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Poor LED Performance - 1 Solution

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Joelgjr, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. Joelgjr

    Joelgjr Member

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    The first thing that I remember surprising me about the Model S was that it’s LED headlights were rated very poorly. When I first got my car out at night, the headlights were bad - so I agreed. There was nice white light, but it was not spread out enough and anything over 30mph I would be out-driving them, which is extremely dangerous. I do a lot of back country road driving where it’s true pitch black and there are no street lights. Aux lights are not uncommon.

    I did my usual research and all I could find on TMC was people complaining that their nose cone HID headlights were aimed too high and people were flashing at them. As I have the LED and they’re the opposite of too high this didn’t really apply. However, I noted where they adjusted their headlights up and down and went out and tried it.

    Well the difference is astonishing. I went from having the worst headlights I’ve ever had, to having headlights equivalent to what I consider to have the best HID headlights ever made (Honda s2k).
    I understand in detail the differences between HID, LED, and halogen, so I had the right expectations going into this.

    This post is more a PSA that Tesla is not adjusting all cars’ headlights at the factory, so if you’re not satisfied with the light output, check your alignment - it literally took me 4 minutes!
    And please please please be careful not to blind oncoming traffic! Too high and you waste light going off into the sky. Too low and you can’t see down the road.
     
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  2. Snowstorm

    Snowstorm Member

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    Would you say the headlights are aimed too low in general? Or only the low beam is too low? If you aim them up, would the high beam be too high?
     
  3. SpudLime

    SpudLime Member

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    Can you go into some detail on how you adjusted them? I know its in the manual, but would be nice to hear your process.
     
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  4. onautopilot

    onautopilot Member

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    I’m going to try this too. The LED headlights are really underwhelming. My model 3 has VASTLY superior headlights to my 16 Model S. Like the OP my previous Honda S2000 set the benchmark pretty high for headlights. I’ll report back...
     
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  5. Joelgjr

    Joelgjr Member

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    Both low and high were too low, and they both adjust together. One shouldn’t be low and the other normal - this would suggest problems with the headlight itself
     
  6. Joelgjr

    Joelgjr Member

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    #6 Joelgjr, Jul 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
    It’s ncredibly easy. Open your frunk. There are three big pieces of plastic panels. Remove the two on both sides left and right. Leave the center one. They just pop straight up - theyre held in place with clips. There is also one rubber washer per side. DO NOT UNSCREW THIS. When you pull the panels up, the rubber washer will contort and deform and squeeze through the hole. You’ll do the reverse when you put the plastic panel back on.

    Now that the panel is off, look at the back of the headlight and you will see a round piece of white plastic (the rest of the headlight is black so it stands out). You can put a Phillips head screw driver into this and screw up - this is how you adjust the headlights.

    COUNTER CLOCKWISE goes up
    CLOCKWISE goes down.

    Count the number of revolutions of your screw driver so you can fine tune it.

    That’s really it. I put them up 3 full turns and went for a drive and it was astonishing the difference
     
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  7. Parebalo

    Parebalo Member

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    Couldn’t agree more on your headlight observations Joe. Mine were very bad as well and like you, I felt I over drove them around 40mph. As you note, it is a very easy adjustment and one can easily see the relative headlight movement if you have them pointed at your inside garage door. Now a happy camper with low and high beams.
     
  8. sauce

    sauce :P

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    I too am in total agreement. I knew about the poor headlights and confirmed it the very night I drove back home from delivery. That was September 2017.

    That being said, I've had both headlights replaced under warranty in January 2018 as they had condensation problems and noticed the replacement headlights were much more powerful. SC confirmed this as they told me they had a better technology headlight introduced end of 2017. On a winter drive to Sudbury, ON at night I validated the much improved quality of lighting, but as you mentioned I too thought they were pointed too low.

    So I asked from SC an upwards adjustment of about 2'' from 20' and validated this improvement on a all-nighter road trip to the Carolinas in April 2018, and I can say the lighting was absolutely supreme, even in wet and foggy conditions.

    This is a simple adjustment everyone with Model S LED headlights should perform for improved safety.
     
  9. Big Earl

    Big Earl Supporting Member

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    I’ve found the facelift Model S headlights to be too low in both low and high beam modes, although I’ve only spent significant time in one. The Model X, on the other hand, seems to be perfect. It’s nice to know that a simple adjustment can correct the problem.
     
  10. Snowstorm

    Snowstorm Member

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    My S was delivered June 2017 and the headlights was on the week side. I recalled the IIHS had rated them poor. If they are better on new cars now, Tesla should get IIHS to retest them so they would get that black mark off the record.
     
  11. SpudLime

    SpudLime Member

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    Thanks for taking the time.
     
  12. edclin

    edclin New Member

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    I also had the same problem with you last year. The solution I made at that time was to repurchase a headlight in novsigh, which has been very good for a year now.
     
  13. xiaoxiao

    xiaoxiao New Member

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    Hey, buddy, the headlights in novsight are good. You can see that I've been working for 2 years.
     
  14. insaini

    insaini Member

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    Toronto
    my model s was delivered without the adaptive led (the ones that light up when you turn the steering wheel) so I set an appointment with my service center to have them replaced ...

    my service center replaced them and then called me in to ask if i wanted the lights to be shifted upwards a little as it will improve the visibility quite a bit.... so i said sure

    i took it out for a ride that night and it visibility has definitely approved .... I think Tesla is aware of the adjustment and has most likely started making them in the new vehicles that are coming off the line but the older ones need to be adjusted. Check with your service centers
     
  15. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Well-Known Member

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    Best thing I ever did with my Tesla HIDs was adjust them a little bit higher. This tip isn't just for LED.
     
  16. Michelx

    Michelx Member

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    Do you know if it is the same to adjust the ModelX headlights?
     
  17. SpudLime

    SpudLime Member

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    If you are on a flat surface and aim the lights at your closed garage door, what height do you measure the lights are now at? Also distance from the door for comparison.
     
  18. ghostrunner

    ghostrunner Member

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    Edmonton
    Thanks for the information, I adjusted my headlights up 1 1/2 turns and wow what a diffrence , I can now see a lot farther ahead and it doesn't feel like I am out-driving them anymore.
     
  19. scottflys

    scottflys Member

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    I agree with all of this too.
    The stock height of the headlights is very poor, I had my adjusted a few months back and it made a world of difference. They maybe a tad high as I get a Flash from oncoming drivers so I may need to lower them a bit
     
    • Like x 1
  20. Cirrus MS100D

    Cirrus MS100D Member

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    Pennsylvania, USA
    Thanks for sharing this simple tip and the how-tos!
     

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