Sunday, December 23, 2007

i have conquered the mazda p5 low-beam lightbulb replacement!

Replacing a lightbulb in a Mazda P5 is a PAIN IN THE ASS. Seriously, it's a well-documented PiTA at the Mazda 24/7 Forums. One would think that replacing a lightbulb would be simple. It's in the owner's manual, after all, with a diagram and everything.

Except it involves clips and hooks, and the placement, especially on the passenger side, is pretty stupid—you have to wedge your hand between an overly-tall washer fluid dispenser. I have small hands and it was a problem for me, so I can only imagine how much hell men have to go through to work with the bulb and the clips and the hook and so on when you can't see what you're doing and you're looking at it all upside-down. Now that I think about it, I wonder if the engineer wasn't a woman trying to make a point about...let's call it "learning a new skill."

. . . . .

I tried to replace the driver's side bulb last year. I messed it up. I got the bulb out and thought the adapter was part of the bulb so didn't keep it around (in my defense, hardcore modder guys on the Mazda forum thought the same thing and felt just as stupid afterwards) and then obviously couldn't get a bulb to fit, and had to go to the dealer, and blah blah blah. The closest Mazda dealer to me now is in Spokane, so the 140-mile round trip plus parts and labor was something I wanted to avoid.

I went to the local auto parts store, got my $15 bulb, drove home, and spent 15 minutes in the freezing cold and the dark before I said screw it, I'll try in the morning.

It only took me 15 more minutes to take care of it this morning. Yay! Here's my contribution to the knowledgebase for such things: when trying to hook the clip in place after putting the bulb in, get the end of the clip under the little ridge and press inward on the sharp end of the clip—NOT the loopy part. There just isn't room to squeeze the loopy part to hook it under the ridge without losing hold of something else, so just put it in place and then push inward from the sharp end. It hurts like hell, especially in the cold, but it works.

edited to add: now the passenger side light is now much brighter than the driver's side. I will endeavor to replace the driver's side light bulb on another day so they're both the same...