How to Adjust Car Headlights
This article was co-authored by Rocco Lovetere. Rocco Lovetere is the Owner and a Master Mechanic at Rocco’s Mobile Auto Repair in California. With over 20 years of experience, he specializes in Honda, Acura, Toyota, Nissan, Infiniti, and Volvo cars. He is an ASE Certified Automotive technician and has worked in automotive repair since 1999.
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Have you ever been blinded by someone else’s headlights, or noticed that your own headlights are not illuminating the road directly in front of you? If all you can see is the foliage on the side of the road, or oncoming drivers are constantly flashing their high beams or honking their horn at you, most likely your headlights are misaligned and giving those other drivers an eyeful. They’re easy to adjust with a few measurements and a screwdriver.
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To adjust your car headlights, first park your car on flat ground facing a bare wall. Unload anything heavy and make sure the pressure in all 4 tires is correct so your car is level. Then, pull up as close to the bare wall as possible and turn on the low-beam headlights. Mark where the lights hit the wall by running pieces of tape vertically and horizontally through the center of each low beam. Next, back your car up so it’s 25 feet (7 ½ meters) away from the wall. Some vehicles will require a greater or lesser distance, so make sure you refer to your car’s instruction manual. Block one of the headlights and look to see where the other beam hits the wall. It should fall at or below the horizontal tape line you marked and to the right of the vertical tape line. If it doesn’t, use the adjusters located on the headlight housing to adjust the beam until it hits the right spot on the wall. Finally, repeat with the other headlight. Always refer to your car’s instruction manual since exact headlight aiming requirements are different for every vehicle. For more tips from our Mechanic co-author, like how to tell if your car is level before you get started, read on!