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2019 Forester Base CVT
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Discussion Starter #1
PLEASE READ BEFORE BUYING - We bought a new 2019 Forester base model last week. Love it!!! Smooth, quiet, comfortable, roomy, etc. Everything is wonderful.

Until this morning. I went up to a local state park (Cooper's Rock) to take sunrise photos. The road leading up to the main rock is about 3 miles of narrow 2-lane through the woods. No street lights - pitch black. (Well, duhh, it's in the forest!) Well, with the low beams on, I was shocked that I could only see about 75 feet in front of the car, and only a couple of feet off the ground. It was like someone pulled a black curtain halfway down over the windshield. As I approached roadside signs, all I could see was the bottom of the post, and could not see or read the actual sign at all. There was plenty of light - it was just all focused less than 3 feet off the ground. There was a razor-sharp cutoff, and above that line it was pitch black. Not dim, pitch black.

I'm over 60 and drove cars before they even switched to halogen, and this was scary! If I had approached someone standing in the road, I would have probably first seen their shoes at about 75 feet away, and maybe their pants and belt before I ran them over. There was just NO light above 3 or 4 feet up and 75 feet out. With just low beams, I would have been over-driving the lights any faster than 30 MPH. I drive over the mountains all the time with my 2013 KIA Soul, and I'm very comfortable with the low beams even at 55 MPH.

I took the car to the dealer, and they adjusted them up. I'll be going out there again next week sometime and will update.

IF YOU ARE THINKING OF BUYING A 2019 FORESTER - Please take time to drive it at night, especially on a completely dark road (no streetlights or stores). If the one you are looking at acts the same as mine, see if they will adjust and let you re-try another drive.

Hopefully, mine is just an anomaly and it's fixed.



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2019 Forester Limited
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6 Posts
Definitely not an issue with our Limited! I'm not sure if the active bending version have a different level set, but I worry about how bright they are to other drivers given how much and how far they illuminate. Our experience FWIW.
 

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2018 2.0 FXT-Touring CVT
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2,680 Posts
RidingWV

Are yours self-leveling headlights?

My '17/'18 are, and you get used to it, or on a completely dark/empty road, just drive with your brights on.
 

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2018 Forester
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305 Posts
@RidingWV 2019 are LED headlights right?

LED headlights tend to be brighter, but more focused into a narrow area which can be compensated for in design and component selection. I wonder if Subaru did that.

Or it could be the self-leveling like others mentioned.
 

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2014 FIAT 500L
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57 Posts
Are yours self-leveling headlights?

My '17/'18 are, and you get used to it, or on a completely dark/empty road, just drive with your brights on.
I was wondering the same thing - the Subaru documentation is unclear whether the US Foresters have self-leveling besides the ones with SRH.
 

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2019 Forester Base CVT
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Are yours self-leveling headlights?

My '17/'18 are, and you get used to it, or on a completely dark/empty road, just drive with your brights on.
@RidingWV 2019 are LED headlights right?

LED headlights tend to be brighter, but more focused into a narrow area which can be compensated for in design and component selection. I wonder if Subaru did that.

Or it could be the self-leveling like others mentioned.
Not sure if they are self-leveling. The service rep did not mention that.

Yes, I could drive with the high beams on when there is not oncoming traffic, but it's almost like turning my lights out when there is an oncoming car. Sometimes there are cars waiting to pull out from a side street or driveway and I lower my lights and could find myself in this "blind" situation. In my residential area, I noticed that I have to turn on the high beams to read the street name signs.

My knowledge of biology and physiology could fill half of a small index card, but maybe the LED light is a color that my old eyes need to adjust to??? Like I said earlier, I have absolutely no night vision problems with my old KIA Soul with factory halogen lights. Any ophthalmologists out there that can help me with that one?? LOL

I'm hoping the adjustment they did today will fix the problem.

Thanks for writing.

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RidingWV

I happened to notice something similar this morning. Just a feeling that the front headlights on my 19 Touring were not as "good" as my 18 Outback Touring in lighting up road objects. Even the high beams didn't seem to cover that much more.

This is purely anecdotal obviously but my 18 OB Touring could light up a football field and the high beams are insane--granted the lights are probably mounted at different heights (between the OB and Forester).. Again, I haven't had a chance to compare the two side by side but it's just something I "noticed" this morning while driving my 19 Forester touring.
 

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2018 Outback 3.6 Limited CVT
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Every newer Subaru I've owned with the projector type headlights (Mainly Outbacks & Forester). I've had to adjust the headlights up a tad.
 

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2018 Outback 3.6 Limited CVT
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I happened to notice something similar this morning. Just a feeling that the front headlights on my 19 Touring were not as "good" as my 18 Outback Touring in lighting up road objects. Even the high beams didn't seem to cover that much more.

This is purely anecdotal obviously but my 18 OB Touring could light up a football field and the high beams are insane--granted the lights are probably mounted at different heights (between the OB and Forester).. Again, I haven't had a chance to compare the two side by side but it's just something I "noticed" this morning while driving my 19 Forester touring.
Couldn't agree more. The headlights on my 2018 Outback Limited are great. And the first from Subaru I didn't need to readjust from factory. Actually they're so bright I get flashed from oncoming traffic once in a while. Appearanty they don't know if your fog lights are on, your high beams aren't.
Too bad if Subaru toned them down a bit on the new Forester.
 

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2014 FIAT 500L
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57 Posts
Some cars still let you run the fogs with high beams. I thought it was against the law for manufacturers to wire them that way, but I guess not.
 

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2010 Forester Diesel 6MT
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Headlights: LEDs, DOT/SAE/FMVSS, ECE et al

Firstly let me say I haven't read the lighting regulations cover-to-cover. But I've seen (ahem, sorry) enough to hand-wave a bit. Let me enlighten you (sorry, I can't resist...expect this to be full of bad lighting puns :biggrin:) . I also used to work in an optics & laser lab at Uni, so optics (which is what car lighting essentially is a form of) interest me.

This is a bit of a digression off Foresters, but I'll try to restrict it to the Forester as much as possible.

Yes, as soon as I saw the Forster was released with LED headlamps I worried a bit. This is because of the way the LEDs tend to work, they're not like a standard old-school bulb. For simplicity you basically have one (old school) filament bulb per side of the car for low-beam. You tend to have a matrix of LEDs to do the same work as the old filament bulbs. This causes definition problems for the regulations. Think of a LED light bar- it's no long a set of two separate driving lamps, but a whole series of individually focussed bulbs spread out across the front of the car.

Firstly there are two main schools of automotive lighting (headlamp) specs I'll address here: ECE (Euro) which us in Oz is based upon and USA (DOT/SAE/FMVSS). The main aim of regulations was to ensure adequate lighting whilst preventing excessive glare to other road users.

In particular related to the 'old school' filament bulbs the ECE/US systems were mutually exclusive due to the differing requirements. The US required an upswept portion of the beam to illuminate overhead signs, e.g. on your motorways. This failed the ECE regs. Conversely, the ECE headlamps failed because they didn't have a bright enough upswept portion of the beam. There are other differences too. Also the US system, which mandated sealed beams in 1940, didn't allow anything different until 1983(!) hence all those funny-looking twin-headlamp Euro adaptations for the US market in the 70's/80's.

Trouble is the LEDs, as you have noticed, can cut off sharply... in fact this has been a trend as lighting technology has improved (through Halogen, projector, reflector types etc). Now in the US I believe the manufacturers are meant to self-test their equipment to make sure it meets the DOT/SAE/FMVSS/whatever regs. The trouble with self-testing is...there's no independent oversight to call out an issue. Also your new LED system, if part of it fails, could result in this 'black area'.

I believe the US has not yet allowed 'adaptive' headlamps, whereas they are allowed elsewhere such as the EU and (I think) in Oz. At least
Although ADB has been deployed in Europe on a limited basis, it has not yet been deployed in the United States. This is largely because of industry uncertainty about whether FMVSS No. 108 allows ADB systems.[35] NHTSA has not, until this NPRM, issued an interpretation of whether and how FMVSS No. 108 applies to ADB.
(that's from your FMVSS/NHTSA/DOT document in the link below).

For some illuminating (ahem, again!) reading
Recent (12 Oct 2018) NHTSA/FMVSS/DOT document (proposed rulemaking) about adaptive lighting
Wikipedia about headlamps
Wikipedia about automotive illumination

LEDs have a lot to recommend them- they (should be) cheap, adaptable, light(weight), last the life of the vehicle, colour-specifiable, efficient, not restricted in design (bulb in a lamp unit), etc. But that doesn't mean they don't have drawbacks. For example- the high efficincy of LEDs means they don't produce heat the way the old lamps did. Therefore they won't melt snow/ice off their front. So this is likely to require some sort of heating...a whole other system...and LEDs themselves don't like heat, so that will require another shield...etc...
 

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Couldn't agree more. The headlights on my 2018 Outback Limited are great. And the first from Subaru I didn't need to readjust from factory. Actually they're so bright I get flashed from oncoming traffic once in a while. Appearanty they don't know if your fog lights are on, your high beams aren't.
Too bad if Subaru toned them down a bit on the new Forester.
LOL: Re: Flashers...
I try not to drive after dark but when I do, I get flashed probably 50% of my trips in my Outback most off the highway.

I DID get flashed last night on the highway (I-26 N) in my Forester. The southbound lane at this spot is lower in elevation than the north and I guess they didn't like my lights. This is just a guess on my part but I think Subaru just decided to play it safe and tilt the headlights down perhaps more than necessary. As RidingVW and pittstop pointed out, the nature of LED's means the cutoff is pretty sharp and when you're in the beam you get the "full effect".

One thing that helps me with the inconsiderate "flashers" is to drive with the auto-highbeams. I think when the oncoming car "sees" the highbeams going off, they're less likely to blast you even if my regular lights are too bright because they "know" my highs were disengaged...
 

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2019 Forester Base CVT
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Discussion Starter #16
UPDATE

First, thank you pitrack_1 for the lesson on car lighting. I learned something! I also enjoyed your play on words. LOL I will read more on those links later today when I have time.

Now the update - The dealer adjusted the headlights up on Friday afternoon. This morning was the first time I drove in the (semi) dark. The street where I live has dim streetlights rather far apart, but I could tell the lighting was much better. I will be going back out on the totally dark road one morning next week, so that will be another follow-up. But, at least in low-lit suburbs, the adjustment seemed to help. The bad news is it looks like there must be "some assembly required" to reach the adjustment screws, in case they are too high and blinding oncoming drivers. We'll see.

I guess my message is to try out your lights on a dark road and get them adjusted if necessary before you head out on a long trip in your new Forester.

Carry on.

.
 

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Did the dealership charge you or say anything about other customers having similar issues? I am very much in the same park as you with regard to driving at night and being able to see everything.
 

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2014 FIAT 500L
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UPDATE

First, thank you pitrack_1 for the lesson on car lighting. I learned something! I also enjoyed your play on words. LOL I will read more on those links later today when I have time.
Now the update - The dealer adjusted the headlights up on Friday afternoon. This morning was the first time I drove in the (semi) dark. The street where I live has dim streetlights rather far apart, but I could tell the lighting was much better. I will be going back out on the totally dark road one morning next week, so that will be another follow-up. But, at least in low-lit suburbs, the adjustment seemed to help. The bad news is it looks like there must be "some assembly required" to reach the adjustment screws, in case they are too high and blinding oncoming drivers. We'll see.
I guess my message is to try out your lights on a dark road and get them adjusted if necessary before you head out on a long trip in your new Forester.
Carry on.
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I'm still unclear what role the auto-leveling headlights may play here, and which Forester models have them. Anyone?
 

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2019 Forester Base CVT
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Discussion Starter #19
Did the dealership charge you or say anything about other customers having similar issues? I am very much in the same park as you with regard to driving at night and being able to see everything.
No charge. I bought one of the first ones that hit the lot, so I don't think other buyers have driven much either. They did not mention any others coming in for that.


I'm still unclear what role the auto-leveling headlights may play here, and which Forester models have them. Anyone?
My understanding (and I may be wrong) is that if your car has self-leveling lights, they will automatically adjust up or down for a heavy load or trailer that points the nose in the sky. They would automatically adjust to not blind oncoming drivers. My Forester base model does not have that. The only thing similar that I see in the brochure is the steering responsive headlights (SRH) in the upper trims. That appears to be just left-right movement to follow the steering direction.
 

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2014 FIAT 500L
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From the owner's manual:
"3-13. Headlight beam leveler (if equipped) The LED headlights produce more light than conventional halogen headlights. When the vehicle is carrying a heavy load and the headlight beams are angled upwards, the driver of an oncoming vehicle may experience glare.
To prevent this, the automatic headlight beam leveler adjusts the headlights to the optimum height automatically depending on the load the vehicle is carrying."
Still unclear as to which Foresters have this...
 
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