Clearing Subaru Error Codes: A Step-By-Step Guide

Subaru car owners have always been proud of their vehicle’s reliability and durability on the road. However, there are times when even the best machines experience errors, and Subaru cars are no exception. When you see an error code on your Subaru dashboard, it can be concerning, and it could mean that something is wrong with your car. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to clear error codes in your Subaru, so you can get back on the road with peace of mind.

Understanding Error Codes

Before we dive into the steps to clear error codes, it’s important first to understand what they are and why they appear. Error codes, also known as diagnostic trouble codes (DTC), are generated by your car’s onboard computer system. When something in your car starts to malfunction, it sends a signal to the computer, which generates a code to indicate what the problem is. These codes are usually displayed on your dashboard, and they help your mechanic to diagnose the issue quickly.

Reasons Why Error Codes Appear

Several things can cause error codes to appear in a Subaru car. Here are a few common reasons:

  • Loose Gas Cap: This is the most common reason for most error codes in Subaru cars. When your gas cap isn’t on tight enough, it can cause the computer to sense that something is wrong, and it will trigger an error code.
  • Faulty Oxygen Sensor: Modern Subaru cars come with several oxygen sensors that help measure the amount of oxygen in the car’s exhaust. When one of these sensors fails, it can cause an error code to appear.
  • Malfunctioning Mass Airflow Sensor: This is another sensor in your Subaru car that helps determine the amount of air that’s flowing through the engine. When this sensor malfunctions, it can trigger an error code.
  • Dead Battery: A dead or weak battery can also cause an error code to appear on your dashboard.
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Steps to Clear Error Codes

Now that you know what error codes are and why they appear, let’s take a look at how to clear them from your Subaru car. Before you begin, you’ll need an OBD-II scanner. This is a tool that helps you to read and clear the error codes from your car’s onboard computer system. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Locate the OBD-II Port

The OBD-II port is the connection point for your scanning tool. It’s usually located underneath the driver’s side dashboard. Look for a small rectangular port that’s roughly 1 inch wide by 1/2 inch tall.

Step 2: Connect the Scanner

Plug your OBD-II scanner into the port. Turn on the car’s ignition, but don’t start the engine.

Step 3: Read the Error Codes

Your OBD-II scanner will prompt you to read the error codes. Follow the scanner’s instructions to retrieve the codes from your car’s computer.

Step 4: Clear the Error Codes

Once you’ve retrieved the codes, your scanner will give you an option to "clear the codes." Select this option, and the scanner will clear all of the error codes from your car’s system.

Step 5: Check for Error Codes

After clearing the error codes, turn off the car’s ignition and remove the scanner. Start the engine and check the dashboard for any error codes. If there are no codes, then you have successfully cleared the error codes from your Subaru car.

Common Error Codes in Subaru Cars

Here are five common error codes that you might see on your Subaru dashboard:

  1. P0420 – Catalytic Converter Efficiency Below Threshold
  2. P0440 – Evaporative Emission Control System Malfunction
  3. P0300 – Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected
  4. P0183 – Fuel Temperature Sensor A Circuit High Input
  5. P0137 – O2 Sensor Circuit Low Voltage (Bank 1, Sensor 2)
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If you see any of these codes, don’t panic, as they can easily be cleared using an OBD-II scanner. However, if these codes consistently appear, then it might be time to bring your car to a mechanic for further diagnostics.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I need a mechanic to clear error codes in my Subaru car?
    No, you do not need a mechanic to clear error codes from your car. You can use an OBD-II scanner to clear these codes yourself.

  2. How do I prevent error codes from appearing in my Subaru car?
    Maintaining your Subaru car regularly can prevent error codes from appearing. Regular oil changes, air filter changes, and tire rotations can keep your car running at peak performance.

  3. Can I still drive my Subaru if I have an error code?
    Yes, you can still drive your car if you have an error code on your dashboard. However, you should get it checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible to prevent any further problems from occurring.


Clearing error codes in your Subaru car can be an intimidating task if you’re unfamiliar with it. However, by following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to clear these codes easily and quickly. Remember, if you see the same error codes appear consistently, then it’s best to take your car to a mechanic for further diagnostics.

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Alton Brobst

As a longtime Subaru enthusiast, Alton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our blog. From his early days of tinkering with engines to his current role as a certified Subaru technician, Alton has seen it all when it comes to Subarus. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors.

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