Headlight adjustment

  • 2013 KIA OPTIMA
  • 2.0L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • 105,000 MILES
My car listed above SX model has auto leveling headlights. The low beam is far too low and needs to be raised. I had the car into a tech twice and in both cases he used a computer and said the auto level was functional and that the lights should move freely. All winter I carried 250 lbs in the trunk and so I though perhaps removing that weigh would cure the problem. Not so. My low beams only show 50 ft or so in front of the car not 200 that I believe is normal. I have gone on YouTube and there are more than one instruction video but none for the 2013 model. They all seem different, and all shown have regular not self leveling lights. So, can I adjust the low beam manually? There are screws surrounded by a stainless cage with teeth which I assume is a lock mechanism to insure once set the adjustment stays in place. Need your advice.
Do you
have the same problem?
Saturday, April 20th, 2019 AT 1:40 PM

1 Reply

Welcome to 2CarPros.

There are sensors which determine where the lights should be positioned. Honestly, that is something that isn't adjustable on this vehicle.

Here are the directions for inspecting for operation:


1. Ignition "ON".
2. Turn on the head lamp switch.
3. Check for operation. If the aim of the head lamps changes smoothly when the head lamp leveling switch is turned.
4. If the operation does not work well, inspect the connector and terminals to be sure they are all making good contact.
If the terminals are bent, loose or corroded, repair them as necessary, and recheck the system.
If the terminals look OK, go to step 5.
5. Substitute with a known-good head lamp assembly and check for proper operation.


Step 5 is used to determine if the headlamp assembly itself is bad. There is an actuator that is attached to a linkage. I attached a picture of it for you to see. Check to make sure nothing is damaged, bent, disconnected or stopping the light from proper movement. I am going to provide the directions for removal and install for you to help.


First, here is a list of the components identified in pic 1

1. Auto head lamp leveling unit
1. Leveling unit & sensor
2. Sensor mounting bracket
3. Sensor linkage


If the linkage appears in good condition and the wiring to it is also good, I need you to check the actual sensor modules to make sure one isn't disconnected. There are two different types. See pictures 2 and 3. If the module is disconnected, it will cause the light positioning to be off and not change.


If you want to remove the actuator leveling unit for inspection, here are the directions for removal and replacement.


1. Remove the head lamp leveling unit connector (A).

Picture 4

2. Loosen the mounting bolts (3EA) of automatic head lamp leveling unit assembly.

Tighting torque :
6.86 1.96 Nm (0.7 0.2 kgf.M, 5.06 1.44 lbf. Ft)

3. Remove the head lamp leveling unit assembly.


1. Install the head lamp leveling unit.
2. Reconnect the head lamp leveling unit connector.


Start with that and let me know what you find. However, my first suspect is the module under the vehicle that determines the rear of the vehicle's height.

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Sunday, April 21st, 2019 AT 8:29 PM

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