2011 Subaru Legacy lights NHTSA complaints: Exterior Lighting

NHTSA — Exterior Lighting Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,822 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 Legacy lights problems

lights problem

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2011 Subaru Legacy Owner Comments

problem #14

Dec 072013


  • 13,000 miles


The headlight bulbs keep burning out. This is the low beam. I've had them replaced 13 times during our ownership. This has become exorbitantly expensive, what can I do?

- Holland, PA, USA

problem #13

Nov 202015


  • 82,600 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 #12

May 182016


  • miles
Within the past 2 years I have replaced my headlights 3-4 times. My right headlight is now out after replacing it less than 1year ago. I do not keep my lights on automatic as that is what Subaru told me as to why I keep having to replace the lights. It is not only unsafe and costly, but extremely difficult to access the headlight on my own to change the bulb without paying for labor.

- Bloomingburg, NY, USA

problem #11

Jan 152015


  • 60,000 miles


I have had to replace both low beam bulbs six times in a year. The vehicle only has 93,000 miles on it. There does not appear to be a triggering event and the bulbs go out, seemingly, at random - which can be very dangerous if it's dark outside.

- Abingdon, MD, USA

problem #10

Jul 012012


  • 18,000 miles
I have had to replace both low beam bulbs six times in the last 4 years. The vehicle only has 86,000 miles on it. The high beams have also been replaced twice each. There does not appear to be a triggering event and the bulbs go out, seemingly, at random - which can be very dangerous if it's dark outside.

- Imperial, MO, USA

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problem #9

Mar 232015


  • 82,000 miles
Replaced the low beams five times since 20,000 miles. The driver side four times and the passenger side once. Subaru replaced the driver side low beam when it still was covered under the warranty, around 35,000 miles.

- Geneva , OH, USA

problem #8

Jan 102014


  • 78,000 miles


Low beam headlights have blow out 3 times in one year on both sides of the car.

- Marcy, NY, USA

problem #7

Oct 232014

Legacy 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
I have a 2011 Subaru Legacy le 3.6R, and the headlights keep burning out. I work an hour away from my home and had to drive most of the way without headlamps because the 2nd one blew on the way home. With only high beams and daytime runner lamps, it was very dangerous and scary. I've only had the car for 2 years and have had to replace the headlamps twice already. In researching the problem, it appears that the headlamps draw too much power from the wiring/electronic board that eventually overheats the headlamps causing them to burn out. It also appears to be a common problem with this model car. This is a serious problem and I would really appreciate Subaru investigating it and handing their customers a solution!

- Kerhonkson, NY, USA

problem #6

Nov 102014


  • miles
I am having the same issue with my head lights. I am disabled and this has become a huge problem and is not something I would advise the NHTSA to laugh at or take lightly. Not correcting a reoccuring issue that their vehicle, which is promoted to be extremely safe and reliable is a huge misconception. If they are ok with a disabled person or any person driving at night expecting thier lights to last because they have just had them changed, just to end up having to drive in the complete dark, is more than just an issue. Its an accident, which could end very badly, waiting to happen.. this needs to made a priority to fix for any 2011 Subaru Legacy owner. I am on my towns commission for persons with disabilities which happens to be located in the same town the Subaru dealership is located. This topic was discussed at a previous meeting and it is going to be taken very seriously by the board if something is not done to correct this issue immediately. Multiple occurances. I have tried every avenue to correct this issue. I am confident this is now a manufacturers issue that needs to be addressed. I am going to the dealership to get this corrected once again today and if something is to happen tomorrow when I am due to travel in the dark, my family and lawyers will be holding Subaru personally liable.

- Berlin , CT, USA

problem #5

Oct 312014

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 900 miles
All 2015 Subaru Legacys, including mine, have a horseshoe shaped cloudy image on the plastic headlight lens when the low beams are turned on. It appears to be a result of a reflection from the headlight bulb because when the lights are off the cloudy image is no longer there. I noticed the lights were projecting an inferior beam making night driving more difficult due to this cloudiness in the plastic lens covering the headlight assembly. I have contacted a few Subaru service people and they know about it but Subaru is not forthcoming with any information. I did write to their customer service in NJ but no answer as of yet. I feel this is a safety defect as it does affect the light distribution and secondly it looks bad as well. Checking with other Legacy models on the car lot has shown they all have this same image which I call the "bat signal" as used in the batman movies. I would appreciate a better lighting system on a $25,000 new car with less than 1000 miles. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

- Warren, OH, USA

problem #4

Sep 182012


  • 37,000 miles


The 2011 Legacy headlight design is poor. I have gone through 4 sets of low beams and currently refuse to replace them again. I refuse to take the car to the dealer for them to replace the low beams due to having to remove the wheel and inner wheel well for access. I know this is not just me, I have read in many other places and forums that other owners have the same problem. It would be nice to have some sort of resolution or fix other than converting to a H.I.D. lighting system.

- Plainfield , CT, USA

problem #3

Nov 012011

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
I am in the process of replacing my third total set of low beam headlights. This has been going on since the first year since I purchased the car. First one side then the other burn out, and it is very difficult to replace the bulbs so it costs a lot of money. I have owned many cars and I have never experienced this, either the performance of the bulbs or the inaccessibility of the design making them impossible to replace without extreme cost. I have used high quality bulbs and it doesn't seem to matter. They all just burn out. It seems like other people are having this problem as well.

- Pittsfield, MA, USA

problem #2

Jan 012012


  • 10 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Legacy. The contact stated that the illumination of the external headlights was limited. The dealer and the manufacturer were notified of the failure, but denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 10 and the current mileage was 10,000.

- Prescott, AZ, USA

problem #1

Sep 152011

Legacy 4-cyl

  • miles
Headlight low beams very short viewing distance. Can't see road far enough ahead to stop for debris.

- Brunswick, MD, USA

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