Subaru Tech tips and tricks

Outback, Tribeca, Legacy, Forester, Impreza, WRX, STi, Baja...


Keyless entry, alarm security systems, immobilizer key FAQ
Navigation System
Tire Pressure Monitor system, FAQ 
Understanding tires, wheels, FAQ
Air Filtration System ac system dust pollen filter
Factory Warranty,  towing with your Subaru, FAQ
Maintenance schedules, service intervals
Safety: airbags, child seats, ratings, FAQ
Subaru-speak: glossary of common Subaru terms
SITEMAP, contact

Outback prices, options, specs03 Forester

Subaru Tips, Hints and Work-Arounds
Suggestions wanted!

An unofficial site by Joe Spitz who is solely responsible for all content.
This independent website is not authorized, supported or sponsored by SoA or any dealership!

Tech tips, comments and corrections should be directed to Joe Spitz. contact
thank you...

you are here: 12.3.10
Photos, text, formatting c. J. Spitz. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited
03 Baja truck

NOTE: These may not recommended by Subaru. Text may have been edited and all tips should be confirmed with a qualified Subaru repair shop.

User accepts full responsibility for any and all safety, warranty, mechanical, insurance or legal issues caused by or related to these procedures.
These procedures are done completely at your own risk and users accept all responsibility for any results.
This information is unofficial and unconfirmed.

more winter and cold weather driving and car care tips

Submissions, ideas wanted. Do you have tips or hints that should be here? send them in
issue model tech tip
Bluetooth, hands free Bluetooth for your cell phone all if the Bluetooth stops working, try a battery pull on the phone- remove the battery for 30 seconds or so.
Outside temp guage inaccurate or no temp at all, headlights dimming 09 Impreza Check through connector under fuse box for corrosion
Dew formation on the inside of head and tail lights.
(December 2007)
all Due to the recent head and tail lamp design change, dew formation may be visible on the inside of the lamps. This is temporary and will disappear when the temperature rises or when the lights are turned on for a while.
This is most noticeable in the late fall and early spring. This condition occurs when there is a difference in the temperature between the evening and morning or when washing a vehicle with cold water on a warm day when the lamps are warm. This is the same symptom as dew formation on the surface of window glass. 1) If a lamp is unevenly warmed by sunshine, the temperature of the area where the sun shines is about 50° F higher than the other area. When air circulates inside the lamp, the warm air reacts to the cold surface and dew appears.  Replacement of the lamps for dew formation is not a matter for warranty. 
PZEV idle fluctuation
partial zero emission vehicle
(October 2007)
PZEV models sold outside California PZEV idle fluctuation (“hunting”) during cold starts which generally last about 20 to 30 seconds the cause is a combination of factors including
1. Fuel blends. 2. Percentage of Ethanol content of the fuel being used. 3. Outside Temperature. 4. Narrow operating range of the Air Fuel Ratio Sensor.
The main cause of this fluctuation is fuel related and not the vehicle.
PZEV engines are designed to run on fuel blended for distribution within certain areas of the U.S. (such as the state of California). Fuels in other markets that may have adopted California emission standards, may be a slightly different blend. If you live in any other state than California, your vehicle will operate on gasoline meeting Federal specifications. However, PZEV vehicles may experience this issue especially during the summer months when summer blend fuels are distributed. There is no effect on vehicle emissions, and no short or long term damage will occur due to this issue.
The condition may be reduced or eliminated by changing to a fuel that contains a lesser percentage or no Ethanol. Also, a light throttle application while the vehicle is exhibiting this condition will stabilize the idle. As we move towards cooler weather many areas of the country will be changing to a winter blend of fuel which may also alleviate the condition.
Tire pressure monitor warning light

Many models have TPMS but starting with 2008 models, all are equipped with it.

all with TPMS TPMS tire pressure monitoring: the dashboard warning light may come on due to change of outside temperature, with cold weather causing a decrease in tire pressure making the warning light go on. 
This is normal and tire pressure should be checked and corrected seasonally. 
You might want to slightly increase the tire pressure dxuring cold months.
Driving app 1 mile after increasing tire prssure should turn off the warning light.
The TMPS is designed to warn of app 20-25% drop in tire pressure.
aftermarket iPod auxilliary stereo input plug all Starting in 07 most models have an auxilliary stereo input plug (iPod). Now you can add one aftermarket and here's what you need from Jazzy Engineering
Note: I'm told it works but haven't seen one so let me know. Aftermarket means it isn't Subari factory authorized. And please mention to Jazzy that you saw it on
Refilling Cooling System all If you must open or drain the cooling system, you want to eliminate trapped air. Try to use ramps or other SAFE method of raising the front of the car, set the climate system on max
heat, open the radiator and fill with approved coolant mix AND the Subaru Conditioner - especially on 2.5 liter engines. (caution - anti-freeze is sweet tasting and EXTREMELY toxic in even small amounts to mammals - clean any spills). Fill radiator to 'neck' and start car. Monitor the radiator level and add coolant as required. Run engine until the cooling fan comes on and continue to fill as necessary. Fill the overflow bottle to the full or slightly over
mark. Install the radiator cap. At this point, a more secure path to take is to allow the entire car to cool - several hours to overnight, and repeat the warm-up with rad. cap removed. Fill radiator as necessary. Or, install rad. cap and operate car as normal. DO monitor the temp gauge. DO monitor the fluid level in the overflow bottle and check the radiator level (carefully - only when cold) after the next 2-3 'drive cycles'. Small amounts of fluid may be drawn into the system from the overflow bottle, top off as required. If large amounts of coolant go missing, or large amounts of bubbles are in the radiator, or if there is any 'scum' or 'latte' looking substance in the coolant - there could be a problem with the car. If this procedure is not clear, or seems too daunting - let a qualified mechanic work on your cooling system.
Check engine light all  The check engine light can be on for many  reasons, some requiring prompt attention. If you put gas in the car and didn't tighten the gas cap, the check engine light comes on. The light will turn itself off but that can take over 20 on-off cycles. Or try disconnecting the battery for 20-30 minutes. Of course a dealer or repair shop should read the code to determine the exact reason the light is on, then re-set and turn it off. So be sure to tighten the gas cap, and don't just ignore the light
Climate control temp fluctuates models with climate control Climate control temp fluctuates, check RPM sensor on the AC compressor
Forester, manual transmission all with manual The manual comes with a hill holder clutch. It's important to let off the clutch completely to release the hill holder. Many folks will light ride the clutch as they move in and out of parking sports or in traffic etc, but this may cause the hill holder to stay engaged
improve fuel economy wagons Remove cross bars to improve economy and reduce drag. Thanks to MZ in New York
windshield fogs up when car is off all The front defrost settings are an open, fresh air setting and as a result the inside of the windshield might fog up when the car is turned off especially in cold or wet weather. 
When you turn the car off leave the heat setting on any heat or vent position and not defrost.
seatbelt beeping 05, 06 Legacy, Outback, Baja, Tribeca Temporary: buckle and un-buckle the driver and/or passenger seatbelt 3 times in 6 seconds after turning the car to either 'accessory' or 'on' (varies by year, model)
Disable the seatbelt beeping: buckle and un-buckle the driver and/or passenger seatbelt 20 times in 30 seconds after turning the car to acc.
You should always buckle up!
disable all wheel drive
when using temporary spare tire
automatic transmission When driving with the space saver temporary spare tire, insert the fuse in the FWD (front wheel drive) slot. This slot should normally be empty and the fuse should only be inserted  to -disable- the awd system. The FWD slot is found in a small box labeled FWD on the passenger side by the firewall or in the main fuse box on the driver's side.
alarm activated, don't have remote to turn alarm off, and can't start car most insert key in ignition and turn on-off 3 times, older models -without- an Immobilizer Key
intercooler water bottle frozen and cracked STI keep only partly filled with water (only)
ET elaspsed time in trip computer doesn't work 2005, 2006 Legacy, Outback  the trip computer's ET elapsed time setting works when the ignition key is briefly paused at the 'on' setting and may not work if the key is turned too quickly.
Note: May 2006, repair bulletin #08-37-06