2010 Subaru Outback lights NHTSA complaints: Exterior Lighting

NHTSA — Exterior Lighting Problems

2010 Subaru Outback (Page 1 of 2)

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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,371 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.

2010 Subaru Outback lights problems

lights problem

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2010 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Dec 312016


  • miles


The passenger headlight has went out again. This seems to happen every three to six months that either the drivers side or passenger side headlight blows out.

- Goodlettsville, TN, USA

problem #22

Nov 282016


  • 107,000 miles
Low beam headlights have needed to be replaced 4 times now (8 bulbs total). First time, it blew out about a year after purchase. Then the second 6 months after that. Third time about a year ago and the fourth time the headlight failed was today (November, 2016). Also my rear night time light also blew out this past August, 2016. Worst part is the difficulty of replacing the headlights. You have to remove the front bumper to get to the headlight compartment which just adds to the aggravation. Something like headlights should be considered a safety feature that needs to be easily replaceable by the car owner. Regardless of the difficulty in replacing the headlights, these lights should not need to be replaced as frequently as what I'm experiencing.

- West Henrietta, NY, USA

problem #21

Apr 112016


  • 120,000 miles
My low beam headlights last 3-6 months. I've replaced both drivers side and passenger side five times in three years.

- Baldwin, KS, USA

problem #20

Mar 182016


  • miles


Replacement of headlight bulb requires removal of wheel and partial removal of wheel well. This is a major safety design flaw. Headlights are obviously a key safety feature and replacement of the bulbs should not require service at an auto repair facility. One burned out bulb renders the car unusable for night and foul weather driving. This design flaw needs to be corrected and owners should be reimbursed for labor charges incurred for replacement of bulbs.

- Sebastopol, CA, USA

problem #19

Jan 022016


  • 36,000 miles
Replacement of headlight bulbs requires removal of front wheels, wheel wells, and bumpers. Headlights are a key safety feature on a vehicle. They should be easily accessible for maintenance and replacement at any time. As designed, if headlights fail while traveling at night it is essentially impossible for the driver to replace them to safely continue the voyage. This should be a safety recall and dealers should replace bulbs at no cost for service (parts only).

- Sebastopol, CA, USA

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problem #18

Oct 282015


  • 100,000 miles
Replacing low beam headlamp bulbs every 15K miles or less on this vehicle. 4th bulb in 3 yrs just burned out on 10/28/15. Occurs at random times - no pattern. Discontinued using the headlamp auto on/off feature and still no improvement in situation. Becoming a safety issue due to periods of having to drive with one headlight. Impossible for typical owner to replace low beam bulbs on their own due to difficulty of accessing headlight assembly.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #17

May 172011


  • miles


The headlights, parking lights and tail lights are constantly going out on this vehicle. This began shortly after I purchased it in April 2011 as a brand new vehicle. Some lights have been replaced four or more times. Some have gone out again a week after they are replaced.

- Jefferson Hills, PA, USA

problem #16

Mar 052010


  • 1,000 miles
I have 2 cars, a 2002 chev. Impala and a 2010 Subaru Outback. Both cars have an automatic on headlight feature. The headlight switch on the Impala is on the dashboard and I have never touched it in the 13 years I have the car. It works perfectly, when the light level is low the headlights come on. The Outback has the headlight switch on the end of the turn indicator stalk. The switch has a number of positions, the first 3 being headlight automatic on, headlight manual on and parking lights on. When the headlights are on, either on the automatic on or headlights manual on positions as well as the parking lights on position there is an indicator light on the dashboard as well as the dashboard lights are on. With the indicator light on the dashboard and the dashboard lights on you cannot tell which of the 3 positions the switch is at, all indicators are the same. Many times, inadvertently because of using the turn signal stalk, the headlight switch turns to the parking light position and I find myself driving with the parking lights on rather than the headlights, a dangerous situation. There is no indication on the dashboard of this dangerous condition. The light indicator bulb is on and the dashboard lights are on but the headlights are off. Again a dangerous condition. The light switch should be relocated from the turn signal stalk to the dashboard or the light indicator on the dashboard should be off when in the parking light position.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #15

Jul 092014


  • 70,000 miles
Problem started in about July, 2014 when my front drivers side low beam headlight went out. I purchased two new bulbs and changed them (and this is no easy process with this vehicle). I wore latex gloves so as not to damage the new bulbs. Approximately a week after installing the new bulbs, my drivers side headlight went out again, but would come on and go out sporadically. It seemed to come and go with damp weather or when I hit bumps while driving, so I questioned the seal of the fixture cover and/or the wiring connection, so I went through the process again and checked the seating of the bulb, wiring connection, and seal of the housing, and all were fine. The problem was solved for a short time, but then started happening again. After a couple of weeks of on/off operation, it went out for good. I pulled the bulb and checked the filament, and it was fine, but I put the old passenger bulb (original to the vehicle) in. It worked and did not flicker for several months, but eventually started to show the same signs as the newer bulbs I put in. Then it stopped working altogether. The bulbs have been replaced two more times between then and now, but I am having the same trouble again, still with the drivers side. This many times is not a coincidence. I feel this is a defect with the wiring or with the actual headlight unit itself. Of course, the vehicle is out of warranty, and I dread taking it to the dealer to hear it will be an expensive fix. With so many documented occurrences, I feel this is a safety issue that needs to be addressed by Subaru.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #14

Nov 182011


  • 27,290 miles
The outside bulbs constantly burn out, it can be a headlight, (high beam, low beam) license plate light, brake lite, running lights....the inside lights have been ok this bulb issue started at 27,000 miles and has been a constant problem since. Out of 24 service orders, nine of those orders have needed to have one or more bulbs replaced. I live in the foothills of calaveras county, California and the excuse the dealership gives me is that we have rough roads in these hills. Well, I say, what a line of poop, I drive a Subaru, it's made for our area. Either I have an electrical problem that obviously started when the car was under warranty or that the bulbs that are being used are totally of bad quality.

- Murphys, CA, USA

problem #13

Oct 072014


  • 103,500 miles


Headlight went out after replacement a year and 3wks ago. This is the 3rd headlight replacement on a 2010 vehicle since purchase 3yrs ago at 29,500mi as a certified used Subaru from the dealer.

- Janesville, WI, USA

problem #12

Jul 102014


  • 50,000 miles
Condensation continually gathers inside one of the light fixtures. The car has not been in an accident and the bulb and fixture are installed to factory specifications-the dealer has checked this. I believe this is a safety issue-with the amount of condensation inside the light, the illumination of one headlight is greatly diminished making driving at night very difficult especially in dimly lit situations. I also do not believe that the combination of electric and water inside components is "normal" under any circumstances. I have contacted my dealer and Subaru-the copy of the sent text follows-they do not respond. I believe the manufacturer of this component is making a faulty product that decreases safety. I just want them to replace the component at no cost to me since I've done nothing wrong. Sent to Subaru of America- "this is pertaining to problems with my headlights on my 2010 Outback. I've been told by my dealer-goldstein Subaru-that "condensation in the headlights is normal in the northeast" they also told me I "could drill a small hole in the light to let more air in". question-if it is "normal" why should I drill a hole-the light design should account for proper ventilation of the fixture-secondly how come no other cars on the lot have this, it only happens in one light and there are numerous other similar complaints from other Subaru owners online? this is a safety issue-electricity and water do not mix-this "normal" condensation greatly reduces the illumination of the headlight and visibility during night driving-it's like driving with one headlight. I believe this is a manufacturer problem-my light was checked by the dealer-there is no damage and all the factory seals and bulbs are intact, yet water continually gets inside the fixture. I think Subaru of America should replace this safety item at no cost to me. (my VIN was here).

- Cohoes, NY, USA

problem #11

Nov 012010


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that the passenger's side low beam headlight had been replaced four times. The contact was concerned that the defect was a possible electrical problem that could potentially cause a fire. The vehicle was repaired by an independent mechanic. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 10,000.

- Soldotna, AK, USA

problem #10

Jan 272014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
I have had this car since it was new from the dealer and unlike any other vehicle that I've ever owned this one has to have the headlights replaced every 3 to 6 months. The fog lights, and clearance lights have had to be replaced several times during my ownership of the car, but nothing like the headlights. I have spent hundreds of dollars buying the best lights you can get by sylvania at $70 plus for a set and I have gone through about 5 sets of these lights. Lucky for me that after having paid to have them replaced by a mechanic the first few times I was able to then do it myself. This is a problem with this make of car. I'm 60 years old and have owned many cars in my life and I have never seen anything like this problem.. I'm sorry that I have not kept records of the outages. Thank you..

- Running Springs, CA, USA

problem #9

Dec 172012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 22,732 miles
I have a 2010 Subaru Outback. Beginning in December 2012 I have had to replace burned out headlights four times in the past year. Besides the cost... it is a major safety issue considering visibility is half of what it should be when they blow out. I never know when I'm going to pull the switch and not have lights.

- Wilkes Barre, PA, USA

problem #8

Dec 242012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Headlights burn out in tandem. The first occurrence was in 2012. It happened again almost exactly one year later. Headlights shouldn't burn out after less than one year of regular use. There are few miles on this vehicle and it does not have excessive use (either night driving or leaving the headlights on during regular use). My mechanic feels this is a sign of a larger issue and it looks like it's fairly widespread. My mechanic also verified with a Subaru mechanic there is no difference between bulbs supplied by his shop and a Subaru dealership. They are both phillips bulbs.

- Edina, MN, USA

problem #7

Jun 012011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 11,000 miles
My headlights (low beam) burn out at a very frequent rate. I have changed them at least 4 times in 3 years. I use gloves and never touch the bulb. This is a major safety issue!

- Rehoboth, MA, USA

problem #6

Aug 132013


  • 45,000 miles
Approximately 1 year ago a low beam headlight was replaced. Approximately 1 month later the other low beam headlight was burned out and need to be replaced. 1 week ago a low beam headlight was replaced. Today the opposite low beam headlight is burned out. This is abnormal headlights should not burn out this often. The bulbs were not touched on the glass when replaced.

- Poulsbo, WA, USA

problem #5

Oct 062010

Outback 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
Low-beam headlights are failing every 6 months. This is not normal and is a safety issue.

- Rosemount, MN, USA

problem #4

Sep 112010


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Subaru Outback. The contact stated when the ignition was started one of the two low beam headlights failed to illuminate upon activating. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer twice where the headlight bulb was replaced each time. The contact had also replaced numerous headlight bulbs himself. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 20,000.

- Chantilly, VA, USA

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