Here's a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) guide on how to adjust E-Code headlights for MK3 Jetta/Golf that I made for you. For more DIY information here

Common cause for misaligned headlights
  • Front end damage
  • Fender bender
  • head light replacement
  • Accidentally adjusted the adjust screw/knob instead of the retaining fasteners when replacing headlight bulbs
  • Vehicle rear load is greater than the front
Since I have replaced my MK3 Jetta North America (NA) headlights to E-codes, headlights alignment needs to be done because the calibration is way off on my car.

In the illustration below, the comparison between NA headlight and European headlight pattern are different to each other. The Euro headlight pattern (red) covers more lights shinning out towards the road compared to NA headlight pattern (blue). The X is your mark. The hot spot is where the diagonal and horizontal lines meet. This will ensure that as traffic approaches, the hot spot won't be pointing up into their eyes. The headlight hot spots are located differently between the two headlights type due to their different patterns, so the adjustments between the two are the same, just the hot spots are different.

Since we drive drive on the right side on the road and traffic direction is on our left here in USA, I would adjust my headlights to aim exactly as the illustration below that I've made with the red marks. This aiming adjustment is very important because as traffic approaches, the hot spot won't be pointing up into their eyes.

Prepare the following required tools at the pictures below to perform the proper headlights adjustment.


  • -Large cross head screw driver
  • -Tape
  • -Measuring tape
Step 1 Identify and locate headlight adjustment knobs
The Vertical headlight adjustment knob are the one closest to the fender and the horizontal adjustment knob are the one closest to the radiator inside the engine bay on these MK3 E-code headlights. The vertical adjustment knob can only be accessed with the cross head screw driver while the horizontal can be easily accessed by hand.

Step 2: Headlights height and distance
Figure out the distance between the 2 headlights dead center and the height of the MK3 E-code headlights dead center to the ground. Since my Mk3 Jetta is lowered with coilover suspension, the height of my headlights dead center to the ground is 23" and the distance between the two headlights are 43".
(Note: Headlights heights varies by suspension type and settings, tire inflation amount, and body structural condition of the vehicle)

Step 3: Mirror the measurements
Find a place with very little light and with plenty of space, then find a wall with a very well leveled surface to mirror the measurements of the headlights with. Park the vehicle very close to it vertically a much as possible so that both headlights are having the same distance to the wall. Mark the wall with an X with strips of tapes mirroring the same measurements of the headlights.

Step 4: Headlights aiming
Pop open the hood and turn on the headlights and adjust the headlight knobs so that the headlight beam is aligned dead center to the X tape marks.

Step 5: Headlight beam consistency
Now that the headlight beam is on the X tape marks, reverse the vehicle up to 25'ft. try to reverse as much as straight as possible facing the wall so that both headlights of the vehicle are vertically similar in distance to the wall. Then readjust the knobs so that the headlight beam is hitting the X tape mark.

Step 6: Final headlight adjustment
Now that the vehicle is 25ft away from the wall with the headlight on and the headlight beams are aligned perfectly to the X tape mark, adjust the left/ driver side headlight vertically slightly downwards just like the red marks on the Headlight aiming concentration illustration (above). The reason is because so that the oncoming traffic on to the left side of the road approaches, the hot spot won't be pointing up into their eyes. To ensure the hot spot won't blind oncoming traffic, its optional to adjust the headlight on the oncoming side (which is the left/ driver side headlight for USA) away towards the the passenger side.

Step 7: Close the hood and pack up, then test drive to test the visibility of the headlights. Refer back to step 3 if more adjustments needed till satisfied of the headlight visibility.