2009 CXL AWD HID Bulb Replacement - DIY
First and foremost I want to apologize for not having any pictures, I know they speak 1000 words. I just got rolling with the project and forgot to snap some before it was 3/4 put back together.
Backstory: I was outside one evening when my wife was getting in her car and when she started it the drivers side headlight flickered then went out. I did my research, on this forum primarily, called the Buick Dealership, the BMW Dealership, and a mechanic I use often, and all said that I would need to bring the car in before they could give me any idea on cost. I have read a few horror stories about spending $250 on the bulb, paying for multiple hours of labor because the whole front bumper has to be removed to change the light, etc. I got my hands on a service manual (thanks again EnclaveForum) and read through that a bit and decided to see if I was able to get the bulb out myself. If it wasn't too hard, I would move the good bulb from the passenger side and test to make sure the ballast was still functional on the driver's side (where the light went out).
From my experience, and mine only on the 2009 CXL AWD you DO NOT need to remove the bumper to replace the HID bulb, unless you have freakishly large hands that cannot fit into smallish hole.
So here are the steps, the best I can explain them in text.
1. Remove wheel
2. Remove wheel well liner, the forward facing one closest to the lights. This is done by removing clips and screws. Most of the clips and screws are obvious, but there are a few that are out of sight. There are two screws under the front bumper and then there are two clips that hold a rubber piece that's on the bottom of wheel well liner. The best I can explain would be to laydown on the ground and look just forward of the brake rotor and you will see the clips.
3. Once the liner is removed, there is a black cap directly behind the where the bulb will be, it is pretty obvious. Twist that and it will come off revealing the back of the HID bulb.
4. This is the part where you need normal sized hands. You should be able to see on each side of the bulb, a black ring with little tabs. The tabs will be high on one side and low on the other. You need to twist that ring about a 1/4 turn making the top tab low and bottom tab high. That unlocks the bulb.
5. Then you just pull on the bulb. I had to kind of rock it back and forth a bit. It's in there pretty good but take care on trying to pull it out as gently as possible so you dont break it.
6. Once the bulb has been removed, it is attached by a cord, coming from the ballast (I assume) and that need to be unplugged. That took some work as it's a pretty tight fit, but I was able to unplug with just my fingers.
7. At this point, after successfully removing the bulb, I removed the working bulb from the passenger side, taking even more care in not damaging or touching the good one with bare fingers. I just put on some latex gloves in case I inadvertently touched it. I plugged the good bulb into the driver side and turned the lights on to test the ballast. The bulb lit right up telling me the ballast was still functional.
8. I bought a replacement D1S bulb at the local auto parts store for $87 + tax. I could have got them cheaper online, but wanted to get my wife's car put back together for her so I spent the extra money bought one in stock.
**Do not touch the glass bulb with bare hands. There is a base to the bulbs and you should not need to touch the glass, but I wore gloves just to be safe.**
9. Plug the new bulb into the ballast cord and carefully place it back into the headlamp assembly. The bulb needs to be all the way in before the ring with the tabs will turn 1/4 turn back in the locked position.
10. Assemble in the opposite steps as dis-assembly.
When I first turned the lights on, there were a little bit different color but after a few minutes they looked fine. I was worried about having two different brands of bulbs but it seems to look fine. I guess if you wanted to you could buy a pair and replace them at the same time, but I opted not to.
I hope this helps anyone thinking about doing this job on their own, it was 100% worth it for me. Total time was about 3.25 hours but 1.5 hours of that was driving around town finding a bulb in stock and eating dinner. Doing it again with parts on hand I think it could be done in about 1.5 hours.