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Light It Up: How to Adjust your Car's Headlights for Driving at Night

This is why it’s important to be prepared and have your car’s headlights be in good working condition to light the road in front of you. Headlights can become misaligned at times, so it’s essential to understand how to aim and adjust your car’s headlights. To learn more about headlight safety and how to adjust your car’s headlights, continue reading below.

Importance of headlights

Car headlights are a crucial safety factor when it comes to nighttime driving. They increase visibility and allow other drivers to communicate and see you. Both your car’s low beams and high beams need to be functioning properly in order to stay safe on the roads when driving at night. According to The Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO), your vehicle’s headlights must shine a white light that can be seen at least 150 meters in front and is strong enough to light up objects 110 meters away and are required to be turned on between one-half hour before sunset and one-half hour after sunrise, and any other time of poor light conditions, such as fog, snow or rain, which keeps you from seeing people or vehicles less than 150 meters away.

Align and adjust

The alignment of your vehicle’s headlights is essential for safe driving at night. The headlights will not be as effective if they are not shining properly on the road and can increase the risk of an auto collision. To check if your car headlights are aligned, you can adjust them with these simple steps:

1. Level the car

Check to see if your car is levelled correctly by emptying out any heavy objects. Next, make sure all tires are inflated at the right air pressure level. Have a look to see if your gas tank is full.

2. Wall-to-wall

Choose a location where you are able to shine your lights at a wall. It could be in your garage or an underground parking lot. The front of your car should be facing the wall. Turn on the low beam headlights and identify what horizontal and vertical spots the lights hit with bright tape or a ruler.

3. Back up

Back your car up until it’s approximately 25 feet away from the wall, use a tape measure to double check the distance. Cover up one headlight and look at where the remaining headlight shines on the wall. Look to see if the brightest part of the headlight is approximately two inches below and slightly to the right of the marked horizontal and vertical marks made on the wall. Make any adjustments if needed.

Bulb replacement

If you notice the headlights aren’t as bright as they should be, it may mean the bulbs need to be replaced. This is also a simple fix to do on your own. Read our step-by-step Headlight Bulb Repair & Maintenance Tips post to learn how to change your car’s headlight bulbs.

Continue maintaining your vehicle’s headlights to ensure safe driving at night. Be aware of your surroundings and not stare at any oncoming headlights. Desjardins auto insurance will help shine a light on dark nights ahead.

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Light It Up: How to Adjust your Car's Headlights for Driving at Night

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