(2006) Maxima Headlight Replacement, A Pictorial Guide





Important Preface:

Wheel Well Option   After originally making this web page (which primarily adds images to an authoritative-sounding procedure I found in a forum), I found a lot more forums saying the bulb could be replaced through the wheel well. I defer to http://www.dmitriylerman.net/Maxima/MaximaMain.html which says you can replace it through the wheel well in 1/2 hour. I will be trying that method myself on my next attempt.

Different Options Depeding on Side?   Then there's these comments on a forum:

"...the shop manual says to take off the front bumper (fascia) but you can change the driver side by just taking part of air intake off, and the passenger side can be done (with some difficulty) by unsnapping and flexing the inner fender liner on that side, and reaching in from there."

"I had to replace both of my headlight assembly's on my 2004 Maxima thanks to a previous owners 'after market' wiring & bulb replacement so thanks for all of the info about removal of the headlight assembly. I have tried it both ways (taking the wheels off & taking the front fascia off) and I think taking off the front fascia is the easiest!"

My original article below shows how to do it by taking the bumber off, which is really not a big deal when you understand how the car is put together with plastic screws, but those fender screws are a nuisance. Email me with your findings.

If you still want to try my method, scroll down.



















This is a pictorial description of how to replace the headights in a 2006 Nissan Maxima or similar years.

Just a sample picture...
keep reading



  • This page is a followup to a post by 'blueis300' on forums.nicoclub.com, explaining exactly how to remove the bumper to get access to the headlight assembly: http://forums.nicoclub.com/zerothread/365603-2006-maxima-need-to-replace-headlamp-bulb
  • It's quite a hassle because you have to take off the entire plastic front bumper shroud to get to the 5 bolts that hold the headlight housing. This is a procedure that, on any normal car takes 4 minutes and no tools!

It sort of looks like you might be able to do it entirely from the wheelwell but after you see the big fitting that covers the bulb socket, it does look like it would be hard. Anyway, I followed Blueis300's advice and replaced the bulb and it worked just like he described, but this is really for people who love a challenge. Thank you Blue.


The Bulb

Getting the 9012 from John Deere

DLL (February, 2010) adds the info below on getting the bulb from John Deere company, but of course now (April 2010) that a cheaper source has been found, the price is creeping up and there are none available. I suspect that either the original price was an outright mistake, or the farm industry hasn't quite evolved to the point where it survives on gouging its captive audience.

  • An article I read stated that you can use John Deere bulbs but may have to nibble away part of the center tab.
  • I bought my bulbs from the John Deere dealer part # AH211917 $30.00 per bulb.
    • The Nissan dealer here in Canada wanted $85.00 and an hour of labor to change it.
    • These bulbs are Toshiba HIR2 9012 12V 55watt, same as the OEM.
    • On my 2005 Maxima these bulbs were an exact replacement, I didn’t have to trim any of the tabs. They just popped in as a direct replacement and in my opinion are exactly the same as the OEM bulb at a fraction of the price.
  • I bought two and changed both headlights, both fog lights (H3- 55Watt), both daytime running lights (1156 LL long life) and both turn signals (1157NAKR krypton long life).

Using a 9006 bulb

  • From x.nissanhelp.com: "Yup, just confirmed it. The 9006 bulb works like a charm, there is only a slight difference in the brightness of the bulb from the factory ones. If you purchase a 9006 bulb that burns at around 5000k or so then they will be pretty much the same but way less expensive than whats recommended."

Toshiba HIR2 / DOT 9012 / Halogen 12V, 55W PRC / Nissan 26296-9B913

The bulb itself is a strange matter. When I had my first one replaced by the dealer, just before the warranty ran out, I was told that the bulb was about $100 dollars. When my second one burnt out, I saw that my owner's manual clearly says I need a 9012, which is not available in our local store, Pep Boys.

When I called the dealer and asked how much a 9012 was, they asked "What's your VIN (vehicle ID number)?" Sheesh! Are you kidding me? It matters when the car came off the assembly line??? Anyway, it was $65 at the Nissan dealer. Here's a fascinating discussion about the specific bulb, the hi intensity 55-watt bulb: http://store.candlepower.com/hirlighting.html (not the fancier Bi-Xenon type). The dealer told me I could use an "HIR2" bulb but by then I had to buy it from the dealer.

Here's the shape of the bulb and socket. It's a right-angle bulb with 2 prongs and one alignment tab inside. My question is, can you use any 55-watt bulb that has this same configuration as long as it has both high and low beams??? Of course, it won't be as bright as this precious zircon-encrusted, triple-gold-plated, lighthouse-worthy beacon from God, but beggars can't be choosers, eh? Please let me know if a substitute works.

It says right on it "HIR2 12V55W P.R.C." on one side and "DOT 9012 E13 287 U" on the other. Does that mean that the DOT standardizes the numbers to some extent? So they're the same thing, HIR2 and 9012, simply from 2 different labeling systems (Toshiba and DOT).

And for you poor souls who have to go to your Nissan dealer with your tail between your legs, groveling on all fours... "please sir, can I have some more headlights," this is the morsel they'll be serving you for your $65, a 26296-9B913:


Below is the procedure with photos.


  • 10mm socket and wrench... you might really be glad if you have this Husky socket handle that I got a few years ago: you can just twist (yes, twist) the handle and it cranks the socket!
  • Flat screw driver that will pry out the plastic "screws."
  • Phillips
  • Drop light


  • Beginner: 1+1/2 to 2 hours plus time driving around to find the bulb until you give up and pay the Nissan dealer's price.
  • Second time: 60-90 minutes.
In February, 2010, DLL writes "I didn’t find it necessary to disconnect all of the bottom center section of the bumper, just the two screws under the fender (step 3 below) and the two screws inside. I did disconnect all of the top section. This left plenty of room to get to the lights without having to pull off the bumper completely."

Step 1. Pan Screws (Note A: Skip this step if you want to try DLL's method, per note above.)

Remove 2 screws on each side on the bottom of the bumper, below where the cornering lights are. These hold the plastic undercarriage pieces to the bumper.

If you're wondering if you can just remove one side to replace one headlight, it's probably not worth trying... you'd end up twisting the whole bumper assembly to reveal the headlight housing bolts. Not worth the small amount of time saved.

Step 2. (Note B: Skip this step if you want to try DLL's method, per note above.)

Remove plastic "skid plate" by removing 5 plastic "screw bolts." Wedge their center posts loose then pull the whole things out. Curse the @^#$# who invented these things while doing so.

Step 3. Screws Under Fender

Study the next few pictures before proceeding. We'll be removing 2 screws on each side that hold the side of the bumper in place, just below the headlights.

Here's where the bolts holes are after you remove the bolts.

Step 4.

To replace the driver side light, turn your wheel all the way to the right side. Remove one screw holding the fenderwell plastic and pull the fenderwell plastic back to gain access behind the bumper.

Reach up under the bumper inside the wheel well and remove the 2 screws. The 1st is right there by the edge and the 2nd is about 10" further in, about 3/4 to the front of the headlamp assembly.

Step 5.

Here's what those two bumper bolts look like from inside the wheel well, already removed. That's the wheel well plastic cover on the right.

Step 6.

When you replace those bolts you'll want to shove a drop light in the bumper. This is showing the right wheel.

Step 7. (Note C: If you use DLL's method I suspect you only have to remove the rightmost of these 3 yellow-circled screws.)

Under the hood, remove the plastic clips/bolts that hold the grill and bumper in place.

Remove the plastic clips farthest to the outside. This should release the bumper from the car completely. (jb; Hmmm, maybe you don't have to remove those yellow circles on the left.)

You don't have to remove the two plastic fasteners (red X) that hold the grill and bumper to each other.

You might have to remove the plastic air duct thing that flows air to the intake(?).

Now gently try to pull the bumper and grill away. It looks like you have to pry the top edge of the bumper out of this stupid clip. It holds the top horizontal edge of the bumper into the lip shown in the oval.

The cornering lights will be connected and you'll have to prop up the bumper so as not to strain the wires.

Here's the clip the way it's probably supposed to work... it stays on the body and the edge of the bumper snaps in and out of the to of the clip.

The two arrows show how the clip is fastened to the car. One fastener broke when I pulled the bumper off. The other stayed usable.

If you've got the bumper pulled away, you've arrived at the promised land. You'll see the 4 bolts that hold in the headlight housing. The two shown here are under the housing.

Remove the 4 bolts with a 10mm socket and pull the housing out.

If you've made it this far, I have a free gift for interested visitors who reply. If you know anyone who's learning to read, email me and I'll send you a free copy (including shipping) of a kid's book I wrote. Please include "Poopy Phonics" in the subject line so I have a chance of noticing it if it goes to my spam folder. —Thanks, Jack

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Twist off the outer protector.

Twist out the bulb.


JackBellis@hotmail.com JackBellis.com



Questions Answered (part of my effort on The Commoditization of Questions):