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2019 Model 3 headlight alignment

Hi everyone,

I wanted to check with others from the UK with a pre-refresh (No Matrix) Model 3 how their headlights are performing. My car is a 2019 Model 3 Performance, picked up in November 2019.

I'd been having some issues with mine where I'd be parked on my sloped driveway, press the brake pedal, the headlights would be pointing too low. Then if I'm on flat ground and press the brake pedal, they'd be pointing too high and blinding people. I'd have to constantly re-run the headlight alignment in the Service menu, which would resolve this and set them to a good just below level position. Low enough that they're not blinding anyone, high enough that I can actually see.

Since then, I've had my headlights aligned by Tesla Service as I was getting really tired of having to run the headlight alignment so often or even pull over to the side of the road to run it as I'd forgot and I'm blinding everyone.

Now that they've been aligned by Tesla Service, they point very low down. The focus of the beam is probably about 1 car length ahead. I live in Cumbria so there's very low light pollution, with this new alignment I can see basically nothing. Would you want to be on a dual carridgeway doing 75mph when you can only see 1 car length in front of you...? It feels really sketchy compared to my manual alignment which with the rather flat alignment could see maybe 4-5 car lengths ahead with ease.

In the message concluding the service they said the headlights will slowly adjust based on vehicle weight and driving style, could anyone explain this? The weight part makes perfect sense, but driving style? Acceleration? Cornering? I have no idea what they mean by this but I've never seen them adjust based on how I drive in the past, or, maybe it's just slow adjusting so I haven't seen it happen.

I'm going to give it a few weeks to adjust like they said it should, but I wanted to see if other people have had any similar experiences. The pre-refresh headlights have honestly been nothing but trouble for me. My dad's 2014 Peugeot is able to adjust them based on the angle of the road, but my 2019 £52k car has a beam pointing at the ground with the same lighting distance as halogen bulbs... 😓

To be clear... I absolutely love the car! ...In the daytime, when I don't need auto high beam to function (as it turns off for retroreflective signs but turns on for traffic), and I don't need headlights most of the time. 😅
 
My brand new SR+ had the headlights pointing very far down when I collected it, only illuminating about 1 car ahead like you say. Driving at night right after picking it up it was very dangerous and I had to stop to adjust the headlights multiple times. Don't drive it like that if it feels unsafe. My understanding is they should drop about 1cm a meter so should illuminate at least a good 60m+.

The headlight alignment seems awful though and everytime I run the alignment (I try to find somewhere flat) it seems to settle on something different and after adjusting them manually with the scroll wheel I then close the menu they seemingly reset ignoring what I've just set, or perhaps they are taking the adjustment I make and applying it to the old alignment but its very hard to get them to a sensible position and on top of this they seem to change randomly - not sure if sloped driveway is a problem. Maybe I'm doing something wrong curious to see what people say here.
 
My brand new SR+ had the headlights pointing very far down when I collected it, only illuminating about 1 car ahead like you say. Driving at night right after picking it up it was very dangerous and I had to stop to adjust the headlights multiple times. Don't drive it like that if it feels unsafe. My understanding is they should drop about 1cm a meter so should illuminate at least a good 60m+.

The headlight alignment seems awful though and everytime I run the alignment (I try to find somewhere flat) it seems to settle on something different and after adjusting them manually with the scroll wheel I then close the menu they seemingly reset ignoring what I've just set, or perhaps they are taking the adjustment I make and applying it to the old alignment but its very hard to get them to a sensible position and on top of this they seem to change randomly - not sure if sloped driveway is a problem. Maybe I'm doing something wrong curious to see what people say here.
EXACTLY this!

In my case, I re-ran the alignment to make the headlights more level, ensuring they'd be below other people's mirrors still. If I ran this on my sloped driving, getting out and back in on flat ground made them point upwards, then if I ran it on flat ground, they'd be pointing down when I get in my sloped driveway... :)

It was like there's some kind of gyro-drift going on so it's mistaking the angle it's at. At least now they consistently seem to stay at the same angle, so far at least. Its only been a few days.

I'll update this post once I've had some more time to see if it aligns itself or anything, but I totally agree. The absolutely useless default alignment, which Tesla Service just reset it to for me, is pretty dangerous, especially in areas without street lights. It forces you to focus on the small section of road directly in front of the car instead of looking further ahead as you can literally see nothing. When aligned by myself, they don't blind others and they have great distance, but with this default... It's a nightmare.

Glad it's not just me at least, you described it exactly as I was seeing it... 😅
 
My brand new SR+ had the headlights pointing very far down when I collected it, only illuminating about 1 car ahead like you say. Driving at night right after picking it up it was very dangerous and I had to stop to adjust the headlights multiple times. Don't drive it like that if it feels unsafe. My understanding is they should drop about 1cm a meter so should illuminate at least a good 60m+.

The headlight alignment seems awful though and everytime I run the alignment (I try to find somewhere flat) it seems to settle on something different and after adjusting them manually with the scroll wheel I then close the menu they seemingly reset ignoring what I've just set, or perhaps they are taking the adjustment I make and applying it to the old alignment but its very hard to get them to a sensible position and on top of this they seem to change randomly - not sure if sloped driveway is a problem. Maybe I'm doing something wrong curious to see what people say here.
See that bridge ahead? Wait... What bridge?
PXL_20211227_191646095.MP.jpg


Ohhh, that bridge! :)
PXL_20211227_191649606.jpg


Is this anything like what yours was like? I think it'd be less insulting if the auto high beam didn't turn off for literally everything. It's like you're happily driving along, then suddenly blind because a retroreflective sign came into view... This is beyond stupid though. I can't even see road debris I'm approaching at 30mph, nevermind 75mph on an unlit motorway. 😓

I'm going to avoid adjusting it until Tesla Service is back in the office in early January, then I'll give them a call and see if this is really how it's intended to be. If so... I'm doing my own headlight alignment. 😅
 
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Someone on Reddit just figured out pretty much exactly what causes the issues I described!
See their post here:
https://www.reddit.com/r/teslamotors/comments/rttvyu/_/hqzxhri
I'll copy the text here though:
"Regarding your headlights moving: I know the answer to this!!

I'm in Australia with a 2020 3LR. We have basically the same build as the UK. It was doing my head in, and I eventually figured out what was going on. The headlights adjust their level when you close a door before driving. The left hand side front and rear suspension have position sensors that try to account for loads in the vehicle (passengers, cargo, trailer, etc). The problem is if you're on uneven ground when you close the last door, the suspension measurements will be wrong. This happens to me every time I let my partner in the car, when I'm halfway out of the garage. I can then stop on flat, level ground, open and close my door, and watch the lights go back to the correct position. I have a quick video of it here

Sometimes it does get properly out of alignment though. This happens often if I wake up the car from a deep sleep by getting straight in car, without pre-conditioning or whatever. In this case, the fix that's always worked for me is to just run the headlight adjustment (on flat level ground), but not adjust anything. It just recalibrates them and puts them back to the last saved position."

This makes a whole lot of sense as on my driveway the car squats quite heavily in the rear and monster-trucks in the front. I'll be giving this a try tomorrow. :)
 
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