How to Adjust Aftermarket Headlights

Aftermarket headlights are becoming increasingly popular among car enthusiasts and casual drivers alike. These upgraded headlights offer better visibility, durability, and style than factory-installed ones. However, these benefits come at a cost – aftermarket headlights require proper adjustment to function optimally.

How to Adjust Aftermarket Headlights

There are many advantages to knowing to adjust aftermarket headlights. It can save you time and money and allow you to have better control over your vehicle’s lighting. Aftermarket headlights are popular for car enthusiasts, as they offer improved visibility and style compared to stock headlights. In this blog post, You will learn how to adjust aftermarket headlights.

Tools You Will Need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver set (flathead and Phillips head)
  • Measuring tape
  • Masking tape
  • Level
  • Pliers
  • Socket wrench with small sockets
  • Wire stripper/crimper tool
  • Safety razor blade or other sharp object that can score plastic
  • Sandpaper

Step-by-step Instructions for How to Adjust Aftermarket Headlights

Step 1: Inspect the Headlights

Before adjusting your aftermarket headlights, ensure they are in good working condition. Remove any existing residue or dirt from the lenses using a lens cleaner and a soft cloth. To ensure accurate adjustment, park your vehicle on an even surface with enough space to move around comfortably.

Step 2: Locate the Adjustment Screws

Look for the adjustment screws on the back of the headlight assembly. There are usually two screws, one for vertical adjustment and one for horizontal adjustment. Before adjusting your aftermarket headlights, turn off your vehicle’s engine and headlights to prevent damage.

Adjustment Screws on the Back of the Headlight

Step 3: Mark a Reference Point

Using masking tape, mark a vertical and horizontal line on the wall before your vehicle. This will serve as a reference point for adjusting the headlights. Using a screwdriver, turn the vertical adjustment screw to adjust the headlight vertically. Keep checking with your reference lines until the beam is aligned with the marks.

Step 4: Adjust the Horizontal Alignment

Using a screwdriver, turn the horizontal adjustment screw to adjust the headlight horizontally. Keep checking with your reference lines until the beam is aligned with the marks. Check if both headlights are evenly aligned by stepping back and looking at them from a distance.

Step 5: Test Your Headlights

Turn on your headlights and check if they are properly aligned. If not, make further adjustments until you get the desired beam pattern. Repeat the steps for the other headlight to ensure both are properly aligned.

Step 6: Tighten Screws

Once satisfied with the alignment, use a screwdriver to tighten the adjustment screws. Remove the masking tape from the wall and clean any residue or dirt that may have accumulated during the adjustment process.

Use a Screwdriver to Tighten

Following these simple steps ensures that your aftermarket headlights are properly aligned and functioning effectively. Remember to regularly check and adjust your headlights as needed to maintain optimal performance and visibility while driving at night.

Safety Precautions  for How to Adjust Aftermarket Headlights

  1. When working with your car’s headlights, protecting yourself from any potential hazards is important. Make sure to wear safety glasses and gloves to prevent any injuries.
  2. Before adjusting your aftermarket headlights, ensure your car is on a level surface. This will ensure that the lights are properly aligned and provide accurate results.
  3. D disconnecting the negative battery terminal before beginning any work on your car’s headlights is important. This will prevent any electrical shocks and ensure your safety.
  4. When adjusting your aftermarket headlights, it is best to do so in a well-lit area. This will allow for better visibility and accuracy when adjusting the lights.
  5. Avoid touching the glass of the headlights with your bare hands, as the oils from your skin can cause damage to the bulbs. If you do accidentally touch the glass, make sure to clean it with rubbing alcohol before use.
  6. Make sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for adjusting aftermarket headlights. This will ensure that you are making proper adjustments and not causing any damage to your car.
  7. If you need help with how to properly adjust your aftermarket headlights, it is best to seek professional help. They have the experience and knowledge to make accurate adjustments and ensure the safety of your car.

Following these safety precautions, you can adjust your aftermarket headlights without any issues or injuries. Remember always to prioritize safety when working on your car’s headlights.

 Wear Safety Glasses and Gloves

How Often Should One Check and Adjust Their Aftermarket Headlights?

It is important to check and adjust aftermarket headlights to ensure optimal performance regularly. The frequency of these checks and adjustments may vary depending on a few factors. Firstly, the type of headlights used can affect how often they should be checked and adjusted. Some aftermarket headlights, such as LED lights, have longer lifespans and may be checked less frequently than halogen headlights.

Secondly, your driving habits and conditions can also impact how often you should check and adjust aftermarket headlights. If you frequently drive on bumpy roads or in inclement weather, check and adjust your headlights more often. Generally, checking and adjusting aftermarket headlights every 6-12 months or every 10,000-15,000 miles is recommended. However, if you notice any issues with your headlights, such as dimming or misalignment, it is important to address them immediately rather than waiting for a scheduled check.

Are There Different Methods for Adjusting Different Types of Aftermarket Headlights?

Adjusting aftermarket headlights may differ depending on the type of headlights in use. For example, LED lights typically have a fixed beam pattern and may only require minor adjustments to ensure they are aligned properly. On the other hand, halogen headlights often have adjustable beams that can be tilted up or down to change the angle of the light.

This allows for more precise adjustments to be made. It is important to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific type of aftermarket headlights to ensure proper adjustment methods are followed. Improper adjustments can affect the performance of your headlights and potentially blind other drivers on the road.

Can Aftermarket Headlights Be Adjusted Without Professional Help?

If you recently installed aftermarket headlights on your car, you may wonder if you can adjust them yourself without seeking professional help. The answer is yes, you can! Adjusting aftermarket headlights is easier than it may seem; it can be done quickly with the right tools and techniques.

Before adjusting aftermarket headlights, let’s first understand why it is important. Properly adjusted headlights improve visibility while driving at night and prevent blinding other drivers on the road. Now, without further ado, let’s dive into adjusting aftermarket headlights:

  • Park your car on a level surface facing a wall or garage door.
  • Measure the height of your headlights from the ground to ensure they are at the correct level.
  • Locate the vertical and horizontal adjustment screws on your headlights using a screwdriver. These may be located on the back or top of the headlight assembly.
  • Turn the vertical and horizontal screws in small increments until you achieve your headlights’ desired height and alignment.
  • If your aftermarket headlights have a beam pattern adjustment, you can use this to fine-tune the direction of your headlights.
  • Once you are satisfied with the adjustments, test your headlights by turning them on and ensuring they are properly aimed.
  • Repeat the adjustment process until you achieve optimal visibility and prevent blinding other drivers.

It is important to note that adjusting aftermarket headlights may vary depending on the make and model of your car. It is always recommended to refer to your car’s manual for specific instructions.

Adjustment Screws on Your Headlights Using a Screwdriver

Are There Any Common Mistakes People Make When Attempting to Adjust Their Aftermarket Headlights Themselves?

Adjusting aftermarket headlights can be a daunting task for many car owners. While it may seem straightforward, there are some common things that people need to correct when attempting to adjust their aftermarket headlights themselves. This section will discuss these mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Not Following the Manufacturer’s Instructions

One of the most common mistakes people make is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when adjusting their aftermarket headlights. Each brand and model of headlights may have different specifications and methods for adjusting them. Reading the instruction manual carefully and following the recommended steps is essential.

2. Not Using Proper Tools

Another mistake people often need to correct is using proper tools when adjusting their aftermarket headlights. Using incorrect or improvised tools can damage the headlight housing or components, resulting in costly repairs. Using the appropriate tools the manufacturer recommends for a safe and effective adjustment is essential.

3. Improperly Aligning the Headlights

Aligning headlights requires precision and attention to detail. Many people must correctly align their aftermarket headlights, resulting in poor visibility or blinding oncoming drivers. Following the manufacturer’s instructions precisely and using a level to ensure the headlights are aligned correctly is crucial.

4. Adjusting Headlights in an Improper Location

Another mistake people make is adjusting their headlights in an improper location. Adjusting your aftermarket headlights in a well-lit area, preferably at night, is essential to gauge the headlight beam’s direction and intensity accurately. Adjusting the headlights in a poorly lit area or during the day may result in an incorrect adjustment.

5. Neglecting Other Factors Affecting Headlight Alignment

Finally, many people assume that adjusting their aftermarket headlights is solely about changing their direction and intensity. However, other factors, such as uneven tire pressure or worn suspension, can affect headlight alignment. It is crucial to address these factors before attempting to adjust your aftermarket headlights.

Uneven Tire Pressure or Worn Suspension

By following the manufacturer’s instructions, using proper tools, and paying attention to other factors affecting headlight alignment, you can avoid these common mistakes and ensure safe and effective adjustment of your aftermarket headlights.


In conclusion, adjusting aftermarket headlights is a simple process that can greatly improve your driving experience. With just a few tools and some patience, you can ensure that your headlights are properly aligned for optimal visibility and safety on the road.

Remember always to reference the manufacturer’s instructions when making adjustments, as each aftermarket headlight may have its unique specifications.

Additionally, regular maintenance of your headlights will prolong their lifespan and ensure they continue to provide bright, clear light for your journeys. This article has been beneficial for learning how to adjust aftermarket headlights. Make Sure the preventive measures are followed chronologically. 

Photo of author

Jennifer Branett

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