hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
92,999 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.

2005 Subaru Outback lights problems

lights problem

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2005 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #13

Feb 102016


  • 87,000 miles


Rear hatch harness wires are broken/ frayed. Backup lights do not work, and the rear wiper works intermittently. Every now and them rear defroster doesn't work. Hazard a lot of 2005-2009 Outbacks have.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #12

Feb 112015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 178,000 miles
The wiring for the license plate lights failed in the upper right hatch hinge boot causing the license plate lights to not operate. The purple wire had broken inside the boot area. The purple wire is extremely small gauge for a location that is opened and closed often.

- Oakton, VA, USA

problem #11

Feb 102015


  • 93,781 miles
Wiring located on the rear passenger side between the hatch door and body (in the protective boot) was severed as a result of poor quality wiring and design. Wires were stress-severed and nearly severed by normal operation of opening/closing the wagon rear door. Apparently this is a common issue as discovered by visiting online forums.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #10

Nov 192014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles


My wife and I recently purchased a used 2005 Subaru Outback. The headlights on this vehicle are what I consider to be dangerously dim, barely lighting up the road. Both the fog lamps and also the high beams work well, but the low beam light (which is produced from a different bulb than the high beam) is very inadequate. I have replaced the bulbs with higher intensity bulbs. This offered little if any increase in lighting. I have also had the electrical system checked to assure the proper voltage is being supplied. Googleing this problem has told me I'm not alone. Other Subaru owners complain of the same issue. Here's what I have researched and determined to be the problem. There is an inner reflective cavity in which the headlight bulb is housed. The reflection process within this housing magnifies the light produced by the bulb. This process is similar to that of a reflective prism inside a lighthouse. In the case of our Subaru, the reflective material inside of the headlight bulb housing has either worn away or become clouded to the degree that the light produced by the bulbs no longer reflects adequately to produce a bright light. These headlights need to either be replaced or perhaps somehow removed from the vehicle, opened up and then repaired. In either case this would be very expensive to the degree in which most consumers would not be willing to incur the cost, thereby continuing to take their chances driving at night with unsatisfactory headlights. My questions: Is this considered a safety issue" if so, is it the responsibility of the manufacturer to correct this problem? do I have to pay for any corrections" I'd be grateful for any help or suggestions you can offer to assist me with this issue. I feel this is a potentially dangerous problem, not just for myself, but other Subaru owners. Thank you for your time.

- Eugene, OR, USA

problem #9

Jun 162014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 110,812 miles
Subaru Outback 2005: The wire harness to the rear tailgate failed and shorted out the brake lights and reverse lights, creating a safety hazard while driving.

- Seattle, WA, USA

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problem #8

Mar 012013


  • 92,000 miles
Low beams replace several time, replaced both recently and both went out at the same time in the dark on they way to work. Lights in dashboard constantly flashing on and off, ABS, battery, brake. Speedometer jumping all over the place. Been happening over a month or so. Very upset can't figure out what it is.

- Geneva, NY, USA

problem #7

Jan 152013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles


Rear wiper failure was first noticed followed by failure of the license plate light, the wiring harness in the rear lift gate has multiple broken wires where the door hinges. Appears that the wiring insulation becomes hardened and brittle, and will break instead of flexing. There are several other wires in the harness that are showing bare wire but have not yet broken. This is what all the harness enables and will eventually fail: Rear wiper motor license plate light rear gate latch switch rear gate lock actuator rear defogger back-up light rh rear defogger back-up light

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #6

Sep 152007


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that both headlights failed. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for repair. The vehicle was not diagnosed and the manufacturer was not notified of the incident. The approximate failure mileage was 20000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Lancaster , PA, USA

problem #5

Mar 012013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Without any accident, under normal usage, the vehicle's license plate lights failed. The problem was traced to a break in a conductor (wire) contained in a wiring harness that connects the vehicle to the rear hatch through a rubber bellows. Once the bellows was retracted, the broken wire was found along with twelve (12) other wires that were all nearly broken: Their insulation was cracked and several wires ultimately broke completely upon further flexing. These other wires fed the brake lights, turn signals, running lights, hatch lock, and all other electrical circuits on the rear hatch. It appears that the insulation on this wire does not hold up in this environment and will ultimately fail in the course of several years. This poses a safety problem as the vehicles rear lights (turn signals, brake lights, etc.) can fail at any moment.

- Belmont, MA, USA

problem #4

Apr 022013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 153,000 miles
My back up lights and license plate lights were not working. Found the wires between the light gate and body of car were breaking one by one. Also my antenna wires were broken on other side same location. Was surprised to see this. Wires usually don't wear out like this I wouldn't think.

- Indianapolis , IN, USA

problem #3

Nov 022012

Outback 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles


Driving at night. Stopped to get gas. Went to start car and turn on lights. Both headlights out-just like that. Had to drive home on running lights; luckily less than 5 miles. Headlight issues started about 10K miles ago where individual lights have gone out; have replaced ind low beam lights 4X in the last 10K miles. Never had 2 go out at once like this-at night. Did a search on internet and found numerous reports of owners with same issue and it doesn't sound like Subaru is too interested in resolving when left to its own Accord.

- North Wales, PA, USA

problem #2

Nov 012009


  • 66,389 miles
We purchased a used 2005 Subaru Outback ltd. Wagon in August of 2008 and almost immediately had to replace the left front driver's low beam headlight bulb. Since that time, we have replaced 3 more left side headlight low beam bulbs and 2 right side low beam headlight bulbs. Subaru tells us there are no issues with their electrical system, yet they claim that they have redesigned the low beam headlight bulbs 3 times now and that their branded bulbs should work. At appx. $20 each, their solution should not be acceptable. We have spent over $100 replacing bulbs that should last for years and years, not 2-3 months! we are asking for assistance with this problem. We live in a rural area of Colorado where there are few street or highway lights and wildlife is always a concern while driving. You need proper vehicle lighting to remain safe on the road and this known defect by Subaru needs to be addressed. Headlight failure doesn't always happen near a Subaru dealer. Off the shelf replacement bulbs should do the job, but don't because Subaru is not sharing the correct lighting technology with the aftermarket manufacturers. This may not be the first complaint you have received. We see many 2005-2006 Subaru's like ours with burned out headlamps. Thank you for your consideration of our complaint.

- Montrose, CO, USA

problem #1

Oct 272005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When the daytime running light are on the taillight are off. The brake lights are not connected to the running lights and as a result the consuemr did not remember to turn lights on when it was dusk outside. This almost caused the consumer's vehicle to be rear ended on several different occasions. The consuemr feels that htis may be a saftey issue therefore contacted teh manufacturer. Ipdated 3/9/2006 -

- Ashland , OR, USA

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