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December 2012
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Subaru “Check Engine” Light
Here’s what to do when your Check Engine light comes on

Your Subaru comes with several of its own self-monitoring systems, including the engine and emissions control system check, which helps ensure the safe and reliable operation of your Subaru.
 
You may notice that every time you start your Subaru, the “Check Engine” light flashes briefly as your vehicle tests its own engine and emissions control systems; however, if the Check Engine light remains on or comes back on while you are driving, it could be the sign of a problem.
 
Your safest bet is to drive straight to a Subaru dealership and have Subaru-certified technicians diagnose the problem. In many cases, the issue that triggered the light is minor, but it’s best to let your Subaru service department find out the cause right away. Here are some of the reasons your “Check Engine” light might come on:
 
The gas cap – If you have recently refueled your Subaru, the cause of the warning light could be a loose or missing fuel filler cap. Try removing the cap and then retightening it until it clicks, while making sure that nothing is interfering with the sealing of the cap. Even if this is the cause of the warning signal, the light may not turn off immediately; it may take several driving trips. 
  • Electronic accessories – Installation of electrically-powered accessories, such as a radar detector or keyless entry system, could trigger the Check Engine light. 
  • Engine misfire condition – In this situation, you will encounter a blinking – as opposed to a solid – Check Engine light, in which case you should go directly to a Subaru dealership for service, especially if the vehicle goes into “limp” mode, which means less power and lower fuel mileage. 
In the case of a blinking light, you should also:
 
o   Reduce vehicle speed
o   Avoid hard acceleration
o   Avoid steep uphill grades
o   Reduce the amount of cargo, if possible
o   If towing a trailer, stop doing so as soon as possible 
  • Mechanical issues – A myriad of mechanical issues can also cause the Check Engine light to come on, including problems with the catalytic converter, the temperature-sending unit, an electric fan switch and other possibilities. 
As mentioned above, the safest bet is to take your Subaru vehicle in for service. Our certified technicians have the equipment to diagnose and rectify conditions as quickly as possible to give you peace of mind and keep your Subaru in top running condition.

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