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Subaru Forester Tail Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to change a burnt out brake, rear turn signal, reverse or side marker light bulb on a 2014 to 2018 Forester.

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2017 Forester Tail Lights
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Open Tailgate Door
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Loosen Counterclockwise

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the fourth generation (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018) Subaru Forester SUV in changing a burnt out brake, rear turn signal, reverse or side marker bulb in the tail light housings.

Owners of other Subaru vehicles such as the Outback, Impreza, Legacy, XV Crosstrek, WRX, BRZ, SVX, Tribeca, Exiga, Trezia, Levorg and Baja may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The compatible replacement light bulb part numbers are as follows: Brake # 7443, Rear Turn Signal 7440A or WY21W, Reverse # 921 or W16W and Rear Side Marker # 2825 or W5W.

The tools needed to remove the tail light assembly and access the bulb sockets include a 10mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratchet or a Phillips head screwdriver and possibly also a plastic pry bar tool.

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Remove Lower Bolt
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Two Bolts Removed
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Pry Back - Outer Edge
The first two steps are to open the tailgate and move to the side of the SUV with the burnt out tail light bulb.

Remove the two bolts located along the inner edge of the tail light housing by turning them counterclockwise with a 10mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet or use a standard Phillips head screwdriver.

Set the two bolts aside in a safe place.

The tail light assembly is still held in place to the rear corner of the vehicle by two pegs or "spikes" inserted into plastic grommets and also a slot on the forward outer edge that slides on to a plastic button head mount.

Try to pull the tail light housing straight off the back of the SUV.

If you have trouble removing the housing, you may need to use a plastic pry bar tool to gently loosen the other fasteners.

Insert the pry bar tool in between the outer edge of the housing and the painted metal body panel before very gently pulling the housing back towards you.

Try to avoid using excessive force to prevent from cracking the plastic lens of the tail light housing.

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Tail Housing Released
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Push In Release Tab
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Disconnect Power Plug
Turn over the tail light housing to access the bulb sockets.

An optional step is to disconnect the power plug. Push in the release tab on the electrical connector before sliding it straight out of its socket.

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Bulb Sockets Exposed
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1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
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Reverse Light Bulb Socket
Set the tail light housing down on a soft surface such as the cargo area mat or a towel on your work bench.

On this 2017 Forester, the brake light is an LED unit that should last the life time of the vehicle and won't need to be replaced.

(The next few steps for replacing a burnt out brake light bulb are not pictured.)

On older Forester models, the brake light bulb socket is the larger one located near the top inner corner of the housing.

Rotate the brake light bulb socket 1/4 turn counterclockwise before pulling it straight out of the housing.

Pull the old brake light bulb straight out of the socket and push in a new # 7443 dual filament light bulb. Re-insert the brake light bulb socket into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to secure it in place.

The reverse light bulb socket is located near the bottom of the assembly.

Rotate the small grey plastic bulb socket 1/4 turn counterclockwise before pulling it straight out.

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Pull Out Old Light Bulb
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Push In New Light Bulb
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1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Pull the old reverse light bulb straight out of the socket.

If you have trouble removing any of the bulbs, try to avoid using excessive force to prevent from shattering them and cutting your fingers on the broken glass.

Try wiggling any stubborn bulbs back and forth a few times gently before pulling them straight out.

Push a new number 921 miniature wedge base light bulb straight into the socket.

Re-insert the reverse bulb socket into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to secure it in place.



 

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Turn Signal Bulb Socket
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Pull Out Old Light Bulb
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1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
The rear turn signal light bulb socket is located near the center of the tail light assembly.

Rotate the large grey plastic bulb socket 1/4 turn counterclockwise before pulling it straight out.

Pull the old light bulb straight out of the socket and push in a new amber colored number 7440A bulb.

Re-insert the bulb socket into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to secure it in place.

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Side Marker Bulb Socket
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1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
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Pull Out Old Light Bulb
The small grey plastic side marker bulb socket is located near the top outer corner of the tail light housing.

Rotate the bulb socket 1/4 turn counterclockwise and pull it straight out.

Pull the old light bulb straight out of the socket.

Push a new number 2825 miniature wedge base light bulb straight into the socket.

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1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
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Hold Housing Near SUV
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Push In Power Plug
Re-insert the rear side marker bulb socket into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to secure it in place.

Hold the tail light housing near the rear corner of the car.

Push the electrical connector straight into its socket until you hear or feel it "click" securely in place.

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Line Up Two Pegs
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Slot & Plastic Mount
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Push On Tail Light Housing
Line up the two pegs on the back side of the tail light housing with their plastic grommets.

Line up the slot on the outer corner of the tail light housing with the white plastic button head mount on the vehicle.

Slide the tail light housing forward into place until it is flush with the rear corner of the SUV.

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Replace Two Screws
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Tighten Clockwise
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Test New Tail Light Bulbs
Replace the two bolts by tightening them clockwise with the Phillips head screwdriver or the 10mm socket and a ratchet until they are snug.

Try to avoid over tightening the fasteners to prevent from cracking the plastic inner edge of the tail light housing.

To test the new tail light bulbs, have an assistant step on the brake pedal, turn on the hazard signals and place the transmission into reverse.

Be sure to record the bulb change in your vehicle's service records.

For more, please check out all of my 2014-2018 Subaru Forester DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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