Daniel Stern Lighting Consultancy and Supply
How To Aim Headlamps and Auxiliary Lamps
About Daniel Stern Lighting
Click here for a printer-friendly PDF version of this article.
Products Tech Relays Markerflash Aim Lights Bulbs Automotive Lighting FAQ NHTSA Alert!
Your headlamps will work as designed only if they are correctly aimed. Improperly aimed headlamps are dangerous, ineffective and illegal. The following procedures will assure correct aim of your headlamps for maximum seeing without unlawful and dangerous glare. Be sure to use the correct procedure for the specific headlamps and vehicle you are working with.
An optical beamsetter is a device that looks a bit like a TV camera. It is wheeled in front of each headlamp on your vehicle, adjusted to height, and the optics within the beamsetter permit highly precise visual aim checking and adjustment. This is definitely the most accurate way to aim lamps, but beamsetters are not yet as common in North America as they are elsewhere in the world. However, more and more optical beamsetters are placed in service all the time, so check around before deciding nobody near you has one. High-end body shops and auto dealer service departments are good bets.
If you cannot find someone who has a beamsetter and will use it correctly, you aren't necessarily out of luck. Fog lamps, driving lamps, and visually-aimable headlamps do not require a mechanical aimer or other machine in order to achieve at least passably-correct visual aim. All ECE (E-code) headlamps are visually aimable, and many newer US (DOT) headlamps can be accurately aimed visually. First, you must determine if your headlamps can accurately be aimed visually. If you have ECE (E-code, European-spec) headlamps, you can aim them visually. If your US DOT headlamp lenses are marked VOL, VO or VOR, they can be aimed visually. If your US DOT headlamps are NOT marked VOL, VO or VOR, they cannot officially be correctly aimed visually and are intended to be aimed using a mechanical aiming device. These mechanical aiming devices are all but extinct, and so you
12/04/2006 01:48 PM
Page 1 of 7