Volkswagen Beetle Headlights Not Working: A Complete Diagnosis Guide

Are you having problems with the headlights on your Beetle? It can be a pain to find the source of headlight problems but this guide can point you in the right direction and help you get them working again.

Check the Fuses

In most cars, the first step would be to check the bulbs but, due to the styling of the Beetle, it’s easier to check the fuses first as changing the bulbs involves removing the entire headlight housing unit. The fuse box is located on the passenger side in the dashboard. You will need to open the passenger door to get access to it. Use a flat head screwdriver or a similar object to open it. Once in, there are a few fuses that you’ll need to check. 18 and 19 are the high beams, 20 and 21 are the low beams, and 22 and 23 are the parking lights.

Check each of these individually and replace them as needed. If the fuses are all good, you’ll need to check the bulbs.

Checking or Replacing the Bulbs

This job is a bit more difficult with the Beetle than it is with other cars, but it isn’t impossible if you follow this guide:

  • Open the hood.
  • Behind each headlight you will see a level. This will need to be lifted up to remove the housing. To lift this, you will need to press in the safety. This is located next to the level on the side closest to the headlight. Press this in (you may need to use a screwdriver to do this) and lift the lever. If the car hasn’t had this done in a while, this may take a bit of force so be careful not to damage anything.

Note: Some newer models have a nut you need to rotate clockwise to unlock before lifting the lever in place of the safety tab. This video shows how this mechanism works.

  • Once the lever is lifted, remove the headlight housing. Facing the car, slide your fingers behind the headlight and gently pull it toward you.
  • Once the headlight is out, disconnect the wiring cluster that attaches it to the car. Press on the clip to release and pull it out.
  • You should now have the headlight completely separated from the car. To free the bulb, lift the metal clip in the back out of the way to gain access to the bulb itself.

If the bulbs are blown, replace them. If the bulbs are fine, the next step is to check the headlight switch.

Removing the Headlight Switch

If the fuses and bulbs are fine, the switch is the likely issue. To remove, press the dial into the switch and turn it clockwise. In between “off” and the first setting, you should be able to pull the switch free from its housing by pulling it toward you. Once the switch is out, you can remove the wiring cluster behind it by pressing on the clips to free it completely from the rest of the car. Test the connections on the switch using a multimeter and see if there are any bad connections. If there are, installing a new headlight switch should fix the problem.

If none of the above fix the problem, you may have a deeper issue such as bad wiring. It’s best to take it to your local dealer to check it out.