How to align headlights at home

Here you can get How to check align headlights at home.

Only a garage with special equipment can align headlamps accurately. However, you’ll need to do it temporarily yourself if you’ve got had to get rid of the lamp unit or fit a new one. You may also got to do so if you’ve got to form an evening journey with the car so heavily loaded at the rear that the beams are angled upwards.

Do not try to adjust four-headlamp systems. They’re too complicated for the simple method outlined here. To do the work, load your car to the extent at which you propose driving it, then drive to level ground with a clear wall (or garage doors) at one end.

Marking the wall

Drive the car close to the wall, facing it at right-angles. Bounce the car to settle the suspension , then chalk a vertical line on the wall opposite the centre of the car. Measure the distance between the headlamp centres, halve this figure and draw two more vertical lines at an equivalent distance on all sides of the centre line.

Measure the peak of the lamp centres and draw a horizontal line at this height across the three vertical lines. The outer crosses should now be exactly in front of the lamp centres. Emphasise them with chalk so they stand out clearly. Back the car straight from the wall for 25 ft (8 m). Make sure it is pointing exactly at the centre cross. Bounce it again.

Adjusting the headlamps

The adjuster screws may be at the front of the lamp units, in which case remove the bezel (decorative rim) to succeed in them. On single, round headlamps of the earlier pattern there’s one self-tapping screw underneath the bezel. Take it out, pull the bezel forward and lift it off two lugs at the top.

On a couple of cars you would like to get rid of the grille – it may be held by self-tapping screws or clips. But many later cars have adjuster screws, turn-buttons or levers which will be reached from inside the bonnet. Consult your handbook if unsure. There may be one top adjuster, which moves the beam up and down, and one or two side adjusters, which move it sideways. Switch the headlights on, set them to main beam and cover one – for instance, with a coat.

Turn the side adjuster(s) on the other to centre the brightest patch of light on the vertical line on that side. Use the top adjuster to bring the patch on to the horizontal line. When the patch is centred on the cross, turn the top adjuster to move it 2 in. (50mm) down the wall. Repeat with the other lamp.

Other methods of adjustment

Cars with rectangular headlamps and those imported from mainland Europe have an asymmetric dipped beam – straight ahead it’s sharply cut off above a horizontal line, but it fans out to the left (for British roads). On main beam, such lamps don’t give an easily found bright spot. Adjust them on dipped beam.

There is a broad ‘V’ at the top of the dipped beam, where the horizontal cut-off angles up at the side. Align the purpose of the ‘V’ 2 in. (50 mm) below the cross centre. Some cars – mainly French ones with Cibie lights – have headlamps which will be set to dip left for Britain and right for abroad. they need a two-headed arrow marking.

Change the dip from one side to the other by taking out the bulb and fitting it into a set of alternative slots in its holder (See ). Some cars – again mostly French – have two-position levers. When switched to the down position, they lower the beams by a group amount to compensate roughly for heavy loads. Certain estate cars have as many as five positions. In some modern cars, the driver can adjust the beam aim from inside the car.

How to check headlight alignment

We all know how annoying – and potentially dangerous – it is to be dazzled by the glare of oncoming headlights. But how can you check that you’re not blinding other drivers with your headlights?

Checking the alignment of your headlights isn’t difficult, but you do need some specific tools: a Phillips-head screwdriver, masking tape, a spirit level, a measuring tape, level ground, a dark wall or garage door and 10m of space.

While you could check your owners’ manual for the precise distance required to check your headlight alignment (different manufacturers have different recommendations),  it isn’t necessary to have a standard distance – as long as you measure correctly. In other words, the centre point of your headlights should be one cm lower for every metre your car is moved from the starting point. In other words, if the centre point of your headlights is 40cm from the ground when your car is 50cm from the wall, then the centre point should be at 35cm when your car is 5.5m from the wall. If this isn’t the case, the headlights need to be adjusted so the centre point is at 35cm.

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