How to Tell Misaligned Headlights and Why Does it Happen

What are the signs of misaligned headlights? Find out the reasons why your headlights have poor aim and how to fix it. 

Misaligned Headlights

Poorly aimed headlights can cause road accidents. Misaligned headlights reduce visibility and make it difficult to drive at night time. If it is pointed directly to the ground, the glare affects your vision; thus, making it hard to see far down the road. Headlights that are aimed too high practically use since they shine into space and reflect nothing.

Signs of Misaligned Headlights

It is easy to tell if your headlights are improperly aligned. First, your lights illuminate blankly instead of illuminating the road or the road reflects too much light on your vision. These issues are caused by headlights aimed either too high or too low on the ground.

A second indicator is when oncoming drivers flash their lights at you. The reason is that your car’s headlamp is blinding them. If other drivers do the same at you, immediately check your vehicle’s headlight positioning and aim.

The third is when your headlights illuminate only 20 feet of the road. At this point, the lights are positioned below the normal point.

If you notice these signs, make sure to fix your headlights right away. Leaving it in such a condition is extremely dangerous.

Reasons for Misaligned Headlights

It is challenging to keep headlights aimed correctly. According to surveys, 10% of the time, the car’s headlights are misaligned, causing the lights to produce 3% to 30% more glare than the normal level suggested by NHTSA and IIHS guidelines.

Studies show that misaimed headlights are a result of technical issues. Below are the common problems that cause headlight misalignment.

 #1 Tire Pressure

An over-inflated tire increases the vehicle’s ground clearance, which also results in headlights aimed too high on the road. If the tires are under-inflated, the car height is lower than this normal, causing the headlamps to aim directly on the road.

 #2 Luggage 

Carrying heavy luggage in your trunk causes the car to tilt a bit upward on the front causing the light to aim higher than what is recommended by authorities. Thus, make sure to check the luggage weight before hitting the road. Follow the weight recommended by the car manufacturer. Avoid overloading your car to prevent poor headlight aim and accidents.

#3 Broken Internal Components

Broken internal parts are likewise another reason why your headlamp has poor aim. Take note that delicate joints attach the headlights to its housing. These joints and screws are too brittle and tend to break with a small amount of pressure and vibrations. If the internal components of headlights are broken, immediately replace it with the help of a professional. If the damage is not severe, you can fix it DIY using these tips for adjusting LED headlights.

For vintage cars, check the lamp’s lens. Older car models still use diffusion discs made of grooved glass. When the diffusion discs have cracks or scratches it impairs the aim of headlamps. Although it usually happens in vintage cars, it may also occur in recent car models with headlamps that utilize plastic lenses.

You can avoid these issues by doing car maintenance. Always check your car, especially before and after a tough ride. In this manner, you can avoid misaligned headlights and ensure a safe drive.