Disclaimer: This was for my 2000 Miata; possibly their are variations for subsequent years.
Condition: You have noticed a headlight is non-functional.
Level: Easy for a novice, of any age.
Tools: Light source, and, needle nose pliers.
Part(s): Replacement halogen bulb H4/HB2. Available from local auto parts stores.
Cost: Approximately $15. to $25./ each. Consider replacing both sides, keeping the good old one as a spare.
Time: 15 minutes each side.
Reference: Miata Owners Manual, under headlight bulb replacement.
Caution: Avoid touching glass portion of new halogen bulb.
(B) Note the rubber boot with tabs, surrounding bulb connector housing, top and bottom. Gently pull these rubber tabs, and gasket itself, back, exposing the actual bulb. The bulb is secured by a retaining wire cage. Do not pull wire cage, yet!
Now is the time to use the needle nose pliers. Get some light in there to see, if you haven't already. What you will see is that the wire cage is a puzzle. It is hinged on the side nearest the car center. On the other end of the wire, you want to use the needle nose pliers' tips to grasp the wire. Find the inverted plastic 'U' that the wire cage locks into. Study the situation under the light; then grasp the wire, and twist down, releasing the wire. The bulb itself will be loosely attached to the wire cage. As you pivot open the wire cage and bulb- you got it!
Note the position of the 3 connector bulb tabs. Note that the bulb assembly also has 3 tabs that fit in the lens housing. When you reassemble, you want to remember this positioning. The learning curve is over.
(C) If you haven't purchased a new bulb yet, take your halogen bulb with you to buy a matching new one.
(D) REASSEMBLY: Remember, when you install the new bulb, you can mis-position the 3 metal bulb tabs into the lens housing. So, use visual care to position the new bulb correctly, checking that all 3 tabs are inserted against their respective indented areas. (What could go wrong is that a tab could go in too far- at a non-vertical angle- rather than against the backing plate).
Refit wire cage retainer, again using needle nose pliers to pop the end-tip into the 'U'.
Push that rubber seal on firmly.
'Jiggle and push' the black plastic connector over the 3 bulb connector tabs.
Reach into your Miata and twist the light switch on, to test headlights. (You need not start motor.)
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8 October, 2008