Changing the bulbs that back light the instrument panel in the Subaru Forester should be considered a requirement for safe driving. If you cannot see your gauges, you have no idea how fast or slow you are driving: both are a serious hazard to other drivers. The bulbs that light the instrument panel are located behind the gauges and are accessed by removing the instrument cluster. This is a good project to undertake at home and is easy to complete.
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Things you need
- Phillips head screwdriver
Adjust the tilt steering to the lowest position so that the steering wheel sits as low as possible. This is necessary for clearance when removing the instrument cluster.
Locate the two screws on the top of the bezel that surrounds the instrument cluster. Remove them with a Phillips screwdriver and set them in a safe place for use during reassembly. Pull the bezel straight out and remove it from the dashboard, setting it aside for now.
Locate the three screws on the instrument cluster that secure it to the dash. Remove all three screws using a Phillips screwdriver and set the screws aside. Do not lose them as you will need them to put the cluster back in later.
Pull the cluster straight out until you can access the electrical connector on the top of the cluster. Unplug the connector and pull the cluster all the way out. You can now access the sockets on the rear of the cluster for the bulbs.
Turn the bulb socket counterclockwise to unlock it and pull the socket and bulb out of the cluster. Remove the bulb from the socket and replace it with a new bulb. Insert the socket back into the cluster and turn it clockwise until it locks.
Slide the cluster back into the dash and plug in the electrical connector at the top of the cluster. Slide the cluster all the way into the dash and align the mounting holes.
Install the three retaining screws through the cluster and into the dash. Tighten the screws with a Phillips screwdriver. Slide the instrument cluster bezel into the dash and install the two retaining screws. Tighten the screws with a Phillips screwdriver.
Turn on the lights and verify that all of the instrument cluster lights are working. Check the function of the gauges as well. They are electric and are fed by the connector that you took off the cluster, so if it isn't tight or connected correctly, the gauges won't function properly.
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