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Subaru Outback License Plate Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to change a burnt out license plate light bulb on a 6th generation 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Subaru Outback.

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2017 Outback License Plate
Push In Towards Center
Lift Outer Edge of Housing
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the sixth generation (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and perhaps also the revised 2019 and 2020 model years) Subaru Outback station wagon in changing a burnt out license plate light bulb located in the tailgate door for the cargo area.

Owners of other Subaru vehicles such as the Forester, 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 miniature wedge base light bulb part number is 2825 (also known as part # "W5W").

For brighter license plate lights, install some 2825 LED bulbs.

No tools are needed to remove the housing, access the sockets and replace the light bulbs.

Light Housing Removed
White Plastic Bulb Socket
1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
The procedures for replacing either the left side or right side license plate light bulb are the same.

Gently slide the light housing towards the center line of the vehicle to release the retaining clip.

Then lift the light housing out of the tailgate.

Try to avoid using excessive force. The light housings should pop out relatively easily.

Turn over the light housing to access the white plastic bulb socket.

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

Set Aside Light Housing
Old Light Bulb Exposed
Pull Out Old Light Bulb
Set the light housing aside in a safe place on a soft surface such as a towel to protect the lens from being scratched.

If the old light bulb was recently turned on, be careful when you remove it. The old light bulb might still be hot enough to burn your fingers.

Pull the old light bulb straight out of the socket.

Old Light Bulb Removed
Push In New Light Bulb
Re-Insert Bulb Socket
The OEM light bulb was marked as part number W5W, which is the same as the 2825.

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

If you would like to have brighter license plate lights, install some compatible 2825 LED bulbs.

Re-insert the white plastic bulb socket into the light housing.


1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Housing Mount In Tailgate
Re-Insert Outer Edge

Rotate the bulb socket 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction to secure it in the housing.

First, re-insert the wires on the outer edge of the housing back into the opening in the tailgate.

Pop In Retaining Clip - Inner
Right Side - Same Procedure
Snap In Other Housing
Gently snap in the retaining clip on the inner edge of the light housing.

Double check that the light housing is securely in place.

To replace the license plate light bulb on the other side, repeat the same steps as above.

(Both housings are removing by sliding them in towards the center line of the SUV / license plate.)

Test New Light Bulbs
Subaru-Outback-License-Plate-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-020 Subaru-Outback-License-Plate-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-021
License Plate Bulb Installed
To test the new light bulbs, turn on the headlights or press the "Unlock" button on the key fob to activate the exterior lights.

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

For more, please check out all of my 2015-2018 Subaru Outback DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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