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That sucks but I just can't see the NHTSA doing anything about it. They're probably making jokes in their office right now about how many people it takes to change a Subaru light bulb.
It only takes one but he must have skinny arms that move like Gumby's !!:D
 

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I think I would rather change the headlight on my Subaru than change one on my 2008 Suburban. That is a real pain!
 

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I am having the same issue. The dealer says its just a characteristic of this car. WHAT bullshit. My last Subaru, nor any other car I've had, has had ridiculous problems. I have replaced them myself one, and what a pain in the ass to get to those headlights....the dealer has done them every 3 months since. I do not use AUTO mode, but I do burn them often as I rive a lot of highway miles for work.
I'll try that site for more ammunition, but this is ridiculous. I have replaced EVERY external bulb on this car in a year and a half. Luckily, I can do the tail light easily myself in 10 minutes. And I even asked the salesman when I ought the car if the headlights were easily accessible to the laywoman. (me)...for headlamp repair. Obviously, he just wanted to sell me a car. I love my Subaru, otherwise, or I wouldn't have bought a second one. C'mon Subaru! Help out your loyal customers with a solution!
 

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It only takes one but he must have skinny arms that move like Gumby's !!:D
...and you have to have the hands of a 9 year old to get into the small space to get the back off of the headlight. That said, I posted here back in Sept of 2012 when I put in my Osram's. Still have the same bulbs...no blow outs....yet. :29:
 

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Changing the low beam bulb on the 2011 is the same as on the 13s no?

I just had to change my first low beam at 36K - was a little surprised how soon it was. I never use "auto".


More surprised by how hard it is to change these bulbs. I am curious how you guys do it? to me it was a HUGE pain in the ass having to remove all those plastic clips on the wheel well liner, and my wheel arch piece and having to move the tires back and forth to reach the clips - then having to reach everything without being able to actually SEE it while Im doing it. Am I doing it wrong?
 

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No. epic design fail, IMO. That's why I did this:

Headlight hatch

oh my - I think I am going to do this. And this looks like it is even within my limited skill level (unlike some of the mods some of you do).
Wow - this looks brilliant. Any issues?

Thanks for this - and documenting it!! Seriously.

Yeah - to me its not about twisting my arm so much as it is about those **** clips. None of mine broke but I did jab my hand with the screwdriver pretty severely and cursed all the way through taking them off. I would have been even more pissed if they broke.


edit (add)
I had been so impressed with my 2003 OB as it made self maintenance things like oil changes and such SO much easier than any of the 4 or 5 Toyotas I had owned before it, and this 2013 is even easier in ways - but this headlight thing is so far beyond inconvenient for something anyone should be able to change themselves - ESP if its gonna go out every 30K or so.
 

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Changing the low beam bulb on the 2011 is the same as on the 13s no?

I just had to change my first low beam at 36K - was a little surprised how soon it was. I never use "auto".


More surprised by how hard it is to change these bulbs. I am curious how you guys do it? to me it was a HUGE pain in the ass having to remove all those plastic clips on the wheel well liner, and my wheel arch piece and having to move the tires back and forth to reach the clips - then having to reach everything without being able to actually SEE it while Im doing it. Am I doing it wrong?
You should only have to remove two clips on either side, and turn the wheel all the was opposite the side you're working on.
 

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A few thoughts:

1) The access problem is the awkward location: it's easy enough to remove the inner fender. The access hatch doesn't fix the location, it just give you even less wiggle room.

2) At the risk of reinvigorating a thread that went 'way off topic, I discussed a long-life bulb in this thread (everything you need to read is on the first page):

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/104-gen-4-2010-2014/128346-expert-opinion-headlights.html

3) Please, let's not hear about your illegal HID "solution".
 

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I did the HID conversion. Sorry, but I'm not going to be changing out bulbs on a regular basis. As stated by several people already, if you adjust the headlight down you don't blind oncoming traffic or flood them with scattered light, especially with the projector housings.

I never get flashed in the Outback, while I do occasionally get flashed in my Avalanche. Then again, that also happened when it had the stock halogens in it. Both vehicles have 35W HID kits in the low beams and 50W in the fog lights. And yes, I'm "one of those" that runs the fog lights on the Outback all the time (the horror!).

The fog light housings on the Avalanche are large and put out too much light so I only run the fogs when I want to watch for deer on deserted secondary blacktop roads. Hit one once and you will get paranoid in a hurry.

That's my story and my choice, and I'm sticking to it. You may now return to your "HID conversions are going to cause the end of the world" nanny state! :hide:
 

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A few thoughts:

1) The access problem is the awkward location: it's easy enough to remove the inner fender. The access hatch doesn't fix the location, it just give you even less wiggle room.

2) At the risk of reinvigorating a thread that went 'way off topic, I discussed a long-life bulb in this thread (everything you need to read is on the first page):

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/104-gen-4-2010-2014/128346-expert-opinion-headlights.html

3) Please, let's not hear about your illegal HID "solution".
It is more than just an awkward location. I truly cant believe it (just changed my first a week ago). I know many people that wont even change their headlights on their cars even though they have cars that are the easiest in this department.

"easy enough to remove the inner fender"??

1. I think you over-estimate average peoples abilities working with cars. When I was a teen - my father helped me swap out all sort of things in my old crappy used cars so Im not completely hands off. Then later I only did things like brakes and oil and stuff. These days I cant be bothered as many things need a special tool and time things I dont always have.

Ill still do "simple" things like oil but I did not find removing that inner fender "easy". I had to remove the wheel arch to get to one of the fender pins, and I have NO idea how any of you do it by removing only 2 pins. I had to remove a good handful before I could get my arm up there to reach the light. I was worried I would damage something, as this is something Ive never done before. And taking off the pins!?! Well maybe theres a special tool for that too, but I used a screwdriver and a trim remover and jabbed myself good with it enough to be dripping blood - and once blood is drawn, I can no longer call it "easy". ;)

And I consider myself someone a little more inclined to tackle doing something like this on their car than many I know who would take one look at that and say "no way, Im not doing that".
I know self-work on cars is not as easy as it once was - but I never thought I would see the day when a headlight was too hard to replace on a car for the average person. Maybe its cause I live in LA and people here tend to not be as "handy" as other places but I think a lot of people would not tackle that light bulb job or even consider it "easy" - esp as most I see driving Outbacks here are very old people or women (no offense women)

And I have no idea what an HID is. :)
 

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It is more than just an awkward location. I truly cant believe it (just changed my first a week ago). I know many people that wont even change their headlights on their cars even though they have cars that are the easiest in this department.

"easy enough to remove the inner fender"??

1. I think you over-estimate average peoples abilities working with cars. When I was a teen - my father helped me swap out all sort of things in my old crappy used cars so Im not completely hands off. Then later I only did things like brakes and oil and stuff. These days I cant be bothered as many things need a special tool and time things I dont always have.

And I consider myself someone a little more inclined to tackle doing something like this on their car than many I know who would take one look at that and say "no way, Im not doing that".
I know self-work on cars is not as easy as it once was - but I never thought I would see the day when a headlight was too hard to replace on a car for the average person. Maybe its cause I live in LA and people here tend to not be as "handy" as other places but I think a lot of people would not tackle that light bulb job or even consider it "easy" - esp as most I see driving Outbacks here are very old people or women (no offense women)

:)
This issue is much more common on many vehicles today. It's a fact of the OEMs packaging things much tighter on a vehicle today. I had an '06 Cadillac CTS that was exactly the same way as the Outback, an '07 Honda Civic that was the same way, and the wife now owns a '14 Dodge Charger that is fairly difficult to access.

I can crank the wheel to the inside, pull the push pins, fold the inner fender liner back, swap the bulb out, and have everything buttoned back up in between 15 minutes and 1/2 hour. The first time took a while, trying to figure out exactly which push pins had to be removed.
 

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Discussion Starter #34 (Edited)
I am the OP of this thread. We now have 92,000 miles on the "11" and are on the 4th set of bulbs including one HID kit that we were not happy with. I did contact Daniel Stern lighting and the last set of bulbs I installed were Flosser Bulbs a bulb made in Germany. Not Cheap but lets see how long they last. We love the car other than the fact it has an appetite for headlight bulbs. I have a lift so changing the bulbs is not so bad when you can do it standing up. I remove the tire and about 50% of the pins in the fender liner and pull back the liner
takes about 15min per side. Also had to replace 2 rear tail lights. Very easy compared to the headlights. I never thought this thread would live so long but I guess it is because so many others are having the same issue. Maybe if it was easier to access the bulbs it would not be as big a deal to replace.

PS: After the first set of bulbs we stopped running the headlights in Auto Mode
 

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My 2010 has a bit more than 100k miles on it, and I recently did my 2nd low-beam replacement (so, it's on the third set, counting the original bulbs).

FWIW, I don't use the auto headlight setting, since I have multiple underpasses on my commute.

My original bulbs lasted fairly long - I am guessing it was to around 70k or even 80k miles. But the second set didn't last very long at all. They were Osram/Sylvania "silverstar" halogens, supposed to be brighter than standard H7's, etc. But the brighter bulbs also have shorter lifetime, so this time around I went back to Osram/Sylvania "standard" OEM-type H7 bulbs. If you look at the back of the bulb packaging, they have a little chart that compares their four brightness grades of H7 bulbs, using a 1-4 "bar" rating for things like brightness, "throw" of the beam down the road, lifetime, etc. I noticed that the standard bulb rates 4 bars for lifetime, whereas the brighter versions (silverstars and up) are either 2 or 1 bar.

Given the pain of changing bulbs on this car, I decided that standard brightness was good enough! (I'm not ready to do the HID conversion....)

In contrast, I just had to change the HID bulbs on my wife's 2007 Volvo C7. It couldn't have been easier. Pull one retaining pin, slide the entire headlight assembly forward and out of it's place in the fender, and you have easy access to all of the bulbs. Other than the wires to the actual bulb being replaced, you don't even have to disconnect any wires. The other nice thing about HID's (or at least these ones) is that shortly before they go out completely, the color of the light turns very noticeably pinkish. So you have time to order the replacement bulbs online, to save some money....

On the other hand, Subaru serpentine belt replacement - super simple. Volvo serpentine belt replacement (transverse inline turbo-5), not so simple, due to the belt being very buried.... The Swedes giveth, and the Swedes taketh away....
 

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Two sets of lightbulbs changed in 60k miles... Arrived home and my left is out and I changed it less than 10 K ago.... Did it properly (not touching the bulb) .... Had to learn how to do it otherwise leave a ton of money at the dealer since it's out of warranty. I manually change the on/off as well... Very frustrating
 

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I put a set of Osram off road bulbs in mine when I got it and have not used the auto off/on sensor. No problem with the bulbs blowing...34,000km
...update...70K km and no blown bulbs...yet. :28:
 

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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 corrected 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 driving at night expecting her lights to last because she JUST had them changed and she ends up having to driving in the dark. disabled or not, this is HUGE issue and it 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 the same town the subaru dealership is located. this was discussed at our meeting and it is going to be taken very seriously by the board if something is not done to correct this issue immediately.
 

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At nearly 60,000 miles, I am on my second set of bulbs. I use the auto feature. I do not consider this to be bad at all. A set of low beams every 2-3 years is okay with me.

Make sure you get long life bulbs. Check out the lifetime rating of different bulbs... Usually the cheapest ones last the longest. I use the cheapest Sylvania bulbs.
 

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...update...70K km and no blown bulbs...yet. :28:

My '12 has 75k miles. Still on original low beam bulbs. I did swap the original hi beams for modified bulbs, originals were still good, just a bit more light.


I did the hatch modification so that I am prepared, when the low beams give up the ghost. Maybe that is why they have not blown.
 
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