DIY | How to Adjust Sealed-Beam Headlights on Your Classic Car or Truck

DIY | How to Adjust Sealed-Beam Headlights on Your Classic Car or Truck

– Hi, I’m Kyle Smith with Hagerty. Today we’re going to be
fixing the crooked headlights on a 1972 Chevrolet C10. So fortunately for this job, we’ve got three nice easy tools to use. We’re gonna need a roll of tape. I prefer painter’s tape. You’ll see why later. A Phillips head screwdriver. And then the last thing we need is just a standard tape measure. So our first step is to mark
25 feet back on the ground. On this one I’m using my
garage door as the surface. You can use whatever’s convenient for you. You just need a large flat surface that you’re able to
park 25 feet back from. And then our second step is
to actually put the headlights on that 25 foot mark. Then I’ll close the garage door and I will use that garage
door to focus the lights. So you will want to make sure the vehicle is on flat, level ground with a load consistent to
what you typically drive with. So typically a half tank of
gas is a good place to start. So our next step here, we’re taking three fairly
specific measurements. The first one that we’re starting off with is the distance from the ground to the center of the headlight. Now you can use any part of the headlight, be it the top, the bottom, or the center. But what you’ll do from the ground to the center here so we can see it’s about 29 inches. As long as you’re
consistent from side to side it won’t make a difference. And then we will set
that there in the center and get it lined up. Over here to the side, we’re right at 60 inches side to side. Right at five feet. And then our third mark will
be the one on the garage door. And that will be three inches down from our headlight center. And that should be right at 26 inches. What I’m doing is I’m marking
a line where I measured up from the ground to the
center of the headlights. I’m gonna transfer that line to this wall at the same height. And then I’m going to make a
line three inches below that. And we will be using the top
line as our reference line, and then the lower is what
we’re actually going to focus the headlights on and use as our true mark. So I am going to mark two
other marks on these lines. And that is from the center,
which I’ve marked here, and lined the truck up with, 30 inches off, which will tell us where the headlight is relative to these lines. So we’ll just put a small piece of tape right on that one there. Then we’ll come over and
mark this side as well. So I thought we were
gonna be able to get away with adjusting this without
removing these trim bezels. But looks like we are gonna have to go ahead and remove them. It really depends on the car. Most cars you’re gonna be able to get to these adjustment screws without
removing this trim piece. So, looks like we’re gonna have to. Just spring it right off and then make our adjustments
with that out of the way. So the screws that you’re
looking for are going to be on the outer rim of the headlight. So it’ll be here at the top, most likely at the 12 o’clock
or the six o’clock position. And then either nine o’clock
or three o’clock position. And that will allow you
to adjust the headlight up or down in the focus or left to right. So that’s about the setting that I want on the driver’s side. It’s probably a little bit
lower than it needs to be. Better safe than sorry. And we can always bring it
up a little bit more later. There we go. There we’re seeing it come up. So we can see there, the kind
of blob of light right here is what’s giving us just off
of the headlight center line. So that’s going to eliminate
the shoulder of the road. Ah, that’s right where I want it. So you can see here if
I hold both of my hands in front of the light where it actually darkens out. And then when it comes
back exactly how much light this passenger side is throwing out. So now that we’ve got the
low beams all adjusted and set to where we want them, I’m gonna go ahead and
check that the high beams are in a rough location as well. With this one only having two headlights, it’s a very simple operation
because they’re already focused from the low beams. Now if your car has separate high beams, you’re gonna want to go ahead
and lather, rinse, repeat. Do the exact same thing that
you did for the low beams, adjusting those high beams. These look to be in good shape. I’m gonna go ahead and call it done, give it a quick road test, and make sure everything’s working fine. So that wraps up this video
of adjusting these headlights. If you have any questions
or any specific techniques that you like to use, feel free to leave those in the comments. And as always, if you like what you saw, please subscribe to our channel for more.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Or you could park a car in font of your truck and aim the lights at the rear window.
    It seems like every truck shines it's headlights in the back window of every car I have ever driven.

  2. You created the headlight center lines on the door and the 3" lower line but didn't tell us what you are looking for, relative to those lines, with the beams coming from the two lights. Such as the center of the beam on the center of the light, the top of the beam ??? etc. If I were trying to adjust my headlights, I wouldn't know where to point them from this video. Sorry.

  3. Hmmm but if you have a lifted or lowered truck? There should be a standard height vertical when back 25 feet. Like I read 4 feet vertically when 25 feet back. Everyone's headlights are different when measured from the ground up. But should always be aimed at a certain height. 25 feet back, 4 feet up.

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