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Model 3 headlights adjustable?

Candleflame

Active Member
Mar 9, 2015
3,680
2,009
QLD, Australia
Thanks!

I only noticed the lack of distance with the headlights a couple of nights ago. I haven’t made any changes, not sure why it seems to have changed all by itself.

They can misalign after a while. It is a big problem in i.e. the UK where their MOT doesn't really look at headlight adjustment so everyone drives around with dodgy headlights. But it is also the reason why noone cares if LHD vehicles drive around without deflection stickers there.

In Australia you have to be glad that some cars drive with a single working headlight so yeh, I doubt it gets adjusted during servicing or mandatory inspection (which only exists in NSW and Tasmania afaik).
 

Cnixon

Member
Mar 5, 2020
511
167
Basingstoke
They can misalign after a while. It is a big problem in i.e. the UK where their MOT doesn't really look at headlight adjustment so everyone drives around with dodgy headlights. But it is also the reason why noone cares if LHD vehicles drive around without deflection stickers there.

In Australia you have to be glad that some cars drive with a single working headlight so yeh, I doubt it gets adjusted during servicing or mandatory inspection (which only exists in NSW and Tasmania afaik).
Twaddle. Of course we look at headlight allignment!
 
I think the headlights throw distance of my car is too short, the low beams don’t illuminate far enough, certainly much shorter than my other car. Is there any way to adjust that?
Over 20 months of ownership I've learned a lot about how the headlights in the Model 3 work. I have the older style lights, but I'm pretty confident that what I'm about to tell you holds true for the new style lights too. I hate the Model 3 headlights (short throw being one of the reasons), so have been playing around with them a lot to figure out how to get them as good as they can be. I found that every time I adjusted them, they'd go out of alignment the next drive. It was driving me crazy until I figured out how they actually operate.

1. You can adjust each light independently, up/down, left/right. The left/right adjustment is not very noticeable in my car. Might be with the new headlights though.

2. When you tap the "adjust headlights" setting in the service menu, the lights will go all the way up, then back down to their currently set level. Many people think this loses your previous adjustment, but that's not correct. See point 4 below.

3. The left hand side suspension has position sensors front and rear (EU, AU, etc models. Apparently not US/NA). These are used by the car to detect load in the car (i.e. luggage in the boot, passengers, trailer, etc) and adjust the headlight levels to compensate. So if there's weight in the back, and the front of the car points up, the headlights will aim a little lower so as not to dazzle oncoming drivers. I refer to this as auto-levelling.

4. The auto-levelling function triggers upon closing a door (I've tested with both front doors. Haven't tried the back doors). You might see this happen when a passenger gets in a closes the door. The headlights may move up or down a little very quickly (see video demonstration below). This happens because the last door closing indicates that the last amount of load has been applied to the car, and you're ready to drive. The problem that I found with the auto-levelling is that it can easy put your headlights out of whack if you're on uneven ground when you close the door. This happens to me when I'm on an angle, halfway out of my garage, halfway on my sloped driveway, and my partner gets in and closes the door. I believe this is the reason 9/10 that people see their headlights go out of alignment. The good news is that you can easily fix the alignment by stopping on flat ground, opening your door, then closing it again. You'll instantly see your lights reposition. I say 9/10 because there is a 1/10 case where this is not the cause of the problem. See point 5.

5. As some people have mentioned, yes, the lights can actually go out of alignment. I experienced this last week. My left light was directed lower than normal and my door close trick didn't fix it. I believe it occurred when I drove my car without preconditioning first. I woke it from a full sleep by opening the door, which I almost never do. The fix was simply to access the "adjust headlights" menu, let it go up and come back down, then exit out of the menu. I didn't have to actually adjust them. They went back to their previously adjusted position, which I can easily verify with markers I put on my fence.

Because of the sharp light cutoff of the low beams, it's fine line between getting good distance and blinding oncoming drivers. It took me quite a while to get mine positioned to a spot that I'm happy with, without blinding everyone.

 
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