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Old 05-08-2012, 06:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Warning lights

My wife and I were driving in Louisiana on our way back to Texas when my OB jumped out of cruise and I got a CHECK ENGINE light, a VEHICLE DYNAMICS CONTROL light, a flashing BRAKE light, and a flashing CRUISE light. We checked the owner's manual which told us that it was okay to drive except for the BRAKE light, which could mean a malfunctioning electronic parking brake. I checked the OB out on a side road and everything seemed okay, so we came on home without the cruise control. On Monday morning, I took it to the dealer. It took him an hour to find and fix the problem. It was the evaporator canister in the emission control system. The service manager told me that all those lights came on to get my attention. Was he mistaken? If not, getting a lot of warning lights for an unrelated problem could be dangerous. If I had opted to be towed to a dealership and waited for two days in a motel without wheels for a relatively minor problem, I would have been just a tad miffed. Has anyone else run into a similar incident?
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Others have reported lighting up the dash because of a leaky/loose rubber seal on the gas cap.
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've heard that for certain model years the cruise light will flash and cruise control will be disabled to "encourage" drivers to get it looked at. I believe the VDC system may also be disabled, but I'm not certain about that. I have no idea about the brake light.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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CEL always disables cruise control, and has on every vehicle I've had made past 1995 or so. It is saying "Fix me!"

Also, any major autoparts store in the US (OP does not list location) will read codes for free.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It is quite possible that they flash like a christmas tree to get your attention. The Parking Brake light is a new one on me, but if the dealer made everything all happy no reason to doubt him.
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The service manager said it was to get my attention, and it worked. I guess they're trying to make the warning system idiot proof. I just think the warning should be related to problem. An evap. canister due for replacement shouldn't necessitate three lights for three unrelated systems. Seems like the little boy who cried "Wolf" to me. What am I to believe the next time I get a flashing BRAKE light? I'm low on windshield water?
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Old 05-12-2012, 02:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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A CEL doesn't necessarily disable the cruise control. At least it doesn't on my '02 Audi. And as far at the display showing multiple warning lights, that's more of a matter of poor ECM programming. Subaru should be hung out to dry, IMO, for marketing such a badly-engineered system.
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Completely disagree.

CEL has automatically disabled CC since the mid 1990's in Subaru vehicles, and dis the same in my Fords as well. but as for other lights...I think Subaru expects most people ignore dash lights (true in my experience) and tries REALLY hard to get people to have a vehicle looked at when something throws a code.

The amount of vehicles I have been in with some or multiple warning lights on is staggering. Most folks don't seem to notice and/or care.
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Basics: Quaker State Ultimate Durability 5W30+MOS2, PureOne oil filter, Purolater air filter, Valvoline Maxlife Dex/Merc ATF, Mobil 1 75W90, Michelin Primacy MXV4.
Mods: Fumoto oil drain valve, 2004 Forester XT shifter, +30 Phillips H1 low beams, HIR1 Phillips 9011 high beam upgrade, Nokya Hyper Yellow 9006 fogs.

Also: More rust and parking lot scars than I care to think about.
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Old 05-13-2012, 12:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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FWIW, on my 2011 Malibu fleet vehicle, a CEL actually de-powers the engine into something akin to a limp mode.

Now, this can be reset simply by shutting down and restarting the engine; though if you don't have the problem addressed, it'll happen again in the future......and you don't exactly know when. I've actually had this happen to me at a stop light, which can put the driver in a fairly precarious situation if traffic happens to be heavy (which was the case for me most recently).

Believe me, it's a very effective motivation for an owner to get a CEL addressed.
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