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2018 Outback- Brand new!! 2003 Outback, 4cyl. 290,000 miles and still goin' strong!!
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51 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wife's brand new 2018 Outback Touring. Has the steering responsive headlights (which are really nice). Normally she will drive around with the headlight switch in the "auto" position, which is the entire advantage of having automatic headlights. With switch in the "auto" position the high beams work if the lever is pulled towards the driver, for example to flash the high beams, however they will not work at all with the lever pushed away from the driver to keep them on constantly. The lever locks forward, just nothing happens. You can take them out of the "auto" position and they work fine, however there is effectively no high beam constant on in the auto position. Yes, I checked functionality in both day and night conditions.

I can't imagine that there is no way to get the high beams to constantly stay on with the switch in the Auto position, which would defeat the entire purpose of having an automatic system (because you still have to turn them on to get full functionality).

She took it to the dealer and got an answer of "perfectly normal", which seems odd. Opinions?
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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4,863 Posts
On my '17 the high beams switch to dim below a certain speed (maybe 15mph or 20mph, I can't remember what it is) or if stopped. If you are testing this with the vehicle stopped then it is normal. If they aren't coming on when driving down the road with no oncoming traffic or anything that reflects too much light back towards the car then something is wrong.
 

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2019 2.5i Limited Forester (hers) (4th Subie), 2014 Impreza Premium (mine)(#5)
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2,292 Posts
Wife's brand new 2018 Outback Touring. Has the steering responsive headlights (which are really nice). Normally she will drive around with the headlight switch in the "auto" position, which is the entire advantage of having automatic headlights. With switch in the "auto" position the high beams work if the lever is pulled towards the driver, for example to flash the high beams, however they will not work at all with the lever pushed away from the driver to keep them on constantly. The lever locks forward, just nothing happens. You can take them out of the "auto" position and they work fine, however there is effectively no high beam constant on in the auto position. Yes, I checked functionality in both day and night conditions.

I can't imagine that there is no way to get the high beams to constantly stay on with the switch in the Auto position, which would defeat the entire purpose of having an automatic system (because you still have to turn them on to get full functionality).

She took it to the dealer and got an answer of "perfectly normal", which seems odd. Opinions?
That's because the Touring has automatic high beams as well.

Which means you simply put the headlights on auto and push the switch forward. They'll automatically go dim OR bright depending upon exterior light / oncoming traffic.

If you want to manually control whether your lights go bright or dim, then don't put the headlights on 'auto'.
 

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Premium Member
2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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7,726 Posts
I can't imagine that there is no way to get the high beams to constantly stay on with the switch in the Auto position ... Opinions?
"Auto" really does mean "Auto."

Ref: 2018 Legacy/Outback Owners Manual, pages 3-48 through 3-53. You have checked the Owners Manual, haven't you?
 

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18 Outback 3.6r Touring
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741 Posts
Ours didn’t work either. You have to have “ideal” conditions of speed, light(no full moon, no street lamps), straight road, no on coming traffic. It was fixed with a quick call to SOA and a trip to the dealer who can turn off the auto high beam. We can now leave the lights in auto and control our high beams as always.
 

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2018 3.6R Touring
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381 Posts
Ours works great. I very much like how it is able to dim for oncoming cars much faster than I can.

You have to be going a certain minimum speed for the high beams to come on - something like 22mph or so? - but in the fairly rare situations where you need high beams at low speed it's a very simple matter to reach down and turn the lights ON instead of AUTO.

My Grand Cherokee works exactly the same way except the high beams want a bit more speed still - maybe 24mph.

Overall a very good feature, but like so many of the new features, requires just a bit of personal adjustment.
 

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1,321 Posts
The auto headlights use a sensor to determine if there is oncoming traffic, then they dim accordingly. This same sensor prevents the high beams from being activated when there is sufficient ambient lighting, such as that from street lights, etc.

It is normal and functioning as designed.
 

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419 Posts
The auto headlights use a sensor to determine if there is oncoming traffic, then they dim accordingly. This same sensor prevents the high beams from being activated when there is sufficient ambient lighting, such as that from street lights, etc.

It is normal and functioning as designed.
An issue I experienced with the auto brights -- when I first got my 18 I left the light settings where they were from the dealer which was on auto and auto brights. Not long after that was driving on a fairly dark road in the "country" and was behind another vehicle -- probably a few hundred feet. I wasn't paying attention to the brights, but the vehicle ahead of me pulled off the road and when I drove by they shouted about the brights. It seems like the sensor is unable to pickup that there's a vehicle ahead and that brights would be shining in their rear window/mirror. From then on I've had the lights on regular auto and will manually engage brights when needed.
 

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2018 3.6R Touring
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381 Posts
Huh. Mine are pretty darn good at picking up tail lights ... have not experienced that, and have had many opportunities.
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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4,863 Posts
The sensors may pick up tail lights on a car ahead of you and turn off the high beams but by the time it does you are already close enough to be annoying the other driver with the brights in their mirror. I don't rely on the automatic high beam feature and still usually react faster than it does in turning off the high beams. What it is is a nice backup for the few times I don't react quick enough. In my mind I am still the driver and it is up to me to be paying attention. All of the fancy gadgets and features are just a fail-safe and not meant to replace attentiveness.
 

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2015 Carbide Gray Outback 3.6R with EyeSight
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176 Posts
Wife's brand new 2018 Outback Touring. Has the steering responsive headlights (which are really nice). Normally she will drive around with the headlight switch in the "auto" position, which is the entire advantage of having automatic headlights. With switch in the "auto" position the high beams work if the lever is pulled towards the driver, for example to flash the high beams, however they will not work at all with the lever pushed away from the driver to keep them on constantly. The lever locks forward, just nothing happens. You can take them out of the "auto" position and they work fine, however there is effectively no high beam constant on in the auto position. Yes, I checked functionality in both day and night conditions.

I can't imagine that there is no way to get the high beams to constantly stay on with the switch in the Auto position, which would defeat the entire purpose of having an automatic system (because you still have to turn them on to get full functionality).

She took it to the dealer and got an answer of "perfectly normal", which seems odd. Opinions?
If your Touring is a 3.6R, I will consider trading you my 2015 3.6R - high beams on mine work exactly the way you want them. :smile2:
 

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2015 Outback 2.5i Limited, Ice Silver/Black
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2,605 Posts

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2017 Outback
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179 Posts
ahhh, the good ol' days when the only "feature" was the knob on your rear view mirror you could simply move to "night" and it didn't matter whether the drivers following you had their high beams on or not.


never had to ask on a car forum how to work it either :)
 

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2022 Outback Limited - 2.5 CVT
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125 Posts
Discovered the other day that the 'Auto Dimming' feature doesn't work if the headlight switch isn't in 'Auto'. Headlights were on 'manual' and on 'high beam' because of reduced visibility on snowy afternoon.

Guess I P'oed a couple of drivers coming the opposite direction.
 
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