How to adjust your headlights


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Wild E. Coyote

Active member
Apr 13, 2011
Edit: don't know what happened to the images, so switched everything to the photobucket. I hope it will be working now

Finally, here it is. I was annoyed (as most of puma owners, I guess) by the performance of my headlights until I recently had them adjusted properly and was amazed at the difference it made!

First I need to warn you that I am on continent and we drive on the RH side of the road. So our headlights should be slightly angled to the right. In UK you should be pointing your beams slightly to the left. Everything else is the same.

Some theory, but not to much. As you know, the light spreads in straight line. To avoid blinding people who go in different direction, the light beam should be pointed down. Slightly. You don't want it angled to much as that makes you lose your range. That angle is usualy given as tangens of itself and tipical values are 1 - 2%. You will find the correct value on your headlight. For puma that value is 1%. (The same is for Mk2 focus as well) as this image proves.

The side inclination (I hope that is the right word, I am reffering to the angle to the right, or in your, UK example, to the left) is the same, as there is only one value imprinted on the HL (i.e. 1%)

What we need to do?

A picture is worth 1000 words, we say, so let's have a look!

How are we going to do it? Just by following the sketches. First you measure the height of your lens (the middle one). If you are having stock suspension, it should be 60-61 cms. The space between lenses is 115 cms. Also, do find the central axis of your car, as we will be needing it in a few moments.

Some people use wall, but I prefer a screen of some kind (a big box that was dismantled). Using a pencil or whatever, draw a straight line that is in line with the HL lenses (at the same height, ie 61 cm).
Also, make a central line that is going to be in line with the central axis of your car. That line will go up.

Now measure the distance from lenses to the screen you are using. My car was at 3,5 meters. That gives 350 cm and at inclination of 1% the light should be at that distance down by 3.5 cms (350 times 0.01). That is the second line BELOW the first one and paralel to it.

That is our reference height line which the beam of light shouldn't pass.

Now go from the central line (the one going up) 57.5 cms to left and to the right. Note that as either dots or lines going up. That gives us the reference points in the same position as if the beam of light is going straight.

Again, as per the sketch we need to calculate the offset value to the right. The distance is still 3.5 m and the value we are after is 1% to the right (left for UK) which equals 3.5 cms.

(NOTE: if your car is 5 m from the screen, the value is 5 cm as 500 times 0.01 gives 5. If you are even further away calculate your vaule, but there is no need to go beyond 3,5 meters, really).

That value is marked and now we have the points to which we should be aiming

How do we know where are the light pointing? By a notch in beam where the light angles up. In my case right side of beam goes up, in your (UK) it will be the left side

Using a torx T40 start adjusting the beam of your HL.Turn it to one side and see how that bottom of the V is moving. First adjust the height using the screw at the back

After you have moved the V to the BOTTOM line (the one denoting 1% slope at your distance from the screen, have another look at the sketches above) move it to the other line (in my case it was right, in your it will be to the left) using the top screw

After you have reached the vertical line redo the height adjustment again to center the point of the V to the intersection of the bottom horizontal line and the vertical to the right (UK to the left)

In total, that is how it should look (again, in UK, it will be mirror image to the left)

And now, let's see how it looks on dark road? No HIDs, just HB3 bulbs.

Nice, homogenous light, range is quite OK, I's say, the road is properly visible. Altogther 30 minutes of work, tops

Hope this will be of use to someone


Aug 17, 2013
East Sussex
Many thanks for this 'How To' and great photos. I look forward to trying all this in the coming week.


Nov 24, 2015
there are som + marks on the outer plastic of the headlight :) hunt for them... i took the car to a MOT station... they adjusted my headlight for free :)


New member
Nov 8, 2020
Just wanted to say, thanks Wild E. Coyote, I used this guide last year to adjust my headlights and it was super easy to follow. As I did not have a convenient wall to use I taped paper to my wheelie bins to mark my measurements on there :)

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