Two years ago, my grandfather gave us his old '95 Prizm when he bought a new car. A few weeks ago, I decided that the old headlight bulbs were too dim and I replaced them with new ones. The light output is vastly improved, but with that change I noticed two other issues:

  1. The left headlight shakes up and down terribly with the vibration of the engine. This is mostly noticeable when the car is idling or accelerating at around 1000-1500 RPM (estimated) because the engine vibrates the most at those speeds, but it is vibrating a bit all the time. It looks to me like tightening the outboard (vertical) adjustment screw will fix this problem.
  2. The right headlight is pointing significantly upward. Interestingly, based on seeing other Prizms and Corollas at night, I think that this is actually an extremely common problem. I know that it is extremely annoying to other drivers, and it also means that I'm wasting light illuminating the trees instead of the road.

I have the service manual for the car, and it says this:

Using a No. 2 cross-recess screwdriver, aim the headlights ....

I tried to use several different screwdrivers, but I can't get the adjustment mechanisms to turn! Is there some trick I'm missing?

I am guessing that a "#2 Phillips" screwdriver did not work because it isn't wide enough, but it's hard to find a true "cross-recess" driver -- as I understand it, this is like a Phillips #2, but with little or no tapering toward a point. (Or should a regular Phillips #2 work here?)

  • Often times when I have this situation, I will find a flat tip screwdriver which will fit into the recess and use it instead of a Phillips head screwdriver. It just has to fit down into the slot. Nov 4, 2014 at 11:44
  • You can also take a #2 Philips and either use a bench grinder or a file to "cut" it down to size. Also you could take just the tip point off a #3 Philips.
    – HasH_BrowN
    Nov 4, 2014 at 17:14
  • Did you figure this out? If so, please let us know by posting an answer!
    – Zaid
    Dec 14, 2015 at 20:26
  • @Zaid still working on it...
    – Moshe Katz
    Dec 14, 2015 at 21:24
  • @MosheKatz : A picture would do wonders to help us help you
    – Zaid
    Dec 14, 2015 at 21:25

1 Answer 1

  1. There's a chance that you have a loose headlight assembly bolt. Grab the headlight assy. and try moving it in different directions. if this isn't the case, the lamp adjustment screw could be broken and you'd likely need a new assembly.

  2. try using different sizes of phillips head screwdrivers. chances are the shaft of the driver is too wide to turn the mechanism.

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