2017 Subaru Crosstrek - Headlight fiasco

HEADLIGHTS RECENTLY REPLACED. RELAY RECENTLY REPLACED. Headlights don’t work, just running lights and brights. Turn on headlights dashboard lights go out. Been to my mechanic 6 times. Right now I can’t drive when it rains or its dark. Anyone else with this issue?

Most likely, the only people with that problem are the ones who used that same mechanic. The best that I can tell you is that you need a new mechanic who knows what he is doing. After a competent mechanic resolves the problem, then you should demand a refund from the incompetent mechanic.


Just a wild guess but I wonder if your combination switch is faulty if the dash lights go off at the same time. A person versed in electrical problem solving, needs to take the wiring diagram and check point to point where power to the light is being lost. Dash lights are triggered by the light switch though so seems to indicate part of the switch is bad. Otoh there are an awful lot of wire harnesses for sale so maybe the problem is more complex. Shouldn’t be hard though to determine if there is power coming to the switch but not out of it.


You might think a tech would look at or replace a MFS. Since they are the headlight switch and fairly cheap. Like changing a thermostat for motor temp issues.

Check for damaged wires from rodents…

Subaru, in a bid to be as eco-friendly as possible, swapped some of the synthetic plastic electrical wire coatings with greener material. This bio-degradable soy-based coating was great for nature as it reduced the synthetic waste going to landfills. It was also cheaper, helping Subaru save money.

But in the eyes of a rat, this was a large chew toy nestled in a dark, safe environment warmed up by an engine after a drive. Rat heaven maybe. The soy-based compound was constantly attacked. Many owners woke up to severed fuel lines or torn-out wiring harnesses.

Subaru was not the only manufacturer caught in this mess. Along with Subaru Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and Kia had lawsuits filed against them. These were made by furious customers who were enraged to find out that their warranty does not cover this damage.

No. I don’t own a Crosstrek. Or even a Subaru. The headlights on my vehicles – in fact any vehicle I’ve ever owned – never had a headlight problem, other than replacing a bulb. In your vehicle’s case however, far more complex electrical system. A fix certainly seems possible, but it is going to require a technician who thoroughly familiar with the vehicle’s electrical system, and has the know-how & tools to diagnose it. Unless you know of a well-recommended independent mechanic who knows Subarus inside & out, and modern auto-electric-diagnosis in particular, suggest to take it to a dealership and let them have a go. I don’t see it making any sense to continue doing what you’ve been doing.

I rented a newer car for a week one time, could never figure out how to work the headlights. My solution was to only drive in the daytime. Is it possible your headlight settings have been changed and you don’t know how or why that happened? Maybe all you need is someone to show you how to change them back. I presume you are asking here for that reason. Maybe also ask at work, church, bars etc if anybody you know owns a 2017 Crosstrek or even just a 2017 Subaru.

IIRC, aren’t your headlights similar to these?



Are these factory original headlights, or something else?

Most headlight fiascos start with the something else.

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Early on those acetylene headlights were installed after you bought the car. Separate generator container for the water and calcium carbide, copper lines to the headlights.

Did you know the company the introduced and manufactured those was called Pres-To-Lite?

Of course I knew that it was Prestolite! That is what I Googled in order to get a pic of those antique headlights. IIRC, they ran on Acetylene.

Ive never seen a closeup of them before.

Can you adjust hi-beams so they shine down? Then you could drive car. Till a genius figures out what is wrong.

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That seems like a very good work-a-round. As long as they can be aimed low enough, adjustment range not infinite.

Rather than messing with the aim, just a piece of duct tape along the top should do it temporarily.

My car has 4 fuses. Left hi beam, left lo beam and so on. Check your fuses?

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My helpful comment is just take it to a good mechanic that knows how to use a meter.

My unhelpful comment is my 86 riviera was wired so that only two headlights came on at a time. Either two low beam or two high beam. I wanted all four to come on on high beam, just like my Oldsmobile. So I did a rewire job to turn all four on. In my testing lab, it didn’t take long to over heat the relay. Forgot that idea and put it back factory original. Nice work bing.


lol … this problem was apparently anticipated in 1785 by Robert Burns, as quoted “The best laid plans of mice and men” …

You are the first person I told. My shirt says what happens in the garage, stays in the garage.

That seems like a good motto. Good news, I won’t have to tell anyone about my comedy of errors during a recent lawnmower-engine carb repair … lol