Adjusting Headlights

I just replaced my headlight bulbs in my 2002 accord and now they are slightly out of sync. I have a Hayes guide for the car and in it they mention that the car has a bubble level in each headlight (and point to its location) I see where it is, but I don’t understand how to use and read them (the book just says to use them not how to read the level). I do know how to physically adjust the lenses though. Does anyone have any information regarding this subject? I’m willing to do it the old fashioned way, but my curiosity is killing me, I really would like to understand how to use the “bubble level.”

As an added note: I have looked inside the little window where the level is supposed to be, but it just looks like a little plastic “v” on top of another plastic part.

Thank you for all your input!!


The bubble level will look like this:


The two lines in the center are what you’re interested in. You want the bubble to be between them, like this:


Adjust the headlight up or down as needed to make this happen.

Is that inside the little window on each headlight? I can’t for the life of me find it in the window!

Can you snap a pic and show us what you’re looking at?

I will, but I cannot do it today. I’ll have a shot tomorrow (its gets very dark very early here on the east coast).

What does “out of sync” mean, exactly?

Replacing the bulbs should not necessitate adjustment of the headlight. The bulbs only fit in one position. New bulbs should not be “out of sync,” whatever that means.

The bubble level only controls the height of the headlight. There is also an adjustment for side-to-side.

When you start messing with headlight adjustment it’s really easy to get them WAY out of whack. Be careful if you start turning headlight adjusters. A little bit goes a long way.

You may not have put the bulb in completely and it is “off centered”…remove and reinsert the bulb. As stated in the previous post replacing bulbs should not change alignment.

I’m not sure you have the new bulb properly seated into the mounting bracket. There should be no difference in the aim of the new bulb from the old one if it is properly installed. Next, the bulb itself might have a defect. Remove and reinstall the bulb again and see if there is a difference for the better.

A small amount of “out of sync” might be OK. The real test is can you see at night. In the old days the driver’s side lamp used to aim just a bit toward the passenger side so less light was directed at oncoming cars.

Try a flashlight from different angles.

Alright guys, I got a picture (as close as I could get with my camera) of the window that is supposed to house the level. All I can see in each one is a little plastic piece, no bubble level of any kind. Am I even looking at the correct part? Note that this is only the passenger side of the car. Thank again guys!

I’m thinking that you don’t have headlamp levels at all. They don’t leave much to the imagination and are generally not “hidden” anywhere. I don’t see anything in that pic that makes me think it is a level.

Haynes manuals are notoriously bad. They routinely cover many years and models at the same time and routinely fail to adequately distinguish variations.

But the real question was asked above several times and remains - you said that you replaced the bulbs. This should not require any kind of adjustment.

That’s certainly a possibility. The Hayes guide covers '98-'02 (which is the same body style through all years) and it clearly points to this window in the headlight as being a bubble level. When I replaced the headlight bulb, one was perfectly adjusted (I know this because the car was bought brand new, and the headlights so far have yet to deviate from their original alignment) but the other was pointed up a considerable distance, why this happened, I have no idea (but the guide states that they can go out of adjustment easily) I have since adjusted it properly, and they are now level. I appreciate all your help guys, and really I just wanted to know if what I was looking at has a level in it. But after at least 20 minutes of searching, I have found no evidence of a leveling system.

I think the picture shows where a suction cup level is supposed to be attached. I may be dreaming of an imaginary device. It may not be in the housing. Adjust them using the guesswork is the bestwork method. You won’t hurt anything.