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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 1 of 4)

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

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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

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

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

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