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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 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #37

Dec 022013


  • miles


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.

- Anchorage, AK, USA

problem #36

Dec 012014


  • 40,000 miles
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.

- Granville, OH, USA

problem #35

Dec 022014


  • 42,000 miles
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.

- Towson, MD, USA

problem #34

Feb 222012


  • 20,000 miles


Headlamps (either side) tend to go out yearly. This is ridiculous! in addition, in order to change them out yourself, you need to have little girl hands. Not only is this a nuisance, but a safety issue. I can barely see with one lamp out and there are deer everywhere...right now it's freezing in denver and I do not have access to a heated garage to fiddle with this for an hour. Subaru needs to get on their horse and address this wiring issue. It is a wiring issue. No other explanation!

- Castle Rock, CO, USA

problem #33

Nov 032014


  • 105,000 miles
This vehicle buns out a set of headlights each year.

- Siren, WI, USA

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problem #32

Oct 032011


  • 5,000 miles
Over the span of 4 years owning my Subaru Outback, I have had to replace the same headlight twice, as well as a parking light and a tail light. The headlights are impossible to reach unless you are a mechanic. My understanding is that this is a common issue with Subaru Outback. I would like Subaru to acknowledge and fix this costly and potentially dangerous problem.

- Fairbanks, AK, USA

problem #31

Mar 142012


  • miles


The first time the headlight went out was during the cold months two years ago and it was on the driver's side. A year later (2013), the passenger's side headlight went out. I just replaced the driver's side headlight again on November 2, 2014. I have never had a vehicle, nor heard of anyone I know having a vehicle, that requires annual headlight replacements.

- Bowling Green, KY, USA

problem #30

Jul 202011


  • 15,345 miles
After owning this car for less than one year, I had to change the left headlamp. I do my own work and have never had as much trouble with changing a bulb than I have with this Outback. I had no idea that this would become a "routine" service, alternating from left to right headlamp(s). After changing out the 5th one (3 left headlamps & 2 right headlamps) I phoned the dealer to see if there had been a recall, tsb or if other owners of this Outback had the same trouble. I was told they could fix the problem at my cost. I was told they knew of a problem however there was no tsb issued and no recall for this issue. Just yesterday (26-Oct-2014) I have discovered the 3rd headlamp on the right side is out again (right on "schedule"). I don't remember how many low beam vs. High beam bulbs I have changed but know I have also changed out the fog light on the left side once.

- Moravia, NY, USA

problem #29

Sep 262014


  • 79,000 miles
Car was just inspected Sept 2014. Three light bulbs replaced. Prior to this, we have been replacing lightbulbs every few months. It is expensive because we cannot change the front lights had to go into the shop. We actually now store bulbs in the glove box because the headlights burn out so often. Our mechanic said Subaru has a problem with its wiring harness. Subaru needs to step up and address this as I see it is a common complaint here.

- Downingtown, PA, USA

problem #28

Sep 302010


  • 1,100 miles
Our 2011 Subaru Outback was purchased new in summer 2010 at Continental motors, anchorage, Alaska. The driver's side low-beam erratically dimmed and after three service requests over the next two years the dealer finally agreed that my complaint was valid and repaired the problem. The driver's side headlights have worked continuously since. Last summer (2013) the pax-side low-beam died and the bulb was replaced. This summer it died again and is in the shop today for replacement (as is the small marker light in the same unit). I asked the service rep if this is a chronic Subaru problem and he acknowledged that it is, especially in the lower 48. According to him the dealer(s) have submitted complaints to the manufacturer requesting a "fix" or redesign of the electrical circuitry. It certainly seems to warrant a recall and repair.

- Anchorage, AK, USA

problem #27

May 012013


  • 28,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that the headlights and the taillights failed intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who stated that the headlights and taillights needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure an stated that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V602000 (exterior lighting). The approximate failure mileage was 28,000.

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #26

May 272014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
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.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #25

May 092014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 52,800 miles
Headlights keep going out. This will be my 4th time replacing the headlight bulbs on this vehicle.

- Manhattan Beach, CA, USA

problem #24

May 012012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Since may of 2012, my wife has had to replace the low beam light bulbs on both the driver and passenger side no fewer than six times. This is a terrible issue with the vehicle, as driving with one bulb is both dangerous and illegal. It is also prohibitively expensive to continue replacing these bulbs as the access to them is convoluted at best. Subaru needs to acknowledge that this is a recurrent problem with the vehicle, and that it puts its customers at risk. A recall must be issued before there is a fatality, not afterwards.

- Wading River, NY, USA

problem #23

Mar 312014


  • 67,000 miles
Both of my headlights went out at the same time. High beams, fog lights still work. Tried replacing the bulbs with gloved hands and still not working. I have seen many other complaints on online forums about the same thing. Could be a wiring or fuse issue?

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #22

Aug 012011


  • miles
Low beam headlight bulbs burn out approximately every 3 months requiring expensive replacements. Combined with an overly difficult access to replace them, it's effectively an extortion scheme by Subaru to force you to the dealership.

- Spokane Valley, WA, USA

problem #21

Nov 162011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
I have replaced six headlight bulbs since I bought the car in July 2011. I don't even drive that much after dark. I don't use the auto headlight feature either.

- Honey Brook, PA, USA

problem #20

Oct 012013


  • 32,000 miles
It is now three headlights in 24 months have burnt out. I would just like to know what the issue is with my car.

- Englewood, CO, USA

problem #19

Jun 152013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 4,200 miles
Passenger side headlight has burnt out 6 times; Subaru denies any underlying issues, keep replacing the headlight; no more warranty as this point; main concerns are safety and nuisance.

- Holland, MI, USA

problem #18

Jan 012014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 40,718 miles
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.

- Thetford Center, VT, USA

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