License Plate Lights on 2005 Subaru Outback

The license plate lights have stopped working, preventing the car from passing safety inspection. Both terminals appear to be open. Everything else on the circuit is working fine, so the problem appears to be downstream of the fuse box. The schematic shows one connector between the bulbs and the fuse box. I’m trying to locate this connector to see if the problem lies there or to at least narrow down the location of the problem to forward or aft of this connector. The wiring runs up into the ceiling of the car, and I have no idea where it goes from there. I’m hoping someone can help me zero in on the location of this connector to save me from tearing apart the interior looking for it.


The most probable point for failure would be the transition from the body to the tailgate. Check the wires there. If you have voltage or broken wire there it narrows down the area of the problem

I assume you have already made sure that the bulbs are ok and are not burned out. There may be a connector located near the right rear taillights. I suggest you check that area for a connector. Another possibility is the wire may be broken where it goes through the roof to the hatch door.

I found the subject connector under the interior panel in the hatch not more than 12 inches from the lights. To my surprise, it was completely disconnected. I reconnected it, and the lights worked fine. It seems suspicious to me that this was disconnected. The connector wasn’t broken and snapped together firmly when I reassembled it, so it seems impossible that it would have vibrated apart. As I mentioned in the original post, the problem showed up during a safety inspection. How did it come apart? Lesson learned: do your own inspection before bringing it to the shop for the official inspection.

Glad you found the trouble and thanks for the update.