parkman

Headlight alignment.

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I have a question that maybe someone has an answer to.  My car is in Ireland, having moved from the UK last year. It is an original UK car.

It is a 2013 IS 300H Premier, the latest model, and it came from a main dealer. It is now in Dublin, and it needed to have an NCT test, the Irish equivalent of the MOT, but operated by a Spanish outfit.

Unfortunately, this company uses the annual car test as a cash cow [as with a lot of things in Ireland, such as road tax] and you have no idea what the requirements for passing the test this year might be. Each year the car goes for a test you can be sure that there will be different rules this year than last year, and passing the test will be totally speculative.

My car has just failed this annual hi-jack due to both headlight being unaligned correctly. I had a look under the bonnet this afternoon and I can't see where the lights are aligned, and this has made me wonder whether there actually an alignment mechanism in the IS 300. 

If the test centre have decided that the lights are incorrectly aligned, both left and right, then they have been this way since the car was supplied to me 18 months ago, and having looked through the service receipts I see no mention of headlight adjustment or re-alignment. There are only 40,000 miles on the car, and since the last test which the car passed 12 months ago I have done just over 3000 miles, and I can't believe that the lights have gone out of alignment within that mileage so there are two possibilities;

[1] the lights have been out of alignment from the day the car was supplied or;

[2] the bandits at the test centre have just invented this to fail the test with the result that I need to get a retest, which has to be paid for.

I called into a Lexus/Toyota dealer on the way home, and his answer was that the headlights have gone out of alignment because of driving over speed bumps. What a lot of utter nonsense. I said that if that was the case then there is an inherent problem with the car because I have never had the lights on a car go out of sync due to road conditions.

Maybe someone can tell me if they have had any problems with car headlights going out of alignment during normal use, I would be most interested.

Parkman.

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Does this model have self levelling Xenon/led headlamps?

It is quite possible for the alignment to change due to hitting potholes etc.. 

It is also possible the self levelling sensors have become damaged.

All car headlamps can be adjusted, the self levelling will still have some form of screw adjustment for centring before the self levelling takes over.

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Hi, thanks for the reply. I know that the series 3 IS has LED headlights but I am not sure about self-leveling  I have looked up the specs for the Premier model but it doesn't mention whether or not there are self-leveling. I did see a method of testing this by starting the engine, putting on the hand brake and then very gently pressing the accelerator to see if, when the rear of the car pulls down the headlights also turn down. 

The problem with this is that you are having to get the car to strain against the handbrake, and how long do you need to do it for, before the electronics see that the car has gone low at the rear and needs to turn the headlights down.

Where would it say whether the car has self-leveling headlights ?

Edit; I have just looked through an online IS brochure and it says that the IS 300h has "[1] / Xenon headlights Auto-levelling High Intensity Discharge Xenon headlights with high-pressure cleaners and LED daytime running lights are standard on the new IS."

I could imagine one headlight becoming misaligned, but both, and by the same margin ? I would also like to know how the test mechanic tested them, to see this problem. I have a classic Mercedes and I tend to be very careful of speed bumps and potholes, to the extend that I slow right down to walking pace to pass over a speed bump, and I will zigzag all over the place to avoid potholes and damaged road surfaces. I don't care what people think, I don't see why I should allow bad roads to cost me loads of money repairing my car. If I have to stop in the middle of the road because of a pothole then that is exactly what I do !!

Parkman

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This was discussed previously  (but sorry, can't remember the tag).  As far as I know my car has Xenon lights and initially failed its MOT because of headlight alignment. However thanks to my diligent independent,  it turned out that a bulb had failed and after replacement all was well.  There is apparently an alignment adjuster and if you can find that earlier post there is some helpful information in it.  Frustrating when you get explanations which don't stack up.   Good luck - maybe you need two new bulbs. ??

Incidentally, thanks to advice in that earlier post, I claimed and was paid the cost (about £75) under warranty.  Apparently the bulbs are guaranteed for life !?

 

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open the bonnet and look in the area where the headlight and the wing meet

on the plastic panel you will see 2 arrows that have a + and - these are the

adjusters for the horizontal and vertical settings of the headlights.

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Many thanks for the replies. I had a quick look a few minutes ago, and I see the places where the adjustments are made, but I have decided to book the car in for service and the dealer will reset the headlight alignment.

A very interesting comment about the lifetime warranty on the Xenon, or LED, bulbs. I must make a few discrete inquiries. If I ask the local dealer in Dublin they will definitely refuse any warranty - unless I can get Lexus Japan to tell them otherwise. It is normal here in Dublin that if a warranty claim can be refuted then it will. Until a higher authority can tell them to adhere to the warranty rules. First rule of business - refuse all warranty claims !!

I had a Lexus breakdown service when I bought the car but when I brought the car to Ireland and rang Lexus Ireland how I could continue the service I was told that it didn't apply to Ireland. End of story. No new renewal. I believe that perhaps I could buy a separate breakdown service but instead I just rely on my insurance breakdown service, should I ever need it.

Parkman.

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2 hours ago, parkman said:

Where would it say whether the car has self-leveling headlights ?

Edit; I have just looked through an online IS brochure and it says that the IS 300h has "[1] / Xenon headlights Auto-levelling High Intensity Discharge Xenon headlights with high-pressure cleaners and LED daytime running lights are standard on the new IS."

I could imagine one headlight becoming misaligned, but both, and by the same margin ?

All vehicles with HID or LED lights have to have a self levelling system by law. Given that both are out then that certainly does suggest a problem with the self levelling sensor on the suspension - a single sensor controls both lights.

HID/LED bulbs should last the life of the vehicle but Lexus won't warrant such a thing - maybe in the first three years but not on an extended warranty.

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Colin, thanks for your useful information. Maybe I am jumping the gun about the testing centre, but unfortunately one learns to be a cynic when dealing with Irish government bodies !

I will wait and see what the dealer comes up with, when the car goes in, next week.

I did look at the small print on the extended warranty and it does say that the bulbs are covered by their MOT protected status. However, I don't believe that I still have an extended warranty anyway, as I exported the car from the UK to Ireland.

Parkman.

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