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After observing quite a few different threads pop up for interior and exterior LEDs, a main 'sticky' post was requested with details on lighting options. While Subaru does offer an upgrade option, the number of LEDs upgraded is pretty limited for the cost. This is not to say that the Subaru option is not a good one. If you have no skill at all with turning a wrench or lightly prying parts, then that option is a great one if you want to upgrade the lighting.



Premium, Limited, and Touring Models (6 bulbs)
https://subaruonlineparts.com/subaru-ascent-interior-lighting-upgrade-p-4870.html

Base Models Only (4 bulbs)
https://subaruonlineparts.com/subaru-ascent-interior-lighting-upgrade-base-models-p-4869.html

If you have a little skill, you can potentially make your $ go much further. This is by no means comprehensive, but it is a starting point for you to take a look at and decide what might work best for you.

I will start by saying that I opted to use Diode Dynamics LEDs because I have been very happy with their LEDs in the past. In terms of cost, they are not as expensive per bulb as the Subaru option, but you may end up spending as much (or more) as the Subaru option while replacing many more bulbs. The following are the bulbs which I upgraded from front to back:



(4) Four - 28mm SMF2 LED bulbs for the visors/vanity bulbs. Sold in pairs. 2 needed for each visor:
https://www.diodedynamics.com/28mm-smf2-led-one.html

28mm SMF1 LED bulbs are also available at a lower cost if you're not interested in as much output
https://www.diodedynamics.com/28mm-smf1-led-one.html



(15) Fifteen - 194 HP5 LED bulbs for the following locations (92 lumen):
2 - 1st row dome lights
2 - 2nd row dome lights (close doors when changing to allow bulbs to cool)
2 - 3rd row dome lights (close doors when changing to allow bulbs to cool)
2 - front door puddle lights
2 - rear door puddle lights
2 - tail light marker lights (not totally necessary but easy to swap if changing reverse bulbs. see below)
2 - License plate lights
1 - trunk LED

https://www.diodedynamics.com/194-hp5-led-one.html

also available are 194 HP3 bulbs at a lower output (56 lumen) and cost
https://www.diodedynamics.com/194-hp3-led-one.html

If only looking to change the color temp, you can opt for the 194 SMD2 LEDs for the biggest cost savings (stock output -24 lumens)
https://www.diodedynamics.com/194-smd2-led-one.html

There are marker lights in the headlights but I have not removed a headlight to see the best way to access these marker lights and therefore I can not say that it is possible.



(2) Two - 921 XP50 LED Reverse Lights (410 lumen)
https://www.diodedynamics.com/backup-leds-for-2014-2018-subaru-forester-pair.html

The XP50 is the brightest option available for reverse lights through Diode Dynamics and carries a pretty hefty cost. With that being said, they offer great light output and through my observations, appear to increase visibility in both the mirrors and the backup camera on screen.

Another option if you're looking for more reverse lights at a lower cost is the HP36 (210 lumens)

Changing the reverse lights is really very simple. See the below video for more details on that.



Last is an optional tailgate LED option. I contacted Subispeed to ask if their 'Forester' tailgate light would fit the Ascent and I was told that they could not verify fitment. I opted to give it a try and found that the light panel is a direct fit once the stock panel is removed. The light output is great and adds to the rear light if you are the type of person that drives a lot at night.
Here is a link to that light option. Also keep in mind that this is not a simple plug and play like just swapping a bulb. Rear tailgate panels will need to be removed and wiring will need to be brought down to the trunk light to be plugged in. This item has also been on backorder for many members so keep in mind that shipping may be delayed (see attached photos).

OLM JDM Precision LED Lift Gate Light - 2014+ Forester - Lighting - 14+ Forester

I should note that when I had my dash cameras installed, I asked the shop to run the wiring down from the tailgate light to the trunk light for me. I did not run this wiring but I was not told there were any issues with the plugs matching up and being a direct fit as in the Forester. If I find out otherwise, I will update this thread.

**NOTES**
1. Ensure that if ordering from Diode Dynamics, that you select 'pair' when necessary to get the correct quantity.

2. Diode Dynamics runs sales around major holidays, so if you are not in a rush, wait until a holiday and look for coupon codes. I ordered with 20% off.

3. As of this post, I have not found a way to upgrade the turn signals to LED. I have looked under the dash for a module that can be replaced as in prior Subarus, but have not found any obvious modules. I will also update any information on that if found.

4. There are many different brands of bulbs that are available and by no means is Diode Dynamics the only bulb out there. Some of our members have found that the below listed 194 bulbs from amazon work great and are insanely cheap.




Confirmed Working Alternatives

Video Guide:
5. I created a rough video, at the request of some members on here, showing how to change some of the LEDs on the vehicle. My daughter did the filming for me and as most 7 year olds do, she trailed off and lost focus. Apparently people on youtube are serious about the quality required for their tutorial videos. I don't quite think I met the threshold of quality for some, but it may help get a few people over the fence in terms of being comfortable enough to do it themselves.

here is the video:

If you have questions or would like additional info, please feel free to ask. Thanks to @FoRealz for the sticky
 

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thanks for this, once I get mind I will see what I want to replace. Doing this made a world of difference in my STi
 

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Awesome post. Thanks for all that info. I already purchased an interior kit from eBay for around $20 but you get what you pay for...they're not incredibly bright but look so much nicer than standard stock bulbs. The license plate lights make a huge difference on the exterior as well.
On my last vehicle (I won't even admit what it was) I installed LED turn signals by swapping the bulbs and mounting a resistor behind each one to prevent hyperflashing. Has anyone looked to see if there's room for this in the Ascent? It would be much cleaner to do it by changing a relay or something, but the instant on-off of LED is worth it either way in my opinion.
Lastly, since I have Halogen headlights, has anyone tried changing them to LED's? I also did this in my last vehicle with great results. My main concern is the warnings in the owner manual about any modifications affecting the eyesight system at night...
 

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I went the cheap Amazon route and installed them today on the interior minus the visors. Took all of 10 minutes. I tried to do the license plate bulbs following the owners manual, but i could not get the covers to slide inward and twist. Any one else have luck? The exterior lights will happen down the line.
 

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I went the cheap Amazon route and installed them today on the interior minus the visors. Took all of 10 minutes. I tried to do the license plate bulbs following the owners manual, but i could not get the covers to slide inward and twist. Any one else have luck? The exterior lights will happen down the line.
it took a bit of force but the license plate light covers came off with a push toward the centerline of the vehicle (ie push the passenger side left and driver side right when looking from behind), then the bulb came out of the assembly with an easy twist.
 

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it took a bit of force but the license plate light covers came off with a push toward the centerline of the vehicle (ie push the passenger side left and driver side right when looking from behind), then the bulb came out of the assembly with an easy twist.
Actually doesn't take much force, just the right method. First use the pry tool to break the "seal" around the housing and then slide inward a bit. the housing will come right out.

Interesting tidbit: Push toward centerline like the manual states for the Ascent. Push away from centerline for a 2017 Impreza. go figure.
 

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Actually doesn't take much force, just the right method. First use the pry tool to break the "seal" around the housing and then slide inward a bit. the housing will come right out.

Interesting tidbit: Push toward centerline like the manual states for the Ascent. Push away from centerline for a 2017 Impreza. go figure.
Question on this, when you mean break the "seal" do you might the black rubber foam part, or does the actually clear casing come right off? Tried this yesterday and was having a hard time
 

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Question on this, when you mean break the "seal" do you might the black rubber foam part, or does the actually clear casing come right off? Tried this yesterday and was having a hard time
yes. the black rubber foam part stays on the bulb assembly so you'll need to separate that from the vehicle.
 

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yes. the black rubber foam part stays on the bulb assembly so you'll need to separate that from the vehicle.
Thanx for the info. was scared to break to rip that. I ended up taking the plastic off the inside of the trunk to get to the bulbs but unless you have super tiny hands its almost impossible to change the bulb from there but it was easy to take the plastic off the trunk
 

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This is my build on re-lamp all LED Dome light, cargo, door, license plate light, sun visor light and back up light.

Dome Light (6) + bottom of doors (4) + Aft cargo (1) + License plate (2) = 13 bulbs
http://a.co/d/cCRSzjh

Sun visor (4)
http://a.co/d/2Hyqd8t

Back up light (2)
http://a.co/d/i9qaxRt

For License Plate light replacement, please see the youtube link below, it is the same theory applies to Ascent. Enjoi
 

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I havent checked the light panels on the bottom of the doors yet, but is it essentially the same, where you pry one side to pop out the plastic? Is there a section/side you should focus more to pry?
 

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I havent checked the light panels on the bottom of the doors yet, but is it essentially the same, where you pry one side to pop out the plastic? Is there a section/side you should focus more to pry?

Yes, the door step lights are similar to the cargo area light. The door step lights have a visible slot, towards the engine, where you can insert a flat-head screwdriver to gently pry it out. The rear door lights are easier to access because of the angle of the light fixture.
 

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Yes, the door step lights are similar to the cargo area light. The door step lights have a visible slot, towards the engine, where you can insert a flat-head screwdriver to gently pry it out. The rear door lights are easier to access because of the angle of the light fixture.

Thanks for the confirmation @ShadyT !
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If I receive an email from DD with a Labor Day sale, I will post the details. Hopefully they will offer one.
 

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I ordered the HD5 LEDs from Diode Dynamics to replace the dome lights and the door puddle lights. I also got the 28mm LEDs to replace the sun shade lights. Easy installation. Hardest part was prying off the light covers. Took about 1/2 hour for entire car. They look great!
 
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