I mentioned in an earlier post that I have a problem with the headlights on
my 06 Sonata GLS. Basically, it came from the factory with the headlights so
high, it blinded (verified by me driving towards it in another vehicle,
while my wife was driving it) oncoming traffic. Anyway, first trip to the
dealer resulted in headlights that were so low, they might as well not be
Next trip to the dealer the next day resulted in me lighting the trees
better than the road. On advice from people here, I adjusted them down such
that they lit the road, and didn't seem too high. I still got blinded from
oncoming traffic flashing because they think I've left the high beams on.
(Believe it or not, the NC DMV driver manual says to do that!
Off to the dealer I went again. They cranked them way down again. Anyone
else have a similar issue theirs? It seems the choice is either lights too
low to be usable, or blind the other guy which results in them blinding you.
Nope, mine were fine out of the box. I haven't looked at mine, but
assuming they adjust with a screwdriver or hex wrench like most other
cars, just adjust them yourself. Turn them down one revolution of the
screw at a time until you get them where you want them. This isn't
that. If I adjust them so they light the road for a reasonable distance -
similar to my other vehicle, there's alot of light that projects well above
the surface of the road that annoys oncoming traffic. It's almost like a
second beam that's angled up. You can actually adjust them with your fingers
on the adjustment screws. The dealer says they've had several complaints,
but "these new headlights are just that way".
Find a level place to park ~10'in front of a wall with horizontal lines
on it, such as bricks, concrete blocks or siding. Adjust your headlights
so they both project to the same line on the wall. Test drive it. If
necessary, come back to the same place and re-adjust the lights. This
method allows you to adjust your lights in small increments and keep
them both at the same height.
BTW, there are DOT specifications for the adjustment of the headlights
and Hyundai provides specs. The dealer SHOULD have the equipment to
adjust the headlights properly.
The specified distance is 118.1 inches. I can adjust them on a dark straight
road, but there appears to be a second beam that juts up, and blinds the
oncoming drivers. The dealer uses marks on the wall that they use for ALL
vehicles. I've adjusted them DOWN from where the dealer has set them, and
they still blind oncoming traffic. I have seen this for myself driving at
the car on a two lane road. There is something very different about the
lights on this car from those that I have owned previously.
Do you see this second beam if you pull up to within 10' or so of a
wall? I know that many of the new cars with the reflector headlights
have a very sharp cut-off compared to the old sealed beam headlights.
This causes the lights to appear to be flashing when an oncoming car is
on a undulating road as the intensity changes very quickly with just a
little vertical distance. I personally don't like this either as a
driver of such a vehicle or as someone approaching such a vehicle. The
flashing affect is annoying when coming at you and the sharp cut-off is
a real pain when driving in the hilly terrain around my house. When
driving down into a valley, you can't see up the other side at all as
the beam cuts off so sharply. The old sealed beams had such a diffuse
beam that you got enough light going sideways and upwards that you still
have some sight distance even when approaching the bottom of a valley or
The point of having the sharp cutoff on the left side of the beam is to
NOT blind drivers in the opposite lane. The right side of the beam is
not cut off, so it can illuminate road signs. Overall, this scheme works
pretty well. It's nothing new, as I had Hella headlights with a similar
pattern 25 years ago. Back then, they weren't street legal, since they
weren't sealed beams, which were still required by the DOT at the time.
I know the purpose of it, however, the assumptions aren't right for
where I live. This sharp cutoff is only useful if you always drive on
smooth, flat roads. Here in northern PA and upstate NY, either
assumption is good on virtually any road I drive other than the
interstates. And even then only on certain stretches.
In the real world, a sharp cutoff is dumb and is very annoying as you
now see a rapidly varying intensity from oncoming car headlights rather
than the fairly steady intensity with the old sealed beams. Maybe the
intensity was higher on average in the old days, but I much prefer that
to the "flashing" affect of the newer light designs.
Also, the right side of my Hyundai's pattern is cut-off pretty far to
the right. It doesn't illuminate signs well on low beam, not as well as
my 94 Chevy truck, and it makes the white background signs so bright
on high beam that they nearly blind me! The cutoff portion of the
pattern extends clear across the road well onto the berm as I can't see
the road ahead worth beans when going down into a dip.
I haven't pulled up to a wall yet to look at the pattern in more detail,
but will try that some night to see if I can tell where the cutoff ends.
The alternative would be worse, which is having the full height beam
blinding you. At least with the cutoff beam, it only occasionally pops
up enough to be an issue. IMO, it's an advancement, as it allows
brighter headlights with minimal annoyance to other drivers. No, it's
not perfect, but there is no better alternative. Besides, there's
nothing you can do about it.
I haven't experienced those problems. Perhaps your headlights are aimed
too far to the right. You can try bringing them back to the left a bit.
That's what high beams are for. Switch to them or simply flash them if
It's certainly worth a shot. You may find that the two beam heights are
not aligned or that one or the other is aimed off to one side. When
attempting to determine the aiming. I've found it easiest to stand on
the center of the rear bumper and look over the roof and hood.
No, an alternative is to have more of a Guassian distribution with just
the tail going high enough to be seen by oncoming drivers. My Chevy
truck is close to this and it has great headlights, probably as good as
the Hyundai, and doesn't "flash" incoming drivers.
I'm talking about the high beams. The cut-off is still rather
pronounced compared to my pickup.
Yes, definitely worth looking at when I get a chance.
I noticed similar on ours. While driving in front of my wife I noticed
that depending on what side of the lights your viewing bias is from,
that side appears brighter than the other. Switching your viewing bias
produces the same effect on the other side. I can only think that the
beams are a more focused than lights I've previously seen on other
Hi, Bob. Sorry to hear about your adjustment woes at the dealership.
I live in neighboring Virginia and notice when I visit my small
hometown that oncoming drivers sometimes flash their lights. This
occurred in my 96 Dodge Avenger, 2002 Sonata, and 2006 Sonata. I think
the connection is the driving/fog lights on all three vehicles. I
suspect some drivers see four distinct lights and assume high beams are
on. I do not experience this in the city (but lanes are often futher
GeoUSA, moderator www.HyundaiExchange.com
Why would you be driving around with your fog lights on? That IS
distracting to most drivers. If it's not foggy out they provide no benefit
except to illuminate about 6 feet in front of your car and annoy oncoming
You *do* know there is a switch to turn them off, right?
The problem with them is that they bother oncoming traffic to the point that
they turn their high beams on, subsequently negatively affecting my ability
to see. Not all new car headlights are that way. The very worst ones are the
HID headlights on the high end cars. The problem is that there is a
significant amount of light being projected above the road surface from the
lights in my car.
They won't if they are adjusted properly. I've had my Sonata exactly
one month now and I've had only two drivers flash their highs at me in
1500 mmiles of driving. And one was on the way home the night I picked
up the car. I thought I might have a problem, but I don't.
I still think your problem is 80% improper adjustment and at most 20%
the brightness or design of the headlight beam.
I find that lots of new cars make me think they have their high beams
on, especially those blue light specials.
I've tried my best to adjust them with no success. I've taken it to the
dealer three times, and they adjust them so that they either light the
trees, or light the road in a nice spot 30 feet in front of the car. The
dealer insists that the precision aligned concrete block wall is the way
they adjust all headlights. I've tried the reasonable approach of lighting
the road for a decent distance, which is lower than the dealer adjusted them
twice. Maybe someone at Hyundai reads the NHTSA submittals, and will realize
they've got an issue. Calling Hyundai and asking them what to do about the
fact that the dealer can't align the headlights, and asking for suggestions
resulted in me being told that I need to talk to the dealer because they
handle all issues related to the vehicle. As far as continuing to mess with
it myself.... It's under warranty. I need to drive it, put gas and
windshield washer fluid in it, and do PM's to it. Anything else is Hyundai's
problem to resolve.
Is there a different Hyundai dealer within a reasonable driving range?
Might be worth giving someone else a shot. Maybe even an independent
dealer. Unless the lights on my Sonata are different than yours, mine
are proof that they can be adjusted reasonably well. On low beam, mine
illuminate as much of the road on the level as does my pickup and
illuminates much better than does my Dodge minivan. The only complaint
is the cut-off when I'm driving into and out of a dip. My van has a
similar cut-off problem, but my pickup lights up a good part of the hill
ahead even before I start coming up out of the dip.
On high beam, the Sonata is one of the better vehicles I've ever had.
It is as good as or better than my truck, and nearly as good as my
Kawasaki Voyager motorcycle was. Yes, you heard that right, my Kawasaki
Voyager, with only one headlight, lit the road better than any other
vehicle I've ever owned ... on high beam. On low beam, it has the same
cut-off problem as the Hyundai. It as a real pain when you rolled into
a corner and saw the inside of the corner get really dark really quickly.
I wouldn't give up yet, but I can certainly understand your frustration
with your dealer. I think it is a long shot, but it certainly is
possible that you got a defective headlight reflector or two. If
something got distorted during manufacturing, maybe that is the problem.
Might ask the dealer to let you drive another Sonata or two at night
to see if they are any different than your car.
Many years ago I had a new car with a similar problem on the drivers side
head lamp. Eventually it turned out that the bulb filament had not been
properly positioned within the bulb itself when it was manufactured.
Therefore no matter how you adjusted the lamp assembly, the filament was
never in the centre focal point where it needs to be for a clean
distribution pattern. This didn't come to 'light' until the low beam burned
out & I replaced it. The new one showed me how it should have been from the
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