The Hyundai i30 SR  long termer’s inefficient headlights are driving Tony Bosworth to despair.

Car: Hyundai i30SR Date bought November 18, 2013 Price paid $28,000 driveaway Extras Phantom Black paint – $495 Delivery kilometres 38 Current kilometres: 15,940 Fuel consumption (mix of E10 and 91 octane, depending on availability), L/100km: best: 6.5, worst: 6.7, average: 6.7 Service costs $219 Faults None.

I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT to ask the dealer to check the headlights when I took the Hyundai in last week for its 15,000 service. As regular readers will know, I’m far from impressed with the lights – and I’m talking when they are on full beam – because the beam is set far too low and does not reach far enough either.

As winter approaches and the nights have drawn in I’ve been cursing the lights’ ineffectiveness every time I come off the motorway and ply the country lanes to my home.

Around town it’s simply not an issue and you won’t notice how poor they are but away from streetlights and the city it’s another story and I need to try and get something done to solve the problem. On full beam the light thrown ahead cuts off at far too low a height. It’s almost as if the lights are on dip but pointing straightahead.

And the reach ahead is far too limited. Okay, you shouldn’t be hurtling along country lanes at night – or probably at any time – but on one stretch near me the speed limit’s 75kph and I don’t feel comfortable travelling that fast. Frankly, I’ve never experienced this lack of forward night vision before and I’d rather take my other car out at night than the SR.

Anyway, as they say, mustn’t grumble… I need to sort this out and explore possibilities, though it’s a pain to have to do so, quite honestly.

One reader had earlier pointed out that the situation could be improved with the fog lights on (called driving lights here in Australia) but I’ve tried that and not found it a problem solver simply because the design of the front fogs means they are aimed at slicing through fog at close quarters rather than casting their beam far ahead (if the fogs’ beam did shoot far ahead in fog it would just be gauzy and actually make medium to long vision worse). So, you get a bit more flatter, wider light at the front, but it doesn’t solve the problem of the headlights’ lack of reach.

Some i30s have what Hyundai call a headlamp levelling device, which is fancy talk for a revolving switch that many car owners will be familiar with, but the SR does not have this feature. So, I’m assuming it has what Hyundai calls an “automatic headlight adjusting system”.  It says in the owner manual that if the system does not adjust the headlights correctly “to suit the loading conditions”, in my case usually just me, then the system should be inspected by a Hyundai dealer. So, I’ll get it back in for a check and see if a dealer can help, and I’ll report back.

On the plus side, the SR is performing well overall and I’ve had the rear seats down a fair bit too – an easy enough operation – so I could get the kids’ two bikes on board. With the rear seats in place the boot is not massive but with the seas flat it’s a very useful cargo space indeed, and because there is a split fold arrangement you can still retain some seating space.

More next week.


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  1. Are you sure the i30 doesn’t have a headlight adjustment dial? My Cruze’s lights also pointed too far close/low in the road, until I found a little wheel dial on the lower console. I turned it and voila, the lights moved up!

  2. Hello David, the SR definitely doesn’t have the manual rheostat type switch. According to the handbook It would be in a bank of four switches to the right and below the steering wheel, but that switch is blank, so it must have the automatic levelling system, which doesn’t appear to be working correctly.

    1. I believe the SR (and Premium) require the auto levelling system due to a legal requirement when using HID Xenon headlamps. However, I just looked at the headlamps of my SR and only the normal low beam appears to be HID. The high beam globes appear to be the normal type. So the question is whether the auto levelling system levels the entire headlamp assembly or just the HID Xenon lights. If the latter, then the auto levelling system won’t be the cause of your high beam problems. I’m almost always doing suburban driving, so I haven’t really had the need to use the high-beams all that much, however the globes didn’t seem that bright when I was outside my car looking directly at them. I wonder if this is a problem with all i30 models?

    2. Generally, HID lights require an auto levelling system & headlamp washers to meet ADRs. It is my understanding that the i30 has both.
      It is also my understanding that the ‘base’ alignment settings for high & low beams can be adjusted independantly of each other. This would enable the hi beams to be set higher to light up the road for a greater distance. This adjustment was possible on my wife’s i20 & got the best out of the well designed headlights.
      Dealerships mostly don’t have a clue & worse still seem not to care or even know how to correctly set up headlight alignment!

      1. Thanks for that Ed. We managed to adjust the headlights on an i30 we tested, too. But, given the manufacturer doesn’t recommend owners self adjusting, well, we can’t either, but… Thanks, Isaac (editor).

  3. Dave, thanks for that – very useful. I’m going to get the SR in soon as I can to a dealer and get them to have a good look at this issue. I’ll report back soon.

  4. Mr Bosworth, my good sir,
    I have had my i30 SR for about 2 months. I live on the outskirts of Adelaide and often travel at night on country roads with a 80/90/100 limit, that offer no street lighting. I find the short throw of the low beams downright dangerous. When dipping the high beams (eg for oncoming vehicles) I often find the low beam does not illuminate enough of the road ahead to accomodate the posted speed limit.

    When this was mentioned to the dealer at the 1500km service, they advised the HID lights were deliberately set low due to a dazzling issue, and there was nothing they could do about it!?

  5. The headlight throw on my low beam is pitiful and agree with Ryan that it is downright dangerous. I will be talking with my service agent about raising the height very soon. Compared to my previous car, Golf GTI, the headlight on this car are extremely disappointing. Will report back after chat with the dealer.

    1. Hi John, thanks for your email. Our file on the i30’s headlight woes is growing bigger by the day. We’ve been in touch with Hyundai and its tech department suggests there is a fix to this problem, which we’re hoping to be able to share with you all this week (first week of June). Beyond the usual in-car headlight adjustments it seems there are some external adjustment points… whether this will ultimately fix the problem, well, we’ll have to wait and see. Thanks, Isaac (Editor)

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