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2021 Touring XT, Crystal White Pearl
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a 2015 Limited and noticed some time ago that the outside button on the liftgate does not work. The fob will always open and close the liftgate as long as the vehicle is not running. The interior button will always work to open or close the liftgate whether the vehicle is running or off. I have tried to remember when going to the dealership for my oil changes to have them look at it and was not until today I did remember. The service rep walked out and ask me to unlock the vehicle with the fob. I did and she proceeded to hold the button down to open the liftgate with no luck. I mentioned I had read through the manual several times, trying what they suggested, to no avail. She tried several times and several different ways with no luck and finally stated there is definitely something wrong. When holding it down, she states you need to hold it down for 3 seconds to open it, you see the rear lights flash and I believe it beeps twice, but that is it. She also thought it can depend on a one/two/three-finger hold of the button?? You can hear, what sounds like the locking mechanism releasing, but it won't open. Due to the mileage, 55,000, we are out of warranty for the service, and the extended warranty will cover it but with the $100.00 deductible. Are we both missing the correct way to open the hatch via the outside button? Is there a way to reset that button? Thank you all for any assistance you can provide.
 

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'15 Outback 2.5i Premium
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"When holding it down, she states you need to hold it down for 3 seconds to open it, you see the rear lights flash and I believe it beeps twice, but that is it."

This is not correct.

You need to press the button above the license plate for no more than a moment. If you hold it too long (maybe a half second or more?), the gate will unlatch but not open. Also, if you used the power door locks (armrest button or fob), that also locks the liftgate. You'll need to unlock the liftgate by using using the fob to unlock all the doors (two presses) or an armrest unlock button before using the button on the liftgate.

Note that if you lock the doors and later use the fob to open the liftgate and then close it, the liftgate remains unlocked, and can then be opened with the button on the liftgate itself unless you re-lock the car.
 

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20 Outback Premium; former 19 Outback Premium, 85 GL Wagon, 87 GL-10 Wagon
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We have a 2015 Limited and noticed some time ago that the outside button on the liftgate does not work. The fob will always open and close the liftgate as long as the vehicle is not running. The interior button will always work to open or close the liftgate whether the vehicle is running or off. I have tried to remember when going to the dealership for my oil changes to have them look at it and was not until today I did remember. The service rep walked out and ask me to unlock the vehicle with the fob. I did and she proceeded to hold the button down to open the liftgate with no luck. I mentioned I had read through the manual several times, trying what they suggested, to no avail. She tried several times and several different ways with no luck and finally stated there is definitely something wrong. When holding it down, she states you need to hold it down for 3 seconds to open it, you see the rear lights flash and I believe it beeps twice, but that is it. She also thought it can depend on a one/two/three-finger hold of the button?? You can hear, what sounds like the locking mechanism releasing, but it won't open. Due to the mileage, 55,000, we are out of warranty for the service, and the extended warranty will cover it but with the $100.00 deductible. Are we both missing the correct way to open the hatch via the outside button? Is there a way to reset that button? Thank you all for any assistance you can provide.
To my knowledge the vehicle needs to be unlocked and that's it. If the button on the dash works and the one on the tailgate doesn't, then as you said it's broken. Is it worth fixing? Your call.
 

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2021 Touring XT, Crystal White Pearl
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"When holding it down, she states you need to hold it down for 3 seconds to open it, you see the rear lights flash and I believe it beeps twice, but that is it."

This is not correct.

You need to press the button above the license plate for no more than a moment. If you hold it too long (maybe a half second or more?), the gate will unlatch but not open. Also, if you used the power door locks (armrest button or fob), that also locks the liftgate. You'll need to unlock the liftgate by using using the fob to unlock all the doors (two presses) or an armrest unlock button before using the button on the liftgate.

Note that if you lock the doors and later use the fob to open the liftgate and then close it, the liftgate remains unlocked, and can then be opened with the button on the liftgate itself unless you re-lock the car.
"You need to press the button above the license plate for no more than a moment."

This may be the issue. Fully understand the functions of the armrest button and fob for locking and unlocking but not sure I actually just pressed the outside button above the plate that quickly. I Will test that tomorrow and update.
 

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2021 Touring XT, Crystal White Pearl
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
To my knowledge the vehicle needs to be unlocked and that's it. If the button on the dash works and the one on the tailgate doesn't, then as you said it's broken. Is it worth fixing? Your call.
For $100.00, no, not really as I have yet to use it in nearly 6 years of ownership ;)
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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The switch is most likely either bad or just gummed up from not using it. You may be able to remove the switch, which can be a trick with the liftgate garnish, and take it apart to clean the contacts, put it together and see if it works. If your handy with a test light you could check it easily, it's just a pass through switch. You can even check it with an ohm meter.

This is with the garnish removed. The garnish is held to the liftgate with a few nuts from one side to the other. If I remember correctly, about 8 or 10. It also has the push-lock plastic retainers that may break when you pry the garnish off the door.

502034


Someone with a proper scan tool, like me that can see the data from the car, will be able to see if the button is actually sending a command to operate the liftgate. Data is in the BIU and Keyless Module.

Choices are to fix it or just use the fob and interior switch to open it.
 

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2021 Touring XT, Crystal White Pearl
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The switch is most likely either bad or just gummed up from not using it. You may be able to remove the switch, which can be a trick with the liftgate garnish, and take it apart to clean the contacts, put it together and see if it works. If your handy with a test light you could check it easily, it's just a pass through switch. You can even check it with an ohm meter.

This is with the garnish removed. The garnish is held to the liftgate with a few nuts from one side to the other. If I remember correctly, about 8 or 10. It also has the push-lock plastic retainers that may break when you pry the garnish off the door.

View attachment 502034

Someone with a proper scan tool, like me that can see the data from the car, will be able to see if the button is actually sending a command to operate the liftgate. Data is in the BIU and Keyless Module.

Choices are to fix it or just use the fob and interior switch to open it.
Appreciate the detailed info.
 

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2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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I had a different issue with my lift gate on my 2018. I was not able to open liftgate after it stopped working because I forced it shut against some ice. The FOB would not work, the cluster button would not work, the exterior button would not work, no sounds, no nothing. I was able to reset it very easily and this may or may not work on earlier models or your specific situation but it's so easy it's worth a try. With the engine running press and hold both your exterior lift gate button and the fob button for about 3 seconds and it should beep and reset the mechanism. After I did this following someone's comments on a YouTube video my liftgate interior buttons work an so does my FOB.
 

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2021 Touring XT, Crystal White Pearl
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had a different issue with my lift gate on my 2018. I was not able to open liftgate after it stopped working because I forced it shut against some ice. The FOB would not work, the cluster button would not work, the exterior button would not work, no sounds, no nothing. I was able to reset it very easily and this may or may not work on earlier models or your specific situation but it's so easy it's worth a try. With the engine running press and hold both your exterior lift gate button and the fob button for about 3 seconds and it should beep and reset the mechanism. After I did this following someone's comments on a YouTube video my liftgate interior buttons work an so does my FOB.
I may need to try this. Walked out today and used the fob to ensure all doors were unlocked. Quickly tapped the liftgate outside button and it beeps once and locks all the doors. Not what I was expecting. Got me to thinking, I read somewhere that was a way to lock and arm the alarm for times when you want to keep the fob inside the vehicle but take the actual 'key' portion of the fob with you. In cases where you don't want to get the fob wet, say rafting, surfing, swimming, etc?? Not sure where I read this but seems the 'quick push' option to open the gate locks the vehicle instead...
 

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I may need to try this. Walked out today and used the fob to ensure all doors were unlocked. Quickly tapped the liftgate outside button and it beeps once and locks all the doors. Not what I was expecting. Got me to thinking, I read somewhere that was a way to lock and arm the alarm for times when you want to keep the fob inside the vehicle but take the actual 'key' portion of the fob with you. In cases where you don't want to get the fob wet, say rafting, surfing, swimming, etc?? Not sure where I read this but seems the 'quick push' option to open the gate locks the vehicle instead...
That’s two different buttons I believe. The single button far right locks, the wider button in the middle is for unlocking and opening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That’s two different buttons I believe. The single button far right locks, the wider button in the middle is for unlocking and opening.
I need to verify two buttons then. Not sure I knew there were two.
 

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2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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Yes, the locking feature is called PIN Access. Its a small button to the right of the mail lift gate. That's a different function i think only comes on limited... I think
 

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2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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I may need to try this. Walked out today and used the fob to ensure all doors were unlocked. Quickly tapped the liftgate outside button and it beeps once and locks all the doors. Not what I was expecting. Got me to thinking, I read somewhere that was a way to lock and arm the alarm for times when you want to keep the fob inside the vehicle but take the actual 'key' portion of the fob with you. In cases where you don't want to get the fob wet, say rafting, surfing, swimming, etc?? Not sure where I read this but seems the 'quick push' option to open the gate locks the vehicle instead...
I read it had to be while car is running. It even worked while I had my driver door opened because I was scared it could lock me out. Remember, ypu have to hold both liftgate bitton on exterior liftgate and key fob.
 

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2021 Touring XT, Crystal White Pearl
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That’s two different buttons I believe. The single button far right locks, the wider button in the middle is for unlocking and opening.
That was it. The wider button, directly under the Subaru emblem (Stars) was the trick. With the doors unlocked, a quick press of this button opens the liftgate. Problem resolved.
 
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