Car light is more than premium lamps, great headlights and the hottest technology. A number of other factors have an influence on how good it is.

You went and invested a lot of money in a lowering kit for your racer from Bavaria, but on your first night ride your new sport chassis isn’t giving you quite the joy you expected. The headlights don’t seem to be right. In any case, the fledgling sports driver in you doesn’t see much.

Lower doesn’t mean further, so headlights need to be readjusted after any changes to the chassis.

 

The joy may well return on your next night ride. You just need to have your headlights readjusted. It’s quite simple really. Any change to the chassis has an influence on the alignment and range of the lights. The height of the vehicle doesn’t even need to be significantly changed for this to happen. It starts when you replace the shock absorbers. That can lead to the car being a few millimeters higher or lower. The effects are often quite significant, especially if only one axle gets new absorbers. They’re particularly striking if for example the front axle is lowered more than the rear for the sake of a chic, wedge-shaped look. Each little angle dramatically changes illumination 50 meters or more in front of the car.

Tires that have been changed considerably – usually to be wider – also change the height of the headlights, so readjustment is needed. Even tire pressure deviating from the normal value confuses the lights a little. That’s why any adjuster worth his salt will check the pressure beforehand.

Everyone should know that loaded trunks have an effect on the headlight range. What’s often overlooked is that fuel is also weight. Especially in big tanks the fuel level can make a huge difference. Conscientious mechanics make sure the tank is at least three quarters full before turning any adjusting screws.

Have you considered all that but the light is still bad? Then we might have one of the most common causes for underwhelming headlight performance. For example, with older generators or worn-out batteries a low operating voltage is quite common. But voltage drops in relays and cables are even more common, which means that the voltage directly at the headlight is below the optimum 13.5 to 13.8 volts. Searching for the cause requires expertise, but it’s worth it. Sorting out these problems can create a whole new headlight experience – also and especially when new high-performance lamps such as the Night Breaker from Osram are installed. It’s these lamps in particular that need the right operating voltage.

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