Take Control of Your Subaru Engine Problems: A Step-by-Step Guide to Checking Engine Codes

Are you a Subaru owner who is experiencing issues with your engine? You may be able to diagnose the problem yourself by checking your engine codes. Engine codes are a set of numbers and letters that are used to identify specific issues with your car engine. In this article, we will guide you through the process of checking your Subaru engine codes and help you understand what they mean.

What Are Engine Codes and Why Are They Important?

Engine codes, also known as diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), are used to identify issues with your car engine that may not be immediately apparent. When a problem is detected by your car’s on-board diagnostic system, it will trigger an illuminated check engine light and generate a unique set of DTCs. By checking these codes, you can get an idea of what is causing the problem and potentially save money on costly repairs by doing the work yourself.

How to Access Subaru Engine Codes

To access your Subaru engine codes, you will need an OBD-II scanner. OBD-II stands for "on-board diagnostics, version two" and is a standard system used by all cars built after 1996. An OBD-II scanner is a tool that connects to your car’s on-board diagnostic system and reads the engine codes stored in the system’s memory.

  1. Locate the OBD-II port – The OBD-II port is usually located under the driver’s side dashboard. It may be hidden behind a panel, so consult your car’s manual if you can’t find it.

  2. Plug in the OBD-II scanner – Plug the scanner into the OBD-II port and turn on your car’s ignition. The scanner should power on automatically.

  3. Retrieve the codes – Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for retrieving the codes from your car’s on-board diagnostic system. This usually involves pressing a button on the scanner or scrolling through a menu on the screen.

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What Each Subaru Engine Code Means

Once you have retrieved your Subaru engine codes, you will need to interpret what they mean. There are hundreds of possible engine codes, but some of the most common ones that Subaru owners may encounter include:

  • P0031/P0032 – Oxygen Sensor Heater Control Circuit Low/High Voltage
  • P0101 – Mass or Volume Air Flow Circuit Range/Performance Problem
  • P0113/P0118 – Intake Air Temperature Circuit High Input/Low Input
  • P0171/P0174 – System Too Lean (Bank 1/Bank 2)
  • P0300 – Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected
  • P0420 – Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold

Each code contains a specific set of numbers and letters that correspond to a particular issue with your car engine. You can find a comprehensive list of Subaru engine codes online, along with detailed explanations of what each code means.

How to Clear Subaru Engine Codes

If you have fixed the issue that was causing your engine code, you will need to clear the code from your car’s on-board diagnostic system. This will turn off the check engine light and prevent the code from reappearing.

  1. Use the OBD-II scanner – Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for clearing engine codes from your car’s on-board diagnostic system. This usually involves scrolling through a menu on the scanner and selecting "clear codes."

  2. Disconnect the battery – Another way to clear engine codes is to disconnect the battery from your car for at least 30 minutes. This will reset the on-board diagnostic system and clear any codes that were stored in memory.

DIY Solutions for Addressing Subaru Engine Codes

Depending on the specific issue that is causing your Subaru engine code, there may be some DIY solutions that you can try before taking your car to a mechanic. Some common issues that can trigger engine codes in Subarus include:

  • Bad spark plugs or ignition coils
  • Dirty air filter
  • Clogged fuel injectors
  • Loose or damaged hoses
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By addressing these issues yourself, you may be able to save money on expensive repairs and keep your Subaru running smoothly.


Q: Can I check my Subaru engine codes without an OBD-II scanner?
A: No, an OBD-II scanner is required to access your car’s on-board diagnostic system and retrieve engine codes.

Q: What should I do if my Subaru engine code keeps reappearing after I clear it?
A: If your engine code keeps reappearing after you have cleared it, there may still be an underlying issue with your car engine. Take your car to a mechanic for a professional diagnosis and repair.

Q: Is it safe to continue driving my Subaru if the check engine light is on?
A: It is generally safe to continue driving your car with the check engine light on, but it is recommended that you address the issue as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to your car’s engine.

In conclusion, checking your Subaru engine codes can be a useful tool in diagnosing engine issues, potentially saving you money on costly repairs. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can access and interpret your engine codes, clear the codes if necessary, and potentially address the issue yourself. Remember to always exercise caution when working on your car engine, and seek the help of a professional mechanic if you are unsure of how to proceed.

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Billy Covington

With a passion for all things automotive, Billy is our go-to expert on Subaru performance upgrades and modifications. He's been featured in several car magazines and blogs, and his extensive knowledge and expertise make him a valuable member of our team. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys playing guitar and writing music.

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