How to Adjust the Headlights on Your Jeep

For most drivers, there is nothing more annoying than a pair of bright headlights from an oncoming vehicle at nighttime. Although sometimes it is the result of the other driver simply failing to turn off their high beams, a lot of times it is the result of bad headlight adjustment.

Headlight Adjustment Process

In order to properly adjust your headlights, you will need to work in an area where the ground is level. You will also need to have a flat wall or another vertical surface to use as your target.

Make sure that there is enough room to allow for at least 30 feet of space between your vehicle and the wall in order to make the proper adjustments. Depending on the stiffness of your suspension, you may also need to add weight to your Jeep in order to achieve the proper ride height.

Each state is responsible for developing its own regulations when it comes to the proper aiming of headlights. And although there may be some slight variations from state to state, they generally tend to follow the guidelines provided by the Department of Transportation. Not only does the DOT limit the amount of light that a headlight can produce, but it also has strict requirements on the shape of the beam and how it is aimed.

Improperly aimed headlights can easily blind drivers in the oncoming lanes. When other drivers are unable to see clearly, accidents can and often do happen. It is therefore important to have properly adjusted headlights, in order to ensure the safety of others on the road.

The Tools You Need

25 Foot Measuring Tape – As you will need to measure the distance from the vehicle to the wall.

Roll of Masking Tape – Masking tape is better than working directly on the wall.

Speed Level – Any level will do, but most people have a speed level somewhere in their toolbox.

Marker – Do not use a permanent marker as it will bleed through the masking tape.

T15 Torx Driver – Although a regular screwdriver might work, the T15 is the proper bit.

Lite Brite – Headlight Adjustment Video Guide

Mark the Jeep’s Center

Start by pulling your Jeep as close to the wall as you can, while leaving just enough space for your hand to work. With the masking tape, place a 1-foot long piece of tape vertically on the wall to mark the center point of your Jeep.

Mark Your Headlights Center

Using your level, and a straight edge just long enough to stretch span the distance from the headlight to the wall, place a piece of masking tape horizontally to mark the center point of the headlight. You will need to do this for both of your headlights.

By now, you should have a 1-foot long piece of masking tape that vertically marks the center point of your Jeep. You should also have two shorter pieces of tape that horizontally mark the center point of your Jeep’s headlights.

Now you need to mark the vertical center point for each of the headlights. In order to do this, measure the distance from the centers of each headlight and divide this by two. Then measure from the center point on the wall, and mark the vertical center point for each of the headlights with a strip of tape.

Move Back 25 Feet

Now that you have a single vertical piece of tape marking the center point of the Jeep, and two crisscrossing pieces of tape to mark the center point of each headlight, carefully back your Jeep away from the wall. Make sure to keep the wheels as straight as possible when backing up to ensure that the headlights shine equally on the wall.

The measurement should be taken from the wall to the headlights themselves, and not to the front bumper. Your goal is that the distance from each headlight to its individual marking on the wall is equal to 25 feet. It’s okay that it’s off by a few inches, but it should be as close as possible.

Mark the Right Height

Next, you need to mark the correct height that your headlights should be aimed at. As a general rule of thumb, your headlights should not shine higher than 36 inches at this distance.

Go back to the wall, and extend the vertical tape that marks the center point for each headlight until it’s just below that 36-inch mark. Then run a piece of masking tape horizontally at the 36-inch level from the center point of one headlight to the other.

Adjust the Headlights

With the wall thoroughly marked with a collection of crisscrossing pieces of tape, it is now time to adjust your Jeep headlights. The headlight itself can only be adjusted up or down, as there is no left or right adjustment screw available.

In order to adjust your headlights, you’ll need to locate the adjustment screw, which can be found just behind the indentation in the cutout for the headlights in the grill.

The Headlight Adjustment Screw

Although some older jeeps may be adjusted with a regular screwdriver, you will most likely need to use a T15 Torx bit in order to make any adjustments. When you turn the screw counterclockwise, the headlight beam will go down. Likewise, when you turn it clockwise, you will increase the height of the headlight beam.

Work on one headlight at a time, by covering the other headlight before making any adjustments. Start by covering the headlight on the passenger side, and adjust the beam until the height of the beam is just below the 36-inch mark. Once you have adjusted the driver-side headlight, move the cover to the driver’s side, and adjust the passenger-side headlight.

Low Beam Alignment

You will notice, that your high beams should line up with the masking tape used to mark the vertical center points for each light, but the low beams will be off-center. This is how they should be.

The beam itself should be to the right of the center point line. This ensures that the low beams do not shine into any oncoming traffic.

High Beam Alignment

Once you have adjusted the headlights using the low beams, you can check the alignment of your high beams. While the low beams should be below and to the right of each center point marked on the wall, the high beams themselves should be perfectly centered on their respective center points.

This will ensure that the beams do not pass beyond the trunk line of your average car and that your high beams do not blind oncoming traffic.

It is very important to maintain properly adjusted headlights at all times. After all, you do not want to cause an accident by blinding any oncoming traffic. In the event that you lift your Jeep, you will also need to readjust your headlights accordingly.

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