Back-To-Basics: Headlamp Aiming

Sometimes going back-to-basics can make the difference between a quality repair and a failed repair. When it comes to headlamp aiming, here are a few things to keep in mind.

After a vehicle is involved in a front-end collision, the headlamps may be misaligned or need to be replaced. Before aiming the headlamps, it is important to know whether the assembly as a whole needs to be aimed, or if the beam of light itself can be adjusted within the assembly. This is important information, as some internal adjusting headlamps are equipped with a bubble level that may need to be adjusted from inside the vehicle. If the headlamp is not level, it may not aim properly. Some external aiming equipment may not be able to be used on the exterior surface because of imperfections in the surface. The headlamp may also need to be cleaned and prepped before the use of the equipment. There are different ways in which a headlamp can be aimed, so make sure to check within the manual for specified procedures and equipment.

It is also important to note that parts affecting ride height should be installed prior to aiming, or the headlamps may need to be re-aimed after installation of these parts.

Some vehicles may require a scan tool or calibration when a headlamp is aimed, R&I, or replaced. You will also need to check the service manual for these specifications and procedures. Always follow OEM procedures to ensure a complete, safe, and quality repair.

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