How to know if your headlights are aimed properly

How to know if your headlights are aimed properly

The things that make a good driver are beyond the ability to drive and maneuver your way through traffic. They eventually boil down to the little things, like checking your engines, changing your oil, and paying attention to the warning signs. However, there are more intricate things like how to clean your car glass; that makes a good driver, but unfortunately, most car owners do not consider them.

Another is ensuring your headlights are aimed properly. It may seem silly or trivial, making sure your headlights have a good aim or knowing how to change your car headlights, but if not aimed properly, it could affect the driver as well as other drivers on the road. For instance, if your car headlights are not aimed well, they may flash directly at oncoming vehicles, blinding them, especially at night. It wouldn’t even matter if your beams are on high or not. Also, if your headlights are aimed too low, it would affect how far you can see the road. 

So in essence, it is wise to consider the aim of your car headlights to be a more effective and safer driver. However, it may be a bit tricky deciphering if your headlights are well aligned or how to aim them properly. The good news is we have compiled simple steps to take to solve these problems. You can test for headlights alignments by yourself and if your car fails the test, you can follow the steps to align and aim them properly without the help of a mechanic, let’s examine them, shall we? 

How to test for headlight alignment

How to test for headlight alignment
  1. Firstly, you must make sure your tires are the right size and well inflated, and your car is fueled to at least half. Also, you may want to make sure someone is sitting on the driver’s seat, and most importantly you might want to make sure you have removed oxidation by restoring Headlights. All of these may seem ridiculous, but the point is to simulate a driving scenario and have a clear headlight beam. Only then, can you measure and test the best alignment. 
  1. Park your car in a somewhat enclosed place like a garage and ensure your car is facing the wall or a door about 15-20 feet away. This is for the purpose of testing the headlight alignment and to see and measure how bright, high, or low your beams are. 
  1. Make sure your shocks are level. You can do this by pushing the four corners of your car – settle your suspension.
  1. Using a tape, measure your headlights from the same point level to the ground level. The results should not be more than half an inch on both headlights. It would help to ensure your suspension is good and not sagging in any way. 
  1. Now, turn on the headlights and use the masking tape to mark up the centiliters both vertically or horizontally. If you have previously restored with WD-40, you might want to try a headlights restoration kit for best results. After masking with tape,  they shouldn’t be more than three and a half feet from the ground. Mark the centiliters with the aim of making sure they are even.
  1. Now back away 25 feet from the surface, you are projecting your headlights, you should see a difference now. 

The steps mentioned above are the ways you can test your alignment, but adjusting your headlight is another thing entirely. Thankfully, we have compiled some simple steps to cater to that as well….

How to adjust your headlights (DIY)?

How to adjust car headlights
  1. Search for the adjustments screws on the headlights. Usually, they are found at the top and sides of the plastics. They are also marked, so they should be easy to find. 
  2. It is important you adjust each headlight one after the other, for accurate results
  3. To adjust the vertical alignment, roll the top screw clockwise to lift it higher and counterclockwise to lower it. 
  4. You have adjusted vertically, now, adjust horizontally using the screw on the sides of the headlights in the same manner as previously addressed. 
  5. In case some of the screws are not in the designated places as mentioned above, you may refer to your vehicle’s guide for proper guidance. 
  6. Now that that’s done, you may take the car for a ride, preferably at night to be able to check and be the judge of the headlights. If it is still a bit problematic, you may adjust again as appropriate. You might also want to learn how to avoid bright blinding headlights from other motorists who have failed to adjust and align their car headlights. 


Even after all of these, don’t beat yourself up if you still find it difficult in following the steps and adjusting or aligning your headlights. In the end, it is wise counsel to refer to the guide or manual to point you in the right direction. 

However, don’t fret when somehow the guide confuses you the more, it happens. Sometimes, the processes of adjusting or aligning your headlights may not be contained there. In this case, it is best to seek the expertise of a professional to help you with the headlights. 

Furthermore, it is advisable to follow the steps aforementioned to the letter for a more stable, well-aligned, and perfect headlights, and driving experience. As mentioned earlier, these are the little things that make a good driver. When your headlights are not aimed or aligned properly, they affect you and other drivers as well, especially at night. 

Also, if your car is still in its warranty period, you can just give the car to your dealer to align and adjust at no added costs whatsoever. In adjusting your headlights, the little details are of paramount importance, details like having the car on a flat surface or being a specified number of feet away from a wall or surface. These little details are vital in adjusting your headlights and giving proper measurements and estimates. 

Finally, at the end of your alignment and adjusting, don’t just test the car in the garage or driveway, take the car out for a ride at night, or on a dark road during the day, test out your alignment. This is a step most drivers seem to miss and it may affect the whole dynamics. How else would you know if your headlights are aligned and aimed properly? It goes beyond just testing with the markings or the beams on the walls and surfaces. Taking the car out gives you a better sense of the alignments. 

Good Luck!

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