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How to Adjust the Headlights on a Truck

by Jenny Carver

Truck headlights should be adjusted each time a bulb is changed and checked for proper alignment at least once a year. If driving at night is difficult because of poor lighting, adjusting the headlights to point in the correct position can dramatically improve visibility. Most dealers recommend taking the truck to a mechanical shop to be adjusted, but you can learn how to adjust the headlights on a truck yourself.

Check and inflate the tires to the proper pressure. Unload anything that is not usually in the truck. Have someone who weighs the same as you, or use weighted objects, to sit in the driver's seat. Try to replicate the exact driving conditions the truck is under on a typical day.

Park the truck approximately 25 feet from the wall. Use the measuring tape to measure the distance from the ground up to the center of the headlight (where the bulb is located inside the headlight).

Place the measuring tape on the ground against the wall and measure the same distance, marking the wall with a pen or tape to show exactly where the center of the headlight should be.

Shine the headlights on the wall. The lights should shine a few inches below the mark, while the high beams should shine directly on the marks.

Open the hood of the truck and locate the headlight housing. The adjustment screw is on the top or back side of the housing. Insert the screwdriver and turn it either way to adjust the headlights. These are not screws that hold the headlights on, so you cannot actually unscrew them completely.

Warning

  • Don't park the truck too close to the wall or you will get an improper measurement.

Items you will need

About the Author

Since 1997 Jenny Carver has served as editor and freelance writer for many offline and online publications including lovetoknow.com, autotropolis.com, "Hoof Beat News," "Import Tuner" and others. Carver owns a custom automotive shop where she has been doing paint and body work, custom interior work and engine building for over 11 years.

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