It’s ready to roll at last. The driver takes one look at the newly lowered sports car, its nose just inches above the road as it waits for its maiden trip, and smiles to himself. But the driver may be in for a rude awakening come nightfall. Particularly if the headlights were forgotten during the tuning process. When a car’s suspension is lowered, the range of its headlights will decline – dramatically. It is a step that makes perfect sense. But it is frequently overlooked. The lower the light source, the shorter the source’s luminous range if the beam angle remains unchanged. The reduction becomes even more pronounced if only the front part of the car is lowered. This change will also alter the beam angle. If countermeasures are not taken, the light will barely reach beyond the front bumper.

Energetic tuning specialists may think to themselves: “I’ll just aim the headlights a little higher. That’ll do the trick.” In principle, they are right. But simply turning the adjustment screw for height will not get the job done. It would not be precise enough. This is something that applies not just to the height. Every time that this screw is adjusted, the change also affects the light’s side alignment which plays a key role in optimal range as well. A headlight beam tester is essential – as a rule, such equipment is found only in automotive service centers.

Much more work is required for xenon

The adjustment work should be relatively fast and easy for halogen headlights and those with LED and manual headlight leveling. But it is a different story if the car is equipped with an automatic headlight-leveling system. Like xenon. The system will no longer function properly once the distance between the body and axles has been changed. In many cars, particularly newer models, the headlight leveling setting must be recalibrated in the electronics system. The job requires a service center tester. With its help, the task turns out to be a simple one. But the software solution may not get the job done in some cases, particularly those involving very low-slung cars. Mechanical work on the sensors must be performed here. This usually involves shortening the connecting rods. Drivers who fail to do something about headlight leveling will run the risk of experiencing extreme fluctuations in the headlights’ range.

By the way, lowering a car’s suspension will not just have a major impact on its light. Drivers who decide to give their vehicles a set of longer “legs” must readjust the headlights as well. Actually, this job is the more pressing one of the two. For one clear reason: The vehicle’s headlights will blind oncoming drivers if they are not readjusted.

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