How to align your headlights

How to align your headlights

Headlights can be set incorrectly or out of alignment for many reasons. Either they were never set up properly at the factory, the headlight unit was replaced at some stage, or the vehicle has bumped into something.

To set up headlights properly, you will need a relatively clear wall (a garage door, for example) and level ground of at least 11 metres leading up to the wall in a straight line. You only need to set up low beams if the headlights are a dual filament type – the high beams are set according to low beam adjustment. This adjustment procedure is only for conventional halogen headlights.

Set up the vehicle with a full tank of fuel, the weight representing a driver on board and correct tyre pressures. Then measure from the ground to the headlight’s horizontal centreline and using this measurement, mark the wall. Make sure that the mark is directly in front of the headlight at its vertical centreline – it’s easiest to do with the vehicle close to the wall. Then measure the horizontal centreline of the vehicle and mark this line on the wall.

Now measure and mark 7.5 metres away from the wall then reverse the vehicle so that the front is at the 7.5 metre mark. The next step is best done at twilight or in darkness. Turn on the headlights on low beam and see where the beam shape falls; you will notice a V-shaped pattern to the way the light falls. The bottom of the ‘V’ should fall about 40mm from the left tape mark on the wall and for the right headlight, about 40mm to the left and then 40mm down. 

To adjust the headlight, consult your owner’s manual, but usually an adjustment screw, one for vertical adjustment and one for horizontal adjustment, can be found behind the headlight assembly.

1. Measure from the ground to the centreline of the headlight.

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2. Use previous measurement to mark the wall or the garage door with tape.

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3. Measure from vehicle centreline to headlight centreline and use this measurement on door.

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4. Mark centreline on door or wall with tape.

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5. Measure 7.5 metres from wall.

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6. Mark the 7.5 metre point with tape.

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7. Reverse vehicle away from wall in a straight line until the front is at the 7.5 metre mark.

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8. Here you can see headlight alignment is out.

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9. The centre of the left ‘V’ should be about 40mm below the tape mark. 

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10. Find the headlight adjusters and re-align headlights to their correct positions.

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For more information and tips on Gear, check out our page here.

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