By Daniel Stern, DVN Editor
I'm frequently contacted by American and Canadian drivers frustrated with how difficult it is, often practically impossible, to get headlamps aimed properly. Optical headlamp aiming machines similar to those long used in Europe have been widely available in North America for years, but most shops don't have them; most of those that have them, don't use them, and most that use them don't use them correctly or carefully. It is vexingly difficult in most places to find a shop that will do anything but crank the aim randomly upward if the driver says they can't see well, or randomly downward if the driver says they get flashed by oncoming drivers. Consider this email that recently hit my desk:
I noticed my headlamps seemed to be aimed very low on my Lexus, so I went to my dealer and asked if they could use their optical aiming machine and point them in the correct direction. Their "master technician" informed me that they do own the correct machine, but it can't be used to aim the headlights on my 2013 Lexus and instead they would aim them by shining them on a wall.
I figured they would have access to a better aiming wall and flatter pavement than I would, so I accepted this explanation. They made a complete mess of it and I ended up being charged an hour of labour for them to aim my lights upward by what they informed me was 1.5 degrees(!) but looks like probably even more than that. They took a situation that started bad and made it worse.