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Lights Need Straightening - 2015 Hyundai Sonata Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,315
edited February 2015 in Hyundai
imageLights Need Straightening - 2015 Hyundai Sonata Long-Term Road Test

Our 2015 Hyundai Sonata is a great sedan, but its headlights could use some adjustment. Seemed easy enough until I read the owner's manual.

Read the full story here


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    reminderreminder Member Posts: 383
    Make the driver's side a little high and to the left & you'll cancel out the other side that's low and to the right.
    Problem solved!
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    yellowbalyellowbal Member Posts: 234
    Most cars don't have horizontal adjustments, only vertical. I don't think the Sonata Sport has adaptive headlights either.
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754
    edited February 2015
    Is the photo taken with the high beams on or the low beams?

    The vehicle must be on a level surface to check the aim of the headlights. Both vertical and horizontal adjustments can be made, and there are specific instructions in service information for the layout of the screen.

    With the low beams on at 33ft (10m) from the screen the cut off line from the beam should be no higher than one inch down at the centerlines (vertical and horizontal) of the bulb(s) and it will then rise slightly as it moves towards the right. The low beam when shined on a screen will have a flat level portion, and then it will slightly angle upward. The point that it starts the rise should be just to the right of the centerline of the lamps. The cut off line should not start more than 1/2 inch to the left of the centerline of the lamp.

    If the system has an auto-leveling system the adjustments need to be made with the setting at "0".
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    allthingshondaallthingshonda Member Posts: 878
    The aim of the headlights should be judged against a wall. To reduce glare the driver's side headlight is intentionally aimed lower than the passenger side. This is very noticeable with projector headlights that have a sharp cutoff. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headlamp#mediaviewer/File:Low_beam_light_pattern_for_right-hand_traffic.svg
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    zimtheinvaderzimtheinvader Member Posts: 580
    yes, just start adjusting the headlights, that won't end up with them blinding other drivers. thecardoc3's description overloaded my brain this late in the evening but seems like good advice.
    My take is that the headlights seem to have a good left to right coverage and the fog is just highlighting where the center of each beam is and that isn't that important. I'd think you'd want the left beam over to the right a little to avoid it hitting oncoming cars as much and I like the right side of the road illuminated
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    fmkofmko Member Posts: 21
    I took my car to a mechanic who used a computer to align the headlights, 10 minutes and $25.00 I have a 1995 Mercedes Benz E420 with aftermarket european headlights.
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    fayrankinfayrankin Member Posts: 2

    The explanation below that I found on a website is a technical explanation of the extremely dangerous condition that I observed the first time I drove my 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport on very dark streets and roads. Due to the sharp “cut-off” of the narrowly focused HID projector headlights, the impression sitting behind the wheel (and observed by passengers, as well) on an undulating road is that suddenly a very dark tint has come over the windshield and there is only a narrow portion of the windshield where the road is still visible. Often the visible area is much less road than needs to be seen at the speed that one is traveling when the “black out” happens. When first observed, it is a puzzling and terrifying experience. Selecting the high beam does in some cases provide needed lighting for safer navigation but when this situation presented itself to me for the first time, employing the high beam was not a natural reaction for me.

    Even before I had experienced this “black out” effect, both my wife and I had bemoaned the very poor side visibility when turning corners which can also be attributed to the focused beam of the HID projector light. This also presents a very dangerous situation for pedestrians crossing at dimly lit intersections and to the driver for any other obstacle that might lurk in the unlit area that is being turned into.

    Many drivers are now noticing that one significant problem with projector headlights on the low beam setting is that the cut-off line of the light moves when the car hits bumps in the road, accelerates, decelerates, and when climbing or going down a slope in the road. While going down a slope the projector’s cut-off of light shifts downward and the headlight’s beam distance is significantly diminished out in front of the car (headlights appear to be driven down into the road surface). Obviously, this creates a safety issue because the driver cannot see pedestrians and animals out in front of the car to allow adequate and safe stopping distances. Additionally, road safety signs cannot be read on undulating roads because they are not illuminated since the beam of light is being driven down on the down-slopes. Likewise, when a driver is driving up a grade the projector’s cut-off of light shifts up further than it would on a flat road and more of the high beam intense light is unintentionally directed into the eyes of oncoming traffic. Both of these two unintended consequences of projector headlights can lead to extremely dangerous driving conditions for drivers.

    I have reported this to my dealer and the headlights were “upon owner’s request” raised from the manufacturer’s specified setting to the point where I now fear I will be flashed for being on high beam when I am not. The adjustment made little difference in the “black out” scenario. My conversations with Hyundai Customer Care resulted in my receiving a case number and being told that it was a design issue and nothing could be done but document my issue. My request that I receive this “blow-off” in writing was denied.

    This made me pretty upset and after several requests I was “allowed” to escalate my conversation to an Area Manager. This highly offensive individual informed me that he had never had such an issue in his Hyundai so my problem must not be anything nearly as significant as I was alleging it was. He also refused to commit anything to writing to acknowledge my concerns. His notion of delivering the excellent customer service that Hyundai promises was telling me that, “he might talk to the engineers.

    I am very confident that this problem exists in many vehicle brands using this lighting system but I have in fact experienced it to a degree even more terrifying than in my Sonata in a rental 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe on rural roads in Kentucky early one morning. The roads were extremely hilly, curvy, rapidly undulating and the pavement surface was very black. Even at 15/20 mph, proceeding ahead was more on good faith than on any degree of prudence.
    I have also filed a complaint with the NHTSA’s website. In my highly uninformed opinion, the current iteration of these HID projector headlights are to quote Ralph Nader, “Unsafe at any speed” and owners of such vehicles are driving at their own risk after dark. It will probably take many years for the problem to fully manifest itself through careful examination of many “unexplained” accidents, deaths and injuries on dark highways.

    BTW All the cowboys who want to tell me how cool and effective their aftermarket HID projector lights are, please post elsewhere as I am trying to receive value and safe operation within the manufacturer’s warranty for the car I bought 3 months ago and will be paying on for the next 57 months.
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