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Discussion Starter #1
My Outback is two years old now, 48K mileage, so I assume that sometime fairly soon I will see a headlight go dead. How big a job is it to replace the bulb yourself? A quick look under the hood makes me wonder how to get to the headlight.
 

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'11 outback 2.5i premium '12 impreza sport limited
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so i assume you have a 2010? turn the front wheels, pull back the front of the fenderliner and you can get in there.
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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so i assume you have a 2010? turn the front wheels, pull back the front of the fenderliner and you can get in there.
...YUP! and unless you have hands the size of a 5 year old...good luck. It's a friggin pain in the #@$...bad design there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Mine is a 2011. And I have big hands. Wonder what the dealer cost would be to change a headlight?
 

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2007 outback 2.5i
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ooooh, that sucks.

on the other hand, the side marker lights on my old impreza looked impossible to change without major disassembly. i remembered i needed mine swapped out as i was about to leave the dealership. this old mechanic popped the hood, contorted himself like a circus freak and changed it out in about 30 seconds.

paid for the bulb, no labor.

:dance2:
 

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2007 Chrysler 300C built 5.7
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I couldn't do it by just pulling the liner. Honestly seems like less of a hassle to just pull the whole **** bumper. Worst design I've ever seen.
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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I couldn't do it by just pulling the liner. Honestly seems like less of a hassle to just pull the whole **** bumper. Worst design I've ever seen.
...I have read that some on this forum have done just that...and I am with you on the design thing. The passenger side is easier to get at than the drivers side because their is a lot of stuff on that side...washer fluid resevour etc.
 

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Replacing headlights depends on where you live and the enforcement policy of cops. In emerging Third World nations like California, headlight out vehicles are common.
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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My dealer, University Subaru in Columbia, MO, did it for free, just the cost of the bulb.
...that's nice of them. You are looking at at leat 20mins per side @ $75.00 hr for labor...that a saving.
 

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Ridiculous

...YUP! and unless you have hands the size of a 5 year old...good luck. It's a friggin pain in the #@$...bad design there.
I have a 2011 Outback. Pulling back the fender liner is not so easy as it seems. You have to remove five pins, four of which require a flat screw driver and one of which requires a SHORT Phillips screwdriver (3-4 inch working distance). Plus you need a flashlight AND hands the size of a 5 year old. Because I did not have a short enough screwdriver, I have to take the car to the dealer. Utterly stupid design.
 

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Here is pretty good YouTube on changing the headlight bulb, for a 2010 -2014 Outback, 15 minutes he says if you do not have to take the wheel off (depends on size of your hand).

 

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Mostly stock 2012 6MT.
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I can get the front bumper off of my car in less than 5 minutes no problem. From there, its seven 10mm bolts to pull the entire headlight assembly off, and then you have super easy access to all the bulbs in the headlight. If I had to change a low beam or marker light, that's the way I would do it. And then, once you have one headlight assembly off, you might as well change the other bulb. The entire job shouldn't take more than half an hour.
 

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It's not impossible, but almost. I had to remove 5 clips in order to pull the fender cover back. Used 2 short foam floaties to hold it out of the way. My hands are not small, could just get them through to the plastic cover, but could not get more than the end of my fingers to try to unscrew the cover. was able to get pliers on one of the fins on the cover from under the hood next to the battery to loosen it enough to remove it from below.
Once the cover was off, it was almost impossible to hold the new bulb in my fingers as I pushed my hand up through the tight opening. The spring clip is a little tricky and trying not to touch the halogen bulb against anything was impossible.
Putting the clips back in place was also a real pain. Took me over 2 hours, but would only be 30 minutes the next time, if I really wanted to do it next time.
Not really a fun time.
 

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On the right side it's easy enough if you remove the snorkel and air cleaner. The hard part is getting the cover back on, because of the thick o-ring. Remove the o-ring and practice fitting the cap. Once you have the feel, put the ring back in and tighten it up.

I haven't done the left side by removing the battery, but I bet it would be as easy. I've done it by removing the fender lining, and that's not a big deal either, except for the inconvenience of pulling the wheel and working from below.

Much too much is made of this. With a bit of practice, it's easy enough, even with clumsy paws. I had to have one installed by the dealer once, and it cost $60.
 

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2011 Outback 3.6 Limited
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Pulling bumper procedure?

I can get the front bumper off of my car in less than 5 minutes no problem. From there, its seven 10mm bolts to pull the entire headlight assembly off, and then you have super easy access to all the bulbs in the headlight. If I had to change a low beam or marker light, that's the way I would do it. And then, once you have one headlight assembly off, you might as well change the other bulb. The entire job shouldn't take more than half an hour.
I've seen this statement before. Do you have a diagram or anything showing how to remove the bumper? I haven't had to do this yet but I'm sure, at 4 years and 35000 miles, it's probably coming due. Thanks
 

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2011 Outback Premium CVT, AWP, Steel Silver
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I think I am going to the dealer.
It is just staying cold and I hate laying, kneeling, sitting on the cold pavement not to mention frozen fingers.
I already bought 2 low beam bulbs (the passenger side low beam is out) so I think I will give them those and have them replace the high beams too.
Sounds ridiculous but I really don't want to mess with this.
 

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2012, Outback 2.5 Premium 6-sp
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I agree this was way too difficult, but I found a trick. First of all, with the wheel well arch molding, removing the fender liner is a lot more involved so I wanted to avoid that. I did it entirely from under the hood.

I drilled a small hole through the fin of the cap before I removed it and marked the position. See photo. Then I put a small wire through it. This is because as soon as you remove the cap, it will fall into the inside of the fender. The wire will allow you to fish it out easily. Then just pull the connector off the bulb with your fingers. I was able to remove the wire clip that holds the bulb in pretty easily with the long nose pliers.

Installing the new bulb, reattaching the hold-down clip, and pressing on the connector is pretty easy and fast. Again, the long nose pliers were the trick. The only hard part is putting the cap back on. Mark it before you remove it so you know how it aligns. It only goes on one way so you need to know how to line it up before you press it in. You can see the mark that I made. With a screw driver (a bent one worked best - like the one in the photo) I was able to press the cap on squarely (with fingers in front and screwdriver on the back) and then twist it by the fins. I removed the battery first to gain access. All in all, I think I could do it again in 20 - 30 minutes and only swear a couple of times. Yeah, it's absurdly difficult but this trick really helped.
 

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2011 Outback Premium 2.5i CVT
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Just did mine 2 days ago...removed air filter assemblies for passenger side which was 20 minutes total. I stalled an access port through the fender lining...so I can easily reach through in the future. 2 hours there but the future savings is the payoff. Another member suggested the port method and works great. To save yourself bulb hassles...buy some latex gloves when handling, then you never have to worry about getting oil on the bulb.

As for those bulb covers...warm them up before reinstalling them...the o-ring is softer.
 

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2013 Outback 3.6R Limited
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This thread has some very good information. Thanks to all the posters. Once the winter weather is over I plan to replace my working OEM bulbs with new ones, to hopefully avoid aging bulbs burning out at the wrong time. These tips are great.
 
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