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How to Adjust Subaru Legacy Headlights

by Patrick Hutchison

The Subaru Legacy is a four-door all-wheel-drive vehicle offered as both a sedan and a station wagon. The Legacy is valued for its reliability, handling, cargo space and excellent safety features. The safety system on the Subaru Legacy includes adjustable headlights. Over time, headlights can get out of alignment. To get the most out of your Subaru Legacy headlights, adjust them to better illuminate the road ahead.

Step 1

Park your car on a flat surface with your headlights turned on and pointed at a smooth wall that is roughly 25 feet away.

Step 2

Lift the hood of your car, securing it open with the prop arm.

Step 3

Measure the height from the ground to the middle of your headlight with your measuring tape.

Step 4

Attach a seven-foot piece of painter's tape horizontally on the wall where your headlights are aimed. Place the tape at the same height of your headlights. Place the tape not at the height where the headlights are shining, but at the height of your headlight assembly from the ground.

Step 5

Locate the back of each headlight assembly and its adjustment bolts. Adjustment bolts are typically either single plastic 10-millimeter nuts directly on the back of the assembly, or two long bolts located on either side of the headlight bulb. Newer Legacy models have the two-bolt system, which allows you to adjust vertically and horizontally.

Adjust your headlights so that their center is about two inches below the painter's tape. If you have horizontal adjustment, keep the headlight beam to the right of the driver's side of the car to avoid blinding oncoming drivers when you're out on the road.


  • You may have to remove the air intake to access the passenger's side headlight and the battery to access the driver's side headlight. Both air intake and battery are held in place by 10-millimeter bolts and are easily removed. If you must remove the battery, set it on the ground and use jumper cables to extend the battery cables so your headlights remain on while you are adjusting.


  • If you must remove the battery, be sure that your car is turned off. Never allow the positive and negative cables to cross. Be careful not to force the headlight adjustment bolts if they seem to be stuck. Bolts can become corroded and may need professional adjustment. If the bolts are stuck, take your Subaru to the dealer.

Items you will need

  • Measuring tape
  • Painter's tape
  • Socket wrench
  • 10-mm socket

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