What Is the Procedure for Aiming Car Headlights?


Quick Answer

To aim car headlights, first determine the location of the headlight adjusting screws. Make sure the vehicle has a full tank of gas to account for the effect the tank has on the headlight positioning. Use a level to determine the flattest area in front of a wall or garage door, and once it is dark, move the vehicle there. Use masking tape to mark the vertical and horizontal center on each headlight. Measure the distance from the ground.

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Full Answer

Use the measurements to mark the vertical and horizontal center on the wall directly in front of the headlights. To double-check the measurements, pull the car as close to the wall as possible, and determine if the tape is aligned. To maintain near-perfect alignment, measure 25 feet of masking tape and place it on the ground in a straight line starting at the center of one of the back tires before backing the car away from the wall.

Shine the headlights on the wall. Use the headlight adjusting screws to adjust the beams to the manufacturer's instructions. Typical instructions include focusing the low beams 2 inches below the horizontal center and just to the right of the vertical center. High beams are usually adjusted just below the horizontal center and right where the vertical and horizontal centers overlap.

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