2010-2011 Subaru Outback, lighting failures
Denis Flierl's picture

Is Subaru Covering Up Outback Lighting Failures?

A lawsuit filed against Subaru says 2010-2011 Outback models are experiencing failures of exterior lighting. Is Subaru covering it up?

A California woman has filed a lawsuit against Subaru of America for an ongoing headlight issue on her 2011 Subaru Outback. Kathleen O’Neill who filed the lawsuit, says she experienced numerous failures of exterior lighting, especially the headlights. Shortly after purchasing the vehicle, a headlight failed and a Subaru dealer replaced the headlight, but the problem continued. After nine more headlight and other exterior lighting failures, she had enough.

What is the problem?

The lawsuit filed by Capstone Law APC, names the 2010-2011 Outback wagons as the Subaru vehicles with the lighting problems. The lawsuit says exterior lighting on the multi-purpose vehicle often fails because the lighting systems cause interference with other parts within the lighting assemblies. Too much voltage surges through the system and the lights fail. The problem seems to be made worse when the lights are put in automatic mode.

Is Subaru sweeping it under the rug?

Kathleen O’Neill claims Subaru has known about the lighting problems since 2008, when they changed the headlights on the popular vehicle because of lighting issues. The lawsuit says, Subaru made additional modifications to the switch assembly, fog lights and rear lights in 2010, but the problems continue. She says Subaru of America “refuses to inform consumers and continues to conceal the alleged defects.”

The lawsuit alleges the headlight and other lighting failures have existed from the time she bought the Outback and the same problems continue to occur because Subaru refuses to permanently address the real issue. O’Neill says the Japanese automaker puts a bandaid on the problem by replacing headlights and other exterior lights knowing they will continue to fail.

The Subaru Outback headlight lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division - Kathleen O'Neill, et al v. Subaru of America, Inc. Do you own a 2010 or 2011 Subaru Outback with this problem? Let us know.

Source: CarComplaints.com

Image source: Subaru

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My wife has a 2015 Subaru Outback that she purchased new from a dealership during that model years sales period. After experiencing two previous headlight failures, she complained to the dealership and they paid for the new headlight and labor. But she was out the money on the other two replacements and labor. I think there is a quality issue, or better yet, lack of quality issue with the headlights. The rest of the car is great. Subaru's are wonderful cars in my opinion.
I was just wondering i have 2015 outback also my headlights havent gons out yet ,but iam having what i will call over heating marks on both ,the head lite lens ,did yours happen to do this ? Thank You mike staats
I have a 2012 Outback that I too have replaced high beam low beam multiple times..prior to turning 50,000 miles..they also both went out at the same time..multiple rear lights multiple times went out as well as interior electrical issues...my sun roof switches went out when the car was only 2 yrs old and I'm still dealing with this issue. I just noticed a front position is now out..This is my third Subaru and I'm so unhappy with this car and the unprofessional attitude of this service department it will also be my last. I'm very unhappy with this as I have been a die hard Subaru fan...just can't deal with these people any more.
I have a 2012 Imprezza wagon (Purchased certified preowned 2/1/2015). I am constantly replacing low beems, brake lights, and just replaced plate lights too for the second time! I've never replaced bulbs to this frequency with any other vehicle I've owned. This is dangerous! I drive at night a lot and have to do a full inspection before I put the car in drive!!!!
Hey Robb, thanks for that information. Hopefully Subaru fixed this issue. Thanks for reading!
The headlights in my wife's 2011 Forester rarely last more than 6 months. I feel like I'm constantly replacing them but no, I don't keep the damn receipts for every one. Subaru already replaced the engine (short block for those of you who are mechanics) due to the oil burning problem. Subaru really needs to get on the ball.
Headlamps are definitely starting to fail more frequently in my 2010 Outback Limited, am on my 4th replace in about 18 months. The drivers side one (i think) especially is a real pain to get at to replace,, mechanics want 100 dollars or more because it takes a lot of time to move other things out of the way to reach the bulb socket. This time im going to make sure i get the longest lived bulbs, and try switching out of Auto mode, which i read tends to cause more frequent burnouts. As much as i like my Subaru i will really try to find a Toyota/Lexus or Honda for my next new car purchase, this is just one of a number of problems it has experienced in less than 100K miles. This particular Subaru series not up to the level of reliability of the Japanese brands that I expect.
Like others, we have a 2010 Outback and have replaced every bulb in the car at least once. Just have both headlights burn out a week apart. We've paid over $1000 dollars for diagnostics on the car to find the problem, with the dealer acknowledging there is a problem, but having no idea what it is, and taking no responsibility for it. So frustrating...
Wife has a 2012 Outback and I have replaced low beam bulbs more times than I want to remember. I curse the car every time I know it must be done. Jack it up take the wheel off loosen the inner skirt, unscrew the cap then feel around. Then put it all back together with a new bulb, then stop your arm from bleeding and know you are going to do it again in a few months. INSANE! To say that it is not a Subaru problem is BS!!!
I have a 2011 outback and my headlights fail pretty frequently also. I can even remember how many times I've replaced one or both, probably closer to ten times now. I actually saw this post while searching for new headlight options.
I've had the same problem and it's getting old
I have been having constant ligthbulb problems on my 2013 Outback (bougth it new from the local dealership). 10 bulbs out in less then a year. Dealership is totally unhelpful and denying any knowledge that it is a common and wide-spread problem. I will not buy another Subaru despite being a good car otherwise.
2014 Outback, headlight bulbs have been replaced 3 times per side plus tail and brake lights. 93 k miles. What up?
2014 Outback. I've had at least 5 low beam headlights go out. Happened again last night. I replaced that bulb my self last November. they're not easy to replace. I've also had both of them go out at the same time while driving at night. Completely unacceptable and extremely dangerous. When I called the dealership service department, they said they had never heard of this happening before. Obviously a lie. Add to that the hesitation when applying throttle from a stop and I'm about done with Subaru. It's a shame because the car handles snowy roads really well.
I've had my 2010 outback for 2yrs and have replaced 4 headlight bulbs and am getting ready to change another something needs done about the issue not to mention the other bulbs I have changed love my Subaru but this would stop me from buying another thanx.
Yes!! Both headlights have been changed twice already! One time, I had both headlights out at the same time! No lights!! They happened to go out while I was out at night and had to use my fog lights when I passed cars, driving the back roads. It could have caused an accident!! Thank goodness my Subaru has foglights!! The first time I paid to have them changed and never got reimbursed, as the reimburse time has supposedly expired. The mechanic charged me a few hundred dollars, because of how hard they are to access!! The second time the dealership changed them for free. I've also had tail lights out and currently have a park light out. It seems that as soon as you fix one, another one goes out. Wish they would fix the cause. It sounds like my park light may be a hard fix and I'll have to pay a ton to have somebody fix it again, since they probably aren't covered on the 'headlight' coverage. It's turning me off to my Subaru, which I otherwise love.
I have a 2011 outback and impreza and they both have multiple failure headlights often both at the same time. low beams and brights. And then it is the worst design ever to change them out. Take off the tires and wheel wells. Are these effin people insane? I don't like to wish ill on people but I do on those responsible for this fiasco.
2014 outback. Marker lights have to be replaced about every 6 months due to failure in at least 2 + places including license plate lights and headlights about every year. Yesterday I paid $250 for 2 headlights and 4 marker lights. Got home from work today just as it got dark and a back marker light is out. Ridiculous.
Have the same issue with 2013 Outback. In the dealership now: they just told me i have 4 burned lights
we have a 2013 outback which is having lighting issues. I had a 2010 outback with no issues and it was simple to replace the headlights (only once) Seems the engineers stayed awake all night figuring out a way to make it so difficult on the 2013 model. So Subaru are you going to address this issue or shall I start looking at Toyotas?
I own a 2014 Outback that I purchased in 2017. I have put about 60,000 miles on it since then AND CHANGED ALL THE BULBS AT LEAST ONCE, now on my FOURTH set of headlamps. Complete bullcrap. I’ve changed them all myself, which is a ridiculous process, so no big dealer charges, but the inconvenience and being pulled over a couple times because my lights are out AGAIN is a real headache. I would not purchase another Subaru, which is sad because my 99 was a dream for 300,000 miles. Nothing is quality anymore.
I have recently discovered the headlight issues are a real problem that clearly Subaru hasn't addressed. Can yo please post the actual lawsuit? I've tried to find it using google search with no luck. I'm wondering if it really exists or is an example of internet propoganda. Thx
I urge anyone experiencing exterior lighting issues of premature burnout to report it to safecar.gov, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website, per the article: complaints-about-subaru-outback-s-lights-preceded-class-action (Comment won't let me post a URL). Maybe Subaru will issue a recall if enough people complain.
We have a 2012 Outback, and over the past three years I have had to replace the headlight bulbs 4 times. In September I replaced both after the right went out again. This weekend we had to travel out of town. Upon arriving at our destination on Friday night I noticed that the right side was out. On Saturday the left side went out, during a snowstorm, leaving me with no choice but to drive with my high beams on. Other lights have blown more frequently than on other vehicles I have also owned (brake lights, rear turn signal etc..).
I bought a new 2013 Outback in 2012 and have replaced the driver's side low beam headlight 4 times and high beam twice in 12 months. The passenger side 3 times for low beams. I refuse to pay dealer price to replace, so I have replaced them myself. Believe me when I say, that is a BEAST of a job!! My husband attempted it once but due to his larger hands, it was easier for me, but still just as frustrating. Between this, and constantly having to put oil in this freaking car, I AM OVER IT! Problem is, I am between jobs and not in financial shape to trade at the moment! This is the third Subaru I've owned and the first one I have ever good trouble with. Very disappointed!!
i will never , ever,ever, buy another piece of shit subaru in my lifetime. piece of total shit. bulbs out every month, pre mature wear on brakes,tires,bearings,etc. total garbage vehicle.ill walk before i drive or get in a subaru. they should be ashamed of themselves,losers.
I own a 2012 Subaru Impreza Sport and I have had to replace multiple driver and passenger headlights...turn signals...brake lights...parking lights, etc since I have owned the vehicle for 2 years. This BEYOND frustrating and if they DONT fix this I will NEVER buy a Subaru again!
This goes back way farther than the dates you have listed, I have a 2005 L.L. Bean Outback and the coating on the reflectors in the headlight assembly flakes off, it is paint, paint flakes hits the bulb, I have had several bulbs explode sometimes the fuses blow. Others are getting the same as the person with really dim lights and when the light dims out they replace fuse, relay and bulb to make the car safe to drive again. I went to LED's and have been told by my mechanic to replace the headlight assembly to resolve dimness.
I have replaced the headlights on my 2010 Subaru Outback approximately 5 times. Rear light have been replaced 3 times. I had a complete light failure several years ago where I lost both headlights and both fog lamps. Presently, the lights are very dim to the extent that I am hesitant to use the car at nights. I own two Subarus, a 2010 Outback and a 2015 Legacy. Due to the light issue, I will not purchase another as I feel unsafe.
After replacing my headlights several times on my 2013 Forester, I went with High-Output LEDs. They work across a large voltage range so that takes care of that worry plus there is no filament. They also are very bright! As the rest of the lights burn out I'll replace each one.