ND Adaptive lighting and being aggressively flashed by oncoming traffic

You can’t adjust the headlamps from in-cabin, it’s physical screws you turn on the headlamps. If you mean headlamp level control you get on old cars to compensate for load in the rear, all ND MX-5 have automatic headlamp levelling (you will sometimes see them adjust when you pop the handbrake on).

I have an ALH (adaptive) car, they do not noticeably “wander up and down” so it must be vehicle movement making yours appear to do so. As others have said there are a few conditions you must meet for ALH to start working (if you do have it), first and foremost headlamps in automatic on the stalk, stalk pushed forward for full beam, this will illuminate the " A Headlamp" symbol. Once you get above about 25 mph in a non-streetlit area with no on-coming traffic you should see the blue full beam headlamp symbol illuminate - note with ALH the full beam doesn’t suddenly flick on and off, it fades between changes in brightness and areas illuminated.

It’s most noticeable on dual carriageways, where you’ll see it kick the beam up on the left but create a shadow on the right for oncoming traffic. As you approach the rear of vehicles you will see the cutoff point of the headlamps move towards you.

I have no experience of the lesser AFS+HBC setup, since my previous car was an SE-L. I’ve not noticed much cornering illumination with ALH, I think it has some additional LEDs to provide this in some situations though.

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Thanks for this. I think the clue is in the full beam flicking on and off suddenly. It does in mine I think. I will double-check.

Once again, many thanks. I really like the lights in mine can’t imagine what the 2019 model is like. Also the 2019 has the better engine. Really curious as to how that drives.

This is the settings menu on my ALH car, don’t know if the AFS has this “Adaptive LED Headlights” option shown at the top of my screen too? Might be an easy way to tell definitively (you can also tell from looking into the headlamp itself but it’s quite nuanced).

Yeah thanks for that. So that confirms it. On mine it shows seperate tick-options for HBC and AFS.

One thing I am going to do is un-tick the AFS option one day and see what difference that makes to the lights.

And now I know the MX5 ND has the self-levelling headlights I will be careful. I note I get dazzled by other cars that have the same. The systems are too slow to respond. So something to think about.

I noticed a cat ran-out into my path (never had such issues with my other car) and I think it was down to the headlights. I don’t think it saw them early enough. I had to take evasive action (violent turn into other side of the road). The cat made it across but if another car was coming the other way who knows what would have happened. It was surprising that, why the cat decided to take such a late charge across the road. Something I have not seen before in my other car.

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The LED headlamps are good even without AFS/ALH. The only thing that detracts is being set very low, which is unavoidable.

As a now ‘elderly’ driver (71 this week) it’s quite noticeable that the dynamic range of my eyesight is less than it was. Other peoples’ LED/HID headlamps are basically now too bright and I have more difficulty seeing into the shadows than I used to when such bright lights are in my field. I no longer enjoy driving at night. It gets worse when being tailgated by an SUV with headlamps shining straight in the rear window.

The older HIDs on other cars tend to ‘nod’ giving the appearance of flashing. I’ve never seen my LEDs do this - I assume the levelling is damped in some way to prevent it.

I’m not surprised people are confused as to whether they have AFS or ALH. Too many TLAs.


I also have issues with oncoming LED/HID lights. They are bright in a piercing kind of way and keep adjusting up and down. Worst is the country lanes. The more dangerous roads at night.

Can somebody explain what the “Auto Headlight On” options of “High, Medium and Low” actually do. Do they just determine the level of ambient light which will just switch on the headlights when on “Auto” or does it determine the sensitivity of the “auto dip” feature of the headlights when on “Auto”? If not, can the sensitivity of the “auto dip” feature be changed. In my experience the “auto dip” feature is far to slow in activating when there is an oncoming car (especially when it is coming around a corner on a country road. I inevitably use manual dip to dip my headlights to prevent my very bright LED headlights from blinding other drivers.

In theory disabling the AFS just stops the corning/steering function of the headlamps, shouldn’t make any other difference.

Automatic headlamp levelling you cannot disable and it’s not a dynamic system that constantly adjusts the angle of the beam (otherwise you wouldn’t see going up and down hill), it only adjusts to account for load when the car is stationary, which isn’t generally going to be significant in our featherweight shoeboxes anyway! I have generally found the headlamps to have a very good throw in both my NDs, not sure you can take one event with a wild animal meaning the system is generally prone to creating dazzle.

Yes, just determines ambient light level required for headlamps come on and go off, mine is set low.

Nothing to do with HBC - if you are struggling with the HBC ensure the camera is clean, otherwise put the headlamps into manual on (don’t use auto on the stalk) and you can do the full beam yourself manually. The ALH in my car is very good at reacting, but the HBC cars might be less effective.

Well yes, the camera is always clean as the car is usually cleaned before I take the car out. I have resorted to manual high/low beam selection on many occasions and will probably do this by default anyway. I think the driver uses far better judgement than an automatic system for the headlamp dipping function. That is, unless you a complete plonker like some drivers who seem to drive their cars on high beam regardless or they don’t have a clue when to dip their headlights.

So my car does not have that annoying ability to blind oncomers in other vehicles? I note the new modern cars have this which distracts me a lot at night.

I stick to manual dip too. I find the automatic setting slow and I just don’t like to depend on the computer. What if it one day decides to change the light settings mid-way through a corner at night on an unlit country lane? That would be enough to distract me from driving correctly.

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