IIHS test of headlamp performance

idleprocess

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Then you have people adjusting their lights a random amount downward or upward based on testing results and thinking they somehow are getting ahead by "improving" their headlamps without waiting for the manufacturer to properly aim the headlamps as part of the manufacturing process.

The overwhelming majority of headlights are adjustable with a PH2 screwdriver or ¼" hex socket. This used to be a standard bit of copy in owner's manuals, but this seems to have been transformed into a "take to dealer" option (where they're almost certainly going to do something akin to the "25' from a wall, aim 3 inches below horizontal" method you or I would do) so they can scam a couple shop hours for <30 minutes of work since they've got permanent tapelines one one of the walls.

Better to test as delivered then remove the pot luck factor for the real testing.
 

Alaric Darconville

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so they can scam a couple shop hours for <30 minutes of work since they've got permanent tapelines one one of the walls.
You've never read the procedure, or don't understand it, to have said this.


Hint: Not all vehicles have the same headlamp height, headlamp center axis, or headlamp horizontal spacing. Different tire/wheel combinations between otherwise identical vehicles can mean different tape lines are needed.
 
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idleprocess

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Hint: Not all vehicles have the same headlamp height, headlamp center axis, or headlamp horizontal spacing. Different tire/wheel combinations between otherwise identical vehicles can mean different tape lines are needed.

You mean like those grids of lines I've seen on the walls of some shops - or improvised adjustable-height targets at the ones that do it with any frequency - correspond to varying lamp heights? I are astounded!

Everyone I've talked to that takes their vehicle to a dealer to adjust headlights feels like they got a bill for bothering the service writer. The net effect - if actually do anything - is phoning in an adjustment in the aim away from whatever they were complaining about. The only place I've seen an instrument for determining headlight aim was at an antique store and had been transformed into a floor lamp - presumably destined for somebody's themed man cave.
 

SubLGT

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IIHS is "getting tough"

https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/iihs-announces-tougher-criteria-for-2020-awards

Good or acceptable headlights need to be standard equipment next year for a vehicle to qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK+, the highest award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

...“As we do nearly every year, we’re making it a little tougher to earn our awards,” says IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby. “We hope these changes will encourage automakers to stop equipping vehicles with inferior headlights....

IIHS launched its headlight ratings in 2016. .... In the 2019 model year, 68 out of 465 systems evaluated were rated good, and 103 were rated acceptable.

However, many of those good- or acceptable-rated headlights are available only as part of optional packages or on higher trim levels.

IIHS is aiming to address this problem by requiring 2020 TOP SAFETY PICK+ winners to be available only with good or acceptable headlights. That applies equally to expensive lighting options and base headlights.

“Decent headlights should be a given, and we hope this change to our criteria will push manufacturers to make them standard across their lineups,” Zuby says.
 

epc

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You've never read the procedure, or don't understand it, to have said this.


Hint: Not all vehicles have the same headlamp height, headlamp center axis, or headlamp horizontal spacing. Different tire/wheel combinations between otherwise identical vehicles can mean different tape lines are needed.

How many dealerships or body shops in the US are properly equipped to perform headlight aiming? As a customer how do I know when I'm requesting headlight aiming, that it will be done correctly?
 

-Virgil-

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How many dealerships or body shops in the US are properly equipped to perform headlight aiming? As a customer how do I know when I'm requesting headlight aiming, that it will be done correctly?

The sad answers are "very few" and "it probably won't", respectively.
 

Ls400

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The sad answers are "very few" and "it probably won't", respectively.

I have a few friends who work at dealerships and the deal is you bring the tools you work with. For most guys, that means if they have to adjust some customer's lights, it means pulling out the screwdriver and nothing else. If they wanted to aim someone's lights with an optical aiming machine, then they'll just have to buy it, since it's not one of the few tools the dealership provides (the dealership provides the heavy machinery, like lifts and hoists, but little else). And they've been getting a lot of requests lately for headlamp "reaiming." The common complaint is that the customer has experienced people "flashing" them at night, so the lights must be vertically misaimed. The reality of the situation is likely that the customer hit a speed bump while driving their 2020 model with the LED lights, someone else thought they had been flashed, and responded in kind, and now the customer is getting their lights tampered with randomly.

I can't help but wonder if one of those Bosch self-leveling, cross-hair projection laser tools that anyone can find at Home Depot/Lowes would substitute for an aiming machine. Park the car 25 feet back from a wall. Put the self-leveling laser on the tripod and extend to headlamp height. Turn on the laser, boom, instant cross-hairs on the wall as a reference for aiming, and the laser is self-leveling, so it's probably better than assuming the floor is flat.

In your opinion, would this be an acceptable substitute for an aiming machine? These self-leveling lasers can be had for a mere $35. I could see a dealership tech shelling out $35 to better aim lights. Shelling out the $$$ for an aiming machine for customers' cars...maybe if they won the lottery. There's likely a case to be had in time savings: it's likely quicker to turn on the laser and have some cross-hairs on the wall instead of driving the car up against a wall, marking the height of the lamps and connecting the dots, and then backing the car up.
 
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SubLGT

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...Park the car 25 feet back from a wall. Put the self-leveling laser on the tripod and extend to headlamp height. Turn on the laser, boom, instant cross-hairs on the wall as a reference for aiming, and the laser is self-leveling, so it's probably better than assuming the floor is flat...

You still need to ensure that the vehicle is level. That can be a challenge to determine accurately.
 

SubLGT

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Came across this little tidbit from an interview with the CEO of Dajac (manufacturers of lighting alignment and validation instruments)

https://www.drivingvisionnews.com/dajac-perfect-alignment-for-every-lamp-every-time/

DVN: You recently visited Consumer Reports’ automotive testing facility in Connecticut. What are your impressions?
D.N.: I found this a very interesting and informative trip. It was fun seeing their facility and learning their testing process. What surprised me the most was their testing procedure—it is very subjective. As an engineer, I prefer objective measurement, but I understand why they do what they do; they want to report the experience of an actual human sitting in the car.
IIHS, on the other hand, is completely objective. This creates confusion in the marketplace because there can be instances where IIHS rates a lamp above average, but Consumer Reports rates it bad or vice versa. It would benefit all if there were better correlation.
 

SubLGT

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https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/headlights-are-still-an-afterthought-on-many-vehicles

...Many more vehicles are available with headlights that illuminate an acceptable distance ahead without blinding oncoming drivers in 2020 than in previous years. Yet base models with headlights that earn a good rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety remain rare.
“Many carmakers still treat high-quality headlights as extras, rather than essential safety features,” says David Aylor, manager of active safety testing at IIHS...

...Only 6 of the 156 models that IIHS has rated so far come with good-rated headlights across the board....
 
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SubLGT

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Surprise, surprise, Ford received a rating of "Good" for headlight performance from IIHS on one of their vehicles, the 2021 Bronco Sport with LED projectors for high and low beams. Are these headlamps sourced from Hella?

https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/new-ford-bronco-sport-rumbles-to-top-iihs-rating

https://www.iihs.org/ratings/vehicle/ford/bronco-sport-4-door-suv/2021

The Bronco Sport, which was introduced in 2021, hits all those marks. It earns good ratings in the six crashworthiness tests. Both the standard and optional front crash prevention systems earn superior ratings in the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations. And the headlight system offered on all trims earns a good rating.
 

SubLGT

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The Ford F-150 finally gets some "good" rated LED projector headlights in the 2021 model year.


Low beams: On the straightaway, visibility was good on the right side of the road and fair on the left side. On curves, visibility was good on both right curves, fair on the sharp left curve and inadequate on the gradual left curve. The low beams never exceeded glare limits.
 
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-Virgil-

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IIHS said:
On the straightaway, visibility was good on the right side of the road and fair on the left side. On curves, visibility was good on both right curves, fair on the sharp left curve and inadequate on the gradual left curve.

Interesting that this ends up as a "good" rating, isn't it.
 

SubLGT

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Yes, it is. Seems that IIHS is setting the bar a little low. Despite that, IIHS says that only 29% of all the tested model-year-2021 headlight systems earned a rating of "good".

The 2021 F-150 LED reflectors were rated "acceptable" and the halogen reflectors were rated as "poor".
 

-Virgil-

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I have to applaud IIHS; its work (on these headlight ratings) has done way more to improve headlights in America than anything NHTSA has done in at least 25 years, probably longer.

And I have to throw a rotten tomato at Ford. Seriously, this is 2022, it's never been easier or more cost/market-justifiable to make good headlamps. Ford is (still) choosing to make mediocre/poor ones. It's not the only car company doing so, but...geez! We're talking about the #1 selling vehicle in the country!
 

SubLGT

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Seriously, this is 2022, it's never been easier or more cost/market-justifiable to make good headlamps. Ford is (still) choosing to make mediocre/poor ones....
Is Ford using bargain basement ADB headlights on the F-150? I ask because US market Ford Tremor F-150s (model ID 402A) are apparently being equipped with ADB headlights that are programmed to function as conventional low beam/high beam headlights, with automatic high beam and curve adaptive function. Why would Ford install an expensive (I assume) ADB headlight that replicates the performance of a cheaper conventional LED projector headlamp?
 

SubLGT

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