Point your Fog Lights and Driving Lights in the Right Direction
So you just got a new set of fog lights and you’re ready to install them and hit the road. You wake up for work and there it is! The streets are full of fog. You start your journey and what do you see?
Nothing but a bunch of fog.
Your fog lights aren’t adjusted right and they’re aiming everywhere but where you need them to be.
Or maybe you had a set of driving lights installed and you’re ready to see how well they work once the sun goes down. You decide to take a quick trip to the fast food joint to try out the new lights.
All you end up with is a side order of blindness from oncoming drivers flashing you with their high beams because your driving lights are aimed directly at their windshields.
Not exactly working out like you planned.
Both of these situations can be fixed if you know how to properly adjust the lights – using something other than the horn blasts from oncoming traffic to tell you they’re aimed too high.
How To Adjust Fog Lights
Fog lights should be mounted on the lower half of your front end. Somewhere on or below the bumper is ideal. They should be around 10 to 24 inches above the ground or at least below your vehicle’s headlights. But with fog lights, lower is better. Since fog usually starts about 2 feet off the ground your fog lights should be below that. If they are higher than the fog the only thing you’ll see when you turn them on is the reflection of your lights in the fog, which is reflected back into your face, making things worse. Kind of like when you hit your high beams in heavy fog. Mount your fog lights under the fog and you’ll be able to see the road ahead.
Mounting them in the right spot is only half the battle. Now you’ve got to aim them where they’ll actually be useful to you on those foggy mornings.
And go ahead and grab a tape measure to make sure it’s perfect.
Park your vehicle on a flat surface with the lights shining on a wall 25 feet away. Not 20 feet. Not 30 feet. It’s got to be 25 feet away for the measurements and lights to come out properly.
Now measure from the center of the fog light lens to the ground. Go put a visible mark on the wall at that exact height.
Adjust the fog lights so they are facing straight forward and the top of the beam is about 4 inches lower than that mark you made on the wall.
This should allow the beams to cut right through the fog like they are supposed to.
How To Adjust Driving Lights
Driving lights are a little different than fog lights because they serve a different purpose. They don’t cut through fog, but they will shed more light on the road than your factory headlights.
IF they’re aimed correctly.
This process is almost exact same as aiming fog lights, but the placement and measurements are different. Driving lights should be mounted above the front bumper or somewhere between 14 to 30 inches from the ground.
You can mount them lower than the bumper, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of having driving lights. The beams would hit the ground sooner and not shine as far in front of you. No use in having a set of expensive lights that could perform awesome, but work like crap because they’re mounted in the wrong place.
To aim the driving lights, park on a flat surface with a wall exactly 25 feet in front of you. Measure the distance between the center of the driving lens and the ground. Go over to the wall and measure that same distance from the ground and make a visible mark on the wall.
Now aim the hot spot of the beam, which is the brightest point, so that it’s about 1.5 inches below the visible mark you made on the wall.
Problems You’ll Come Across
Flat Surface and a Wall
The first thing you’ll find is that it’s not that easy finding a flat surface and a wall you can make marks on. Your garage is probably less than 25 feet deep and even if it is, the driveway may not be all that level.
You can get around this if you’ve got a friend with a garage and a long driveway or even a solid fence near a flat surface. If nothing else, a business/building with a big parking lot or a parking garage will work as long as it’s flat and level.
And instead of making a mark on the wall with a marker, use a piece of colored masking tape. That lime green stuff or even a piece of black electrical tape will show up great. Just peel it off before you leave.
Take Your Time Adjusting The Lights
If your lights have been mounted for a long time, they may be really hard to loosen and adjust. Some new lights might even be tricky because of their location. Take your time when making the adjustments to your fog lights and driving lights because once you’re back in the driver’s seat, you’ll want to see the difference, not be annoyed because the beams are still aiming the wrong way.
Most fog lights are mounted in pockets or insets in the bumper. These are pretty hard to reach to make adjustments. But it’s worth it to use the right tools to loosen, adjust and then tighten them in place. If your lights can be moved, wiggled and adjusted without messing with the screws, chances are they’ll re-aim themselves from vibrations going down the road and you’ll be back in the same boat.
Take your time, do it right and you’ll end up getting the maximum performance out of your fog lights and driving lights.