How to Adjust a BMW Five Series Headlight

Written by steve bradley
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How to Adjust a BMW Five Series Headlight
BMW headlights should be checked regularly. (BMW Fronto image by crossgolfing from

The BMW five series is a stylish luxury vehicle that comes with many safety features. However, the best airbags, anti-lock brakes and crash cage can all be wasted if the headlights are not properly aligned. If the headlights shine too high, they will create dark blind spots immediately in front of you. If they drift too far to the left, they can blind oncoming traffic, leading to a potential accident. Regular inspection and adjustment of headlights is necessary for optimal driving conditions.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Chalk
  • Screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Approximate the weight you would normally carry in your BMW 5 Series. Fill the gas tank, load the boot and have a helper sit in the driver's seat. The weight in the car will alter the angle of the headlight beams slightly. Even a small change will become magnified over long distances on a highway.

  2. 2

    Park the BMW 1 foot away from a large wall with 30 feet of flat, level ground behind it. Have your helper turn on the headlights.

  3. 3

    Mark the wall along the vertical and horizontal axis of the headlights. Start by making a large chalk line from the middle of the driver's side light across to the passenger's side light. Then make two short vertical lines at the centre point of each light. There will now be two cross shapes in front of the headlights.

  4. 4

    Back the BMW up about 25 feet and keep the lights on. Inspect the beam's trajectory. Each headlight should hit approximately 2 inches below the long horizontal chalk line. The passenger's side should additionally fall directly on the shorter vertical mark. The driver's side should hit an inch to the right of its vertical mark.

  5. 5

    Open the bonnet and go to the rear of the headlight assembly. On the top centre will be an adjustment screw that controls the vertical alignment of the headlight beam. Use a screwdriver to adjust the screw until the light hits the desired location. On the side of the headlight will be the horizontal adjustment screw. Manipulate this adjustment as well and repeat for the other headlight.

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