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Moisture in front headlights of 07 Outback

snowbeltersnowbelter Posts: 286
edited March 6 in Subaru
I have a brand new 07 Outback and I've noticed that there is moisture in both headlights (think of a mirror steamed up by a shower). It is mostly around the sides of the beam and the amount of moisture varies and has disappeared at night, but comes back. Rain and car washing don't increase the moisture.

The dealer has seen it, but has no clue of the cause, and has had a call in to Subaru, but no reponse from them yet. Anyone else have this problem?


  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Actually was a spider web in the headlight.

    Not much you can do other than have them replace the whole headlight assy. what I would do is drop a grain of rice or one of those silica packs from an electronic device in there, should clear up the problem.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd ask them to replace it under the 12 month adjustment period, because if you wait it'll come out of your pocket.

    We has a Mistu that did that and eventually the inside got rusty and stained.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    To add to this, mine also has moisture in both assemblies. So, not an isolated event it seems.
  • Update: I notified SOA of the problem and started a case so there will be a record. I'm told the "factory rep" was on vacation for a week, but now that he is back, he has apparently told the Service Manager that the headlight assemblies can be replaced "after the Service Manager sees water droplets". And now the Service Mangaer is questioning what he actually saw when I brought the car in on 12/28. He wants to see the problem again before he signs off on any repair. I'm pretty furious at the dealer for backstepping as the only question he had back on 12/28 was where the moisture was coming from. The moisture comes and goes and seems to show itself more when the temperature goes below freezing as the lights are clear on a nice 45 degree day. Wes, please call SOA if you have this problem, too.

    I intend to follow up on this although I am not pleased to hear that the headlight assemblies will need to be removed.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Sorry to hear about the problems. The moisture shouldn't be there and should be corrected. When you first had it diagnosed, did the service writer note your concern and then give you back a corresponding write-up with what they found (including the moisture?).

    In my experience, SOA will do you right. I understand the frustration, especially with a new car, but hang in there and I'm sure you'll be taken care of.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I can see you hooking up a humidifier to get that water droplet to form. :D

  • I noticed the problem two days after I purchased the car, and I called and spoke with the Service Manager who knows me, and said he'd look at the car if I was concerned. This was the saturday morning before New Years, and there was no paperwork. I drove in and we talked about moisture and how water vapor could have gotten in the headlight, and he said he'd call the factory rep after the first of the year, and we wished each other a Happy New Year. He's now having trouble "remembering" some of our discussion and what he saw. I'm going to speculate that the factory rep wanted more info from him as part of the approval process SOA requires from a dealer before signing off on what I imagine is an expensive repair, and he's leaning on me for some reason. Perhaps he's also having trouble "remembering" that my wife and I have purchased four OBs since 2000 and all our service is done at this dealership.

    On my next trip there will be paperwork. Lots of it.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    I noticed the problem two days after I purchased the car

    You too? I noticed it in mine (quite dramatically in both as the entire assemblies were fogged up other than directly in front of the low beams) on Tuesday night (picked it up Sunday) when I was installing the block heater. It was -36F that night and it was just a large series of ice "droplets". I'll have to look again today, but it might not be there since it warmed up so dramatically over the last 48 hours - we will have to hit the dew point again I suspect.

    I will follow up with SoA. Hopefully multiple reports will prevent others from experiencing the same problem down the line.
  • It is 20 degrees here and the moisture has returned to both front headlights. I brought the car back to the dealer who has told me they have approval from SOA to replace both headlight assemblies.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    I photographed my headlight assemblies on Saturday - the photos clearly show droplets of water beaded up across the entire lower portion of the assembly, as well as extensive fogging over the marker light section. Of course, I completely spaced the photos this morning so will have to download them to the computer tonight.

    I will contact SOA right now (while they are open!) to open a case, though I really hate to take my cars to dealerships for work. It always worries me. :blush:
  • The moisture in your headlights is in the same areas as it is in mine. The Service Manager said its a straight-forward repair, but then said they may have to drop the front bumper.

    My dealership is usually very competant, but gets sloppy from time to time on simple things like oil changes (unless you don't mind oil dripping from the bottom of your car after an oil change).
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    Amazingly, all the photos I took came out crystal clear... here is a sampling:



    I finally managed to call SOA while they were open (hard to remember that darn time differential!!) and they issued me a case #, but did say I would have to take it to the dealer prior to any further action. :cry:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nice pics. They should be sealed so that won't happen, so there's obviously a leak in the seal. I don't think it will cure itself, in fact it'll likely get worse.

  • p9411p9411 Posts: 4
    I have this moisture issue as well in both headlights. In fact I noticed it the first time as I was being delivered the car and the salesman said that it was normal. Nice to see that he lied to me. I guess I will go back to the dealer since I also have the trunk rattle that they already tried to fix but tightened the door to the point that I have to slam it to close it. And the rattle is still there. This car was built in mid November and has 700 miles. Ack
  • If you haven't done so already, please contact SOA about the moisture problem and get a case number. That way SOA will learn directly about the moisture problem and there will be a record at SOA of your problem.

    As I mentioned in another post, the SOA reps tell me that moisture in the headlights is new for them.
  • The dealer replaced the front headlight assemblies. From time to time there is still a line of moisture along the bottom edge of the driver's side headlight. Also seems like the lights are now aimed lower (annoying). Its been around 0 F, too cold to wash the car and see if there is more moisture in the lights afterwards.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    I now have a thick coating of ice along the lower portion of the assemblies - where there were only some frozen droplets three weeks ago. I stopped at the dealer yesterday to have them look at it; had to set up an appointment for Tuesday to get it reviewed further.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    Okay, so on 1/31 (the Tuesday referenced in the previous post), they agreed that there was moisture in both the headlight and backup light assemblies. They ordered replacement units for all 4. On 2/20, they replaced them.

    After driving home, I once again found moisture in both front headlight assemblies. There's strike 1. I updated my case # with SOA so they are aware.

    So far, the backup light assemblies look to be moisture-free. Good. :sick:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    I am about fed up with this car. Seriously. Part of it might be that the temperatures here have lingered at or below -20F (-40F outside my window as I type this) and this obnoxious car just cannot handle cold temperatures. The other part is the moisture in the light assemblies. I took a close look at it yesterday, and not only are the headlights continuing to accumulate moisture, but there is also moisture in the fog lights and the tail lights. As it sits, the only exterior lights without moisture in them are the recently-replaced backup lights.

    I am getting the feeling that this car may end up being long-term rental to me. :mad:
  • Subaru replace the two headlight assemblies on my 07 just before you had your car worked on. So far so good (except that didn't to a good job aligning the headlights). Its been below freezing here for most of that time and I've been to the car wash and that hasn't resulted in new moisture build-up. Still have a bad rattle in the rear tailgate that they "fixed".

    Hope your car gets fixed correctly. I've read that the fit and finish of the 05 and later Outbacks was first class. Thats not what I'm experiencing with my car.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Went to test drive an impreza 2.5i yesterday and checked all the 07 legacies on the lot. Guess what? out of 10 on the lot, 8 had condensation in them.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    I should do that up here. There are more like 30 Outbacks on the lot, probably even more if I include Legacies. I saw a photo of a local '06 WRX a couple weeks ago and one of the headlight assemblies had observable moisture - in a photo taken 20 feet from the car!

    I will be taking my Outback in again on 3/6, but I have little confidence that additional replacements will alleviate the issue. So far, I am not sure about the long-term implications of the moisture being there, but if the water vapor is getting in and not able to get out, then it is probably only a matter of time before I have algae, at the very least, along with it.
  • The Outback and Legacy are in their third year of production and I don't think the headlights have been redesigned for 07. I'm wondering if Subaru has changed suppliers for their headlight assemblies or if their supplier has changed manufacting/assembly procedures. As of today, my "new" headlight assemblies are still moisture-free.
  • snowbeltersnowbelter Posts: 286
    Heard that SOA has a "fix" for the moisture in the headlights problem. They are reportedly advising dealers that moisture in the headlights which comes and goes is "normal" and that SOA will no longer replace headlights with this problem.

    I'm not impressed with SOA's resolution even though the basic warranty should cover any problems moisture may cause to the headlight system.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    Yeah, well, for these cars, it IS normal. But, for every other vehicle on the road, it is not. I have come to realize that inferior build quality is normal for my car, for sure. Short of the mechanical systems, this thing is falling apart.

    It rattles worse than a heavy metal band again, and just this morning none of the dash/instrument lights came on when I started the car. They finally sprung to life about 3 miles down the road. :sick:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That is not a satifactory resolution.

    Go to NHTSA's ODI section and file a complaint, if enough people do it they'll be forced to take action:
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