Subaru’s are incredibly reliable and popular cars on the market. Whether you’re a new Subaru owner or a seasoned driver, it’s not uncommon to see that check engine light illuminate on your dashboard. The check engine light can be frightening for many drivers and can often cause concern, but don’t worry, it’s not always a major issue. In this guide, we will explain what the check engine light means on your Subaru, what may have caused it to turn on, and how to reset it in a few simple steps.
What the Check Engine Light Means on a Subaru
The check engine light is an indicator that can turn on for several reasons, including issues related to your car’s engine, transmission, or emissions system. When the check engine light turns on, it means that something is causing an issue and needs attention. If you are unsure about why the check engine light is on, it’s important to have it looked at by a professional mechanic who can perform diagnostics to determine the issue.
What May Have Caused the Check Engine Light to Turn On
Several factors can cause the check engine light to turn on. Some of the most common reasons include a loose gas cap, a faulty oxygen sensor, or a bad catalytic converter. The light could also turn on due to a misfire in the engine or a faulty mass airflow sensor. It’s important to determine the specific issue by using an OBD-II scanner to read the engine code.
How to Reset the Check Engine Light on a Subaru
Resetting the check engine light on your Subaru is a simple process that you can do yourself, avoiding costly trips to the mechanic. Follow these easy steps:
- Turn off your car’s engine.
- Locate the rectangular diagnostic port under the steering wheel.
- Connect the OBD-II scanner to the diagnostic port.
- Turn the engine on. The OBD-II scanner should light up and begin communicating with the car’s computer system.
- Follow the instructions provided by the scanner to clear the engine code and reset the check engine light.
It’s important to note that disconnecting your car’s battery will also reset the check engine light. However, this method is not recommended as it can also reset other important settings within your car’s computer system.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Trying to Reset the Check Engine Light
While resetting the check engine light is a simple process, there are a few common mistakes to avoid to ensure it’s done correctly:
- Make sure that your OBD-II scanner is compatible with your Subaru’s model year.
- Be patient, it can take up to 10-15 minutes for the scanner to communicate with your car’s computer system.
- Ensure that the issue causing the check engine light has been resolved before resetting the light. Otherwise, the light will simply turn back on again.
When to Take the Car to a Mechanic Even After Resetting the Check Engine Light
Resetting the check engine light is not always a permanent solution to the issue causing the light to turn on. If the light turns on again shortly after resetting it, it’s important to have your car looked at by a professional mechanic. They can perform diagnostics to determine the issue and provide a fix.
How much would it cost to take my car to a mechanic to reset the check engine light?
It can cost anywhere from $40 to $400 or more to have a mechanic reset the check engine light depending on the issue causing the light to turn on. However, you can save money by using an OBD-II scanner to do it yourself.
Can I drive my car once the check engine light turns on?
Yes, you can still drive your car once the check engine light turns on. However, it’s important to have the issue fixed as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to your car’s engine and emissions system.
How often does the check engine light turn on?
The check engine light can turn on at any time, but many cars are designed to have it turn on after a certain number of miles as a reminder to perform regular car maintenance.
The check engine light can be concerning for many Subaru owners, but hopefully, this guide has been helpful in explaining what it means, when to take action, and how to reset it. Remember, it’s always a good idea to have your car looked at by a professional mechanic if the check engine light turns on repeatedly. With proper maintenance and regular car checkups, you can continue to enjoy your Subaru for many years to come.