2008 Subaru Outback lights NHTSA complaints: Exterior Lighting

NHTSA — Exterior Lighting Problems

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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,145 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.

2008 Subaru Outback lights problems

lights problem

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2008 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #9

Nov 262016


  • 120,000 miles


Wire harness going to rear hatch had multiple wires severed by repeated opening/closing of rear hatch. Lock and tail light wires were broken though. 4 other wires had their insulation cut and the conductor was exposed. In searching the net this appears to be a very common problem. Why hasn't a recall been issued? failure of brake lights or tail lights are a safety issue.

- Marlborough, CT, USA

problem #8

Mar 252015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 50,303 miles
2008 Subaru Outback. The dash instrument panel airbag warning light would intermittently come on and stay on for extended periods of time. The red airbag light would occasionally turn off but for the most part it was on continuously. Dealership advised that when the red airbag warning light is illuminated the airbag system is inoperative. The vehicle was taken to our local dealership on 3/30/2015 and the service report indicates a scan noted airbag code 26 -passenger side indicator failure. The dealership recommended correction was the replacement of the map light assembly (part #92151ag13aor) for a cost in material of $163.95 and labor of $34.52, plus the diagnostic labor of $35. Cost to correct the problem was not covered. The service manager was very familiar with this type of airbag system failure in Subaru of this specific model year and also vehicles manufactured within the same time period. Research indicates that the airbag warning light problem is located within the overhead map light module and the failure of soldering at the led lights within this assembly. A new map light console was ordered and has been replaced which has, at this time, corrected the problem. This specific issue is well documented with the N.H.T.S.a. on line complaint data (54 complaints along similar console light panel failure). Air bag systems have been mandatory on vehicles for both front seat occupants since September 1998. Airbag systems are not optional equipment, and with the combination of seat belts, represent the critical components of a passenger safety system. This specific type of failure indicates a problem that has not been voluntarily recalled or addressed by the manufacturer. Because this defect involves a vital safety system, and in order to protect the consumer, an investigation and recall should be commenced.

- Davenport, IA, USA

problem #7

Feb 172015


  • 55,000 miles
Having airbag light coming on intermittently along with passenger airbag light. Mechanic said airbags probably are not functioning properly. Cost for repair would be between $350-$400. From reading other complaints, this is an easy and cheap fix but dangerous if it's not repaired. This should be a recall!

- Caledonia, MI, USA

problem #6

Mar 022015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


Purchased this single-owner, well-cared for Outback about 1/9/2015. I was assured all recalls had been addressed. I soon realized the low beam headlights extended the light-field for only a very short distance. (no more than 7 feet in front of car). At next oil change, asked to have them looked at/adjusted. About 2 days after that was done, I had no low-beam headlights. Told the low-beams were not "grounding". (high beams and fog lights are fine). Waited for a $300 control module part to come in but that was not the problem. Now waiting for another $300 fuse box part to come in - no guarantee that is the problem. After seeing similar car complaints on-line, realized this may be a safety issue (and a more pervasive issue) than I thought. The state of Wisconsin certainly sees this as a safety issue as they issue a $187+ ticket and the driver loses 3 points. (I already got one ticket due to this problem while awaiting parts). I do not have another vehicle available and drive over 600 miles (round-trip) each weekend between work and home.

- Oneida, WI, USA

problem #5

Dec 152014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
Recently replaced headlights did not illuminate on a return trip home. They turned off without warning while driving. According to the dealer, the wiring harness failed.

- Park City, UT, USA

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problem #4

Jul 192014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
Vehicle started showing signs of electrical problems 2 months ago when the rear view mirror homelink would only have power intermittently. Problem progressed to the reverse lights and now affects the headlights. The headlights went out at night as I was leaving a parking lot, a definite hazard. Have researched the problem on Subaru online forums and discovered that the problem is that individual wires in the wiring harness have a tendency to crack and break at the joint between the body and the liftgate. This vehicle has 2 completely broken wires and most others with breaks in the insulation. Other owners describe similar problems.

- Moorhead, MN, USA

problem #3

Aug 162011


  • 60,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that the low beam headlights failed. The contact mentioned that the failure would recur every six months where the bulb needed to be replaced each time. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000 and the current mileage was 120,000.

- Cowem, WV, USA

problem #2

Jun 062009


  • miles
The contact owns 2008 Subaru Outback. While driving approximately 25 mph on a rural road after the sunset with the low beam headlights engaged, they failed to fully illuminate the road. The dealer stated that the vehicle does comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; which was a manufacturer design with no modifications. The contact is aware of the safety risk involved. The failure mileage was unavailable and the current mileage was 103,000. The VIN was rejected from the system and will be updated upon receipt of the safety complaint.

- Oysterville, WA, USA

problem #1

Sep 232008


  • 1 miles
I purchased a 2008 Subaru Outback and the low beam headlights are dangerous when traveling on hilly roads. The headlights do not illuminate the road properly and have a horizontal line to the beam. Nothing can be seen under this line. No problems encountered with high beams.

- Constable, NY, USA

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