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Headlights Problems of Subaru Outback - part 1

Subaru Outback owners have reported 90 problems related to headlights (under the exterior lighting category).

car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 1
Failure Date: 11/20/2015

I have had to replace my headlight 6 times in the past 6 months. I replaced it last week and noticed today it is already out again. There needs to be a recall on this vehicle because every time I have to replace a bulb it is $40 with labor and cost of bulb.

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car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 2
Failure Date: 11/02/2015

Our 2011 Subaru Outback premium 2. 5i has had to have both low-beam headlights replaced numerous times. Only the low-beam lights need to be replaced so often. I have done it myself several times, but accessing the light bulbs is a difficult process that requires going through the wheel well and doing everything by feel because it is impossible to see what you are doing. Now I just have a repair shop do it when I have it in for regular maintenance. It is getting old saying, "OH yeah, can you replace my headlight that is out, too. " there are numerous reports of headlight issues on various venues on the internet, and I have friends with a slightly older Outback who have had both headlights go out at the same time. This is a fundamental piece of safety equipment that should not need to be replaced multiple times a year. In my 2003 kia rio, I have replaced headlights a total of two times in 12 years. On my Outback, I think I am up to 8 headlight replacements (I have lost count) in 5 years. I fear that some night when my wife and children are driving home both headlights will go out and their safety will be jeopardized. I urge Subaru to issue a recall for this dangerous issue.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2010 Subaru Outback 3
Failure Date: 10/28/2015

Replacing low beam headlamp bulbs every 15k miles or less on this vehicle. 4th bulb in 3 yrs just burned out on 10/28/15. Occurs at random times - no pattern. Discontinued using the headlamp auto on/off feature and still no improvement in situation. Becoming a safety issue due to periods of having to drive with one headlight. Impossible for typical owner to replace low beam bulbs on their own due to difficulty of accessing headlight assembly.

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car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 4
Failure Date: 09/24/2015

I purchased the car (2011 Outback) new in October of 2011. Since then headlights have been replaced at least 4 times and now (September 2015) other exterior lights are starting to fail. It appears this is a common problem. I replaced the driver's side headlight less than a month ago and it is already burned out again. This is a repeated problem and it seems that we're getting less and less life out of the headlights as time goes on. The Subaru dealer seems to think this is just an effect of driving with the headlights on (what am I supposed to do, drive without light?) and not an actual problem with the car.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 5
Failure Date: 07/23/2015

Our 2011 Subaru Outback has had an excessive number of headlight bulbs burn out over the past 18 months. Over the past 18 months I have had to replace 4 headlight bulbs, 2 driver side and 2 passenger side. They have all occurred at different times and the vehicle has never been in an accident. This is becoming a safety issue with the vehicle and a costly repair. There must be something in the design of the automatic headlight system design which is causing these failures.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2015 Subaru Outback 6
Failure Date: 01/12/2015

Projector beam headlights with sharp cut off. . . . . Low beam lights are bright and great on level straight road at moderate speeds, deviate from that and it is dangerous. Need further penetration for high speed driving. . Going downhill or on any slope and around curves limited visibility;;; . Downhill freeway cloverleaf on ramp, impossible to negotiate safely with low beam. . Depth of field 20 to 25 feet, extremely dangerous. Lights just cut off right in front of you. Have to turn on high beam to see. . . Also lights do not light up the sides of roads very well, would not be able to see wildlife very well. Limited visibility turning corners in residential driving, hard to see pedestrians at side crosswalks. Hard to see projected path. . Lights do not project high enough to the right to properly light up street signs. Self leveling may help with some of the issues, but not not all of them.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 7
Failure Date: 12/16/2014

I have had to change the low beam headlight bulbs at least 3 or 4 times on this Outback based on them burning out prematurely. I owned a 2003 Outback that never had the headlights changed, and this is happening too frequently and is occurring on both 2011 Outbacks I own. The most recent light failure was last night as the car started. The first failed while under warranty and was replaced by the dealer, and the second one failed with 100 miles out of warranty and was not replaced by the dealer. This is an issue that needs to be addressed.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 8
Failure Date: 12/16/2014

I own two 2011 Outbacks and each of them are consuming low beam headlights with at least 4 bulbs changed in under 50000 miles. I have filed a similar report for the other 2011 Subaru Outback I own and consider this issue serious based on the lack of life of the part regardless the type of bulb replaced. My previous 2003 Outback never had a bulb changed in it, yet this vehicle is plagued with bulb issues and costs.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2008 Subaru Outback 9
Failure Date: 12/15/2014

Recently replaced headlights did not illuminate on a return trip home. They turned off without warning while driving. According to the dealer, the wiring harness failed.

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car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 10
Failure Date: 12/02/2014

We have had to replace both front headlights multiple times since we bought our Outback. It seems my wife is driving with one headlight way too often. I have researched this problem and we are not alone. Online I have found hundreds of other people with the same problem. I am convinced that this is a safety problem that needs to be addressed by Subaru not to mention it's a huge financial burden since access to these bulbs is difficult even for repair shops.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 11
Failure Date: 12/01/2014

This car is subject to premature and frequent headlight burn out. For example, both headlamps were replaced by dealer in late January 2014. They both are burned out by December 2014, creating a very unsafe situation.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2005 Subaru Outback 12
Failure Date: 11/19/2014

My wife and I recently purchased a used 2005 Subaru Outback. The headlights on this vehicle are what I consider to be dangerously dim, barely lighting up the road. Both the fog lamps and also the high beams work well, but the low beam light (which is produced from a different bulb than the high beam) is very inadequate. I have replaced the bulbs with higher intensity bulbs. This offered little if any increase in lighting. I have also had the electrical system checked to assure the proper voltage is being supplied. Googleing this problem has told me I'm not alone. Other Subaru owners complain of the same issue. Here's what I have researched and determined to be the problem. There is an inner reflective cavity in which the headlight bulb is housed. The reflection process within this housing magnifies the light produced by the bulb. This process is similar to that of a reflective prism inside a lighthouse. In the case of our Subaru, the reflective material inside of the headlight bulb housing has either worn away or become clouded to the degree that the light produced by the bulbs no longer reflects adequately to produce a bright light. These headlights need to either be replaced or perhaps somehow removed from the vehicle, opened up and then repaired. In either case this would be very expensive to the degree in which most consumers would not be willing to incur the cost, thereby continuing to take their chances driving at night with unsatisfactory headlights. My questions: is this considered a safety issue? if so, is it the responsibility of the manufacturer to correct this problem? do I have to pay for any corrections? I'd be grateful for any help or suggestions you can offer to assist me with this issue. I feel this is a potentially dangerous problem, not just for myself, but other Subaru owners. Thank you for your time.

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car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 13
Failure Date: 11/03/2014

This vehicle buns out a set of headlights each year.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2010 Subaru Outback 14
Failure Date: 10/07/2014

Headlight went out after replacement a year and 3wks ago. This is the 3rd headlight replacement on a 2010 vehicle since purchase 3yrs ago at 29,500mi as a certified used Subaru from the dealer.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2008 Subaru Outback 15
Failure Date: 07/19/2014

Vehicle started showing signs of electrical problems 2 months ago when the rear view mirror homelink would only have power intermittently. Problem progressed to the reverse lights and now affects the headlights. The headlights went out at night as I was leaving a parking lot, a definite hazard. Have researched the problem on Subaru online forums and discovered that the problem is that individual wires in the wiring harness have a tendency to crack and break at the joint between the body and the liftgate. This vehicle has 2 completely broken wires and most others with breaks in the insulation. Other owners describe similar problems.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2010 Subaru Outback 16
Failure Date: 07/10/2014

Condensation continually gathers inside one of the light fixtures. The car has not been in an accident and the bulb and fixture are installed to factory specifications-the dealer has checked this. I believe this is a safety issue-with the amount of condensation inside the light, the illumination of one headlight is greatly diminished making driving at night very difficult especially in dimly lit situations. I also do not believe that the combination of electric and water inside components is "normal" under any circumstances. I have contacted my dealer and Subaru-the copy of the sent text follows-they do not respond. I believe the manufacturer of this component is making a faulty product that decreases safety. I just want them to replace the component at no cost to me since I've done nothing wrong. Sent to Subaru of America- "this is pertaining to problems with my headlights on my 2010 Outback. I've been told by my dealer-goldstein Subaru-that "condensation in the headlights is normal in the northeast" they also told me I "could drill a small hole in the light to let more air in". Question-if it is "normal" why should I drill a hole-the light design should account for proper ventilation of the fixture-secondly how come no other cars on the lot have this, it only happens in one light and there are numerous other similar complaints from other Subaru owners online? this is a safety issue-electricity and water do not mix-this "normal" condensation greatly reduces the illumination of the headlight and visibility during night driving-it's like driving with one headlight. I believe this is a manufacturer problem-my light was checked by the dealer-there is no damage and all the factory seals and bulbs are intact, yet water continually gets inside the fixture. I think Subaru of America should replace this safety item at no cost to me. (my VIN was here).

car image   Headlights problem of the 2010 Subaru Outback 17
Failure Date: 07/09/2014

Problem started in about July, 2014 when my front drivers side low beam headlight went out. I purchased two new bulbs and changed them (and this is no easy process with this vehicle). I wore latex gloves so as not to damage the new bulbs. Approximately a week after installing the new bulbs, my drivers side headlight went out again, but would come on and go out sporadically. It seemed to come and go with damp weather or when I hit bumps while driving, so I questioned the seal of the fixture cover and/or the wiring connection, so I went through the process again and checked the seating of the bulb, wiring connection, and seal of the housing, and all were fine. The problem was solved for a short time, but then started happening again. After a couple of weeks of on/off operation, it went out for good. I pulled the bulb and checked the filament, and it was fine, but I put the old passenger bulb (original to the vehicle) in. It worked and did not flicker for several months, but eventually started to show the same signs as the newer bulbs I put in. Then it stopped working altogether. The bulbs have been replaced two more times between then and now, but I am having the same trouble again, still with the drivers side. This many times is not a coincidence. I feel this is a defect with the wiring or with the actual headlight unit itself. Of course, the vehicle is out of warranty, and I dread taking it to the dealer to hear it will be an expensive fix. With so many documented occurrences, I feel this is a safety issue that needs to be addressed by Subaru.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 18
Failure Date: 05/27/2014

Both the low beam headlight bulbs went out at the same time. It was nighttime, and I had no use of my car. I bought new bulbs from the auto parts store the following day. When I opened the manual to get instructions for the light bulb change, I found that the recommended advice is to bring in the car to the dealer! there are instructions for those willing to brave getting underneath the car! to change a light bulb!! I am fortunate because I work in the daytime, and dst has already started. Otherwise I would find it necessary to get a tow to a shop! for a light bulb! headlights are necessary for safe and legal driving at night. Just as I shouldn't need an auto repair shop to change a tire, nor should I need a hydraulic car lift to change a light bulb!! this is something that anyone willing to get a little grease on their fingers should be able to accomplish at anytime at any place so that the car will be road worthy and the driver and passengers will be able to make it to their destination safely. I hope this "engineering" catastrophe will be addressed and rectified.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 19
Failure Date: 05/09/2014

Headlights keep going out. This will be my 4th time replacing the headlight bulbs on this vehicle.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 20
Failure Date: 01/01/2014

Low beam headlights only illuminate road to about 15 feet in front of car. Headlights were then adjusted by Subaru dealer who stated they were at the max height. Lights now illuminate to about 25 feet in front of car. Extremely poor visibility at night. Subaru dealer said there is nothing more he can do.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 21
Failure Date: 12/02/2013

Hello, my front headlights went out after having the vehicle for 3 years, I replaced them and then within the year of replacing, the one was burnt out again. I think there is a problem since I'll have replaced the light 3 times within 4 years. This is especially a pain since you have to take the tire off to replace a lightbulb.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 22
Failure Date: 12/01/2013

This is a low beam headlight issue. I have replaced close to 6-8 low beam headlights over a year and half. No one can find the answer and Subaru doesn't deem it to be a safety issue, although I disagree. I have had my battery tested for power surges and this is not happening. I've seen countless other postings from 2011 Subaru owners and nothing is being done. The low beams are blowing and the projection of the light is not adequate for night time driving. Something has to be done. I've also had a situation where both high beam lights blew out at the same time. That only happened once. The replacement costs are adding up because the low beam light is impossible to do without being put on a lift at the garage. Thank you.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 23
Failure Date: 10/16/2013

Purchased this car 7/2011. No problem with exterior headlights until about one year after purchase. Highbeams are fine. Never had to replace them. Running lights have never had an issue. Around 11/2012, regular headlights(both bulbs in the headlight housing )have been repeatedly replaced. In oct 2013, both bulbs on driver side were replaced. Went several weeks later for my state safety sticker, the small bulb needed to be replaced on the driver side. Then in Feb 2014, the large bulb on the driver side burnt out and was replaced. May 2014, both lights on the passenger side where out. Replaced them. These needed to be done at a garage each time. Jan 2015, both replaced on the passenger side. Now, Feb 12, 2015 and again, both on the passenger side are out, and need replacing. Going to try more heavy duty bulbs. Husband has learned how to replace the bulbs through the wheel well. I have paperwork for at least 7- 8 bulbs in 3 1/2 yrs needing replacement. Think Subaru needs to acknowledge a problem in exterior lights in the Subaru 2011.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2011 Subaru Outback 24
Failure Date: 10/01/2013

It is now three headlights in 24 months have burnt out. I would just like to know what the issue is with my car.

car image   Headlights problem of the 2010 Subaru Outback 25
Failure Date: 08/13/2013

Approximately 1 year ago a low beam headlight was replaced. Approximately 1 month later the other low beam headlight was burned out and need to be replaced. 1 week ago a low beam headlight was replaced. Today the opposite low beam headlight is burned out. This is abnormal headlights should not burn out this often. The bulbs were not touched on the glass when replaced.

Other Common Exterior Lighting related problems of Subaru Outback