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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 1 of 5)

problem #85

Dec 192016


  • miles


The headlight bulbs on my 2011 Subaru Outback "burnout" every 4-5 months. I addressed the issue with the the original dealer where the vehicle was purchased, to no satisfactory end. They basically said there was nothing they could do other than replace the bulbs. Since the first instance I have personally replaced the bulbs a minimum of a dozen times. The latest burnout occurred this weekend while driving in a snowstorm.the original dealer is no longer in business so I took it to a different dealer. They explained that there is now a "warranty extension" in place to replace the bulbs for a ten year period from the date of purchase. When I questioned what they were going to do to correct the obvious electrical problem, the service writer stated "there is nothing that can be done other than replacing the bulb". a subsequent call to Subaru of America produced nothing more than a "sir, we have extended the warranty for up to ten years to replace the bulbs" when I repeatedly questioned what was being done to fix the problem. I searched the internet and discovered this is a known issue that Subaru is doing absolutely nothing to rectify. They are band aiding the problem with the "extended warranty". this is a major safety issue when headlight bulbs just "burnout", almost always at the worst possible time. Is it going to take my vehicle burning to the ground due to an electrical short, voltage surge or whatever else is causing the burnouts, or worse yet a Subaru owner being involved in an accident, before Subaru initiates a recall to fix the issue they are well aware of.

- Winfield, WV, USA

problem #84

Dec 122016


  • miles
Repeated premature failure of headlights, marker lights, brake lights. I'm aware of the recall replacing the headlights but that is not fixing the problem.

- Edinboro, PA, USA

problem #83

Nov 042016


  • 75,000 miles
Low beams just burnt out using auto setting, this happened while the car was parked overnight!!

- Warrenton, VA, USA

problem #82

Oct 312016


  • 72,000 miles


Ongoing failure of both passenger and driver side headlamps. Same complaint that others have documented that this is an ongoing issue and the headlamps are difficult to replace. Serious safety hazard and can also lead to traffic violations. Subaru needs to provide a fix, not just a one-time reimbursement of replacement headlamps.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #81

Jun 102016


  • 80,000 miles
I have replaced both left & right side headlight low beam bulbs at least 6-7 times since the car was new. One occasion they were both out and my wife drove home with only the parking lights on (she said "it sure is dark on route 9A"). I'm not sure I saved all the receipts, but I bet autozone has records withmy rewards account.

- Stamford, CT, USA

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problem #80

Jun 012016


  • miles
"airbag recall" this recall was in June and Subaru it not taking any appointments to fix the problem.

- Mt Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #79

Oct 012016


  • miles


Multiple headlight failure since car was new. Atleast one headlight goes out every three months.

- Goodlettsville, TN, USA

problem #78

Aug 102016


  • miles
Multiple head light failures rotates between drivers side and passenger side at least one light goes out very three months.

- Goodlettsville, TN, USA

problem #77

Aug 152016


  • 93,000 miles
Right back brake light blew out. Car has been having alot of various lighting problems since purchased in 2011. Not sure when it blew out, someone in a parking lot told me it was out.

- Pleasant Valley, NY, USA

problem #76

Aug 052016


  • 62,000 miles
Frequent replacement of low beam bulbs. Not easy to replace and Subaru service best equipped to do procedure. Labor costs at various dealers for this service widely vary and can increase without reason. Subaru of America recently sent out letter saying warranty on bulbs has been extended (not that there is issue with electrical system). Soa will replace or refund, however, this does not solve the issue of continued (perceived) deficiency in the lighting system overall and refund requirements are very stringent per the letter they sent. I consider this issue as a safety defect. We have both an Outback and legacy that are both affected by this. Have owned legacy since new and replaced both bulbs four times since taking ownership. Have tried other brand bulbs to no better result (hence my belief it is electrical system). Per one of the service advisors I've spoken to in the past, the system is designed such that when one bulb burns out, more current flows to the one bulb still working and will burn it out prematurely (furthering my belief that it is a safety issue). They said this in recommending replacement of both bulbs at once. Would like to see recall or greater effort on soa's part.

- Wayne, PA, USA

problem #75

Jul 152016


  • miles


Have to replace a low beam light every year, just on the passengers side. When changing bulb I wear gloves, not to touch my skin on the bulb. There really should be a recall on this. Every time I get a bulb they say Subaru is known for this. This happens every year since I purchace the car.

- Bailey Island, ME, USA

problem #74

Jul 032016


  • 115,206 miles
I have replaced many headlight bulbs. Now it seems, I am replacing a headlight bulb about every 3 months!

- Apex, NC, USA

problem #73

May 012016


  • miles
My low beam headlights both went out at the same time. After some research, it appears that this is a problem with the vehicle.

- Murrysville, PA, USA

problem #72

Jun 022016


  • 32,000 miles
Low beam headlights burn out - continuing problem and replacement involves a poorly designed access method requiring removal of wheel well plastic to get to the light bulb. Vehicle is not safe with lights that burn out

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #71

Jun 032016


  • miles
Low beam headlights burn out approximately every 3-6 months. About to replace a bulb for the 6th time.

- Burleson, TX, USA

problem #70

May 192016


  • 75,000 miles
Replaced low beam head light on passenger side,8months later needs to be replaced again. This also affects the daytime driving lights even thought the high beam lights are used at a reduced power for driving lights. High beam now does not work on passenger side. This happens in all operating conditions, with or without automatic light control on or off.

- Staunton, VA, USA

problem #69

Feb 042016


  • miles
The headlights have failed several times. The dealer has replaced them, because, due to the front end design, it is impossible to do it yourself. The dealer stated that the headlights fail because the front end design allows the lights to overheat.

- Chicago Park, CA, USA

problem #68

May 172016


  • miles
I have to replace my low-beam headlight every 3-4 months at a very expensive cost. This is very frustrating and a severe safety issue.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #67

Apr 172013


  • 58,000 miles
We have owned this Subaru since new. The original headlight bulbs burnt out at 58,000 miles. Since then I have had to replace the bulbs every two to three months, using the Subaru recommended H7 bulbs from sylvania. The car has burnt through at least one dozen light bulbs.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #66

Feb 282016


  • 84,000 miles
I have had to have the headlight bulbs (low-beams) replaced a minimum of 4 times over the past two years. The passengers side was first...then a few months later the driver's side. This continues for no apparent reason. Last night leaving work...the passenger side is out again. I cannot believe I am the only Subaru owner who has experienced this problem. Replacing them is no easy task as after investigating, you have to go through the wheel well to get to it. Again...both sides will now have been replaced 4 times withing the two years. Minor issue compared to the other complaints, but nevertheless a safety issue.

- St. Petersburg, FL, USA

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