How to Replace Climate Control Light Bulb: VW MKIV
A Quick DIY for Changing the AC/Heater Bulb on the MKIV
Whether you own a Golf, Jetta, or GTI Mk4, it's getting old! So more than likely you're driving around fumbling with the controls at night trying to select the right vent setting with no light, or your bulb is slowly but surely getting ready to die on you.
While I was driving the other night, my passenger kept fooling with my AC unit because they couldn't see the settings (my light has been burnt out for about two years). So I figured, enough with my laziness—I decided to take the 10 necessary minutes to fix it!
As with all of my Audi/VW DIY projects, I like to call the dealership and see how much they charge for the job. The stealership (ahem, I mean, dealership) quote was $60 for parts and labor. This DIY should cost you no more than $5.
Tools Needed for the Job
- Regular Pliers
- Small Needle-Nose Pliers
- 6" of Aquarium Air Tube (Optional)
- Paper Towel/Rag
- Sylvania 2721 Replacement Light Bulb
Pretty basic household tools. If you do not have small needle-nose pliers then tweezers will work, as well.
Having an aquarium hose, fuel line hose, or vacuum hose will definitely make this job easier. Clear aquarium hose with a 1/4-inch inner diameter can be bought at any hardware store for around 25 cents per foot. The fuel line hose can be bought at the auto store when you buy the replacement bulb, and more than likely they will just cut off a few inches for free at either place.
The local auto store will sell two bulb packs for under four dollars (I bought mine at Checker Auto Parts for $3.49). Sylvania 2721 bulbs are the correct replacement part, but I've heard that Sylvania #74's work as well. Cheaper bulbs can be found on the internet but make sure you buy a couple in case you break one.
Removing and Replacing the Knob and Bulb
How to Remove the Bulb
There is only one bulb that lights up all three knobs. The bulb is located inside the middle knob.
Step 1: Put the middle knob (fan speed) into the number two position so that the knob is vertical.
Step 2: Place a folded paper towel or rag over the knob so you don't scratch it with the pliers.
Step 3: Gently but with a little force pull straight out with your pliers. Some knobs come off really easy and some need a good tug. Tip: You can always try pulling it out with just your fingers before you resort to pliers.
Removing the Bulb
Step 4: This is the hard part. I recommend using the aquarium tube for the easiest method. Push the air tube over the bulb, it should stay in the tube and you can pull it out nice and easy. If needed, stretch the air tube opening out a little bigger with a ballpoint pen.
Step 5: If you decide to use needle nose pliers to remove the bulb. Wrap the tips with tiny rubber bands, tape, rubber cement, whatever you want. Just use something that will allow you to grip the bulb. Now be gentle and work it out.
Step 6: you break the bulb while taking it out, don't worry. Just grab the inside of the bulb, pull it out, and vacuum the broken glass.
How to Insert the Replacement Bulb
- With your tweezers or needlenose pliers very gently hold the new bulb and work it back into the socket. Make sure the wedge part of the bulb is vertical. Once it is slightly in, you can use your pinky to fully push it back into position. You can also try putting the bulb back in with the air tube (though that method never works for me).
- Turn your car lights on to make sure the bulb illuminates.
- If it is working, slide your knob back on; it will pop into place with a little force.
- Have a beer and give yourself a pat on the back for saving $50 in dealership cost!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.