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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The first time I drove my Prius at night I found the headlights really seemed cockeyed. High beams do not seem much higher than low beams and the left headlight does a fair job of illuminating the tops of trees. I must be blinding on-coming drivers but so far they haven't reacted. With all the animals on our roads, I want better illumination straight ahead.
The dealer thinks the car was in an accident before I bought it and he couldn't do anything about improving the aim. He wants to replace the left headlight, but I would like to try aligning it myself. I can't see any adjustment screws (I don't have the shop manual, obviously), so can't experiment.
Are all Prius headlights aimed fairly low on high beams, and are they supposed to spill light to the left on low beams?
 

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What model year is your car?

How many miles did it have before you bought it?

And can you go to another dealer for a second-opinion? Lots of service people don't understand the Prius as well as they should, and you may have run into one of them.

Good luck!
 

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and one additional question: HID or Halogen? The HIDs have auto levelers that sometimes go amuck. When they do however, it is usually in tandem, as the rear car level sensor that detects the distance from the rear axle to the frame sometimes sticks, giving incorrect level information to both headlamps.
 

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DanMan,

I have a 2005 pkg#6 with the HID headlights. Recently my headlights seem to be aiming extremely low. Do you know where the sensor you mentioned is and if I can clean/adjust it myself?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The car is a 2004 and had 11,000 miles when I bought it. I can't tell whether the headlights are Halogen or HID with auto levelers.
You're right about the dealer--I had the distinct impression that he doesn't deal with headlights enough to understand them. His solution is to install a new headlight assembly (which he says would not be covered by the warranty). I'll see him again about it. I'm in Wyoming at present and dealers are few and far between, like most things here.
From what little I can see with the help of a mirror, the socket on the left headlight doesn't seem seated properly. That wouldn't explain why the right one is aimed low, though.
Thanks for the responses.
 

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Kind of on the same note, I have the HID's on ours that we picked up on June 1. The photos of the leveling sensor shows that it's out in the open under the car. Being in Minnesota, I'm a little apprehensive of this when winter comes along. Anybody here in snowbelt and roadsalt states had experiences with this? My worry centers around the times when we get the slushy wet snow then everything freezes up, then we get an ice buildup in the wheel wells, as well as an acumulation of other assorted nasties stuck to the bottom of the car. Will I need to do anything special to keep this sensor in working order???
 

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I have a similar concern here in Central NY State (NOT NYC. Puh-leeze!) We get mountains of snow and ice in the winter (well, spring and fall too. Summer's looking pretty good so far.) I thought my lights were set high because I keep getting headlight flashing from other motorists. Checked with the dealer and he said everything's hunky dory. Still get flashing. Seems like a turn of a couple screws ought to solve the problem...if I knew where they were.

Fran
 

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I need to adjust the headlights on my 05 and, so far, I have'nt found the adjustment screws. My dealer mutters something about expensive gyro stabilized test equipment [which he does'nt have ]and and which I think is overkill for what used to be a pretty simple adjustment on most cars. Can anyone help??
 

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Find the adjustment screws. They are torx or Phillips on most cars, I don't know about the Prius yet.

The easiest and most practical way is simply to ensure a slight downward angle to the pattern on low beam. You can do this by finding a flat parking lot with a wall at one end. It doesn't have to be perfectly level, just flat.

Night, of course. drive up to the wall and stop gently. Note the height of the level part of the pattern, (left of the center in the US). Maybe make a mark on the wall. Then back the car about 50 feet, and make sure you have several inches of drop in the pattern. You can cover one light at a time to make it easier to see them individually.

This will be close, and you can observe as you drive if an up/down adjustment is required. A simple test on a flat street without much crown is that the taillight reflectors of cars should be lit, but only for about 200 feet up the road. Any farther and you have them aimed high. Much less and you probably want to aim them a little up.
 

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alanmeb said:
I would like to try aligning it myself. I can't see any adjustment screws (I don't have the shop manual, obviously), so can't experiment.
Up/down headlight adjustments are in the owner's manual. 2004 US Owner's Manual, section 8-3 Do-It-Yourself Maintenance, Electrical Components, Checking the Headlight Aim, page 302.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Problem solved

The dealer was correct: the left headlight was not the correct one for my car, and didn't match the right one. The previous owner must have had a broken light and had it replaced with the wrong type. So I now have the proper one installed and aimed correctly--what a difference.
My old headlight which is still perfectly good is being auctioned on eBay.
Alan
 
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