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Subaru Outback Tail Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to change a burnt out rear turn signal, side marker or reverse light bulb in a 2015 to 2018 Subaru Outback.

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2017 Outback Tail Lights
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Open Tailgate Door
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Plastic Trim Cover
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 rear turn signal, rear side marker or the reverse light bulb.

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 light bulb part numbers are as follows: Rear Turn Signal # 7440A (or WY21W), Rear Side Marker 2825 (or W5W) and Reverse Light # 921.

The tools needed to access and replace the light bulbs include a Phillips head screwdriver, a 10mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratchet and a plastic pry bar tool.



 
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Loosen Plastic Screw
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Turn Counterclockwise
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Pull Out Plastic Fastener
The first two steps are to move to the side of the SUV with the burnt out tail light bulb and then open the tailgate door.

Locate the two black plastic screws on the plastic trim cover that covers the inner part of the tail light housing.

Loosen the black plastic screws by turning them in the counterclockwise direction with the Phillips head screwdriver.

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Remove Lower Fastener
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Two Fasteners Removed
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Pry Out Plastic Trim Panel
Once the two screws are loosened, pry out the base of the black plastic fasteners.

Set the two fasteners aside in a safe place.

Use the plastic automotive panel pry bar tool to gently pull the trim cover off the tail light assembly.

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Trim Cover Removed
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Loosen Top Bolt
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Loosen Counterclockwise
Set the trim cover aside in a safe place.

Once the trim cover is out of the way, you'll see two black metal bolts.

They can be loosened with either a Phillips head screwdriver or a 10mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

I recommend using a socket with a ratchet since it is much easier to loosen a stubborn bolt.

Loosen the two bolts by turning them in the counterclockwise direction with a 10mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

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Two Bolts Removed
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Pull Off Tail Light Housing
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Turn Over - Access Sockets
Set the two bolts aside in a safe place.

The tail light housing is still held in place by a peg inserted into a grommet and a slot attached to the head of a pop rivet.

Carefully pull the tail light housing straight off the rear corner of the SUV.

If you have trouble removing the tail light assembly, use the plastic pry bar tool to carefully pry along the front edge of the housing and the painted metal body rear quarter panel.

Turn over the housing to access the bulb socket.

Place a towel down on the rear bumper to protect the paint and the plastic lens cover from being scratched.

(The brake lights are LED bulbs that should last the life time of the vehicle.)

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1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
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Turn Signal Bulb Socket
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Pull Out Old Light Bulb
Rotate the large grey plastic rear turn signal light bulb socket 1/4 turn in the counterclockwise direction before pulling it straight out of the housing.

Carefully pull the old rear turn signal light bulb straight out of the socket.

If you have trouble removing a stubborn old light bulb, try gently wiggling the light bulb back and forth while pulling it straight out.

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Push In New Light Bulb
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1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
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Rear Side Marker Socket
Push a new amber colored number 7440A (also known as WY21W) light bulb straight into the socket.

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

The smaller grey plastic socket contains the rear side marker light bulb.

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



 

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1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
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Pull Out Old Light Bulb
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Push In New Light Bulb
Pull the old rear side marker light bulb straight out of the socket.

Push a new number 2825 (also known as part # W5W) light bulb straight into the socket.

If you would like to have brighter rear side marker lights, install some compatible 2825 LED bulbs.

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1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
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Line Up Peg & Slot
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Push On Tail Light Housing
Re-insert the bulb socket straight into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction to secure it into place.

Line up the slot and the white plastic peg or "spike" on the back side of the tail light housing with their corresponding grommet and white plastic pop rivet on the rear corner of the SUV.

Carefully slide the tail light assembly back into place.

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Replace Two Bolts
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Tighten Clockwise
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Line Up Plastic Trim Cover
Re-insert the two bolts and tighten them in the clockwise direction with the 10mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

(You may also use a Phillips head screwdriver if necessary.)

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

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Snap On Trim Panel
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Re-Insert Plastic Fasteners
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Push In Plastic Screw - Lock
Line up the black plastic trim cover and gently push it back into place.

Re-insert the two black plastic fasteners and pop in the plastic screws to secure them in place.

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Reverse Light Housing
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Underside of Tailgate
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Small Notch - Bottom Edge
The reverse light bulb is located in a separate housing attached to the tailgate.

Open the tailgate door to access the cargo area.

Locate the rectangular shaped access cover on the underside of the tailgate.

Insert a flathead screwdriver into the small notch on the bottom edge of the access cover.

Gently pry out the access cover and set it aside in a safe place.

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Pry Out Access Cover
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Reverse Light Bulb Socket
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1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Rotate the reverse light bulb socket 1/4 turn in the counterclockwise direction before pulling it straight out of the housing.
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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 light bulb straight out of the socket.

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

If you would like to have brighter reverse lights, install some compatible 921 LED bulbs.

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

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Line Up Plastic Tabs
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Pop In Access Panel
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Test New Light Bulbs
Line up the three plastic tabs on the top edge of the access panel and re-insert them.

Then gently snap in the bottom edge of the access cover back into the tailgate's interior panel.

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

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

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