by Steve Bradley
headlight image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com
The PT Cruiser was manufactured by Chrysler Corporation from 2000 to 2010. This versatile and stylish vehicle was popular throughout the decade and many remain on the road today. In order for these cars to continue to operate safely, certain systems must be periodically checked. One item that requires regular maintenance is the lighting system. Specifically, the headlight alignment should be checked and adjusted at least once a year. Fortunately, this is not a job where you need to put the PT in the shop. Any DIY enthusiast can do it in one afternoon.
Locate a wall with approximately 30 feet of flat pavement in front of it. Park the PT one foot from the wall. Before aligning the lights, you will need to make the car weigh what it would weigh under normal night driving conditions. Load the trunk, make sure the gas tank is half full, and have a partner sit in the driver’s seat.
Mark the wall with the horizontal and vertical axis lines of both headlights. To do this, place a strip of masking tape on the wall from the horizontal center point of the driver’s side light to the center of the passenger. Next, take two 6-inch pieces of tape and mark the vertical center of each headlamp. This will create a cross in front of each light.
Back up the PT about 25 feet and keep the lights on. Inspect the headlight lamps to determine where adjustments should be made. The driver’s side light should be approximately one inch below the horizontal tape line and one inch or so to the right of the vertical mark. The passenger side light should also be slightly below the horizontal line, but it should be right at the vertical marker.
Pull the hood release latch under the dash on the driver’s side of the Cruiser and open the hood. Each headlight will have two adjusting screws, one on the top and one on the side. The top screw controls the horizontal and the side screw the vertical. Use a screwdriver to move the screws while watching the beam of light move across the wall. Stop once each light achieves an optimal location.
Articles will need
- Scotch tape