And now, for the latest installment of our occasional series, “Repairs that I have tackled and which may be easier for someone else to tackle using my photos instead of the simple diagrams you can find in manuals.” Today’s episode features how to replace the light bulb in a Subaru Impreza wagon; in my case, it was the rear side marker light bulb, but you can get at any of the rear corner lights the same way. Your owner’s manual includes part numbers for whatever light bulbs you need, or the guy in the auto parts store can look it up for you.
Unscrew these two screws a couple turns. Unlike most screws, you won’t get a satisfying feeling of having backed them out very far.
You should be able to pull the screws up with your fingers to about this height.
Get some pliers and carefully pull the screws plus the little rings around them completely out. Once they’re out, you realize these are not normal screws, but more like weird snappy/clippy things.
Remove the plastic panel that the screws had been holding on by sliding it toward you. It’s got a couple little plastic hooks on the inside, but just jiggle it around until it comes loose and then pull it off.
Now remove these bolts. You’ll want a 10mm socket on one of those wrench extender things since they’re set in a little bit. But if all you have is a regular wrench, you should be able to get them out without removing too much skin on your knuckles.
At this point, take a brief interlude to photograph the cat who has decided that climbing on top of the car is even more exciting when the trunk is open.
But do NOT laugh out loud when the cat climbs up onto the trunk door and then leaps onto the license plate, only to discover that 11 pounds of cat is just enough to make the door start slowly sinking downwards to close.
Now that the cat is off the car and the bolts are out, pull loose the entire rear light assembly. There are two pins on the edge of the light assembly that fit into two slots on the edge of the car, so you don’t want to just yank it off with brute force. But jiggle it around for a while until you feel it come loose.
Unscrew a lightbulb housing counterclockwise to remove it. Then pry out and replace the lightbulb.
If you’re hopelessly neurotic, you actually turn the car on at this point to make sure the new light really works as expected, before putting everything back together by following the instructions in reverse.
It took me under half an hour and cost $1.05 for the bulb. As the guy in the auto parts store said, it was the cheapest thing I bought all day.