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The self leveling headlights stay ’level’ in relation to the setting. If they are too low when there is no load in the rear they will be low when the vehicle is loaded. When adjusted properly they will always be ’level’. Early forester owners on this forum complained about the headlights being way too low. Mine were built in January and February and are well aimed.
 

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My 2019 Forester Limited is a nightmare to drivers night. It is like a black shade over half if the windshield. The dealership says I just need to give myself time to adjust to it. How do you adjust to seeing in the dark. I would have to get implants from a cat.
That is exactly how I feel, the light that does light up is great, but it is hard to drive at times. I think if you live in a rugged area with lots of dips and mountains they can be downright dangerous. I have attempted to adjust them myself with no luck dealer said they raised them but i don’t think they can or did. It’s frustrating that when the high beams go on it really seems like it just raises a reflector to allow more light through so I wish the low beams could be adjust, or they could raise the reflector a little more by a update since it is all so computer related anyway
 

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I don't have a big problem with the sharp cutoff, but what I don't understand is why nobody has mentioned the notch at the left side of the low beams. When I'm driving, this is projected on the road as a giant black hole in the opposing lane with the light dipping off at the side of my lane, and when I'm going around a shallow left curve I basically can't see the road ahead of me because it's pointed exactly where the car is headed. It's like having a hole in my vision at night.

Night Light Automotive lighting Lighting Sky


Speedometer Gauge Vehicle Odometer Auto part
 

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2019 SPORT
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I have the notch too, no biggie for me, I never have problems turning but always have the fogs on too......I like the led headlights on my sport
 

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I have the notch too, no biggie for me, I never have problems turning but always have the fogs on too......I like the led headlights on my sport
This is where the "steering responsive headlights" of the limited and touring models is helpful.
 

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I don't have a big problem with the sharp cutoff, but what I don't understand is why nobody has mentioned the notch at the left side of the low beams. When I'm driving, this is projected on the road as a giant black hole in the opposing lane with the light dipping off at the side of my lane, and when I'm going around a shallow left curve I basically can't see the road ahead of me because it's pointed exactly where the car is headed. It's like having a hole in my vision at night.

View attachment 524869

View attachment 524868
This is normal for all HIDs and LED lights, The passenger side is going to project further.

Just Google HID or LED cut off and look at the pictures.

525259
 

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OK, so after months of thinking that something was wrong with my "forever" car, I started searching the web for the headlight problem and this blog showed up. Who would have ever thought to test drive a car at night before this...issue. And I would never have imagined I would need to look up this kind of complaint BEFORE I bought the vehicle. I am absolutely gobsmacked that the Subaru corporation would have allowed such a serious engineering mistake to go to production. Yeah, the last naive bone in my body just broke.

Nearly wrecked at night in a storm on Hwy 101 in Northern CA with a downed tree limb that was not visible because it was outside of the headlight area on the hill beyond the valley I had just traversed. I don't have fog lights and could not use the high beams due to the fog-blind effect. This was seriously dangerous.

I also live in an area of Arizona that protects night skies so there are no streetlights. It has gotten to the point where I cannot drive my vehicle to an area that I don't know at night because I cannot read the street signs....and neither can my passengers!

My service rep at the dealership said to use the high beams...which we all know cannot happen if we have oncoming traffic. Or in fog. He said the "line" was installed on the headlamps to protect other drivers from being blinded by the LED lamps on my Forester. And he said the lamps met regulation requirements. Sorry, but there will be verification of that requirement before I accept his word. Show me the validation of the headlamp design and I will back off. For now, I seriously believe my "forever" car will be sold to the highest bidder and my "feel the love" Subaru can find a new lover.
 

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Can not read the street signs? It's like you're talking about a different car. This is so strange that some, and I beleive you, are having these issues when others like myself think these are the best headlights I've ever owned.

I absolutely love how great the low and highbeams are on our 2019 touring. The lowbeam cutoff is much higher than our 2009 Mercedes C300. Could it be that some are just not used to modern projector type lights with a cutoff? Most new cars have them. Hrmmmm
 

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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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If one is driving uphill at a steady speed and the headlamps are self leveling, would they be pointing more down in relation to the road? Or, try going up for sunset and driving down at night ;-) Actually its kind of a weird concept. How does the leveler know when the road is not level? Or maybe the physics of acceleration makes it all good?

With non-leveling headlights they are aligned with the car which is more or less aligned with the road. What we need is doppler radar controlled headlights that always aim at the right distance on the road. You heard it here first.

GD
 

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Nearly wrecked at night in a storm on Hwy 101 in Northern CA with a downed tree limb that was not visible because it was outside of the headlight area on the hill beyond the valley I had just traversed. I don't have fog lights and could not use the high beams due to the fog-blind effect. This was seriously dangerous.
What speed were you traveling at?
 

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If one is driving uphill at a steady speed and the headlamps are self leveling, would they be pointing more down in relation to the road? Or, try going up for sunset and driving down at night ;-) Actually its kind of a weird concept. How does the leveler know when the road is not level? Or maybe the physics of acceleration makes it all good?

With non-leveling headlights they are aligned with the car which is more or less aligned with the road. What we need is doppler radar controlled headlights that always aim at the right distance on the road. You heard it here first.

GD
Or it probably very simply monitors the suspension angle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 · (Edited)
OP here. Just saying I could see better at night with the low beams in my old 2013 Kia Soul (Halogens) and our new 2020 Soul LX (Halogens). Heck, I could even see a lot better at night with my old Suzuki V-Strom 1000 (dual Halogens). And, I never got flashed with any of those. In any of those 3 vehicles, I was fine at 55 MPH on low beams driving through the back roads and mountains (yes, even on the motorcycle). So, I don't think it's a problem with my eyes (not that anyone implied that).

It did help when the dealer raised the aim from the factory settings a little bit. Perhaps mine were set too low to begin with. I have only been flashed once since, and that was as I was coming over the top of a hill.

BTW - when I say I cannot read roadside signs, I'm speaking of the non-reflective types. There is apparently enough reflection off the road to slightly illuminate reflective signs, but wooden signs (found in parks and natl forests and also many street name signs around us) are blank. When we first got the Forester, when I approached a pedestrian walking along the road, I could see their feet up to their knees but not much more until I was very close. I haven't had that problem with the other vehicles. It's better now since the re-aiming.

When I have to drive at night, I take the Kia Soul.
 

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OP here. Just saying I could see better at night with the low beams in my old 2013 Kia Soul (Halogens) and our new 2020 Soul LX (Halogens). Heck, I could even see a lot better at night with my old Suzuki V-Strom 1000 (dual Halogens). And, I never got flashed with any of those. In any of those 3 vehicles, I was fine at 55 MPH on low beams driving through the back roads and mountains (yes, even on the motorcycle). So, I don't think it's a problem with my eyes (not that anyone implied that).
Driving safely at 55 MPH through what I'm assuming are unlit back roads and mountains is physically impossible with only low beams.

It's very easy to demonstrate this point.

We'll take the better headlamps on a $60,000 Mercedes E-class. They put 5 lux of illumination down at 372 feet on the right side of a two-lane road, and 210 feet on the left side of a two-lane road.

Judging from the graph below, we can stop within 372 feet at a max speed of approximately 65 MPH, and we can stop within 210 feet at a max speed of approximately 50 MPH.

In other words, if we're driving at 55 MPH in an E-class with the optional, more expensive headlamps, we'll hit anything that's coming out from the left side of the road--could be a deer, a hitchhiker, etc. We might barely miss whatever's on the right side of the road. But we're not driving 55 MPH in an E-class. We're driving 55 MPH in a Kia Soul with halogen headlamps that didn't do so hot in IIHS testing. The Soul's headlamps are good to about 45 MPH and 30 MPH, max.




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And remember, these figures are based on the assumption that 5 lux of illumination is sufficient for obstacle recognition. 5 lux actually not sufficient for recognizing a lot of things, as the below meta-analysis shows. In some cases, we need up to 20 lux of illumination.

527336
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 · (Edited)
I guess all of those numbers and fancy graphs prove me wrong and I'm just an incompetent driver. How did I ever survive the past 45 years without an accident or deer collision in the mountains - in cars and on motorcycles? Sheer luck and/or the grace of God, I guess. I'll keep my night-time speed down to 30 MPH on the highways from now on when I'm in the Kia.

LOL. OK, enough of my feeble attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor.

Seriously, though, I appreciate your research and graphs, but the fact remains that I can see much better at night in the other cars/bikes. If you can see better out of your Forester, I'm happy for you.

BTW - an example of when I would use the low beams in that type of highway driving would be when I'm maybe 100-200 yards behind another driver and don't want to blind them with my high beams. This still leaves a large, dark gap between the cars.

Also, please note that I suggested people try them out first to see for themselves. The LED lights may be fine for some/most people, just maybe not for all. Easier to remedy before the sale than after.
 

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OK, so after months of thinking that something was wrong with my "forever" car, I started searching the web for the headlight problem and this blog showed up. Who would have ever thought to test drive a car at night before this...issue. And I would never have imagined I would need to look up this kind of complaint BEFORE I bought the vehicle. I am absolutely gobsmacked that the Subaru corporation would have allowed such a serious engineering mistake to go to production. Yeah, the last naive bone in my body just broke.

Nearly wrecked at night in a storm on Hwy 101 in Northern CA with a downed tree limb that was not visible because it was outside of the headlight area on the hill beyond the valley I had just traversed. I don't have fog lights and could not use the high beams due to the fog-blind effect. This was seriously dangerous.

I also live in an area of Arizona that protects night skies so there are no streetlights. It has gotten to the point where I cannot drive my vehicle to an area that I don't know at night because I cannot read the street signs....and neither can my passengers!

My service rep at the dealership said to use the high beams...which we all know cannot happen if we have oncoming traffic. Or in fog. He said the "line" was installed on the headlamps to protect other drivers from being blinded by the LED lamps on my Forester. And he said the lamps met regulation requirements. Sorry, but there will be verification of that requirement before I accept his word. Show me the validation of the headlamp design and I will back off. For now, I seriously believe my "forever" car will be sold to the highest bidder and my "feel the love" Subaru can find a new lover.
Did you even bother looking at my post above yours? You were savvy enough to Google your way here, you should be able to Google DOT lighting requirements just like the one I posted.

There is no serious engineering mistake, just a driver that is ill informed.

It's obvious that this is the first vehicle with HID/LEDs you've ever driven. I suggest you sell it right away. But you'd better drive anything else you look at at night or make sure you buy something with inferior halogen headlights.

Here's yet another picture for you to see the difference. HID and LED are much brighter, they have to have the sharp cut offs or they would blind everyone. Its why you should never put HIDs in a reflector assembly.

527341
 

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I guess all of those numbers and fancy graphs prove me wrong and I'm just an incompetent driver. How did I ever survive the past 45 years without an accident or deer collision in the mountains - in cars and on motorcycles? Sheer luck and/or the grace of God, I guess. I'll keep my night-time speed down to 30 MPH on the highways from now on when I'm in the Kia.
Fortunately, many people never have the opportunity to truly test their reaction time and their brakes, because humans understand the need to stay out the road. That being said, deer-vehicle collisions cost over 1 billion dollars in property damage every year, so some people, at least, are finding out the limits of their lamps ;). I doubt that people are going around on purpose trying to bump into deer.

No, I don't think you're an incompetent driver--but the fact of the matter is that most people outdrive the reach of their lamps. People driving at 80 MPH on backroads in their '03 Suburbans with possibly the world's worst headlamps that are also oxidized and yellowed over...they do it because they get away with it 99% of the time...they don't pause and think about the physics of the situation.

And the fact of the matter is that this country simply doesn't care about it the majority of the time, because most of the time, nothing bad happens, and when something bad happens, well, that's what insurance is for. If I hit a pedestrian, the cop isn't going to take my headlamps to the evidence room and perform photometric testing and say "son, your 20-year-old jaundiced headlamps only illuminated out to 100 feet, but you were driving at 50 MPH, and stopping distance at 50 MPH is >100 feet, so I'm placing you under arrest for reckless driving and vehicular manslaughter."

Also, please note that I suggested people try them out first to see for themselves. The LED lights may be fine for some/most people, just maybe not for all. Easier to remedy before the sale than after.
The greater point is that whatever we might think from behind the wheel is often misleading. Yes, by all means, evaluate your comfort from behind the wheel with the lights and everything else about the car, but it would behoove people to visit the IIHS site and look at testing data, the illumination distances, and perhaps even do some back-of-the-napkin math.
 

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Did you even bother looking at my post above yours? You were savvy enough to Google your way here, you should be able to Google DOT lighting requirements just like the one I posted.
That chart is incorrect. There are several different types of "DOT" headlamps. They are visual optical left, visual optical right, visual optical, and mechanically aimed. The first three have a cutoff. The last one doesn't have a cutoff.

There is no single "DOT pattern" as your chart shows. There are even DOT patterns that look like ECE patterns. This would be the visual optical left pattern. And there are legal headlamps without any sort of sharp, well-defined cutoff--those would have to be mechanically aimed. The visual optical pattern is aimed by centering the hotspot at the desired location.

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Also, the chart is incorrect in referring to left-hand drive and right-hand drive patterns. It doesn't matter what side of the car the driver sits on. What matters is whether the country is a left-hand traffic or a right-hand traffic country.

Here's yet another picture for you to see the difference. HID and LED are much brighter, they have to have the sharp cut offs or they would blind everyone. Its why you should never put HIDs in a reflector assembly.
Many Subaru's came with HIDs in reflectors...the Forester did, at least until a year or so ago.
 

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it took me a while to get used to them, but now that I have... I love them. Every vehicle I plan to own will need this feature.
 

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I honestly think it boils down to this. People and the government have pushed, as technology has allowed, for brighter and brighter headlights. The problem is, as they became reality, they blind oncoming drivers. Thus the need for projecting type with a definite hard cutoff above a certain height to prevent blinding oncoming traffic. This has created new problems.
1) The cut off area may now have less lighting than old style halogen lights.
2) The HID/LEDs are so much brighter that it tricks the eyes to think the area in the cutoff is pitch black. And in many cases it probably is dimmer than old Halogen lights but now the problem is exacerbated by a bright foreground.

For those who hate the new lights I suggest staying with halogen lights with no projector.

My father hates the new HID/LED lighting on every car he's driven with them. I have a feeling older eyes are struggling with the bright to dim cutoff area more than younger ones. I personally don't care for the white light ans wish everything was more yellow again.

Last, use your dam highbeams when in the pitch dark in the middle of nowhere. That's what they're for.
 

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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.
Dude... People flash their high beams because you're blinding them. Your dealer can fix that, and I suspect enough people have the problem that they'll do it for free.
 
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