimed to have had success doing this without removing the bumper (Option 2), many have struggled or said it was more difficult to do than just removing the bumper itself, and others have said it was impossible unless you had very tiny hands, so I’m going to ignore this option and focus on Option 1 here – if you want to try Option 2, follow this link on Audizine: http://www.audizine.com/forum/showthread.php/391054-HID-headlight-bulbs-replacement-without-removing-the-front-bumper. Be careful and proceed at your own risk, you do not want to damage any components and also should be gentle with the headlights themselves, especially if you have adaptive headlights as you can break the (pretty fragile) control arms that adjust the beams and then you’re in big trouble…

Bumper Removal

Instead, I prefer just to remove the bumper and be a little more cautious here – removing the bumper really isn’t that bad, you just need to have the right tools. This thread on Audizine has a really good write-up on how to remove the front bumper, so check it out, but first make sure you have what you’ll need – I recommend investing in a flex extension such as this one coupled with a 10mm deep socket to reach the bolts – if you don’t have a flex extension than a wobble extension with a 10mm deep socket will work just fine, you just need some play in it as a straight extension won’t reach at the right angle since there is too much in the way…I also recommend picking up a long T30 screwdriver which will help you remove the headlights with ease, as there is one headlight bolt that is near impossible to loosen without the right tools.

Headlight Removal

Once you have the bumper off, the headlights are held on by three bolts – remove the center one completely, but the inner and outer bolts just need loosened and the headlights slide right out. The inner bolt is easy to get to once the bumper is taken off, but the outer bolt is accessed through a hole in the fender and pretty much impossible to see, so stick your 6″ T30 screwdriver down there and feel for the bolt, then loosen several turns to allow the headlights to slide out. As you slide out the headlight housings, you’ll need to remove the main wiring harness (press in the clip and it slides off) for the headlights.

Bulb Installation

With the headlights off the car, you can easily remove the rear cover using a T20 bit for both bolts, then access the back of the bulbs. The metal arms holding the bulb in should be pushed in (towards the front of the headlight) and then they’ll swing out (to the left or right, away from the bulb) to allow the bulb to come out. Carefully remove the bulb and disconnect the wiring, and be sure not to touch the bulb itself (only the base). To install the new headlights, be very careful not to touch the bulb and follow the same procedure in reverse. At this time, consider changing out any other bulbs you need to, such as turn signals, LEDs, City Lights, etc. as this is the ideal time.

Before tightening the headlights back in completely, plug the harness back in the car and test them to make sure the bulbs fire up. Repeat on both sides and test again.

Aligning the Headlights & Bumper

IMG_3220

Once you’ve verified functionality, start to put everything back together, but don’t tighten the headlight bolts all of the way – once you have your bumper re-installed, you can then make sure the hood, bumper and headlights line up before torquing everything down firmly. You’ll want to tighten the two inner headlight bolts pretty firm, but the middle and outer bolts should be fairly loose. I’ve included a picture of my car with the stock hood so you can see just how well everything should fit back together – no gaps between the hood & top of the bumper, or around the headlight housings and hood/bumper.

Install the bumper next, making sure it sits on the bump stops above the crash bar – if you don’t align this, everything will be off. Close the hood to make sure there is no excessive hood gap, then if all checks out start putting back on the bolts inside the fender liner, followed by the three bolts on top of the bumper that affix the grille, then lastly tighten the headlights. Close the hood again, make note of anything that needs adjustment, then loosen and tighten bolts to align things perfectly in place – trust me, there’s nothing worse than seeing a bad hood gap on these cars, which happens often to those who DIY this and aren’t careful when putting everything back together.

Enjoy!

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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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48 Comments

  1. One quick question Nick, am i supposed to buy d1s bulbs or h7 bulbs for my headlights for my 2008 audi a4?

  2. Adit – if you have xenon/HID headlights, then D1S bulbs. If you have halogen headlights, then H7 is the correct bulb.

  3. Do I need to use a ballast for this? And how do I know if I have HID headlights or halogen headlights? Sorry I’m new to all this

  4. HID bulbs do require a ballast, but it is a seperate component so if you already have xenon/HID lights factory, then you just need to replace the bulb and the ballast can be reused.

    You can tell if you have xenon or halogen based on the light (xenon/HID is very bright, crisp white color VS halogen is dimmer and yellower) as well as if the headlight housing has a projector inside of it or not to focus the beam. In this picture xenon is on top and has the projector inside the housing, the halogen is on the bottom: http://nickscarblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/halogen-vs-xenon-oem-b7-audi-a4.png

  5. I purchased the crescent T30 per the link above but the shaft is actually only 4″ and pretty much useless to get to the deep 3rd bolt. I suggest these http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DTVCX52/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 which were a lifesaver and helped me get the bolt loose within seconds.

  6. Well that’s disappointing, the product said it was supposed to have a 6″ shaft. I found a 12″ one to update in case people don’t want to buy the entire set, although the set is nice too! Thanks for the heads up.

  7. No problem. One other thing, I was experiencing an intermittent error on my dash as follows prior to installing the new Philips bulbs: “Right Main Beam Headlight”. After installation of the new bulbs, I am getting the same error constantly however primarily when I’m not using the headlights. Any thoughts here? Again, any idea if disconnecting the battery and then reconnecting would help at all? Or is this the ballast going bad? The lights look and work fine. Note, I don’t have the fuse in for the auto leveling/etc. as prior to install I got the dipping issue all the time. Would VAGCOM clear this? Thanks for all the insights!

  8. Right Main Beam Headlight can also refer to the DRL, are you running stock DRL bulbs?

  9. Interesting…I wasn’t aware of that. While I replaced the main bulbs I put LED DRLs in w/50W 6ohm resistors and they look great (per your post). Again, I was getting this error prior to this overhaul of all bulbs in the headlight assembly. The right DRL did look burnt out prior to the changes. Thoughts? Appreciate the help!

  10. After disconnecting the positive battery terminal this issue still remains. I’ll have to check the resistor connections next time I have it apart. If you have any other ideas per above please let me know. Thanks Nick!

  11. Just wanted to say thanks Nick. Getting the tools upfront from this post made the job a breeze. Like Matt, I put LED DRLs in at the same time and have intermittent Main Beam notifications with the resistors they supplied.
    Matt – if you purchase some new resistors that do the trick, or find another solution, do post back.

  12. Hey im Pål from Norway,I got a A4 Avant 8ED, B7 BLB if that is helping on some way. i want to change my headlights to something that give out better light. at the night time i do not feel like i get the brightness i need and was woundering if you could recomend any light for me. im also new and sorry if my english is unread able. thx for answer.

  13. Hi Pal – do you have halogen headlights currently? If so, retrofitting a set of xenon housings is a good way to improve light output: http://nickscarblog.com/diy/halogen-to-xenon-conversion-for-b7-audi-a4s-2005-5-2008#comments

  14. Which bulbs did you end up running as far as the kelvins go? I love the way they look on the picture you posted at the top of the page, and would like to have mine looking the same!

  15. Do I need a ballast if I want to put 6k bulbs in my halogen headlights? Also what bulb size would I need?

  16. If you’re just doing bulbs with xenon gas in them, you can just buy H7 bulbs that are a direct replacement and no, ballast is not needed. This is different than a true HID system, which would require ballasts, projector beams, etc. which is a much larger effort, found here: http://nickscarblog.com/diy/halogen-to-xenon-conversion-for-b7-audi-a4s-2005-5-2008

  17. I love your site nick its very informal and helps a lot .thanks man??

  18. Kermit here forgot to say i have a audi b7 s4 2006 keep me intouch

  19. Will do! Be sure to subscribe for email updates of new posts, there is a form in the right sidebar or on my homepage to do that 🙂

  20. Nick are the lights you have 5500k and if so what brand did you use because 5500 i cant find on the major brands, the only top brand i could find was osram, 6000k is offered by the major brands though. thank you

  21. If you want 5500K, then OSRAM is an OEM supplier and top tier brand, you can pick these up: http://amzn.to/20ygIon

    If you want something cheaper, the Morimoto bulbs are pretty good for the money although definitely a step down from OSRAM in terms of quality: http://amzn.to/1P2k4c2

  22. thanks nick, and btw why did you get rid of the 6000k and went with the 5500k? just curious bc i also have the hid fog lights idk if 5500 will be too light

  23. I think the 5500 were on sale at the time and I figured they’d be more OEM, although in hindsight I probably should have done 6k just to match the fog lights. There isn’t a huge difference but maybe a little one.

  24. Hey I want to change my audi a4 2005 headlights and get something attractive. What do you suggest

  25. The bulbs or the entire housing? My bulb recommendations are in this post, but personally I don’t like any of the aftermarket headlight options – OEM xenons are my favorite look.

  26. I bought 6000k bulbs and they came with new connectors. Am I supposed to replace them with the new bulbs? Or just plug and play and that’s it?

  27. Just plug and play, the bulb includes an entire new base / connecting point so it’s more than just a glass bulb I suppose.

  28. I have a 2009 v6 turbo and the passenger light went out. What type of bulb or light do you recommend?

  29. Hi – I believe you’re referring to an S4, correct? You’ll want D3S bulbs rather than the ones in this post. Here is a good DIY: http://www.audiworld.com/forums/s4-b8-platform-discussion-134/diy-hid-bulb-replacements-2772160/ and here is a good product to buy: http://amzn.to/1nLtNw1

  30. Hey nick I installed new hid bulbs today and I went to go driving at night and the lights go out while driving and when I made my turn signal or turn fog lights it would go out also and the headlight dipping turns on I side I have a audi a4 2010 please I need help

  31. Hard to say, but it sounds like either you didn’t install them right or the bulbs are defective…

  32. Nick, thanks again for this write-up its very informative and helpful! I recently bought an 2006 A4 and everything is perfect on it minus 2 things…. One was the low windshield washer fluid indicator wasn’t going off but that was solved by removing the reservoir and then just cleaning off the sensor. The other, and it seems to be a common one, is the dipped headlight warning (or as I’ve heard it called, the symbol looks like a jellyfish making a left turn ha). Apart from the headlight facing down symbol with a left arrow yesterday I was driving and the left headlight actually went out and I got a new warning that said left headlight dipped (symbol of a bulb with and X through it). I was able to power cycle the lights then it came back on and the warning disappeared. Since then I’ve noticed that the light is flickering every now and then and it’s shut off on me a couple of times (with the same warning) but I was able to get it fired back up in the same manor as before. I read your other write up about the dipped headlight warning (first symbol I mentioned) and it seems that replacing the bulb will take care of this issue. My question is this… Do you know if that first symbol (the headlight facing down with the left arrow) is something else or is that the dipped headlight warning? Only reason I ask is that when the bulb went out I got a warning that actually said dipped headlight. When I was cleaning the washer reservoir I took a look at the sensor for the adaptive headlights near the suspension since I had the drivers side tire off and the inner fender cover removed. All the wires appear to be in good shape and the sensor looks to be fine as well so I’m pretty confident that I can rule that out. Anyways sorry for the lengthy question and description. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

  33. I have a 2006 Audi RS4. If headlights are playing up (they intermittently flicker and go out sometimes) and then come right. Is it normal to replace the ballast as well as the bulbs?

  34. Yes, if the ballast is bad then it will burn up the bulbs, so I would replace both at the same time…

  35. Hey Mike – it sounds like your first warning was indicating something was wrong – either the ballast or bulbs were on their way out, and the computer could sense it…then left to die a slow death, the bulb then went out all together. It is possible that just a bulb could fix it, but if the issue comes back it means your ballast is bad and causing the bulbs to wear out prematurely. If you want to be safe – replace both the ballast and bulb at the same time.

  36. Great thanks Nick. Can you post a link to a site I can purchase both the bulbs and ballast.

  37. Sure thing Mike…here are the headlight bulbs: http://amzn.to/1rMfb1Y and here are the ballasts: http://amzn.to/1XrsHnN

  38. So just to be sure, the link to those bulbs and ballasts will definitely be compatible with my 2006 RS4? Thanks again

  39. Hi Mike – can you confirm where you are located? I ask because there were no 2006 RS4s here in the US. As far as I know every B7 has the same headlights regardless of whether convertible, sedan, avant or A4, S4, or RS4, but I just want to double check…

  40. Hi Nick. I am located in New Zealand. I think it is the first of the B7 RS4

  41. Hey Nick!
    I just purchased an 2006 A4 B7 and the driverside D1s was out. I replaced both and it been working good for a while untill the driverside bulb wasn’t lighting properly. It was giving a yellowish color compared to the passenger side. The bulbs are 6000k How can I fix this? Thanks!

  42. Where did you get the bulbs per chance? It sounds like it might have just gone bad…

  43. I bought them online Philips 6000k brand new for $50 each. I took it off again and the inside chamber of the bulb was burnt. could the Ballast have done that?

  44. Hello i just bought some 6000k Philips D1S because i had 4300k and one was broken… and changed them with 6000k, question after instaling them and puting all back i have an message in dash LEFT/RIGHT MAIN BEAM HEADLIGHT i mention that the bulbs work very good , but i can i get rid of the error in the dash ?

  45. That is very unusual. The main beam warning can mean either the headlights or the DRL bulbs, but given the timing I’d think it would probably be the new bulbs. I would start with checking the connections first to make sure you secured everything correctly. If not, put your old bulbs back in there and see if it goes away, then re-test with the new bulbs again.

  46. Perfect article, quick question, 2006 A4, my left bulb over the course of a month got blue’er and blue’er until it eventually died, this is “probably” just the bulb right?

    Planning on buying Phillips 6000k’s but don’t want to go through all the effort of removing the bumper only to find I need ballasts too.

  47. Did you get a warning light or error code before it burned out? If not, sounds like just the bulb. If it said dipped headlight BEFORE it went out, possible the ballast is wonky and it fried the bulb. Hard to say without trying.

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