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Headlight adjust gone wrong...

Siciliano

Member
Apr 6, 2016
372
287
New York
So earlier tonight I decided to try to adjust the headlights. I was just going to adjust them down a few ticks because I've been getting flashed a lot.

Well, unbeknownst to me, when you hit the adjust headlights button, it auto levels every time (based on who the hell knows what??) ! I wish I would have known that! All I wanted to do was adjust them down a little from the current position! Now have no idea where the starting point was for either headlight. :mad: The headlights looked amazing before I hit that damned button... now they look horrible, and I really have no idea how they were aimed. With the car's default leveling, they are aimed wayyy too low.

So now I have to tick them both up like 10 or so ticks (they're extremely low) and drive around tomorrow night - I'm just too tired tonight. If they're still too low, I have to hit the adjust button again (which resets back to what the car thinks is right, again), and then go up 11 or more ticks...I have to repeat this nonsense until they look like they did before.

Sorry for the long story... I'm really aggravated and have OCD so I should have just left them alone.

TL;DR - Don't hit the adjust headlight button because the car resets them to a horrible level.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Perscitus

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,383
33,384
Oregon
Sorry for the long story... I'm really aggravated and have OCD so I should have just left them alone.

Somebody posted the full headlight adjustment procedure here:

untitled-1-png.578302

untitled-2-png.578303
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,383
33,384
Oregon
Thank you!

And I would think you wouldn't have to do it as precisely as they have it written out.

I don't recall people reporting that just going in to the settings re-centers them, so I wonder if that is a software bug. (The headlight adjustment option has had a number of bugs over the years, some that required service to fix once you went in to the option.)
 

Siciliano

Member
Apr 6, 2016
372
287
New York
And I would think you wouldn't have to do it as precisely as they have it written out.

I don't recall people reporting that just going in to the settings re-centers them, so I wonder if that is a software bug. (The headlight adjustment option has had a number of bugs over the years, some that required service to fix once you went in to the option.)

Yes the screen even says "leveling" every time I hit the adjust headlights button, and it proceeds to aim the lights extremely low, then extremely high, and ends up somewhere in the middle.

It reminds me of when I had my S7, and it would do that down then up leveling (to a lesser degree) every time I turned on the headlights...

I don't really want anyone else to mess up their headlight adjustment, but now I'm really curious if it does this for anyone else?? I have a late 2018 LR AWD (mfg date 11/18)
 

Siciliano

Member
Apr 6, 2016
372
287
New York
Update: I watched a few videos and did some research, and the headlights indeed "auto level" when you hit the adjust headlights button. The thing that no one seems to know is, what that level actually is. Some are saying it's a "neutral" level. Maybe it's factory default?? All I know is it's way too low, and you can see those bright spots (sweet spots?) on the road not too far ahead, and it just looks horrible.

It's funny because I've read so many posts cautioning not to adjust the headlights because "there is no resetting back", however now I know this is completely untrue. I'm thinking in previous software versions the headlights actually didn't reset. This must have been a "silent" update at some point.

I've also read on a few different sites that when you take it to a SC to align, they always aim them too low...so I won't be doing that. At least I know if I mess them up too badly, they will just auto-level back to a default position once I hit the button to adjust. All I know is, the headlights can be amazing if aimed slightly above OEM. They looked amazing when I got the car, and now I'm going to aim to get them back the way they were. :D

Basically I want them to look as they do in this video. I'm positive they are aimed higher than what a SC would calibrate (in the video they look REALLY high), but I'll be happy as long as I can find a sweet spot where I'm not blinding oncoming traffic, yet illuminating very far ahead and to the sides...

 

aspec818

Member
Nov 15, 2018
627
298
Bay Area
So earlier tonight I decided to try to adjust the headlights. I was just going to adjust them down a few ticks because I've been getting flashed a lot.

Well, unbeknownst to me, when you hit the adjust headlights button, it auto levels every time (based on who the hell knows what??) ! I wish I would have known that! All I wanted to do was adjust them down a little from the current position! Now have no idea where the starting point was for either headlight. :mad: The headlights looked amazing before I hit that damned button... now they look horrible, and I really have no idea how they were aimed. With the car's default leveling, they are aimed wayyy too low.

So now I have to tick them both up like 10 or so ticks (they're extremely low) and drive around tomorrow night - I'm just too tired tonight. If they're still too low, I have to hit the adjust button again (which resets back to what the car thinks is right, again), and then go up 11 or more ticks...I have to repeat this nonsense until they look like they did before.

Sorry for the long story... I'm really aggravated and have OCD so I should have just left them alone.

TL;DR - Don't hit the adjust headlight button because the car resets them to a horrible level.
When it auto leveled, it pretty much brought it back to where my beams were, not way down. If there was such a big variation after it levelized, maybe your beams were aimed way too high. Getting the right pattern isn’t too hard even if it reset. Just follow the more official procedure posted or goto a dark area where you can clearly see your pattern, and adjust from there. I used to adjust retrofitted xenon projectors in my cars this way and the beams were sharp and perfect.
 
  • Helpful
Reactions: Siciliano

Siciliano

Member
Apr 6, 2016
372
287
New York
When it auto leveled, it pretty much brought it back to where my beams were, not way down. If there was such a big variation after it levelized, maybe your beams were aimed way too high. Getting the right pattern isn’t too hard even if it reset. Just follow the more official procedure posted or goto a dark area where you can clearly see your pattern, and adjust from there. I used to adjust retrofitted xenon projectors in my cars this way and the beams were sharp and perfect.

Yes, I agree with you totally - there was a big variation after they leveled, which does mean they were aimed high when I bought it. This definitely explains why some ppl are saying the headlights aren't good at all...at the default setting, they really are pretty bad!

This has me thinking...if "better" headlights on other cars reach further down the road, it's simply because they are aimed better/higher. You could have the brightest headlights on earth, but if they're aimed too low you will just see intense light and two sweet (bright) spots not too far in front of the car. That's exactly what it looked like after my headlights leveled.

I've compared my M3's headlights to many other cars - even Audi which is among the best - and the intensity of the beam is very similar if not better than most cars. And as far as distance, they are amazing (the way they were aimed before the system leveled them!). Sure I got the occasional flash, but the visibility was stellar. I get nearly blinded every night by high SUVs and some cars... it's not the end of the world.

So to anyone saying the headlights are bad - you need to adjust them!
 

hua96

Member
Nov 28, 2020
7
2
Toronto
Took delivery of a new 2021 Model 3 SR+. Don't know if the lights were at correct levels but obviously at home I messed with the settings and hit the adjust headlight button. It only tells you after hitting the button and it auto levels that you shouldn't mess with the lights. Not sure if it matters but I was on a sloped driveway.

Well, I didn't change anything and pretty sure I was blinding people on the highway. People flashed their lights at me . Emailed a local Tesla service centre and they provided the below. So maybe it just wasn't calibrated properly to begin with.

"If you are using auto headlight adjustment will not cause any issues. If you use the headlight adjust setting with manually adjusting each headlight please do not perform as the headlight are supposed to have an optimal level and if higher or lower it will cause issues.

Headlight do not really require adjustment until one is replaced or some foreign objects hits the vehicle front end to change the angle of the headlight.

If you feel like the headlight are not adjusted correctly please book in a service appointment for review through your Tesla App."
 

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