How to Replace a Subaru Headlight: Easy DIY Steps for a Brighter Drive

As a responsible car owner, it’s important to ensure that all parts of your vehicle are functioning perfectly, including the headlights. If you drive a Subaru and your headlight goes out, don’t panic! In this article, we’ll guide you through the easy steps to replace your 1997 Subaru headlight on your own. No need to pay a mechanic or auto specialist. Let’s get started!

Tools Needed

Before you begin, gather the following tools:

  • New headlight bulb (make sure it’s compatible with your 1997 Subaru model)
  • Screwdriver (depending on your Subaru model, it could be either a Phillips or a flathead)
  • Latex gloves (optional but recommended)
  • Cleaning cloth (to avoid getting fingerprints on the new bulb)
  • Safety glasses (to protect your eyes from the bulb if it accidentally shatters)

Steps to Safely Remove and Install Headlight

  1. Turn off your Subaru engine and remove the keys from the ignition. Let the car cool down for a few minutes before proceeding to avoid the risk of burning yourself on an overheated headlight.

  2. Open the hood of your car. Locate the back of the headlight you want to replace, and take a look at the back of the bulb holder.

  3. Remove the old bulb by rotating it counterclockwise and pulling it outwards from the socket. Be gentle and careful, as the bulb could easily break or shatter.

  4. If the back of the headlight or the bulb holder is dirty, clean it with a soft cloth to avoid any problems installing the new bulb.

  5. With your gloves on to avoid getting fingerprints on the new bulb, unpack and insert the new bulb into the socket. Remember to be gentle and don’t try to force the bulb into place. Once inserted, gently turn the bulb clockwise and secure it into the holder by rotating it gently.

  6. Once the bulb is in place, turn on your car and test the lights, to ensure it’s working properly. If the new bulb still isn’t working, it could be a different issue and you may have to seek expert opinion.

  7. Finally, remember to put everything back in place, then close and secure your car’s hood.

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Precautions to Take

  • Make sure the car is entirely cool before you start the process.
  • Always wear your gloves and safety glasses
  • Do not touch the new bulb with your bare hands, fingerprints on it can damage the bulb and lower its lifespan.
  • Take care when handling the headlight and the bulb, as they are fragile objects and can easily shatter
  • Verify also with the manual of your Subaru model to make sure you are following the recommended process to change the bulb.

Tips for Proper Alignment

Once you’ve replaced the Subaru headlight with a new one, it’s crucial to ensure it’s correctly placed and properly aligned. Follow the tips below to ensure the correct alignment.

  • Always park your car on a level surface and stand about 10-15 feet away from a flat wall or garage door.
  • From this distance, you should be able to see how the beam of your headlight is shining.
  • Eyeball the height of the beam and check if it’s even. The height of the beam will depend on the type of Subaru you have.


Q: Can I change my Subaru headlight without special tools?
A: Yes, all you need are a screwdriver, gloves, and a new headlight bulb.

Q: Does it matter which type of bulb I use?
A: Yes, it’s critical to install a bulb that’s compatible with your 1997 Subaru model. Consult your manual or ask an expert for guidance.

Q: Should I replace both headlight bulbs at the same time?
A: Yes, it’s recommended to replace both headlights to ensure that your headlights will be the same brightness.

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Now that you know the proper steps to replace your 1997 Subaru headlight, you have the power to save money on repair costs and maintain your vehicle on your own. Remember to take all the precautions mentioned, including wearing gloves and safety glasses, cleaning the bulb holder, and verifying the installation and alignment of the new bulb. With the right tools and knowledge, you can quickly and easily replace your Subaru headlight and ensure you have a clear view of the road ahead!

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Peter Banks

With years of experience as a professional mechanic and Subaru specialist, Peter is one of the most respected members of our team. He's written several articles on Subaru maintenance and repair, and his advice and tips are always practical and helpful. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes.

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