- Car Care & Maintenance
Easy Headlamp Replacement - 2005 - 2007 Mustang
Go From This...
To THIS With New Headlamps and Bulbs!
Remove the Bumper if You Like
If you choose to remove the bumper completely you would remove the nuts, outlined in the following sections, on both sides, not just one side at a time and also unplug the signal lights and then the bumper slides right off! You might be amazed at what little holds that bumper on your car!
Where to Begin
You're looking to replace the headlamps on your mustang. Have no worries! It's an easy process that doesn't take much time either.
I replaced the headlamps on my 07 Mustang recently. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. The important thing here is to have a designated area, cup, bowl, or what have you, at the ready to place all the pins and nuts in. Losing one can be irritating to say the least, but it will leave your bumper loose where that nut or pin is missing.
If you've read that the bumper must be removed, I didn't remove it. It was pert near removed, but not quite. I worked on one side at a time, so the other side of the bumper is still attached while I'm working on the other side. I slide the side of the bumper I'm working on out and down to access and remove the headlamp. I had no problem with leaving the bumper attached at the other side. What I did have issue with was the mud guard, but more on that later.
*For those of you who want just the steps there's a summary at the bottom of the page with Just the Facts.
Decide Which Headlamp Style You Like
Before you begin turning even one nut, purchase the replacement headlamp. Do not remove the original ones until you have the new ones on hand. In most states, if not all states, it's against the law to drive at night without headlamps, besides it would be a rather stupid idea to drive without headlamps at night anyways.
There are multiple styles of headlamps to choose from. There is:
- Basic Stock
- Chrome Bezel
- Chrome Chrystal
The list goes on and on. There's definitely something for everyone available in headlamps.
There are several resources for year and model specific headlamps. Personally, I went through Ebay and picked up the smoked headlamp. I checked around at Amazon, CJPony Parts, CarID also. Ebay just happened to have the best price for what I wanted, smoked glass, the price was right and delivery is usually quick. So I went with them. All the websites were great. I enjoyed a couple of the websites so much I ended up spending more time than necessary browsing through their car stuff!
Be sure to read the fine print before making a purchase online. Some retailers will sell only one headlamp, right or left. Most sell both right and left together for the displayed price, but they don't have to. So do some reading and make sure you're buying both right and left headlamps (if that was what you were intending) before clicking that purchase button.
Cosmetic Cover With Retaining Pins Identified
Just the Bulb
If you are replacing merely the headlamp bulbs they can be accessed and replaced under the hood as well. At each lamp simply remove the bulb from the back of the lamp. Be careful when handling the new bulb, use a tissue. The oil from your fingers can shorten the life of the bulb.
Here We Go - Removing the Headlamp
The first thing you need to do is open the hood. Then you can access the plastic cosmetic cover on top. There are six pins holding the top cosmetic cover on. To remove these retainers is a simple four step process (follow along with accompanying photos):
- Using a screwdriver or other tool with a narrow end, lift the center pin up by wedging your tool under the lip of it, then using an upward motion, pull it up.
- The center pin will most likely still be in the retaining piece once you lift it up. You can take it between your fingers and pull it out of the retainer.
- Now, using your same tool, lift the remaining retainer from the cover.
- Once the retainer is removed, put the pin back in it so they don't get separated and lost. Set them aside somewhere you'll find them later.
Amazon Mustang Headlamp Bulbs
Remove the Cover
Now that the retaining pins are out you can lift the cover off. Place it somewhere safe where it won't be stepped on or otherwise broken.
Be sure that you have put the six retaining pins somewhere that they won't get lost.
Remove Cosmetic Cover
Remove the Top Screws and the Lower Nuts
Under the cosmetic cover you just removed will be two bolts. Remove the bolt on the side you will be working on (left side or right side). If you remove both bolts at this time, when you remove the lower screws and nuts the bumper might fall off. These two screws on top are what will hold it in place while you access each lamp. A 3/8th inch socket fit mine.
Next, we'll go to the wheel.
One Mud Guard Screw
At the Wheel
Turn the steering wheel until the tire is turned in on the side you are working on. Remove the screws holding the splash guard to the front frame (photo). There are several (3 - 5) going up the fender. Remove enough that you can easily slide the splash guard to the side and out of your way.
Bumper to Frame Bracket
Inside the Bumper
So, you have the splash guard out of the way for the most part (it's dangling precariously) look inside of the fender, unplug the two signal lights from the back. To detach press on the clip on the side of the plug and pull.
Now for the support bracket. Inside the bumper still, towards the top, on the end nearest your face, there are three screws/nuts that hold a bracket that spans about 5" from the frame to the bumper, one screw with nut, on the frame two screws with nuts on the bumper. The screw is attached to the bracket, so you just need to remove the nut. The photo below is of the same area from two slightly different views, side and below. The two attached to the bumper need to be removed.
The diagram at right may be helpful locating the bracket mentioned above. There is a bracket on each side, left and right side.
Headlamp Screws (3)
Remove the Headlamp
With the two nuts removed from the bracket, the bumper can now be pulled out of the way so you can access the headlamp. Lower the bumper off the threaded ends that the nuts were on and push forward. It should move out easily until you have enough room to access the headlamp screws. If is doesn't move easily check the cleat on top where you removed the top screw, it may be hanging up on it.
- There are three headlamp screws and an aligning tab holding the lamp; two of the screws are located on the bottom of the headlamp, with an aligning tab, and one on the top. The screws require a 10mm socket with extension preferably.
- On the back of the headlamp you'll find the attachment for the headlamp bulb. A word of caution here: Do not handle the headlamp bulb with your bare fingers. The oil from your skin transfers to the bulb and can seriously shorten the life of the bulb. Use a tissue when handling the headlamp bulb. Now, remove the headlamp bulb from the lamp by grasping the piece sticking out and twist and then pull it out and let it hang. If you are replacing the bulb, then you can remove the bulb at this time and discard it.
- Slide the headlamp out. The aligning tab is plastic, use care removing the lamp from it. Slide the lamp out of the aligning tab on the bumper. Make sure it clears the old lamp before pulling the headlamp completely out. If it is clear of the aligning tab then go ahead and pull the lamp all the way out.
- Get the new headlamp.
- Paying attention to the aligning tab on the bumper, set the lamp in place.
- Slide the aligning tab into the slot on the bottom of the headlamp.
- If there is a saran plastic covering the headlamp lens then remove it at this time.
- Insert the new headlight bulb, if you are replacing the bulb. If you're not replacing the bulb, then insert the old bulb now with the same push and turn you used to remove it.
- Slide the bumper back into position making sure the tab on the bumper slides into the slot on the bottom of the headlamp.
To put it all back together just follow the instructions of removing it backwards, so:
- Replace the headlamp screws and pin.
- Replace the nuts on the bracket.
- Plug the signal lights back in.
- Align and screw the mud guard back in place.
- Replace the screw on top (under the hood).
- Set plastic cosmetic back in place and reinsert retaining pins.
- Close the hood.
Just the Facts
Some people are way ahead of the game and want just the facts on replacing the headlamp. I understand completely! Here is a fact summary of the steps to replacing the headlamp.
- New headlamp (and bulb if desired).
- 10mm socket with ratchet or drill and wrench.
- Phillips head screw driver.
- Standard head screw driver.
- Under the hood; Remove cosmetic plate & pins (6).
- Remove bumper screw on top and accompanying pins.
- Move, or remove, mud guard.
- Unplug signal lights.
- Remove bracket nuts.
- Remove headlamp screws (3).
- Unplug lamp bulbs.
- Remove headlamp.
Installing is the reverse of the previous steps.