How Do I Adjust the Headlights on a 2009 Nissan Altima 2 5 S

Setting Up for Adjustment

Step 1: Make adjustments to get your vehicle to its average weight and height.

If you’ve been in a crash or swapped out your headlight bulbs, misaligned headlights can be dangerous. Begin by adjusting your vehicle to its average weight and height. Remove excess weight from the trunk, check tire pressure, and aim for a day with a half-full gas tank.

Step 2: Park your car on level ground, facing a perfectly vertical wall.

Choose a flat wall, indoors or outdoors, and use a spirit level to ensure it’s flat. Park as close as possible to the wall, leaving enough room. This ensures accurate adjustment.

Step 3: Level the shocks by pushing the corners of the car down.

Jolt the suspension by pushing down on each corner of the vehicle. This levels out the car, ensuring proper alignment. Alternatively, measure the distance from both headlights to the ground for precise leveling.

Making Your Alignment Grid

Step 1: Turn the headlights on and mark the centers on the wall.

Illuminate the wall with your headlights without using high beams or fog lights. Mark the brightest point for each bulb with + signs on the wall using tape. Ensure the lines are perfectly straight with a spirit level.

Step 2: Use a spirit level to see if the + signs are on the same horizontal plane.

Place a spirit level between the marked center lines to check for evenness. Adjust the lines if needed, ensuring they are no higher than 3.5 feet from the ground.

Step 3: Back your car exactly 25 ft (7.6 m) from the wall.

Measure the distance accurately to set the correct position for your headlights. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific recommendations.

Adjusting the Lights

Step 1: Turn the headlights on and assess where the light sits on the wall.

Ensure the brightest points align with the center of each + sign. Adjust horizontally if needed and ensure only the area below the middle horizontal lines is illuminated.

Step 2: Locate the adjusting screws on the housing for each light.

Access adjustment screws on top of each bulb by popping the hood. Use a screwdriver for manual adjustments, following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Step 3: Block one headlight so you can focus on adjusting the other.

Prevent light bleeding by blocking one headlight while adjusting the other. A helper in the driver’s seat can be beneficial.

Step 4: Turn the upper screw or bolt to adjust the vertical field.

Clockwise raises the lights, counterclockwise lowers them. Trial and error with a screwdriver ensures the area below the horizontal line is illuminated.

Step 5: Adjust the other set of screws or bolts to make horizontal adjustments.

Use a screwdriver to adjust the second set of screws for horizontal alignment. Ensure the most intense part of the beam aligns with the vertical bar on the + sign.

Step 6: Test your alignment by driving the vehicle on a safe, quiet road.

Drive cautiously in low-traffic areas at night to assess the adjustments. Repeat the process if needed until the lights are correct. Always refer to your owner’s manual for specific recommendations.

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