Step-by-Step Guide: How to Disable All-Wheel-Drive in Your Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback is a popular car model among individuals who love adventure, off-road driving, and long-distance touring. All-wheel drive (AWD) is a standard feature in Subaru Outback, making it one of the most capable vehicles to drive in any condition. However, there could be times when you may need to turn off all-wheel drive while driving, such as when driving on a smooth road with less traction or improving fuel efficiency. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to turn off all-wheel drive on a Subaru Outback.

What is All-Wheel Drive?

All-wheel drive (AWD) is a vehicle system that distributes power to all four wheels, ensuring that the wheels have complete control and traction on the road. In rough terrain conditions, such as driving in snow or mud, all-wheel drive provides added stability and handling, making driving safer and more comfortable.

Why Turn Off All-Wheel Drive?

There might be situations where it’s appropriate to turn off all-wheel drive, such as when driving in situations where you are on the road with increased tire traction and higher speed. Running in all-wheel-drive mode can increase fuel consumption, making it advantageous to turn the feature off in such stances. For instance, driving on an even dirt road with lower traction or pavement can be quicker and more fuel-efficient with the two-wheel-drive mode.

Steps to Turn Off All-Wheel Drive

Turning off all-wheel drive in your Subaru Outback is simple. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Locate the button for All-Wheel Drive. The button is located on the lower left side of the driver’s dashboard.
    • In older models, the switch might be situated closer to the steering wheel.
  2. Press the button: Once found, press the button. This will switch the system from all-wheel drive into two-wheel drive. AWD OFF light will illuminate on the dashboard to notify you that your car is now in two-wheel mode.
See also  How to Set HD2 Radio Stations on 2015 Subaru Outback

It’s that simple. After turning off AWD, your car’s drivetrain moves from a power distribution to four-wheel drive mode to just a two-wheel-drive mode. Subaru Outback’s two-wheel drive mode splits force equally between the two front wheels compared to all-wheel-drive, which keeps the power delivered to all four wheels.

It’s important to note that in some models, turning off all-wheel drive might result in changing gearbox automatically to fuel economy mode for worse energy consumption and worse acceleration.


Here are some frequently asked questions about turning off all-wheel drive in your Subaru Outback:

Q: Can I drive with AWD turned off for an extended period?

A: Driving your Subaru Outback with AWD turned off won’t harm the car. However, it might lower the car’s resell value since Subaru branding is synonymous with AWD. Make sure you revert to AWD before going on off-road or low traction terrains.

Q: Will turning off all-wheel drive improve my car’s fuel efficiency?

A: Yes. Turning off all-wheel drive can help save gas and can improve fuel efficiency since it draws more power than two-wheel drive.

Q: Will turning off all-wheel drive affect my car’s handling?

A: It depends on the driving condition. Turning off all-wheel drive won’t make any difference when you’re driving on smooth and straight roads. Conversely, all-wheel drive is always preferred when driving off-road, and on slippery or icy pavement, you are putting more stress on the engine and reducing the car’s overall handling.

Bottom Line

Turning off all-wheel drive in your Subaru Outback is easy, and it can help you improve fuel efficiency when driving on pavements with no traction or on long-distance drives. Just remember to turn AWD back on if you are going to rough terrains, snow, or any dangerous driving instances in which all-wheel drive is the smart choice.

See also  Breathe Easy: The Ultimate Guide to Changing Your 2015 Subaru Outback’s Cabin Air Filter
Avatar photo

Joseph Weaver

With a background in engineering and a passion for cars, Joseph brings a unique perspective to our blog. He's particularly interested in the technology and innovation behind Subaru's advanced safety features, and his articles on this topic are always insightful and informative. When he's not writing, he enjoys playing video games and spending time with his family.

Recommended Articles