Since my post on replacing light bulbs in a Subaru Impreza is one of the most-viewed posts here, I figured it was worth documenting the same process in a Subaru Forester. In this case, the top right tail light wasn’t turning on with the headlights, but it was lighting up when the brakes were applied. It’s actually a bulb with 2 filaments, and only one had burned out.
Open the rear door, then remove these two screws completely using a 10 mm socket wrench:
Now you want to pull the entire taillight assembly directly back toward you. However, there are 3 plastic pins that fit into 3 little holes, so you can’t just yank. I tried wiggling the assembly a little to loosen it, and eventually I got a finger slightly under the bottom edge of the tailight, pushed up a tiny bit, and then felt 10 years of grit loosen their hold. Then I was able to pull the whole thing back.
These are the 3 pins and 3 holes:
From a slightly different angle, which also shows the junk stored in our garage:
Find the light you want to replace (in our case, the top one) and unscrew the gray part a quarter-turn to get the bulb assembly out:
Then just pull the bulb directly out of the gray plastic, and put in a new bulb:
Note: the weird orangish glow here is because sunlight is coming in through the red tailight, not because the bulb is on. According to the owner’s manual, the top one is bulb 7443, and the was the only info that the guy at my local Napa auto parts store needed to know to sell me the right bulb. $4.56 including tax.
If you’re as neurotic as I am, you then get your wife to start up the car and make sure the bulb works — both in Park with headlights on, and with the brakes on — before putting everything back together.
This was the burnt-out bulb, and you can see how the two filament feature works: