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how do i replace the headlight bulb in a 2005 buick lacrosse?

Arnie K

Buick Newbie
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Buick
The bright light fitting is the same as the dim so take it apart first to see how the cover screws off/on and the light comes out. Both the cover and the bulb are removed by a standard twist to the counterclockwise and replaced by a twist to the clockwise. Now to the dim light. You have to release the entire light assembly before you can remove the screw-on cover to reach the light. On the rear edge of the light unit closest to the engine is a white locking tab. Pull that tab up just to the point where it releases…pull too far and it locks again. Next, locate the other locking bracket which is a metal bracket in the center-rear of the light assembly. This bracket is held down by a screw. Remove the screw with a 10mm wrench. Lift the bracket just like you did the white bracket. You should now be able to pull (or pry) the entire light unit forward a little. Depending on the size of your hands this might be enough. If not, then you need to release the plastic bumper assembly to give you a little more space. This is done by removing two expansion locking pins, one that holds the little plastic strip down between the bright and dim lights and one that is located inside a rubber bumper on the engine side of the light unit. To remove these locking pins, pull or pry up the little tab in the center of the pin just like you were pulling a nail by the head. That should give you more space.
 

bobk4000

Junior Member
18
0
1
St. Paul, MN
I realize this thread is old but since I just went through this exercise on my 2005 LaCrosse I figured I would add my experience to changing the low beam bulbs.

The 2005 LaCrosse manual is a bit sparse on describing the steps. Step 2 says to remove the fastener from the front fascia. This is the rubber bumper hold down - you pry up the center post and then you can remove it. Its not shown in the manual but it is next to the high beam on the front next to the grille.

Step 3 is to pull up on the white retaining clip - you have to lift it just enough so it releases the posts on the headlight assembly. It does stay up, mostly.

Step 4 requires removal of a 10mm bolt, and then lift up the metal retainer high enough to release the headlight assembly. The bolt on one of my headlights was slightly rusted so you might want to use a ratchet to break this one free. Plus once the bolt is removed you have to lift up the retainer far enough to release the posts and keep it in position.

Step 6 is to pull back on the front fascia; I ended up pulling the small strip between the low and high beams down and out considerably, along with pulling the fascia near the grill and high beam down as well all while pulling the headlight assembly slowly forward to release it from the retainers.

I took it slowly at this point, working the headlight assembly forward in small amounts and once the four posts on the back of the assembly were free of the retainers, I could work it back and forth so the large low-beam/side marker side was free of the body and then rolled it so the front of the assembly was facing down and I could get to the access covers over the bulb connectors.

The access covers with their quarter turn to release were tough to turn, but they eventually came loose and I could get to the bulbs.

(Since I had the headlight assembly out I did change both the low and high beam bulbs at the same time.)

Putting the headlight assembly back in wasn't as bad as I thought; the hardest part was getting the large side marker section back in the right spot and then work the assembly back into position and get the fascia sections back as well.

I'd say it took me about 25-30 minutes per side; both sides were equally challenging but not as bad as I had read to take out and put back. While it was only the left low-beam that went out I figured I would change the low and high beam bulbs on both sides.

I also did this when the temps were above freezing; I'm not sure I'd want to bend the plastic fascia when it was really cold.

I dropped around $74 US for the four bulbs - two each of the H11 and H9 bulbs from a local auto parts store.

Bob
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John Manyjars

Buick Newbie
1
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0
Midwest
Buick Ownership
2008 Buick LaCrosse 3.8L
I tried to attach a picture of my '08 with the items noted by bobk4000 circled in red. It's frustratingly tight but with a little patience you can replace the bulbs without removing the bumper & grill. I wear an XL glove and had to manage most the installation blind using my finger tips.

I also removed the radiator shroud (2 clips) and the upper set of plastic retainers (4 or 5) which hold the top portion of the grill. This allowed a little more room. I wasn't able to roll the headlight assembly forward since I was afraid of breaking the tab on the fasica and cracking the grill.
 

Super LaX

Full Member
398
41
28
Columbus, NJ
Buick Ownership
2014 Regal GS
It seems like way too much work just to change a bulb.

I wanted to subscribe to this thread so that I can easily find it should I need to replace a bulb.

I had a 2000 Regal before this car and a bulb change was a breeze....2 pull clips and the entire bucket was out of the car.
 

HMTJ6821

Full Member
473
9
18
Buick Ownership
Buick LaCrosse 2016
Yes, but the fog lamp bulb on the 2000 Buick Regal was just as hard to replace as this headlamp bulb replacement on the 2005 Buick LaCrosse. There is always something that is harder than it needs to be.

As a side note, our son is now driving my Mother's 2001 Buick Regal. After ten years, she had only put 13,000 miles on the car. He is loving it!
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cswguy

Full Member
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0
Buick Ownership
Buick
It is not that hard to replace a bulb as ive done it a few times already.... Tight but the light does pull out far enough to slide a large hand into the area....
 

Daaavid

Full Member
114
1
0
Buick Ownership
2009 Buick LaCrosse CXL
I hate to bump a thread that's over a year old, but I didn't want to create another thread since when I did search for one it pointed me to here again. Anyways, I still need some help in changing the bulb. I just spent nearly two hours replacing the passenger headlight bulb. I tried following the steps provided by John Manyjars following his diagram.

However, I cannot remove this rubber circle pin (left) with an open center as circled and pictured below. The smaller circle on the right is not even found in my 09 LaCrosse.



So I managed to follow the rest of John's steps except for that one and it was a PITA as this portion was blocking the headlight assembly from moving forward any further. I need the headlight to move forward otherwise the dust cap cannot be removed and fit a hand in there --- also beneficial to know how to take remove the headlight assembly to repair oxidation.

I also found this video which aided me to an extent:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93K4dV6OR6Q

But, you will notice that there is no rubber portion pictured above or in the video as the vehicle is pre-2008 without the larger waterfall chrome grille.

So with all that being said... how do you remove that rubber portion? It doesn't seem to twist out and I've tried pulling it but it does not budge. Matter of fact, how do you even remove the headlight assembly or move it out enough to have it worked on? The 2008-2009 LaCrosse manual says to visit a dealer for assistance while LaCrosse's predating 2008 give instructions and are able to do it since the grille was much smaller. If you don't believe me, take a look at the GM site. I must note that I do not want to drop the bumper.

(See Bulb Replacement in Table of Contents)
2008 Buick LaCrosse Owner's Manual
2007 Buick LaCrosse Owner's Manual
 

jft69z

Full Member
291
4
18
Western NY
Buick Ownership
'11 CXL-gone, '11 CTS-V Coupe (6M), '13 ZR1 Vette, '69 RS/Z-28 454 cu.in;'15 BMW 550i
The smaller circle on the right is not even found in my 09 LaCrosse.
Daaavid,

Does your 2009 look something like this?

This is from the GM service manual. If so, it first says to "Loosen either the LF or RF bumper fascia corner in order to flex the fascia when removing the headlamp assembly"

Then it says to remove bolt #1; pull upward on Headlamp retainers #2 & #3 in order to release the headlamp assembly from the headlamp mounting panel; and then carefully pull the headlamp assembly forward and disconnect the electrical harness connector.
 
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Daaavid

Full Member
114
1
0
Buick Ownership
2009 Buick LaCrosse CXL
Hi jft69z,

I managed to get the driver side headlight bulb replaced today, except it took nearly three hours.

The metal and plastic retainer as pictured in the diagram labeled as #2 and #3 were blocking the headlight from moving. The driver side headlight seemed to be positioned a little higher than the passenger side. I was able to pull it out just enough to where the square blocks rested outside the retainers on the passenger side, but the driver side was restricted.



There is also a little plastic notch that is located behind the headlight that slid out of its hole and allowed me to get another inch of work room. I believe that is pictured as #4 in your diagram. Even with this notch out of its place, it was still difficult since the headlight was still stuck inside the retainer. If I tried to reposition the headlight and line up the square blocks rested outside the retainer then this notch would slide back into place.



Here is the amount of workroom I had with the notch behind the headlight pictured above out of its hole. I had to forcibly remove the dust cap by bending it tightly. It worked, but when placing it back in it was another ordeal.



This is what is underneath the cover after removing the plastic rivet circled in red. Underneath this plastic cover were more plastic rivets, but these had a flat face and were much thinner. I could not grip them with pliers like I could with the one circled. These are some images that I found online from someone who managed to do it on a 2008.





The green dots are the rubber bumper plugs that I originally mentioned. To get access to it, one must remove the 4 plastic retainers labeled as the red dots with the flat face as previously mentioned, and move the grille forward a little to have more working room. From what I can tell, there wouldn't be a need to remove them (they DO NOT budge at all), as you can slide the plastic piece it is holding upwards and out.

Here is a very clear walkthrough of how to replace the headlight bulb:
http://www.fixya.com/cars/t6770306-change

I found that link after an hour of frustration trying to move the headlight, so I followed their steps but to no avail since I got stuck on the rivets that I could not remove. If someone is able to remove those plastic rivets holding the grille in place underneath the cover, then there should be enough room. As far as removing the headlight? I am not sure.

There has to be an easier way than this though. Needless to say, I do not look forward to replacing my headlights. I am a bit confused with what it means by "Loosen either the LF or RF bumper fascia corner in order to flex the fascia when removing the headlamp assembly." Would you happen to have access to the 08-09 LaCrosse service manuals?

Thanks!
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jft69z

Full Member
291
4
18
Western NY
Buick Ownership
'11 CXL-gone, '11 CTS-V Coupe (6M), '13 ZR1 Vette, '69 RS/Z-28 454 cu.in;'15 BMW 550i
Hi jft69z,

. I am a bit confused with what it means by "Loosen either the LF or RF bumper fascia corner in order to flex the fascia when removing the headlamp assembly." Would you happen to have access to the 08-09 LaCrosse service manuals?

Thanks!
They're saying that you need to remove a few of the attaching points on that side of the front fascia in order to move it a bit to make clearance to remove the headlamp assembly. No need to remove the entire fascia. Those clips labeled 2&3 usually just pull up about an inch or so to release the 'knob' on the back of the HL assembly. It is captured in the slot of the knob with that retainer.

Some other GM vehicles use the same type of attachment system. Pull up, it releases the HL & pull it forward. It's sometimes a pain to get it back together, you need to make sure the knob is fully inserted into that retainer & that the retainer clip is fully engaged in the slot to capture & firmly hold the Lamp assembly in place. It's easier than it sounds I guess.

I have the electronic version of all the GM service manuals. PM me if you want a phone number & I may be able to explain it better than trying to type it out.

Joe
 

Daaavid

Full Member
114
1
0
Buick Ownership
2009 Buick LaCrosse CXL
They're saying that you need to remove a few of the attaching points on that side of the front fascia in order to move it a bit to make clearance to remove the headlamp assembly. No need to remove the entire fascia. Those clips labeled 2&3 usually just pull up about an inch or so to release the 'knob' on the back of the HL assembly. It is captured in the slot of the knob with that retainer.

Some other GM vehicles use the same type of attachment system. Pull up, it releases the HL & pull it forward. It's sometimes a pain to get it back together, you need to make sure the knob is fully inserted into that retainer & that the retainer clip is fully engaged in the slot to capture & firmly hold the Lamp assembly in place. It's easier than it sounds I guess.

I have the electronic version of all the GM service manuals. PM me if you want a phone number & I may be able to explain it better than trying to type it out.

Joe
Hi Joe,

I'll raise you up on that offer the next time I have to replace my headlight bulbs. Hopefully it isn't too soon but I'll keep you in mind.

As for the retainers, I managed to pull them up but the headlight's blocks themselves could not be pulled out any further due to the headlight assembly itself. After looking at the link that I found, it seems to me like the easiest and quickest way to replace the bulbs is to remove the plastic rivets holding the grille in and a plastic piece on the edge of the high beam, and slowly pull it away from the engine. All-in-all, this should be a 15-30 minute job.
 

jft69z

Full Member
291
4
18
Western NY
Buick Ownership
'11 CXL-gone, '11 CTS-V Coupe (6M), '13 ZR1 Vette, '69 RS/Z-28 454 cu.in;'15 BMW 550i
Glad it worked out for you eventually. Sometimes what the service manual suggests isn't always the best/easiest/most efficient way to do the job. Still a good starting point in most cases though. :cheers:
 

BuickLacrosse

Full Member
203
7
18
Out in the sticks
Buick Ownership
2006 LaCrosse CX 3.8L
After reading most of this thread I'm thinking of ways to torture Buick design engineers. Maybe have them change a headlight 500 times with one hand tied behind his/her back. BL
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NittanyDoug

Full Member
111
3
18
Buick Ownership
Buick
I'll admit that after doing a headlight change today, this is probably the hardest I've ever had to do. Drivers side took easily 30 minutes but the passenger side was done and everything put back together in another 10. So 40 minutes isn't bad. I had one where I had to unbolt the battery and slide it back to get room. I've had them with the little wire clips that are almost impossible to get back on correctly and I am sure both of those were still faster.
 

Daaavid

Full Member
114
1
0
Buick Ownership
2009 Buick LaCrosse CXL
I am wondering if anyone has the service manual procedures to remove the entire headlight housing? I called the dealer before going out and wasting 3 hours of my life trying to replace two bulbs, and they told me the bumper would have to be removed to gain access. The way the owner's manual states and how we're doing it only moves the headlight assembly out by a maximum of 4 inches --- well, that's how long I got it (that's what she said).

Found this video, and you can clearly see the struggle we have to go through. I mean, seriously, look at how he fast forwards the video (a good 15 minutes possibly) to move the headlight housing out just a couple of inches. How does one actually remove the headlight assembly from the vehicle to repair oxidation or do a projector headlight retrofit?
[video=youtube;9SbkUvKtimY]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SbkUvKtimY[/video]
 

GeneLacrosse

Buick Newbie
1
0
0
Buick Ownership
Buick
First off, thanks to all of the previous posters. I had to replace the low beam bulb on my '05 LaCrosse and could not have done it without your posts. Now that I have gone through the procedure, here is my contribution: (1) to answer Daaavid's question, yes, on the '05, you can remove the entire headlight housing. After you have disengaged the housing from the two lock points (the "lift" mechanisms), very slowly/gently, start pulling the whole thing toward the grill. The plastic fascia pieces are quite pliable and that permits the movement. Surprisingly, putting it back in is a lot easier than taking it out. (2) Per the owner's manual, the Step 2 instruction is to remove the fascia fastener although they don't label it on the illustration. As Bobk4000 previously stated (Thank you !), this fastener is the rubber bumper thing just behind the grill and next to the high beam housing. You remove this by pulling up the center pin first, then prying up under the grommet/bumper. Imported Photos 00041.jpg
If my picture attached properly, this fastener is labeled "Step 2".
(3) "A" and "B" are the other fasteners referred to in the manual. So once you remove these three fasteners and lift up on the white block and the lever held down by "A", the housing will disengage as you pull forward. You only pull up these lifts a couple of inches to get to their sweet spots allowing release.
(4) If you are clever enough to work in very confined spaces, you may be able to replace the low beam without pulling the housing out entirely. I was not and did pull the housing. Imported Photos 00042.jpg
(5) Here is what the backside of the low beam assembly looks like: both the back cover plate and the internal bulb require a 1/4 counter-clockwise turn to remove. And remember to handle the new bulb with cotton gloves so you don't transfer oil, etc onto the bulb.Imported Photos 00044.jpg
Finally, having done this once, I could do it again in 20 minutes or so. Pretty easy, but it sure did look scary before I read all the previous posts. Thanks again.
 
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