How to Adjust an Altima Headlight

by Nathaniel Miller
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tape measure 1 image by Martin Grice from

The Nissan Altima is an economical and efficient midsized luxury sedan. Built for comfort and a sporty feel, the Altima is as reliable as it is fast. Over time--or in the event of an accident or headlight replacement--the headlights on an Altima may begin to become misaligned. This misalignment can be determined by an irregular illumination pattern or by observing a distinct misalignment of the lights themselves. Adjusting an Altima headlight is easy and can be done by anyone.

Step 1

Park the car 25 feet away from the wall, set the brake and turn the headlights on to illuminate the wall. Make sure that the headlights are set on "High" and that if you have fog lamps installed, they are off.

Step 2

Walk up to the wall with the headlights still on and mark the exact center of each headlight beam, determined by the small circular disc that will appear in the illumination pattern of each light. Note that the Altima has very little if any horizontal light adjustment capabilities. If your headlamps appear drastically tilted to the right or left, you should replace the entire assembly because the frame is either bent or cracked.

Step 3

Use the tape measure to determine the distance from the ground to light bulb in the Altima's headlight assembly. Subtract 3 inches from this--that is where the mark on the wall should be for each headlight. Mark this point on the wall and use the level to draw a level line across the wall extending between the two lights. If the lights are not pointing at a place on the wall that is 3 inches below the actual height of the headlight, adjust the light accordingly.

Step 4

Use the Torx bit screwdriver to loosen or tighten the adjustment screw on the rear of each headlight to pull the light into the proper alignment. Turn the screw clockwise to raise the headlight beam and counterclockwise to lower the beam. When the beams are aligned at the proper height, close the hood of the Altima and take a test drive.

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