I last visited here back in August time when I was thinking of buying my first Astra which I did, a black mk5 1.7 TDCI Design model which is ace, really liking it! Not just the looks but the fuel economy is brilliant, which for a "family guy" like me is excellent.

Anyway ... on to the matter at hand ... changing the damned things bulbs!

I recently had to do this for both the back lights and front dipped and I had a look around online for a help guide or walkthrough of doing and couldnt find a thing so I thought I would post this - it might help someone.

I'll start with the easy ones, the rear light clusters.

Rear Light Cluster Bulb Change
1. Open your boot

2. On either side you will notice a little panel with what looks like a screw on it, get either a flathead screwdriver or a 50p coin and turn it around - the panel should flip open, it might be a bit stiff, if it is just put the screwdriver into the edge and prise it open.

3. You will see a bunch of wires connecting into the back of the light cluster, simply detach this gently being careful not to bend or damage it in anyway - for now tuck those wires somewhere safe, being careful not to let them fall down too far so you dont have to go hunting for them later.

4. There are two thumb screws which hold the light cluster to the body of the car, unscrew these and leave them in the boot.

5. Gently tug on the light cluster from outside the car, slide it toward the floor and you should feel it give way - there are 5 or 6 hooks in place which you have to align with the relevant holes and then it should come away in one big lump.

Congrats, your car is now missing a bumcheek!

6. Take the cluster somewhere with plenty of light - you will need a small star/philips screwdriver for this part. Unscrew the 5 or 6 screws holding the plastic panel on the back to the light cluster. Don't lose any of these!

7. Once unscrewed, there are two plastic clips helping to keep that panel air/water tight, undo these with your fingers and you should have easy access to all the bulbs.

8. Replace the relevant bulbs, put back the plastic cover being sure that the clips are back in place. Rescrew the cover onto the back of the light cluster.

9. Align the clips on the cluster to the holes on the back of your car, slide it back up and it should look as good as new - be certain of the alignment!

10. Pop the thumb screws you left in the boot back on, then reattach the cables.

Job Done!

Front Dipped Beams
This is ... for want of a better phrase ... a complete pain in the tits. Come equipped with a little bit of time, and lots of patience. Also best to try this on a dry mild day - unlike me, who did it on a freezing cold day.

1. Turn your wheels inward to full lock - direction dependant on which side your doing first. You want your wheels pointing INWARD. This will give you easy access to the wheel arch. Yea really.

2. At the top of the wheel arch you will find a panel, this panel has two clips on the inner side of the arch. Undo these and the panel should come away. It's held onto the car by a bungee cord type thing. Wedge the loose panel inbetween the arch and the grooves on your tyres - keep it out of the way as best as possible.

3. Shine a torch inside the hole you just made, best see what your dealing with. First stop is to remove the large rubber disc covering the light bulbs. This keeps things nice and dry - it comes away easily in your hand but DONT lose it! You should then see a collection of cables, the bulb holder, and on either side of that a small Torx screw. You will need a size 20 Torx Screwdriver to undo these. Unscrew them about two turns - DO NOT take them out completely as getting them back in would be a bitch.

4. With both Torx screws loosened, put your hand in and twist the bulb casing a quarter turn, it should loosen and come away - pull it back toward the wheel. The cabling attached to the bulb is quite short, it will probably only stretch as far as the tyre, so you'll be on your hands and knees sorting this part.

5. The cabling is attached to the bulb, however inbetween that there is a metal 'clip' which is what the two torx screws hold down. The clip is connected to the power cables using two small hooks - these can be undone with your hands if they are warm enough (!!) or like me with a flathead screwdriver to help out if your hands are blocks of ice. Once this is done, the cables should detach easily from the two pronged bulb. Keep the bulb and the metal clip together. They will be loose and come away easily - but if you keep them together it means you get to take a look in detail at how it should be positioned - making putting the new bulb in a lot simpler.

6. Join the new bulb with the metal clip, being careful not to touch the glass section - your hands are naturally oily, oily marks on the bulb lead to black burn marks which means you need to go through this carry on a lot sooner than expected. Rejoin the bulb/clip to the power cable - making sure those two plastic hooks are holding all three parts securely.

Optional Step: At this stage it might be worthwhile to get your hands in to that gap, and have a right good feel around. You should feel the two torx screws on the outer edges of the hole, and right next to them will be a sort of cutout in the metal. These cutouts hold the "wings" of the metal clip you sandwiched between the bulb and power cables. Knowing where these are in your head will help with the next step.

7. Place the bulb/cables back into the hole - and either position yourself so you can see the front of the car or get a mate to help - place the "wings" into the two cutouts in the bulb surround, then twist/turn it a quarter turn and you should feel it tighten up. This is quite a frustrating step so dont be alarmed or annoyed if it takes a few tries to get it right. Patience is the key.

8. Once in place, get the Torx screwdriver out and tighten those bad boys up. Working space is extremely limited here so again, patience will make it go a lot smoother. Once thats done, get your hands back in and give the bulb a tug, making sure its solid before proceeding.

9. Almost done now, replace the rubber casing on the outside of the bulb - making sure its tight and secure - water in your light cluster can be expensive and more to the point it looks terrible.

10. Replace the plastic wheel arch cover, and et voila - your done.

Turn on your engine and check all your lights - Im not sure about lower models but I know the Design model tells you on the dash if a light is gone anyway but best to be certain by getting a friend to check all the lights are working - or reverse up to a flat surface and test brake lights etc from there.

I hope you find this useful - there are probably easier ways to do it but Im a stubborn ******* and this is how I did it without a garage charging me a fortune for a simple change

I'll try to get accompanying pictures when my hands thaw out ...