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Discussion Starter #1
I’m posting this in the hope that somebody else in the Subaru Outback community has also experienced this phenomenon and can perhaps offer a diagnosis of what is wrong with my vehicle.

I own a 2016 Subaru Outback with a standard transmission and 44,000 km on the odometer. About 2 weeks ago the VDC (vehicle dynamic control) warning light came on and stayed on for approximately one week. After that it would come on intermittently, usually within 10 minutes of starting the car and would stay on for the duration of the trip. I checked the owner’s manual which states that if the light comes on and stays on that it is a matter that requires you take the vehicle to the dealership service department immediately. I booked the 40,000 km service and notified the dealer about the warning light. When I went to pick up the car, I was told that they erased the memory in the module and that the car was considered to be okay. While driving home, the light came on again and remained on. I phoned the dealership and they said to bring the car in on the following Monday without an appointment.

When I arrived at the dealership I intentionally left the car running so that they could verify that the light was, in fact, on. They hooked it up to a diagnostic computer and stated that there were no codes showing so there was, according to them, no issue. They also, to my amazement, misinterpreted what the manual stated and said that the light coming on was normal when, in fact, what is says is that it must be repaired if the light comes on and stays on. By this time the light was off. They also pointed out the module that controls the ABS and traction control systems and stated that if it happened again they would have to spend “some more time” on the vehicle to try and diagnose the problem through a process of elimination. Also, they said that the vehicle was not communication with the computer. As expected, the light came on again while I was driving home. I took the car back to the dealer for the third time the next day. I explained to them that I had no confidence in the vehicle now since those two systems are an important part of the safety features of the vehicle. I didn’t know if my ABS or traction control would actually work if I needed them in an emergency situation. The module is quite an expensive component so I think they are reluctant to swap it out because of the expense, even though the car is still under warranty.

The car has been in the service department for a week now with no resolution. Somebody at Subaru must have a solution to this problem. The car may be safe for driving but I am just adhering to the recommendation in the owner’s manual. I have owned Hondas and Acuras for 20 years and have never had mechanical issues with either. I have also never experienced such incompetence by a service department. I made a giant leap of faith by buying the Subaru and now I’m beginning to regret the purchase, if only because of the extreme inconvenience of constantly having to return to the service department for the same issue. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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I feel for you. Dealerships are only as reliable as their personnel. Subaru is not the fault, the service manager at your dealer is.

That said, I would ask that you get a copy of the codes they pulled from the module. I cannot offer any advice without the codes. The codes give direction on where the issue lies. I do find it strange that they first stated no codes then changed it to no communication. No communication means there's an issue with electrical conductance.

I also recommend that you call Subaru directly and let them know how you're being treated and what's going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your response. I originally called the Subaru head office and they referred me back to the dealership service manager. The dealer had the car for a week and had an employee take it home on the weekend but they cannot recreate the fault. Apparently codes are only generated when the Check Engine light comes on, which it never did, so there were no codes to analyze. They checked the wiring for shorts and checked all the connectors - but nothing. When I picked up the car today I asked the service manager to write a note stating that the ABS and traction control systems were working properly and that the car was safe to drive. He refused to do this (which I have documented). What he indicated on the work order is that they couldn't recreate the problem and that they contacted Subaru headquarters who told him to take a photo of the warning light if it comes on again and to send it to them. Pardon the melodrama but I feel like I am caught up in a Kafkaesque nightmare. Thanks again.
 
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