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I just got done wrestling with my fender liner and scraping up my arm replacing the drivers side low beam headlight. Took about an hour.
I just might not ever buy a Subaru again just because of their stupid headlight replacement design. Either they make a lifetime headlight (mine went out after 45,000 miles or make it MUCH easier to replace the bulb.
You can't see what you are doing. It is all by feel and there isn't room to get a full size arm and hand in the space allowed.
All I can say is there were a few choice words being said while i was doing it.
:28: :mad:
 

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It's not just Subaru that has a hard to change headlight bulb.
Easy to change headlights disappeared with the sealed beam.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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7,529 Posts
Yeah - I loved those headlights made from real glass that would never fade. But I guess the weight cutting trend forced those glass headlights out. Nice nipples for headlight aiming levelling, etc.etc.... call me an old fashion guy... last ones I had was on my Audi 5000 few years back...actually, the US version had two of those but the German version had only 1 wide glass headlight assembly.
 

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2017 Limited 2.5i
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1,131 Posts
I just got done wrestling with my fender liner and scraping up my arm replacing the drivers side low beam headlight. Took about an hour.
I just might not ever buy a Subaru again just because of their stupid headlight replacement design. Either they make a lifetime headlight (mine went out after 45,000 miles or make it MUCH easier to replace the bulb.
You can't see what you are doing. It is all by feel and there isn't room to get a full size arm and hand in the space allowed.
All I can say is there were a few choice words being said while i was doing it.
:28: :mad:
While it is certainly frustrating, it's the way of the future. You will find more modern cars to be difficult like the Subaru, than to be easy like you remember other cars were. It's in part because of design considerations, in part to meet efficiency standards, manufacturers are forced to package more stuff into a smaller space, so serviceability often suffers. The added benefit to the manufacturer is this thinking also generates more service work for dealerships, often at customer expense. While some manufacturers manage to avoid blocking the headlight bulb access, many do. Have a look at you're local Honda dealer....
 

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13 blk Outback 2.5i cvt AW package, bunch of other OEM accessories...12 blk F350 6.2 gasser 4x4...10 Goldwing red nav ...04 JD 4510 loader/bhoe
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Think it's the future of all vehicles

It's design to create more dealer service.
I have a 2012 SD and to change any front bulbs, turn, headlight,running etc. you have to remove the entire grill, 4 screws and four clips, then you can get to the light fixture which is four more screws and a few pressure clips.

I think the dealer would rate it at 30 minutes labor minimum. Which could be for just a running light being out.

Are bulbs covered under to standard warranty?
 

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With low beam and on Highway, I had truck drivers flash me all the time thinking I was on high beam. SO what is wrong with stock head lamps?
 

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I just got done wrestling with my fender liner and scraping up my arm replacing the drivers side low beam headlight. Took about an hour.
I just might not ever buy a Subaru again just because of their stupid headlight replacement design. Either they make a lifetime headlight (mine went out after 45,000 miles or make it MUCH easier to replace the bulb.
You can't see what you are doing. It is all by feel and there isn't room to get a full size arm and hand in the space allowed.
All I can say is there were a few choice words being said while i was doing it.
:28: :mad:
Try an Audi A4....must remove front bumper to change a bulb but a least its an HID so replacement is rare.
Too bad subaru designed it for HIDs then forgot the HID system! :rolleyes:
 

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2012 4LT Centennial Edition Grand Sport Corvette convertible
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You had to do the same thing on my 07 Civic (remove the front fender liner). On my 06 CTS you had to remove the front bumper cover, and it was a b!tch. I never messed with the HIDs on my 07 Vette coupe but did change the fogs over to HIDs; guess what? You had to remove the front fender liner to do it.

It's a fact of life on a lot of today's cars, so you may never trade cars again if you don't like it.
 

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2012 Impreza Sport Ltd 2013 Outback Limited SAP
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It's design to create more dealer service.
I have a 2012 SD and to change any front bulbs, turn, headlight,running etc. you have to remove the entire grill, 4 screws and four clips, then you can get to the light fixture which is four more screws and a few pressure clips.

I think the dealer would rate it at 30 minutes labor minimum. Which could be for just a running light being out.

Are bulbs covered under to standard warranty?
Yes...
 

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2016 Carbide Gray Limited with Moonroof, Nav, and Eyesight
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So I had a headlight fail at about 37,000 miles, no luck getting it changed under warranty. After reading about the issues others had, and because it is still cold and wet here, I had the dealer do the work. I decided to do both bulbs because the other one probably would go soon, or not look the same. (the dealer says about 30,000 miles is common) When I got the bill, it was not too bad, $66.91. $43 of that was for the bulbs, only $20 for the labor. Perhaps because they are used to doing them they can do it so much quicker, but it seems like $20 well spent after reading about the hassle involved. They went through the fender liner and spent no more than 30 minutes to do both.
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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4,644 Posts
I really love my OB but that headlight thing is just plain crappy design. There are some things that owners should be able to do with their cars themselves...changing a bulb without having to remove car parts...other than the back of the light...is one of them.
 

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2013 OB 3.6R Limited, Black Silica
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383 Posts
I have had my Osram 65w Rallye bulbs for a month now and still havn't put them in. I am dreading doing the bulb change cause I know I am going to curse and swear at my new Subie. Stupid Design!
 

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2016 Carbide Gray Limited with Moonroof, Nav, and Eyesight
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Have to agree it should be easier. Our Cobalt took two people to do, and required flexing a body panel and removing the lens assembly, this is maybe a little easier. On the plus side, I did not realize how much the bulbs had deteriorated over time, the new ones are noticeably brighter!
 

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12' Outback 2.5i premium
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yea i just did my hid install on my outback over the weekend, wasnt bad when pulling the bumper off but still a pain in the butt. Im noticing a few car manufacturers are having the same design flaw as well.
 

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2017 Outback, 14 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 07 BMW E-93
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Not a design flaw at all it would be considered a revenue enhancement if you have to take it to the dealer out of warranty.
Pulling the bumper was the easiest way to do the HID install and I do like the light output...
 

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2013 Outback 3.6R Limited
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186 Posts
I just got done wrestling with my fender liner and scraping up my arm replacing the drivers side low beam headlight. Took about an hour.
I just might not ever buy a Subaru again just because of their stupid headlight replacement design. Either they make a lifetime headlight (mine went out after 45,000 miles or make it MUCH easier to replace the bulb.
You can't see what you are doing. It is all by feel and there isn't room to get a full size arm and hand in the space allowed.
All I can say is there were a few choice words being said while i was doing it.
:28: :mad:
I share your pain. But, as others have said, pretty much all newer cars have serviceability issues like this. Hey, at least oil changes on this are easier than on my wife's Saturn Sky... the filter is near the top of the motor, buried between the intake and the firewall. Requires a special wrench to fit in there, and you end up getting oil all over the place. I remember when Saturns were designed for serviceability... then they just became another part of the GM blob.

So yeah... doing the headlights by feel. Try performing that after chemotherapy-induced neuropathy renders your fingers numb. Yeah... I had just done the driver's side bulb three weeks ago, then the passenger side went out and I had to change it last weekend. I'm hoping that I didn't get any hand oils or other contaminants on the bulbs as I threaded them in, but I have no way of knowing. Can't feel my fricken fingers.

I firmly believe the automakers prevent their engineers from designing for serviceability in order to create a dealer revenue stream. Screw them. I buy or make the specialty tools as needed, and I'm putting a two-post lift in my garage. THAT will make life easier.
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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I have had my Osram 65w Rallye bulbs for a month now and still havn't put them in. I am dreading doing the bulb change cause I know I am going to curse and swear at my new Subie. Stupid Design!
...lol...mine are in...I'm mostly over the cursing at my Susie now. You'll get over it, I did....until my first bulb blow out, then I curse at it all over again. :D
 

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2003 BMW M3 and 2011 Outback 2.5i Premium
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131 Posts
I did both of mine the other week too by going through the fender liner. Passenger much easier than drivers side. The manual says to only take out the clips around the rim of the fender, but I also took out the one a little farther in (Type c clip according to the manual, the one with a philips head). Took me 45 min to do both. I could probably get it down to 25 for both when I have to do it again.
 

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2016 Outback Ltd 2.5 eyesight Nav push button Hole in roof, Lapis Blue
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738 Posts
Did the drivers side last night. Removed the tire, removed all the clips from the front half on the inner fender liner and folded it back behind the wheel. It was still a pain in the a$$ you can almost see the hole to put the bulb in that is untill you get your arm in there. Anyway it's done took about an hour and a half but since I had one tire off I rotated the 4 of them.
 
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