Proper Headlight Alignment

Written by jeffrey whitten
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Incorrectly aligned headlights can both reduce a driver's visibility and blind oncoming drivers. This can also cause one driver to think another's headlights are on bright and brighten his lights to signal him, which then blinds both drivers.

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Reasons

According to Automedia, the most common reason for misalignment is when someone replaces a lamp and accidentally turns the adjustment screws. Other possible reasons include minor damage to the front end from an accident or carrying heavy loads.

Types

The most common type of headlight misalignment is vertical, according to Popular Mechanics. Headlights may also be misaligned horizontally.

Who Does It?

Auto repair shops will check and correct headlight alignment for a small fee, but many problems can be checked and corrected by the driver. Some models make it easy for drivers to check and align headlights by including a bubble level or a horizontal alignment indicator.

Tools

There are special products made to do the job, but many times a screwdriver, a tape measure and masking tape are all that is needed.

Timing

Most repair manuals recommend checking headlight alignment once a year or whenever a lamp is replaced, according to Automedia.

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