Parking light switch on steering column....WHY?!?!? - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums

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Old 09-27-2013, 08:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Parking light switch on steering column....WHY?!?!?

Well, my basic question is why is this dumb parking light switch on the steering column? Not why is it in that location (which is kind of dumb too), but why does this switch even exist?

So, I was driving my fiancÚ's 2006 outback and needed to use the flashers while loading up the car. It is her daily driver and I only drive it when we take it camping and/or need to use her car to carry stuff. Otherwise I drive my beautiful mustang convertible and that is the car we like to take out the most :-) ...for obvious reasons. No offense to the outback, she is a great camping and off road car in the desert......but the mustang is just fast and fun.

Anyway, I was fumbling around for the hazard lights, and I hit the switch on the steering column....no flashing. (and before anyone says it....NO I DID NOT SEE THE BIG ORANGE OR RED (whatever, I am colorblind) BUTTON ON THE CENTER FOR THE HAZARDS!). I click it back and forth a few times and just give up.

Next day her battery was dead Figured we must have just left a dome light on or something. We jump the car, drive a bit and is good for a day.

Next morning she calles at work..battery dead again! So, I come home from work and figure it just needs new battery. It was old and she just moved to San Diego from Philly.... so cold winters, hot summers not good for a battery. So I use my AAA and just have them come install a new battery. All good.

Next morning she calls me at work...battery (new one) dead again! I'm thinking $*it, is it the alternator or something else with charging system?!? What's up?

I drive home and get on the forums here (love you guys). I search my issues and find a post where someone said "did you happen to it the parking light switch on steering column?"

CRAP...yes I did! Egg on my face!! Check the switch and it's on the "ON" position!

Boy was she mad at me! At the time she didn't have a job yet and she was pissed about purchasing a new battery when it was my fault! Lesson learned.

But why is that dumb switch there in the first place? It does not time out and turn off like if you leave your lights on, or if you have the parking lights on via the headlight switch. When would you ever want your parking lights on via the steering column switch? Why does it exist?
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Parking light switch on the steering column is what makes a Subaru, a Subaru. Well, that, and if you believe the marketing dept., "love" is in the mix too. . . and a lot of sheetmetal and aluminum.

Don't know why, but they've been that way for as long as I can remember. . . Kinda like Saab's "night panel" button that turns off the dash illumination on everything but the speedo.

You get used to it. most people find it when armor-all'ing the dash.
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I know why they would need it in England, in order to park on a road. Why we need it here I don't know. They should call it the egg on my face switch.
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Its there for a couple reasons.

One, its hard to hit it accidentally when its placed where it is, so it would have to be intentionally turned on.

Two, the headlight switch current is killed when the ignition is shut off, so the lights don't drain the battery, so the Park Light switch is for parking since it has constant current.

All else fails, when you get a new to you car, or borrow one, read the manual.
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dianer View Post
I know why they would need it in England, in order to park on a road. Why we need it here I don't know. They should call it the egg on my face switch.

Oh boy was that the egg on my face switch those days :-S

Ya, my fiancÚ was a little pissed. And I don't blame her, it was totally my fault. I mean we had $ and all, and I even offered to give her $ back for it...it was just a tight time with $. But, she did forgive me for my mistake, and realized that her battery was old anyway...at least it got a new one into it proactively. Glass half full, right!

However, that is the most stupid place ever to put that type of switch!!

As the next reply said it is suppose to be hard to hit....NOT. Almost every car I have ever driven has put the hazard light switch in that location.

Yes, the newer ones are putting the hazards in the center near the radio area.....but then there is nothing on the steering column.

I am REALLY loving her Outback (more than she does) for all the great things it can do! That car is a dream off road in the desert and on some mountain trails.......With good driving and the VERY competent and capable Outback I am reaching places on 4X4 trails I would have never dreamed of getting to before. Plus, it hauls ALL of our camping gear, and the car never blinks an eye. She is one great machine!!!

But that is the most dumb place ever for a switch like that...and I stand by that!!!!!!
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Its there for a couple reasons.

One, its hard to hit it accidentally when its placed where it is, so it would have to be intentionally turned on.

Two, the headlight switch current is killed when the ignition is shut off, so the lights don't drain the battery, so the Park Light switch is for parking since it has constant current.

All else fails, when you get a new to you car, or borrow one, read the manual.

Yes, I normally ALWAYS read the manual...I am a geek. But at the time she didn't have the manual (father died, she got the car, manual lots...then found...long story).

But that is the most stupid place for a switch of that type. Like I said above, that is the location of the hazard lights in most cars. So, it is understandable why I was flipping there for hazard lights.

Anyway, I know now. Lesson learned. But that switch is worthless. I am cutting the wires to it and be done with it once and for all. Else, I could re-wire it for trail lights or something else...anything that what it is/does stock!
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It is a euro/asia thing. Remember that Subaru is a very small mfg and they cant really afford (back then) to have seperate wiring harnesses for US cars and everywhere else. On narrow streets with no street lights by law you have to leave on the parking light closest to the road. I dont know if BMW still does it but they had a trick turn signal to do this, Subaru went with the switch.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Remember: for most of the world, having the hazard light switch on the steering column is weird. Every car I have owned (10+) has had the hazard light switch dead center in the center console. This includes cars from 1979 to 2011.

And, of course, parking lights are for parking. We just don't use them for that here in the U.S.A. We live in a land where parking lights are for driving, fog lights are for good weather, and parking brakes are only for "emergencies." Oh, and horns are only for insulting other drivers. God only knows what turn signals are for.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SD_Outback_Cal View Post
Yes, I normally ALWAYS read the manual...I am a geek. But at the time she didn't have the manual (father died, she got the car, manual lots...then found...long story).

But that is the most stupid place for a switch of that type. Like I said above, that is the location of the hazard lights in most cars. So, it is understandable why I was flipping there for hazard lights.

Anyway, I know now. Lesson learned. But that switch is worthless. I am cutting the wires to it and be done with it once and for all. Else, I could re-wire it for trail lights or something else...anything that what it is/does stock!
That's the point. You have to intentionally turn the switch on. You intentionally turned the wrong switch on.

When your driving, if you just want the marker lights, turn the headlight stalk. When you park with the engine off, flip the switch.
When you want to make sure cars coming at you from a distance know that the lights they see is a car and someone will be close by, you push the hazard switch.

All intentional operations.

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Originally Posted by mcbrew View Post
Remember: for most of the world, having the hazard light switch on the steering column is weird. Every car I have owned (10+) has had the hazard light switch dead center in the center console. This includes cars from 1979 to 2011.

And, of course, parking lights are for parking. We just don't use them for that here in the U.S.A. We live in a land where parking lights are for driving, fog lights are for good weather, and parking brakes are only for "emergencies." Oh, and horns are only for insulting other drivers. God only knows what turn signals are for.
That's the direction the driver is steering away from.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Didn't you notice the flasher didn't come on?

If you thought they were on, why didn't you turn them off again?

The car isn't flawed, the driver was.

I love it when people do stupid things and then blame an inanimate object.

Mustangs all stay in the garage all winter around here, where they belong.
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