Headlamps Not Sitting Properly in Bumper - Chevy Cobalt Forum / Cobalt Reviews / Cobalt SS / Cobalt Parts
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Headlamps Not Sitting Properly in Bumper

Hello everyone,

I was hoping maybe someone could offer some insight into this. A long story short, I was rear ended at about 15-20mph by a 2015 Ford Focus at a stop light and that caused me to rear end a brand new Subaru (ugh). I got the ugly end of the stick as I was caught in the middle of it and had damage to the rear bumper, my hood as well as the front bumper. The weld on the frame where the impact absorber is mounted caved in, but luckily that was repairable and there is absolutely no damage to the frame or any other part of the car. The driver of the Ford Focus was found to be at fault (duh :P) by the insurance company, and the repairs for the Subaru and my Cobalt were free of charge at the expense of his deductible going up and having an SR-1 filed with the CA DMV.

After the repairs, the headlamps haven't been flush with the front bumper. There are gaps between the bumper and both headlamps, which look really awkward and is an annoyance to me. I will be contacting the body shop who did the work. But, in the meantime... is there a way to correct this by chance without going through the hassle of being without a car for a day or two? I don't mind doing repairs on my own. What caught me off guard is when I removed the mounting bolts to the headlamps, they wouldn't come out. They'd wiggle a bit, but other than that I couldn't remove them.

Here are some pictures...


Notice the bottom of the headlamps. The bumper is actually going over the bottom of the headlamps.


How big the gap is between the drivers side headlamp.


The (visual) amount of distance between the hood and the top of the bumper. Is this too much? The gap seems bigger to me than it was before the repairs.

Any replies are greatly appreciated. Thank you everyone

Owner of a completely stock 2009 Chevy Cobalt LT 2.2L
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 09:50 PM
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All cobalts have that hood gap and Your lights are better aligned than most cobalt Ive seen. They never came perfectly fitted even from factory.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response! That's good to hear. Maybe I was being too critical of the work that has been done on it... expecting perfection, so to say. It just seems so bizarre that there is a gap like that in the headlamps. I can understand it not being completely flush, but it just seems odd to me. Maybe I just never noticed it before the bodywork was performed.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 12:44 AM
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My cobalt has a hood gap like that, and one headlight is also positioned with a gap, not as bad as that. The mounting of the headlight can be adjusted sort of, if you feel like taking it apart. When I first mounted mine, there was a big gap that I was able to adjust by removing the bolts and popping it into place. From what I can remember, the back of the headlight assembly, towards the rear/side of the car, has to snap into position. If its not correct, the rear corner will stick out and not be flush.

Last edited by economichitman; 10-22-2015 at 12:47 AM.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by economichitman View Post
My cobalt has a hood gap like that, and one headlight is also positioned with a gap, not as bad as that. The mounting of the headlight can be adjusted sort of, if you feel like taking it apart. When I first mounted mine, there was a big gap that I was able to adjust by removing the bolts and popping it into place. From what I can remember, the back of the headlight assembly, towards the rear/side of the car, has to snap into position. If its not correct, the rear corner will stick out and not be flush.
Thanks a ton for the insight there. I'll check it out tomorrow and see if I can't get it to budge. For some reason when I remove the two mounting bolts on the top of the headlamp, it will not let me remove it. It'll wiggle around maybe about 1/4 of an inch or so. Regardless, I'll check it out again and see what may be preventing it from coming out. If I can at least close that gap, I'll be pleased.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 03:29 AM
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If you have lots of time you can tweak the black housing of the headlight to get it better but you will never get it perfect especially if they used an aftermarket bumper cover.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by cjmspartans View Post
Thanks a ton for the insight there. I'll check it out tomorrow and see if I can't get it to budge. For some reason when I remove the two mounting bolts on the top of the headlamp, it will not let me remove it. It'll wiggle around maybe about 1/4 of an inch or so. Regardless, I'll check it out again and see what may be preventing it from coming out. If I can at least close that gap, I'll be pleased.
I had to remove the plastic pop-tabs that hold the plastic tray above the grill in place, this allows the front bumper plastic to bend outward. The headlight has to be pulled forward and in towards the license plate to be removed/to change the bulbs. Try popping it out and back in to see if it's inserted all the way, then with the bumper plastic loose you can adjust the positioning.

This is coming from a year-old memory of doing it once. I really found the whole process to be a PITA just to change a bulb.
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bumper , bumper gap , headlamp gap , headlamps , headlights

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