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How to Adjust a Headlamp Beam on a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier

by Dustin Thornton

When you replace the headlamp assembly in the 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier, you must also adjust the headlamp beams. Like most vehicles, there are two screws located on the headlamp assembly that control the vertical and horizontal direction of the headlamps. Proper adjustment is necessary for adequate visibility during nighttime driving; bad adjustment can make it difficult for you to see or make it difficult for oncoming drivers to see, creating a potentially dangerous situation. You can adjust the headlamp beams yourself with a simple hand tool in about 15 minutes.

Park the Chevrolet Cavalier on a flat surface facing a wall approximately 15 feet away. Park the Cavalier so that it is perpendicular to the wall.

Lift the hood and remove the plastic trim panel above each of the headlights. There are three plastic fasteners that secure the trim panel; pry the fasteners out using a flathead screwdriver. Lift the trim panel up to remove. There are two adjusting screws beneath the trim panel, one on the top of the headlamp assembly and one along the outer side of the headlamp assembly.

Turn the headlights on so that they shine on the wall. Ensure the headlights are on the "dim" setting.

Adjust the vertical bolt, located on the top of the headlight assembly near the center of the vehicle to raise or lower the headlight, using a crosspoint screwdriver. Turn the screw counterclockwise to lower the headlamp beam; turn the screw clockwise to raise the headlamp beam. Adjust the headlamp so that the beam is below a driver's eye level.

Adjust the horizontal bolt, located on the outer side of the headlamp assembly to move the headlamp beam right of left, using a crosspoint screwdriver. Turn the screw counterclockwise to move the headlamp beam right; turn the screw clockwise to turn the beam left. Adjust the headlamp so that the beam shines straight ahead or slightly toward the center of the vehicle.

Replace the plastic trim panel and fasteners and close the hood.

Warning

  • Raising the headlamps too high can make it difficult for oncoming drivers to see.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Dustin Thornton has been writing since 2003. He has served as a newspaper columnist for the "Troy Tropolitan" and a contributor to various websites. Thornton received a partial scholarship for an outstanding essay in 2003. He has a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Troy University.

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