How to Change a Headlight Bulb on a 2003 Ford Focus

by Robert Moore

    The 2003 Ford Focus uses a No. 9003SU dual-filament bulb that serves for both high and low beams. Because of the way the Focus is designed, you have to remove the front grille and headlamp assembly to replace the headlight bulb. When replacing the bulb, do not touch the glass portion with your bare skin. Oils from your skin will remain on the bulb and could cause premature failure.

    Items you will need

    • Flat-head screwdriver
    • 10 mm socket
    • Ratchet
    • 6-inch ratchet extension
    • New No. 9003SU bulb
    • Inch-pounds torque wrench


    Step 1

    Open the hood. Examine the plastic radiator cover and find the four push-pin retainers. These retainers are on top of the plastic panel between the front grille and the radiator core support. Pry up on the center pins with a flat-head screwdriver and remove the pins. Remove the air intake tube and the plastic cover from the radiator core support.

    Step 2

    Remove four bolts securing the front grille to the radiator core support, using a socket and ratchet. Add a 6-inch ratchet extension to remove the lower bolts. Rotate the turn signal bulbs counterclockwise and remove them from the grill. Set the grille aside.

    Step 3

    Remove three bolts securing the headlamp assembly to the vehicle. Add a 6-inch ratchet extension for the lower mounting bolt. Pull the headlamp outwards, squeeze the locking tab and disconnect the wiring harness from the headlamp assembly. Remove the assembly from the vehicle.

    Step 4

    Rotate the headlight bulb cover counterclockwise and remove it. Swivel the bulb retaining clip and remove the headlight bulb. Disconnect the wiring harness from the bulb.


    Step 1

    Connect the wiring harness to the new bulb and set the bulb into the headlamp. Swivel the retaining clip and secure it against its locking tab. Install the headlight bulb cover.

    Step 2

    Hold the headlamp assembly close to the vehicle and connect the wiring harness. Set the assembly into place. Install the mounting bolts and tighten them to 48 inch-pounds with a torque wrench.

    Step 3

    Install the turn signal bulbs and set the front grille in place. Install the mounting bolts and tighten them to 48 inch-pounds. Secure the plastic radiator cover with the push pin retainers. Secure the intake tube to the radiator cover with push pin retainers. Shut the hood.


    • 2003 Ford Focus; Service Manual; Headlamp Replacement