How to Adjust an E39 Headlight

Updated February 21, 2017

The BMW 5-series E39 has a composite low-beam and high-beam assembly on each side of the front of the vehicle. The assemblies have two adjustment knobs: one for the low beam and one for the high beam. The adjustment knobs are accessible and can be moved by hand without any special tools. You do not need to remove the vehicle's battery or bezel to access the knobs, which makes it easier to adjust misaligned E39 headlights.

Park your BMW 5 Series E39 directly in front of a wall or other flat vertical surface. Turn off the vehicle's ignition and apply the parking brake.

Place a horizontal strip of tape on the wall in front of each headlight assembly.

Measure 20 feet away from the wall the E39 faces, then place a strip of tape on the ground. Back up the E39 so that the headlights line up perfectly with the tape on the ground.

Turn on the headlights and prop open the bonnet.

Look for the two small, dark adjustment knobs on the top of each headlight assembly. Turn them counterclockwise to raise the low and high beams, and clockwise to lower them. Aim the beams so that they hit within two inches below the horizontal line on the wall, ensuring that they angle downward onto the road when you drive.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape
  • Tape measure
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About the Author

Matt Scheer began writing professionally in 2005. His work has appeared in "The Daily Texan" and "The New York Tribune." Scheer holds a B.A. in English and a B.A. in history, both from the University of Texas. He is also a certified Yoga teacher and Web designer.