How to Replace a Headlight Adjustment Screw?

Having worn-out adjustment screws means your headlight may blind others and provide poor illumination.

Last year, my Nissan Sentra's right side low beam was shining upwards to the point of blinding oncoming drivers. While trying to adjust the headlight, I noticed the OEM adjustment screw was in bad shape.

Replacing a faulty adjustment screw with a new one may seem a challenging task to do yourself. However, it's going to save you a lot of money to do so. And being a DIY-lover, I can promise you that you will have fun!

Replacement Process

Things required for the replacement

  • Replacement screw: You can easily get a new adjustment screw for headlights online or from your mechanic. Make sure you get one that matches your vehicle's model and the year. Personally, I like to use the Dorman screw for these replacements.
  • Screwdriver
  • Socket wrench

Find the faulty screw

Not all cars have headlight adjustment screws in the same place. As a result, you should check your owner's manual of the car to find the location of the screws. They are most likely to be on the side of the headlight housing and on top.

Park your car in a safe spot where you can start this process. Make sure it's not too hot under the hood. Otherwise, it may cause burns.

Remove the bolts from the top

There are usually three bolts on the top of the headlight housing. You need to remove those using a socket wrench. These bolts are usually 8mm – 10mm in size, and you will likely have two different sizes of bolts installed.

Get your socket wrench placed securely on the bolts and rotate anti-clockwise until they come off. We are removing the bolts to take the headlight assembly out of the vehicle. Now, for some cars, you can't take the headlights out without removing the bumper on the front. If that's the case, you will have to remove the bumper before starting the process!

Disconnect the wiring and the bulb

Before detaching the wires, it's a good idea to take a photo. It will help you reconnect the wires to the right slots.

To disconnect the wiring of the headlight, find the plug connected to it. Press on the plug and gently pull it out to remove the wiring safely. Disconnect the bulb by twisting it. Make sure to wear gloves so that you do not damage the bulb while taking it out.

Now, the headlight is ready to be removed from the vehicle!

Remove the headlight from the car

Lift the headlight up and pull it forward to detach it from the car. Make sure it doesn't scratch the bumper.

Take out the broken adjustment screw and replace it

Use a screwdriver to turn the screw anti-clockwise until you can safely remove it. You may have to disassemble the headlight to remove the screw for some vehicles.

Now, put in the new screw you got with the screwdriver now turning clockwise. Secure it, but don't tighten it too much.

Put the headlight back in

Now, put the headlight back in the vehicle and connect the wires before attaching the bolts. The picture you took will help you here to connect the wires properly. Before installing the bolts, turn your headlights on and see if they are working properly now. If everything is good, secure the bolts in the right place.

Replace a Headlight Adjustment Screw

Adjusting your headlights

Now that you have replaced the broken adjustment screw, you can adjust your headlights. Fortunately, I have previously written about adjusting LED headlights easily. You can check that out or read your car's owner's manual to align the beams of your headlamps.

Final Note

It can be a bit of a hassle to change your headlight's adjustment screw all by yourself. However, it's worth the trouble, considering how important it is to align the beams perfectly. To stay safe, any measure is needed!

I want to know how the process was for you. For example, did you have to follow a video, or did my instruction help you all the way through? Let me know!

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