A Guide to Adjusting Car Headlights


By  AIS Windshield Experts

Category:  Headlight Restoration

Headlight Levelling

Adjusting car headlights is a crucial step in maintaining your vehicle's safety features. Not only does it ensure your visibility on the road during night drives or adverse weather conditions, but it also prevents blinding other drivers. This article provides an in-depth look at headlight restoration, headlight levelling, and the overall process of adjusting car headlights, including an exploration of what headlight levelling is.

Understanding the Importance Of Headlight Maintenance

Headlights are one of the most critical safety components of a vehicle. Over time, headlights can become misaligned due to various factors, such as vibrations from rough driving surfaces, impacts from minor accidents, or even the natural wear and tear of vehicle components. Additionally, the clarity of the headlight lens can deteriorate, diminishing the effectiveness of your headlights. Regular maintenance, including headlight restoration and adjustment, is essential for optimal performance.

What Is Headlight Levelling?

Headlight levelling is a mechanism that allows the adjustment of a vehicle's headlight beam height. This feature is crucial for preventing the headlight beam from glaring into the eyes of oncoming drivers and ensuring the road ahead is adequately illuminated without casting shadows that could hide obstacles.

Adjusting Car Headlights: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adjusting your car's headlights is a task that can often be performed at home with minimal tools, which includes:

1. Mastering Headlight Adjustment

Ensuring that your vehicle's headlights are accurately adjusted is pivotal for safe nighttime driving. Properly aligned headlights illuminate the road ahead effectively without blinding oncoming traffic. This concise guide walks through the essential steps for adjusting your car's headlights, from preparation to testing.

2. Preparation for Headlight Adjustment

Before diving into the adjustment process, gathering the necessary tools is essential. Typically, a screwdriver or a socket wrench will suffice, but this depends on the make and model of your vehicle. Additionally, ensure that your vehicle is positioned on a level surface, preferably against a wall or garage door, and approximately 25 feet from a flat vertical surface.

3. Locating the Headlight Adjustment Screws

The headlight adjustment screws are usually found on the back or side of the headlight assembly. Vehicles typically have two adjustment screws for each headlight: one controls the vertical alignment and the other the horizontal alignment. Refer to the vehicle's manual to pinpoint the exact location of these screws, as their placement can vary widely between models.

4. The Adjustment Process

To adjust the headlights:

  • Start with the vertical alignment.
  • Turn the vertical adjustment screw until the top of the headlight beam sits at or just below the height of the headlight itself when projected against a wall.
  • Adjust the horizontal alignment by turning the corresponding screw until the beam is straight ahead, ensuring it does not stray too far to the left or right.

5. Testing Your Adjustments

After adjustments are made, it's crucial to test the headlights in real-world conditions. Drive on an unlit road to assess whether the headlights illuminate the road adequately without impairing the vision of oncoming drivers. If further adjustments are needed, repeat the process until the optimal alignment is achieved.

Interference with Advanced Safety Features

Modern vehicles increasingly integrate intelligent safety systems relying on unhindered sensor visibility for functioning optimally. However, windshield clarity hindrances like etching, stickers or tinting risk severely disrupting such technologies, jeopardising vehicles' safe operability gravely. For instance, visual obstruction can critically hamper the working of:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking: Uses cameras and sensors detecting imminent collisions for brake activation, avoiding crashes. Disrupted visibility blinds its life-saving situational awareness.
  • Lane Keep Assist: Depends on clear, unfiltered sightlines scanning road markings for steering assistance in maintaining lane discipline. Lack of visual accuracy confuses navigation algorithms.
  • Adaptive Headlights: Require unobstructed night visibility for optimal road illumination alignment, aiding hazard preparations responsively. Fractured clarity scuttles crucial functionality.


Properly adjusted headlights are a key component of vehicle safety, ensuring that drivers have the best possible visibility at night or in poor weather conditions. This guide has covered everything from headlight restoration to headlight levelling and provided a detailed walkthrough for adjusting car headlights. By following these steps and recommendations, drivers can ensure their headlights are in optimal condition, contributing to safer driving conditions for everyone on the road.

If you want more information on deadlights or need to restore or replace headlights, consult professionals from AIS Windshield Experts.

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