2007 forester taillights on when car is off

Asked by Knoonie Apr 04, 2014 at 10:50 PM about the 2007 Subaru Forester 2.5 X

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hi.  Have a Subaru Forster that has tail lamps on all the time.   I checked the switching
the steering column and the TAIL LIGHTS (not the brake lights) stay on.    I removed the
10amp fuse to avoid the battery drain but need help figuring this one out.  I have not
replaced any bulbs and no work has been done to the car.   The only oddity is the radio
has trouble getting reception.   Any help is kindly appreciated.  Kevin

13 Answers


Is there a switch on top of the steering column? I know 03-05 has a parking light switch there between the steering wheel and instrument panel.

2 people found this helpful.

Walth Thanks for the response. I already had checked that switch and in either position with the vehicle keys out the tail lights stay lit. Today I took the housing off the steering column to see if there was a switch issue. I disconnected the switch and two things happened. 1 the taillights went out so that was good. Second was when I did turn on the headlights the tail lamps did not light so failure. Put everything back together and still have a car with lit tail lamps all the time unless I pull the 10 amp fuse. Let me know if you have any thoughts.


Interesting. My first thoughts are either a) short in a wire b) melted connector somewhere (obviously in that circuit) or c) moisture in a connector. The passenger B pillar area should be the location of your bulkhead connectors from the front to the back. I can't find that parking switch in my 04 manual and I can't find non-stop lights, like the ones you are dealing with. My thought is, those smaller filaments are on the same circuit, which is why both are on. Each connector for the tail lights (TL) should be inside the car, behind each panel between each TL and wheel well. **after about 10 minutes of researching** Have you asked anyone on a subaru forum? I find it interesting that you have this issue and it isn't blowing the fuse. Also, the parking light switch is supposed to turn on the license plate lights too - might try putting in that fuse and seeing if it changes on and off. I'm thinking it is not that switch. I wish I had better info for you! **How about this - put in the fuse, the dim tail lights come on, open up the hatch, pull up on the spare tire cover, look down inside the car and there should be a wire loom running around knee level. Wiggle it and see if the lights get dim/go out, all across as much as you can get to. And then if that isn't it, try forums and the connectors, etc. Keep in touch and I wish you well.

Walth. Sorry for the delayed response. I took off the rear tail lamps and checked the wiring. Looking for shorts or water/moisture. I also unhooked the antena also and still the tail lights stay lit. Tried moving wires that I could access thru the rear pillars. I am at a loss of why this is happening. I will try the Subaru site. Greatly appreciate your help as no one else has any thoughts. Will keep this updated as I proceed will be next week as I am on a plane for the next week


Have a safe trip. For when you get back, have you seen this? http://www.fixya.com/cars/t8474906- 1998_subaru_forester_s_model_brake I will be very interested to see what it turns out to be. You can at least rule out the twisty knob for the head lights, because this is only a back lights single filament issue. I'm thinking you might want to get a cheap set of circuit testers, alligator clip and the light bulb with needle probe, and figure out what pin your wiring is for those lights at the bulkhead connector on the passenger side B-pillar (sucky news, it works wonders to remove the passenger seat to work on those since they're under the carpet). I would probe them while connected through the back side of the connector and see which ones are getting power, then unplug them and see if it stays the same and check both sides so you know if the issue is on the front of the car or the back half. Also, whatever forum you're on, LMK, I'm on Nasioc and SF, but there are several others to choose from. later

walth - i have been unable to resolve the probelm. I did not post this on any other sites yet, but did talk to my nephew who is WRXi expert and he said he has heard of this and that it is in the radio ground. It looks like I iwll have to tear down the dash and check the radio connections. Same issues still reside. Will update you when i return next week... if i can get a day to perform this task. Frustrating as electrical gremlins are the worst.


Have you tried checking the relay for the rear lights? I think it is called the tail illumination relay. And I know you pulled the parking switch, but you may want to check resistance when it is on and when it is off. You will need a multimeter but they can be as good as free (harbor freight) to 5-10 bucks to 30 for decent / practical ones. Or.. up in the hundreds of $$$. I attached a pic for the 04 switch diagnostic. I think either of the "TAIL" or "parking switch" wires could mess with that circuit. So, if one of them is stuck "ON" then it will leave them running. But since you verified removing the parking switch turned off the lights, that is probably the culprit. I wish I knew more on all this stuff.. sucks learning as you go. Oh, and the $10 parking switch on ebay says 03- 08 so I hope the pic attached works accurately for you as well.

1 people found this helpful.

It's only been "2 weeks".. it feels like it been months. ha. Any luck yet?

1 people found this helpful.

walth - have been unable to "fix" the issue. Rather have cut power to the radio and at this juncture for the past week been able to keep the fuse in and no taillights on. Still nee to figure out a permanent solution as no radio is not cutting it. Hoping the upcoming long weekend will allow me to tear intot the dashboard somemore.


Knoonie, were you ever able to resolve this issue? I would love to see what came about. Plus, it would be extremely effective for anyone else with this issue verses the mess I provided above ;) I hope all is well. Best regards,


Knoonie, you still there friend? I just sent this thread to someone who I think may be having a similar issue. They may need your help. Kind regards,

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