How to Adjust Headlights on a PT Cruiser

by Steve Bradley
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headlights image by Christopher Hall from

The PT Cruiser was in production by the Chrysler Corporation from 2000 until 2010. This versatile and stylish vehicle was popular throughout the decade and many remain on the road today. In order to keep these cars operating safely certain systems should be checked regularly. One item that requires regular maintenance is the light system. Specifically the headlight alignment should be checked and adjusted at least once a year. Luckily this is not a job that you need to put the PT in the shop for. Any do-it-yourselfer can manage it in an afternoon.

Step 1

Locate a wall with about 30-feet of flat level pavement in front of it. Park the PT one foot from the wall. Before aligning the lights you'll need to have the car weigh what it would under normal night driving conditions. Load the trunk, make sure the gas tank is half full and have a partner sit in the driver's seat.

Step 2

Mark the wall with both the horizontal and vertical axis lines of both headlights. To do this place a strip of tape on the wall from the horizontal center point of the driver's side light all the way across to the center of the passenger. Next, take two 6-inch pieces of tape and mark each headlights vertical center. This will create a cross in front of each light.

Step 3

Back the PT up about 25-feet and keep the lights on. Inspect the headlight beams to determine where adjustments need to be made. The driver's side light needs to be a inch or so below the horizontal tape line and and inch or so to the right of the vertical mark. The passenger's side light also needs to be a bit under the horizontal line but should be right on the vertical marker.

Step 4

Pull on the hood release latch below the dash on the driver's side of the Cruiser and open the hood. Each headlight will have two adjustment screws, one on the top and one on the side. The top screw controls the horizontal and the side screw the vertical. Use a screwdriver to move the screws while watching as the light beam moves across the wall. Stop once each light achieves optimal placement.

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