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2015 Forester
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello - My first post.

My 2015 Forester just started with this problem yesterday.
1. Hill assist light and warning message appeared
2. While troubleshooting, I noticed the rear lights turn on incorrectly. This may have been an existing issue that I didn't notice until I started troubleshooting the hill assist problem.

I have not touched the car yet trying to fix the problem because the hill assist along with the odd brake light problem is confusing. Maybe two separate problems?

I've attached a picture to help explain the brake light issue. I looked at the brakes because "Brake light Switch" came up a lot in google searches for the hill assist error.

Thanks in advance for any help /suggestions you can give me. The car has 179K on her. Manual Transmission
Car Automotive tail & brake light Tire Vehicle Vehicle registration plate
 

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Super Moderator
2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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5,313 Posts
There was a brake light recall from a while back in the SJ generation Foresters. If you have not had that done, go get it done.



The reason that the dash lights up like that is because the signal from the brake light switch (which also lights up the rear lights) is used in so many other systems.

GO to the dealer.

PS - welcome to the forum. Please take a few moments to review the threads here (about general member information and the forum rules) and please fill out your public profile details.

 

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Super Moderator
2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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5,313 Posts
... and yes - totally unrelated issues.

The tail lamp / brake lamp lay out is this -

Automotive tail & brake light Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Hood Automotive design

(my own Forester)

It may be that somebody swapped the tail and brake lamp bulbs in your Forester. Fixing that is easy.

Automotive parking light Automotive tail & brake light Automotive side marker light Automotive lighting Automotive tire

(from a google search)
  • Open the rear hatch.
  • Remove 2 10mm bolts
  • Slide the housing backwards - carefully.
  • Untwist the lamps (top n bottom) and swap.
  • Slide housing back in place
  • Tighten 2 10mm bolts.
Done.

But still check to see if the recall was ever done.
 

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2015 Forester
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks the great responses.

I called the dealer and yes, the light switch recall was performed back in 2019 when I had the cracked coil spring issue fixed.

I’ve been driving around to see if I could get any additional info for trouble shooting.
This happened:

1. When I started driving the hill assist display was on and the “I” (info) symbol was on my display. I noticed the fault would flash up again with a beep a few times while I was driving. This seemed to happen while I was shifting. So this leads me to believe maybe the error is being caused by something in the clutch circuit?

The hill assist indicator on the dash went out after a few minutes of driving. I turned the car off and and on a few times and the “I” symbol on the display went away as well. I’m sure it will come back.

2. With the hill assist error gone temporarily, I checked the brake lights - that problem is still there. So you guys were right - totally unrelated. I replaced the left rear tail lamp assembly ( tailgate strut mounted t broke and cracked the taillight housing ) many many years ago - like 5. It would be freaky if I was driving around like this the whole time!!! I normally do my own oil change , but this past winter I had a quickie lube do it and they performed the normal brake light check and did didn’t mention any problem. I’ll definitely check the bulbs next.

Thanks again for the help.
 

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2015 Forester
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Ok - so I moved the bulbs and sockets - brake light problem solved. Took literally 30 seconds. I am a total idiot for making this mistake. The lights must have been this way for 5 years and I just noticed it while troubleshooting the Hill Assist error. So much for the oil change place brake check. Quick story about that visit - I noticed the car was shaking quite a bit when the guy was trying to take off the oil filter. I got out to see what was going on... he was turning the filter the wrong way!!! He was tightening it. He demolished the filter in the process. I made sure they noted the incident and I checked the flange and everything looked OK , so I didn't make a fuss.

Thanks FozzieBalou for the pics to the screws. The housing slid right out with no drama.

I drove around quite a bit today around - 45 miles to hike and back - and the hill assist dash and display never came back. They will though, I just know it.

Since the error seemed to beep when I was making shifts, I googled a bit more and included "clutch" along with "hill assist". This came up and I think it is the most likely culprit. Hill Start Assist (HSA) Warning Light, DTC C0076 - 2008-2015 Subaru

Anyone ever had the clutch pedal switch go bad/out of adjustment and cause the hill assist error?
 
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