The dark nights are upon us and one of my headlight bulbs had blown, so I thought it was time to upgrade to some Philips Xtreme Power bulbs.
So I went to Powerbulbs.com and ordered a set of H7 bulbs for my Ford Focus. They cost £27 and included free delivery and a set of Philips Blue Vision sidelights and arrived the next day (I’ve bought from Powerbulbs before and know they offer great service).
Some people find the thought of fitting their own headlight bulbs rather daunting, but it really is quite easy. On my current Ford Focus, which is a 2008 model, it’s even easier than on my old Mk1. All you need is a large flat-bladed screwdriver and a set of rubber gloves. The screwdriver is for the one and only screw that holds in the headlight unit, the gloves are to protect the bulbs from any greasy fingerprints.
Undo The Headlight Unit
[singlepic id=842 w=240 h=160 float=left]Because the engine bay is crammed full of stuff you need to remove the entire headlight unit to get at the bulbs, but on the Mk4 Focus this is really easy. Pop open the bonnet and undo the screw (pictured) and then pull the headlight towards you. You might need to give it a wiggle, but it should come free quite easily. Then maneuver the unit out from the wing.
The next thing you need to do is to remove the power cable, which is a large plug that fits into the rear of the headlight. There’s a little tab on the plug that holds it in place and this needs to be pushed upwards (away from the headlight). You should hear a little click and then you can pull the plug out.
Remove The Old Bulb
[singlepic id=845 w=240 h=160 float=right]With the headlight free of the car you can get at the back of the unit. The dipped beam is the innermost bulb of the three (outermost is the sidelight, middle bulb is the full beam). Remove the rubber cover and you will see the connector for the bulb. There is a clip on here that needs to be squeezed before you can remove it. With the connector free you can get at the old bulb and remove it. Now PUT ON YOUR GLOVES – any greasy fingermarks on the surface of the new bulb will cause it to heat up and blow.
Fit The New Philips Xtreme Power Bulb
[singlepic id=847 w=240 h=160 float=left]Carefully insert the new bulb into the slot and then position the connector over it, taking care not to bend the pins on the bulb. Push the connector until it clips back into place. Don’t forget to replace the rubber cover and then re-attach the power cable.
Now slide the headlight unit back into the gap until it slots back into place. The screw hole on the headlight should line up with the hole in the bodywork, allowing you to fit the screw. Make sure the screw is nice and tight and that should be it … job done. Now go and switch on your lights to make sure the new bulb is working. If it isn’t you’ll have to remove the headlight again to check the electrical connections are in secure.
Now Get Out And Test Your New Bulbs
[singlepic id=848 w=240 h=160 float=right]Make sure you double check the fitting of your bulbs by taking your car out for a quick drive in the dark. This will highlight any problems with bulb fitment, something I spotted on one of my headlights because the bulb wasn’t sitting properly in the slot. It was easily fixed by checking the fitment but you don’t want to get caught on a long night-time drive with one of your headlights lighting up just a few feet in front of you.
You’ll also get a chance to enjoy the improved glow from the Xtreme bulbs. I found mine to be an improvement on the standard Ford bulbs, although the increase in range wasn’t quite as big as expected. However, they were definitely worth buying because the light is much whiter and easier to see with and the strength of the beam is better up to the maximum distance. The old bulbs were good closeup but the beam wasn’t very good at full distance.
The first thing to note is that it’s really easy to fit headlight bulbs yourself, so don’t go throwing money at dealers when they’ll only spend five minutes working on your car. The second thing is that Philips Xtreme Power bulbs make a decent upgrade on a Ford Focus and it’s a shame you can’t get them in an H1 fitting to upgrade the full beam.