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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
35,493 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2011 Subaru Outback lights problems

lights problem

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2011 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #57

Nov 022015


  • 80,000 miles


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.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #56

Dec 122012


  • 10,000 miles
Head lights continually burning out

- Mokena, IL, USA

problem #55

May 052014


  • miles
Burnout of front headlamps....twice in 6 months....when they are working they don't emit enough light......I have read many complaints from other owners about this issue.....why doesn't suburu address is a huge safety issue!?

- Gearhart, OR, USA

problem #54

Sep 292015


  • miles


I have replaced the driver side low beam light now twice within 4000 miles. This is very concerning.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #53

Sep 242015


  • miles
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.

- Damascus, MD, USA

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problem #52

Sep 032012


  • 34,000 miles
I have replaced my headlight bulbs 3 times for each headlight and I only have 88,000 miles on my car.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #51

Jul 192012


  • 15,000 miles


My vehicle is only 4 years old and I've replaced the low beam bulbs 4 times. It is not driven in harsh conditions and I average 14-15000 miles per year. The mechanics and service personnel at the dealership admit it's a problem with Subaru Outbacks. I've found many reports and complaints of other owners experiencing the same bulb failures. The frequency of the bulb failure obviously presents a safety concern when driving at night. I would like Subaru to correct this design flaw and reimburse me for previous and future repairs associated with this issue.

- Finleyville, PA, USA

problem #50

Jul 112015


  • 125,000 miles
We were coming home from a fireworks display at night and my son told me to turn on my lights which already had done, and the low beams on both sides and the marker lights didn't work. I tried turning switch to all positions and they still didn't come on. The high beams work okay and turn signals front and back & brake lights work. We drove home with the fog lights which still work. We need the car to go on vacation and the dealer can't fix it right away as well as what it will cost there or if I have to have some else fix it. It's definitely a safety issue because the road we drive home on has very little if any lighting and there are twists and turns and you could easily drive into a stone outcropping or into he water at any point. I had my wife and two young nephews with us as well. I checked the lights again to make sure what ones were out, I checked the fuses as well to see if something had blown and they were okay.there have been multiple complaints on this and other websites about the Subaru lights. With all the recalls of every vehicles of every 'description, the whole auto industry is totally out of control and needs to be reigned in, it's a huge safety and overall quality issue not to mention the millions of work hours and time lost by tens of thousands of people having to deal with problem

- Branford, CT, USA

problem #49

Jul 232015


  • 60,000 miles
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.

- Londonderry, NH, USA

problem #48

May 062013


  • 30,000 miles
Low beam headlights keep burning out both sides. Lights burn out independently of each other. So far have replaced lights 3 times 6 in total. Problem reported as an issue in Subaru forumn

- Sleepy Hollow, NY, USA

problem #47

Feb 202012


  • miles


The headlights and tail lights have failed (burned out) multiple times in the 4 years of owning the vehicle. Some within 3 months of being replaced other might last 8 months to a year. I am wondering if this is a wiring issue causing such short bulb life.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #46

Oct 162013


  • 44,760 miles
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, 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.

- Agawam, MA, USA

problem #45

Jun 212014


  • 65,000 miles
I have a 2011 Subaru Outback great car the problem is I'm changing a low beam bulb every 6 to 8 months. My wife has a 2006 legacy wagon and I've only had 1 bulb go out. I called my Subaru dealership I was told it was because I have running lights on the car. I told him I have running lights on my 06 legacy and don't have that problem. That was the end of our conversation. Maybe I'll call Subaru in NJ. Very helpful group. I worked with them when I had head gasket issues.

- Bristol, CT, USA

problem #44

Mar 042013


  • miles
I have had the car since August 2010 and the low light beams keep burning out. I have had to replace one or the other three times now. This time the new bulb lasted less than a year. And last year I also had to replace one of the high beams. I have never owned a car that needed headlights replaced so often (actually I've never had to replace a headlight on any other vehicle I've owned). Also, I have to bring it to a dealer every time this needs to be done because it's too difficult to change myself. It's very inconvenient. There are many other people who have the same complaint so it leads me to think it's a fault that should be addressed. Other than this, I love my car!

- East Moriches, NY, USA

problem #43

Oct 222014


  • 69,500 miles
Since the vehicle was purchased in 2011 we have lost both day time running lights, one tail light and the driver side head light twice. The driver side headlight issue happened within three months. This seems to only happen in cold weather (teens and twenties). We have received inspection tickets for this issue from the police. Looking on line there are several people complaining about headlight blowing very quickly. Also, Subaru has a very poor design for allowing owners to replace their own headlights. You have to take it to the dealership where the inner fender well has to be removed and then it is a very tight space to reach the headlight to replace it. This can get very expensive to the consumer as well as being a huge safety issue.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #42

Sep 102014


  • 41,000 miles
The airbag warning lite on the passenger side came on and stayed on for several minutes. After several trips the lite came on again and has stayed on. The result is that the bag is not able to deploy if there is any type of accident that involves the front end. This is very concerning to my family, I try to avoid anyone from riding in the front passenger seat.

- Fair Oaks, CA, USA

problem #41

Jun 172013


  • 45,000 miles
After owning this vehicle barely 2 years, the 1st headlight (driver side) bulb blew out. To replace it at the dealership was $90 due to the difficulty of reaching the bulb housing - so I was told. Then about 3-4 months later the other headlight (passenger side) went out. Then about 6 months later the rear light bulb went out. Around 2 months ago (12/20/2014) the driver side head light went out again and then passenger side went out last Friday (1/17/2015). This is a great vehicle overall, but I have never owned a vehicle that I'm constantly replacing headlights (front or rear). This is very annoying, expensive and dangerous.

- Randallstown, MD, USA

problem #40

Dec 162014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
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.

- North Royalton, OH, USA

problem #39

Dec 162014


  • 75,000 miles
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.

- North Royalton, OH, USA

problem #38

Dec 012013


  • 40,000 miles
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.

- Lehighton, PA, USA

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