How to align your Dipped headlights at home with minimum tools?
Before I answer this, let me tell you a short story.
Yesterday, I was driving back from work. It was a night with darkness everywhere. The visibility was poor. I had to put my seat a bit forward to see things upfront. The roads were dark and the street lights were gone because of a power loss. No visibility, nothing. I was driving and suddenly a noise of a shrieking man came from somewhere; Put it OFF!!! The man shouted from the roof, What the hell is wrong with your car headlights? And I was like, Okay! I think something is going wrong here. That day I realized that my headlights had screwed up. I need an alignment.
So before you go through this situation or if you are already facing it often, I am here to help you, protecting you from those words that can comfortably destroy your day.
Types of car headlight beam
Let me clear out some basic terms first. Headlight options vary from model to model. But there are two standard options in every vehicle.
- Dipped / Low Beam
- High Beam
Dipped headlights (also referred to as low beams) are the ones that we usually use while driving. Because of their angle pointing downward, these are named dipped. These headlights will not produce glare in the eyes of upcoming traffic and are legal in all places.
The High beam, as the name implies, focuses considerably farther objects. We use them instead of low beams when visibility is really low or when the weather is particularly bad, such as rain or fog. Since they concentrate considerably farther forward, They cause blindness or vision loss for approaching vehicles. This is why using them all of the time is a poor idea.
Defects of headlights
Several headlight defects could occur while driving. They can result in poor vision or worse accidents if not fixed immediately. The problem can be anything from the burnt fuse to a bad relay or the dead headlight bulbs. I highly recommend reading this blog “Car Headlights Not Working.“. There you can find many problems that can occur to a car and how to fix them.
How to know if your headlights are aligned poorly
Adjusting the headlights is necessary for every driver. Driving with poorly aligned headlights is illegal by law and will impose huge fines on you. So it is better to have them aligned before you end up greeting an officer.
Now I understand you will be asking; How can I know if my headlights are aligned poorly?
Don’t worry! We are here to help. There are two ways you can check your headlight alignments.
The first step is a general examination. Place your automobile approximately 25 feet away from a wall. Make sure you are doing this experiment in the dark and on a leveled surface. Now switch on your headlights. Examine a wall to determine if both are pointing at the same level. If both sides are at the same level or if one side is somewhat lower than the other. Then they are ideal. (The driver side is 2 inches lower to reduce glare.)
However, this alignment test is not 100 percent correct. The second method is the most often used. It notifies you of the misalignment and guides you through the process at home with the minimum number of tools.
steps by step to align car headlights beam
Make sure you do this in the dark and your car tire’s pressure is optimal.
Bring your car closer to the wall and measure the height of your car headlight bulbs from the ground. Here keep in mind that you measure the height from the headlight bulb, not from the headlight assembly.
Now place a long vertical strip of masking tape on the wall and put a line using the marker on the strip. The strip should be in line with the headlight, meaning if we draw a straight line from the car body to the line drawn on the tape. They should coincide.
Do the same for the other sides too. Now you have the points on the wall to give you an idea of the headlight position in your car.
By using a measuring tape, measure two inches distance downward and draw a line. Want to keep it safer? Use four inches instead of two on the steering side. Take out another strip of the paper tape and apply it horizontally on the wall, the upper side passing through the lines you have just drawn.
Now, You will have two T’s and these are the perfect levels for your car headlight. Back your car till you have 25 feet of distance between car headlights and wall.
Open the hood. Using a Phillips screwdriver turn the vertical adjustment screws left or right until the headlight points at the required level. Do the same for the horizontal alignment.
Congratulations, you are done. You have successfully aligned your car headlights. Take your car to a test drive to check its alignment. If you find some issue, repeat the same adjustment, and you will be fine.
Your car’s headlamp alignment has been completed. However, keep in mind that most automobiles use separate bulbs for high and low beams. The high beam must be aligned separately
- Masking Tape
- Tape Measure
- Flat wall with 10m of distance
- Level/Flat Ground
You have completed the process, Headlights are aligned. The car is ready to drive. But let’s say you have done everything, changed the bulbs, checked the harness, made the alignment as stated above, but the visibility is still poor.
If that is the case, then it’s 100% sure that your headlights need some maintenance. Remember, modern headlights use plastic. Unlike glass, wiping them with a microfiber cloth is not enough. You have to clean them thoroughly.
Here is a bonus tip for you. Our company has created a product called Headlight Restoration Kit. This item will restore the appearance of your car’s headlights. But the story doesn’t end there. The translucent acrylic will enable more light to pass through, making the object upfront easier to view.