Some Harley-Davidson Sportsters May Have Headlight Issue


Harley-Davidson issued a voluntary recall on certain 2019 to 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster (XL) models due to a potentially defective headlight assembly. An unknown number of affected headlight assemblies may have been produced with a glossy, chrome finish that can cause a thermal condition resulting in premature filament failure.  

The issue described is a condition resulting from headlight assemblies produced with a glossy, chrome finish. Affected units could experience thermal conditions that cause a hole to develop in the tip of the dual-filament bulb, which may allow sealed gas to escape from that bulb, causing the filament to fail prematurely. Additionally, switching between low and high beams in any sequence will also cause the second filament to fail. Riders may be alerted to this condition if their Security Lamp lights up, which indicates that one or both headlamp filaments have failed. 

According to the official safety recall report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 31,346 units could potentially be affected. However, the matter is complicated slightly because additional replacement headlamp service parts may have been supplied to owners of bikes outside the recall range. Here are the models and numbers of Sportsters that could be affected, according to the recall document: 

  • 2019 XL883L: 2 
  • 2019 XL883N: 4,761 
  • 2019 XL1200C: 2 
  • 2019 XL1200CX: 394 
  • 2019 XL1200X: 1,525 
  • 2019 XL1200XS: 2 
  • 2019 XL1200NS: 2,365 
  • 2020 XL883N: 9,429 
  • 2020 XL1200X: 2,265 
  • 2020 XL1200CX: 558 
  • 2020 XL1200NS: 4,921 
  • 2021 XL883N: 1,944 
  • 2021 XL1200X: 867 
  • 2021 XL1200NS: 1,483 

The potentially defective headlamp assembly is part number 68297-05A, and may have also been sold as a replacement part for 2005-2019 Sportsters, 2005-2017 Softails, 2005-2017 Dynas, and 2005-2011 V-Rods. Harley-Davidson estimates that about 796 of these units were sold as replacement units.  

As of April 7, 2021, there have been zero reports of any crashes or injuries related to this recall. However, out of an abundance of caution, owners of affected vehicles will be advised to arrange service with their local authorized Harley-Davidson dealer. This recall service, which involves installation of a matte bulb shield in place of the glossy, chrome one, will be provided at no cost to owners. Dealers were notified between April 5 and April 12, 2021, and owner notifications should be going out between April 12 and April 26, 2021.  

Harley-Davidson’s number for this recall is 0177, and owners may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464. Additionally, owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. Please note that the Harley-Davidson service bulletin for recall 0177 outlines procedures for both the U.S. and Canadian markets, so this recall is present with the same reference number in both countries. 



Article by Janaki Jitchotvisut

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