Back-To-Basics: Hidden Damage On Headlamp Assemblies

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

Lighting system technologies continue to evolve along with many of the other systems on modern vehicles. There are many vehicles equipped with an adaptive lighting system. In many of the headlamp assemblies there are actuators and a module that allow the headlamp to move left and right and up and down while the vehicle is being driven. The module is able to communicate with the headlamps using information from inputs such as:

  • Steering angle sensor (SAS)
  • Ride height sensors
  • Vehicle speed sensors
  • Vehicle dynamics sensors
  • Cameras

If the vehicle is involved in a collision, the internal components of the headlamp assembly can be damaged, even if it is not visible at first or at all. DTCs may set for some fault conditions (but not all) and a scan tool may be capable of commanding functional checks of the system.

Always make sure to reference the service manual for operational details and component locations of the adaptive lighting system. After referencing the manual, the headlamp should be examined for hidden damage to the back or to internal components and given a functionality evaluation as well. If headlamps are not checked for damage and function, the adaptive lighting system may not operate correctly or at all.

Looking for indirect damage, and thoroughly inspecting for hidden damage and functionality, will help ensure a complete, safe, and quality repair.

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