Projects & Repairs --> Lights --> Head Lights --> 2002 Kia Optima

Replacing burned out head light bulbs on a 2002 Kia Optima.

Replacing Head Lights On A
2002 Kia Optima

(Covers Model Years 2001 to 2006)

In This Article:

Three bolts are removed and the headlight assembly is pried from the car. Wiring is disconnected and the headlight assembly is placed on a bench. Plastic caps are removed to reach the main bulbs.

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Skill Level: 2 (Basic)

Time Taken: About 20 Minutes

By Jim Wilk, Licensed Auto Body Technician


To replace the park lamp and turn signal bulbs on a 2002 Kia Optima, the headlight assembly needs to be removed.

Headlight on Kia Optima, 2002.


Rear bolts for headlight housing, 2002 Kia Optima.

Working from the back side of the radiator support, I removed these two bolts with a 13mm socket and ratchet.


On the top of the radiator support, near the fender, I used a 10mm socket to remove the mounting bolt. Top bolt for headlight housing, Kia Optima.


Prying head light housing from car, 2002 Kia Optima. Using a rigid putty knife wrapped with masking tape to prevent scratching, I applied pressure on the plastic headlight housing to release the snap clip located in the lower outboard corner.


I carefully slid the headlight assembly forward... Sliding headlight assembly forward to remove, Kia Optima 2002.


Protecting paint with towel. ...then I placed a towel underneath the headlight to prevent scratching the painted bumper cover.


I found two wire connectors on the back of the assembly.

The black connector is for the headlight bulbs and the gray connector is for the turn signal and park lamp.

Electrical connectors for headlight, 2002 Kia Optima.


Removing electrical connector, Kia. I pressed on the release tab of the gray connector and pulled it apart. Then I did the same to the black connector.

At this point the headlight assembly was completely separated from the car. I placed the headlight plastic housing face down on a soft towel on a workbench.


View of headlamp mounting area.

The red arrow shows the release snap that I mentioned earlier.

Head light area, Kia Optima, showing location of push fastener clip.


Twist caps covering headlight and driving light, Kia Optima. Red arrows point to the twist caps...


...that cover the headlight bulbs. Headlight bulbs behind plastic cover caps, Kia.


Removing turn signal bulb, Kia Optima.

Removing Turn Signal Bulbs:

I twisted the turn signal socket (lower arrow) and pulled it out of the hole in the headlight assembly (upper arrow).

To remove the bulb I just pulled it out of the plastic socket.


Removing The Headlight Bulb:

There are two larger bulbs in this car. The headlight is the outboard bulb.

To remove the head light bulb I twisted the bar counter-clockwise and removed the black round center part. Then I just pulled the bulb out.

My local NAPA store sold me a BP125587 low-high beam replacement bulb.

Head light bulb area, Kia Optima.


Note On Handling Headlight Bulbs:

Do not touch headlight bulbs with your bare hands, because the oil on your skin can ruin the light bulb. Use a paper towel or tissue to handle the new light bulb.



Driving light bulb location, Kia Optima.

Driving Light Bulb:

I believe the other large bulb is for the driving lights.

I pulled the electrical connector from the bulb. Then I released the curved wire retainer and pulled the bulb out.


More Info:

Tools Used:

  • Basic Mechanic's Tools
  • 10mm, 13mm Sockets:
  • Rigid Putty Knife 
  • Small Flat Screwdriver
  • Needle Nose Pliers  

Materials Used:

  • Headlight Bulb - NAPA BP125587
  • Clean Towel
  • Masking Tape

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Written January 6, 2010