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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,823 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 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #65

Nov 202015


  • 70,000 miles


Ascended steep hill and stopped at stop sign. Processed to drive through intersection uphill. All lights on dash began to flicker on and off and car stalled out going down the road. After this occurred, I lost all electrical functions of car. I was not able to restart car, place car into park, apply emergency brake, turn on hazard lights, and the power brakes and steering were not present. I spent 5-7 minutes trying to restart the car and trying to figure out a way to stabilize the car since I was currently going down a steep hill without anyway of stabilizing it. After this time, smoke began coming out from under the hood. I had to coast car down hill into busy intersection and turn it onto next road in order to find a flat area to stabilize car so I could get out of it. When I got out, I began seeing flames drop down from front driver side of engine area. The car quickly caught on fire and most of the engine burnt out before flames were extinguished. The fire appeared to start in computer area. This car was bought new and have had no previous problems with the car, except we have had to change the low beam headlight bulbs several times while owning it. After I witnessed my car catch on fire and afterwards discovered Subaru has a service bulletin for the torque converter, I believe the headlight issue and the torque converter issues are all connected. I believe what happened to my car is the torque converter failed that day causing an over voltage/over draw of power that was so bad it took out my computer unit, I then believe the battery continued to feed the computer unit, in its unresponsive state, until it caught on fire. The fire inspector told me sometimes bulbs will burnt out due to an over voltage situation. Something is definitely overdrawing power and it needs to be looked into because it endangers every driver, passenger, and anyone around these cars.

- Lancaster, OH, USA

problem #64

Jan 292016


  • 86,000 miles
This is 4th time that the headlight blows out. If it's not the headlight its the point lights. I filed a complaint on Dec. 04, 2015 about other complaints. Just noticed that the passenger side headlight blew out again while driving on local road at night the other night. Jan. 29, 2016. High beams work, low beam is out. This is getting frustrating and Subaru dealer tells me there are not recalls. I am sick of paying and taking time to drive 45 minutes to the dealer to get this fixed all the time. Please do something. I have an appt. Tomorrow Feb. 2, 2016 with the dealer again to fix it. This seems to be an electrical problem.

- Pleasant Valley, NY, USA

problem #63

Jan 082016


  • 73,000 miles
Purchased Subaru Outback 2011 new. At approximately 65,000 miles low beam front headlights began to burn out quickly: 4 replaced over about 14 months. Experienced an episode 1/8/16 where all front lights completely failed in the park and drive position but left low beam headlight worked intermittently when car was in reverse. All front headlights but 2 worked the following day when at the dealership. Brake/rear car lights also stopped working intermittently during the time the auto experienced total front high, parking and low beam failure. Whether or not rear car lights worked was also affected by whether car was in drive, park or reverse at times.this did not happen the following day at dealership. Remedy :switch for brake lights was replaced: They felt it could be sticking at times thus causing the back lights intermittent failure and the 2 front headlight bulbs which were burned out were replaced.

- Albrightsville, PA, USA

problem #62

Jan 162016


  • 60,000 miles


Low beam headlight bulbs fail prematurely. Necessary to frequently replace (less than 12 month service life).

- South Park, PA, USA

problem #61

Dec 082015


  • 86,000 miles
Headlights on 2011 Subaru Outback continue to blow. Replaced all front lights multiple times. Reckless endangerment of their customers and will cause crashes as lights go out while driving vehicle. So far only one has gone out at a time for I am not holding my breath. Appears that this is a very common issues that Subaru fails to stand behind the issue. Customers should not be forced into purchasing only Subaru replacement product to achieve safety. This sounds like extortion since it appears the only answer is to purchase Subaru original bulbs. This is getting frustrated and I do not hear or see of a recall for the problem. I see alot of complaints, but again, no recalls to fix the problem. Subaru keeps taking my money to fix the problem

- St Anthony Village, MN, USA

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problem #60

Dec 012015


  • 84,000 miles
Headlights on 2011 Subaru Outback since owning it has blown out 3 times and pointer light has gone out 1 time. I am not sure if I am driving or if they blow when I put the lights on. This is getting frustrated and I do not hear or see of a recall for the problem. I see alot of complaints, but again, no recalls to fix the problem. Subaru keeps taking my money to fix the problem. Will not be buying anymore Subaru's.

- Pleasant Valley, NY, USA

problem #59

Nov 272015


  • miles


Subaru Outback headlamp light bulbs burn out every 6 weeks or so even after careful replacement. There are many many complaints on this safety issue. Yet no recallordered? I don't get it!

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #58

Nov 202015


  • miles
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.

- Portsmouth, RI, USA

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

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

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