How to Adjust the Headlights on a 1988 Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla has long been a popular family sedan. Whether you own a 1988 or a 2008 model, one job you should do once every year is inspect and adjust the headlights. Luckily this process is the same for all models and requires little more than measuring, marking and adjusting a few screws. This job is important because your headlights are your primary defense during night driving, helping you see and others see you.

Tools Used: Yard stick, Tape, Chalk, Screwdriver set

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Measure the diameter of the headlight lens to determine its center. Measure the distance from the ground up to the center point of the headlight lens.

Drive your Corolla to a large wall and park about a foot in front of it. Make sure there is 25 feet of room to back up later.

Transfer the measurements to the wall and mark a point that represents the center point of each lens with a piece of chalk.

Cut four pieces of tape, each 6 inches long. Make two cross shapes and put them in front of each headlight on the wall. The center of the crosses should sit directly over the chalk mark.

Back the Toyota Corolla up 25 feet and turn on the headlights. See how the beams fall on the cross targets. Both lights should fall 2 inches below the horizontal arms illuminating the ground in front of you while driving. The passenger light should hit the vertical arm, but the driver's side needs to fall into the lower right quadrant, 2 inches to the right of the vertical arm. This stops the light from shining directly into oncoming traffic.

Locate and adjust the alignment screws. There are two for each lens and can be reached from the front of the car. One is on the top center, the other on the inside center. Simply use a screwdriver to adjust these until you see the light hit the right spot on the wall.

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