Headlight adjustment

2005 Honda Accord EX V6

One of my low beams burned out. I changed the bulb, and now it is out of alignment. If I understand the procedure correctly, I push a Phillips head screwdriver through a hole in the radiator cowling, engage a knurled wheel, and turn to adjust. But the low beam doesn’t move. I tried this without loosening the bulb retaining screws and after loosening the retaining screws. What do you suggest? The adjusting wheels are very difficult to get to, and I can’t see a way to make the adjustment without going through the holes described above. If any of you Honda guys can give me a hand, I’d really appreciate it.

Just replacing the headlamp bulb should have no effect on headlamp aim. If the headlamps were not out of alignment before then they should not be now. I have seen bulbs not installed all the way making it seem that the headlamps were out of adjustment. Could this be your problem?

I’ve seen cheap replacement bulbs with the filament misaligned, which throws the beam off.
Did you get a major brand like GE, Osram or Sylvania?

How exactly is it out of alignment? Are you aware that the left low beam is usually aimed lower than the right low beam on most cars?

If by some chance this is due to an issue with the new bulb (which doesn’t seem that likely to me), what happens if you switch the left and right bulbs (making sure not to touch the glass with your fingers)?

The filament inside the bulb has to be in a specific position relative to the mounting flange.
Kind of like film positioned relative to the lens in a slide or movie projector so the projected image is in focus.

Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia that shows the importance of filament position:

One filament is located at the focal point of the reflector. The other filament is shifted axially and radially away from the focal point. In most 2-filament sealed beams and in 2-filament replaceable bulbs of type 9004, 9007, and H13, the high-beam filament is at the focal point and the low-beam filament is off focus. For use in right-traffic countries, the low-beam filament is positioned slightly upward, forward and leftward of the focal point, so that when it is energised, the beam is widened and shifted slightly downward and rightward of the headlamp axis.

I was at a Honda dealer today to buy a part, and I asked about this issue. A tech cam out and gave me some free advice. He also thought the lamps might be misaligned. I’m going to check them again, but it sure seemed like they were seated the first and second times I twisted them in. In case I need to adjust them, he showed me how to access them from behind with a 10mm socket. Lastly, I found out that it takes a log time to move the lamps. Honda uses a machine to do it.

They are Sylvania bulbs, and the bright lamps seem to be right where the old ones were. Maybe it’s just that the low beams are so hard to get to and that makes the hard to seat properly. If it doesn’t work, I might switch them. The driver’s side is way high and the passenger’s side is low. I’ll let you know what happens.

The Bulbs Should Have A Little “Dog” Or Lug That Sticks Out On One Side (Top ?) That Fits A Notch In The Headlight Assembly To Give It The Proper Orientation. Take A Look. The Ones I’ve Done Have A Locking Ring That Won’t Install Unless The Bulb Is Seated Properly. Some Pressure Against The O-ring Is Needed To Seat It. I Put A Little Dielectric Grease On The O-Ring And Terminals To Keep Me Happy.</>


Finally! I left town without taking your advise and finally had the time to do it this morning. It was an installation issue. I loosened all 3 retaining screws, pushed the 3 ears into position, and turned the lamp housing. It seems that there are depressions that the ears fit into, then as you turn the lamp housing, the ears are lifted onto a pad underneath the retaining screws.The screws are the only thing holding the lamp in position. Last, I tightened the screws with my short-short (~1") Phillips head screwdriver. Even with the short screwdriver, I could hardly hold onto the handle; no room inside the housing. What a pain. But it’s done.

I even had time left over to buy a tire puncture repair kit, pull the nail out, and plug the tire. It seems I picked up a nail on the way to work on Tuesday. I borrowed a can of Fix-A-Flat from a friend and that seemed to hold air until I could get to the Honda dealer and then home. Why did I need to go to the dealer? I lost the lug nut key a few months ago after I changed the rear rotors and pads. I was in such a hurry to test the job out that I forgot to remove the key when I put the tires back on. At least it didn’t cost too much - about $40.

The next time you plan to have that tire replaced, make sure to mention the Fix-A-Flat to the tire dealer. Some of them won’t work on a tire with that inside due to the mess it creates.

jtsanders — "I lost the lug nut key a few months ago after I changed the rear rotors and pads."
A locking wheel lug nut can be removed in about 30 seconds without the key. Search google to see how.