The headlamps must be properly aimed to provide the best, safest road illumination. The lights should be checked for proper aim and adjusted as necessary. Certain state and local authorities have requirements for headlamp aiming; these should be checked before adjustment is made.
Headlamp adjustment may be temporarily made using a wall, as described below, or on the rear of another vehicle. When adjusted, the lights should not glare in oncoming car or truck windshields, nor should they illuminate the passenger compartment of vehicles driving in front of you. These adjustments are rough and should always be fine-tuned by a repair shop which is equipped with headlamp aiming tools. Improper adjustments may be both dangerous and illegal.
Before removing the headlamp bulb or disturbing the headlamp in any way, note the current settings in order to ease headlamp adjustment upon reassembly. If the high or low beam setting of the old lamp still works, this can be done using the wall of a garage or a building:
- Park the vehicle on a level surface, with the fuel tank about 1 / 2 full and with the vehicle empty of all extra cargo (unless normally carried). The vehicle should be facing a wall which is no less than 6 feet (1.8m) high and 12 feet (3.7m) wide. The front of the vehicle should be about 25 feet from the wall.
- If neither beam on one side is working, and if another like-sized vehicle is available, park the second one in the exact spot where the vehicle was and mark the beams using the same-side light. Then switch the vehicles so the one to be aimed is back in the original spot. It must be parked no closer to or farther away from the wall than the second vehicle.
- Perform any necessary repairs, but make sure the vehicle is not moved, or is returned to the exact spot from which the lights were marked. Turn the headlamps ON and adjust the beams to match the marks on the wall.
- Have the headlamp adjustment checked as soon as possible by a reputable repair shop.
The headlamps used on the majority of vehicles covered by this manual are called "composite lamps". Unlike the glass sealed beam units used on older vehicles, these headlamps are made of special plastic using small halogen gas bulbs. The bulbs are replaceable, but they do require special handling.
Depending on the installation, the low-bean and the high-beam halogen bulbs may actually be removable without removing the entire composite headlamp assembly. Look your application over carefully to see there is enough room behind the headlamp to fit your hand to remove the bulb holder. Since removing the composite headlamp assembly is not difficult, the following procedure assumes that the headlamp is being removed from the vehicle for halogen bulb service.
- Raise the hood and look at the headlamp installation. On some applications, the headlamp is retained by screws and some molded tabs that slip into slots in the sheetmetal mounting bracket. On other applications, two U-shaped clips may hold the headlamp in place. Remove the headlamp retainers and gently work the headlamp free of the vehicle.
- If the wiring harness is so short that it is difficult to work on the headlamp, simply unplug the electrical connector from the headlamp assembly.
- The halogen bulb may have a large, knurled plastic ring that retains the socket to the headlamp. Turn this ring to detach it and remove the socket with the halogen bulb.
- Remove the burned-out bulb and discard safely.
- Take great care not to touch the new replacement halogen bulb as oil from your skin will burn when the bulb is turned on and may damage the glass, shortening the life of the bulb. Use a clean, dry paper towel to handle the bulb.
- Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.
- Verify that the lights work correctly.
- Open the hood.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Remove the headlamp bezel retainers and bezel.
- Remove the spring from the bottom edge of the headlamp assembly.
- Detach the electrical connector from the assembly.
- Unfasten the two screws from the headlamp retaining ring.
- Rotate the retaining ring away from the headlamp.
- Remove the headlamp from the vehicle.
- Position the headlamp and retaining ring and secure with the two retaining screws. Tighten the screws to 18 inch lbs. (2 Nm).
- Attach the electrical connector to the assembly.
- Install the spring to the bottom of the headlamp assembly.
- Install the headlamp bezel and retainers.
- Connect the negative battery and test the lights for proper operation.