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2003 Subaru Outback 3.0-rear fog light not working


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Hi all,

My 2003 3.0 Outback rear fog light has stopped working for some reason, and try as I might I can't figure out why.

I'm no auto-electrician but I've been able to sort most things over the last 40 years when it comes to basic electrical problems on a car.

There is only 1 rear fog on the 2003 Outback as far as I know, which is on the o/side of the tailgate, in the same light cluster as the reversing light,

(which works fine).

The rear fog switch in the centre of the dash, near the ash tray, illuminates when the headlights are on with engine ticking over, so the rear fog

light should illuminate.

I swopped the old bulb for a new one (using a normal side-light bulb), but the rear fog still doesn't light up?

There hasn't been any dismantling of the dashboard or anything along those lines, which may have created a problem, so it seems odd a new bulb hasn't rectified the problem.

The bulb issue was highlighted when I took the car for the MOT, so i'm not sure when the rear fog bulb stop working.

Last time I checked the fog light it was working (approx. 6 mth ago), so i'm now scratching my head as to the cause.

Does the rear fog light need a special bulb?  and not a normal sidelight bulb???

I have removed the plastic cover on the inside of the tailgate to access to the rear fog and reversing bulb cluster, and checked if the wires

were corroded etc but everything is still nice and clean etc as when it left the factory

I know there could be a break in the live wire to the rear fog, in the wiring loom from the switch, but it seems a long shot for a break to spontaneously

happen for no reason.

Any advice is appreciated before I have to look for a local auto-electrician.

Cheers ;)


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Thanks Greenmamba,

Are you referring to the o/side tailgate hinge, which is the same side as the rear fog light cluster?

Not sure what you mean by the D post if i'm honest. Are you referring to where the loom exits from the rear load area at roof-lining height, and then enters into the tailgate?

Which side of the car viewing from the back?

Appreciate your time on this,


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Just had a look at the rubber cover/shroud I think you were referring to Greenmamba.

(One end of the shroud push fits into the hole for the tailgate wiring gloom, and the other end push fits at the side of the o/s rear

tailgate hinge where the wiring exits the main body of the cargo area at roof liner height.)

I've had a fiddle about with the wiring but the rear fog still not working. (I thought I might see the fog bulb suddenly light up)

Is there an easy way of testing for a break in the wire, or try to re-route a length of new wire from the fog light switch to the fog light bulb

cluster to by-pass the original wire and see if the light comes on?

I'm not sure how to remove or get to the rear of the front/rear fog light switch assembly,

is it screwed in place or held in with some sort of clips?



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For info, the D post refers to it being the fourth post (betw body and roof) counting back from the post at the windscreen which is A. Yep, those are the rubber boots I referred to. The wiring tends to get brittle over time and breaks. If this is where the problem lies, it may not be immediately obvious. As for the switch, you'd probably find it's held in place by clips and to get it out you'll have to disassemble part of the dashboard around it.

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  • 3 weeks later...


If you do?   There is a small pin in the electrics situated at about 2.00 o'clock to 10; past 2.00,  it's tiny but if it's stuck in your fog light won't work!!   Happened to me; you'll need a small pointy nose pliers or a strong tweezers to pull it out.   The pin is to stop glare from the fog light when your towing a caravan,  the pin eliminates the car fog light but not the fog light on the caravan.

This is quite a common fault with tow-bar electrics.

Here's a post I found on another Car Forum.

I had a problem with my rear fog lamp not illuminating.

All was OK with the wiring etc. I had heard about the fog lamp cut off but did not know what or where it was. searches of previous posts or the web did not make to too clear.

It is very simply a push button inside the 7 pin trailer electrics socket next to the tow bar (usually between pins 1 and 2). In theory the button is pressed down when you insert the plug for the trailer lights and this action turns off the car rear fog lamp/s to stop them reflecting off the towed trailer. 

But this push switch gets stuck down with muck and corrosion. The net result is no fog lamps on the van as the socket always 'thinks' a plug is plugged into it.

Its an easy fix for the home DIYer either clean and lubricate the socket or get a new one.

Check this first if rear fogs fail to work and you have a tow bar electrical socket.

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