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How to Adjust Headlights: A Step by Step Guide

Let’s face it—halogen and incandescent headlight bulbs are a thing of the past. LED headlight bulbs are the long-lasting alternatives to older styles; in fact, they can last the life of your vehicle! If one of your headlights has burned out or if you’re just ready to update to LED bulbs, we have a handy guide and video that will help you align them properly. That’s right, it’s not just a “pop the bulb in and you’re done” kind of thing. It’s important to know how to adjust headlights not only when you replace them but also if your vehicle has had anything done to it that might throw off headlight alignment. Too much weight in the back of a vehicle, lift kit installs, accidents, and worn shocks are some things that can lead to misaligned headlights.

Headlights that aren’t properly aligned can impair the vision of other drivers by shining into their mirrors. Among other things, correct headlight alignment is important for your own safety and ability to see signs or obstacles on the road. With the steps below and your owner’s manual, you can feel confident that your headlights will do what they’re intended for without causing harm to other drivers or yourself.

Note: It’s important to replace headlight bulbs in pairs as beam style, brightness, and color temperature vary. New fanless, driverless LED headlight bulbs were used in this installation.

led-headlight-kit-h13-led-headlight-bulbs-conversion-kit-compact-heat-sink (1)

Option 1:

1. Clean both of your headlight lenses.

2. Drive up as close as possible to a flat wall or surface.

how to adjust headlights - vehicle against wall

how to adjust headlights - headlight beam

 

 

 

 

 

3. Make sure the ground you’re parked on is level. Shake the vehicle to ensure that your suspension system is settled. For more precise adjustments, inflate all tires to their designated psi capacity and have someone sit in the driver’s seat. Also, make sure that your vehicle’s gas tank is at least half full.

4. Turn your low-beam headlights on. Using painter’s tape, mark the top of your headlight beam with a horizontal line on the wall. You can either apply one long, continuous line or small sections where the brightest areas of the headlight beams are shown.

how to adjust headlights - marking horizontal line

If your vehicle allows for horizontal adjustments, mark the distance between your headlight centers with two vertical lines of tape. These lines are important for projector headlights and/or lining up beam cutoff points. Repeat these tape lines for your other headlight.

how to adjust headlights - marking vertical line

If one headlight is burned out and you’re using two separate horizontal tape lines, apply the line at the same height from the ground as the other line. You can measure the distance between your headlight centers and use that measurement to plot the vertical tape lines on the wall.

These lines will be used as a guide when you install your new LED headlights.

5. Staying as straight as possible, reverse your vehicle 25 feet from the wall. This distance might be different in your owner’s manual.

how to adjust headlights - 25 feet

6. Remove your headlight assembly if necessary, remove the current bulbs, and install your new LED bulbs. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to replace your headlight bulbs.

how to adjust headlights - removing headlight assemblyhow to adjust headlights - removing halogen bulb

how to adjust headlights - removing halogen bulb 2how to adjust headlights - installing LED headlight bulb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Depending on your vehicle, you may have to adjust your headlight beam before or after the assembly has been reinstalled. Your owner’s manual will explain how to adjust the beams. Align each headlight so that the top edge of the beam is at the same height as your horizontal line(s). If your headlights can be adjusted horizontally or produce two light cutoff points, use the vertical tape lines to align them properly.

how to adjust headlights - aligning beam

how to adjust headlights - aligning beam 2

Option 2:

1. Clean both of your headlight lenses.

2. Park your vehicle on level ground that is 25 feet from a flat wall or surface.

how to adjust headlights - 25 feet

3. Shake the vehicle to ensure that your suspension system is settled. For more precise adjustments, inflate all tires to their designated psi capacity and have someone sit in the driver’s seat. Also, make sure that your vehicle’s gas tank is at least half full.

4. Measure from the ground to the center of your headlight assembly where the bulb is located. This step must be done for all vehicles. If your vehicle allows for horizontal headlight adjustments in addition to vertical adjustments, it’s important that you also measure the distance between the centers of both headlight bulbs. The vehicle featured in this video allows for vertical headlight adjustments only; therefore, center lines aren’t necessary but are shown for demonstration purposes.

how to adjust headlights - measuring headlight centerhow to adjust headlights - measuring headlight center 2

 

5. Turn on your low-beam headlights. Using painter’s tape, mark your headlight measurements on a flat wall. Measure from the ground up, and apply a horizontal line of tape to the wall; this line represents the top of your headlight beam. You can either apply one long, continuous line or small sections where the brightest areas of the headlight beams are shown.

how to adjust headlights - marking horizontal linehow to adjust headlights - horizontal line measurements

If your vehicle allows for horizontal adjustments, mark the distance between your headlight centers with two vertical lines of tape. These lines are important for projector headlights and/or lining up beam cutoff points.

how to adjust headlights - marking vertical line

If one headlight is burned out, apply your horizontal tape line at the same height from the ground as the other line.

These lines will be used as a guide when you install your new LED headlights.

6. Remove your headlight assembly if necessary, remove the current bulbs, and install your new LED bulbs. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to replace your headlight bulbs.

how to adjust headlights - removing headlight assemblyhow to adjust headlights - removing halogen bulb

 

 

 

 

 

how to adjust headlights - removing halogen bulb 2how to adjust headlights - installing LED headlight bulb

 

 

 

 

 

7. Depending on your vehicle, you may have to adjust your headlight beam before or after the assembly has been reinstalled. Your owner’s manual will explain how to adjust the beams. Align each headlight so that the top edge of the beam is at the same height as your horizontal line(s). If your headlights can be adjusted horizontally or produce two light cutoff points, use the vertical tape lines to align them properly.

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If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us toll free at 866-590-3533. Our customer service and technical support teams are available from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT Monday-Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT on Friday.