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2017 OB 2.5L eyesight
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Discussion Starter #1
Problem started shortly before warranty expired. The set toggle (down) sometimes
turns on the lane assist or off, sometimes it increases following distance, sometimes it increases speed setting by 1 mph, sometimes it does nothing. About half the time is works correctly. Local Wichita Subaru dealer is scratching their heads. One time all they did was check the computer log for errors (none) and took it for a test drive. It worked perfectly for 2 days. Any ideas? I'm stumped.
 

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Sounds like fretting. With the power off try repeatedly activating all of the switches on that side of the steering wheel, might give some temporary relief. Since you identified it under warranty, I’d push for a replacement of that switch cluster because that’s the only thing that will provide permanent relief.
 

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(Australian spec) 2019 MY19 Outback 3.6R CVT.
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... About half the time is works correctly.
If it was me, I would give the switches a spray with 99% pure Isopropyl Alcohol. While this legacygt.com topic had different symptoms to what you are getting (it was only a sticky switch) you should find some helpful info there.

BTW - Don’t use anything like silicon lubricant spray on any switches or electrical contacts.
 

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2017 OB 2.5L eyesight
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Discussion Starter #4
Sounds like fretting. With the power off try repeatedly activating all of the switches on that side of the steering wheel, might give some temporary relief. Since you identified it under warranty, I’d push for a replacement of that switch cluster because that’s the only thing that will provide permanent relief.
That seems to have helped some. Although I have extensive experience in electronics, I've never heard of fretting as applied to switches. I've only heard that term associated with worry and guitars. Can you elaborate?
 

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That seems to have helped some. Although I have extensive experience in electronics, I've never heard of fretting as applied to switches. I've only heard that term associated with worry and guitars. Can you elaborate?
You can probably find much better explanations online. In its simplest terms, fretting is microscopic corrosion in switches or contact surfaces. Most consumer electronics use copper and other common metals, which are usually fine. Higher end components use gold connectors for longer life that resists corrosion/fretting, albeit at a higher cost. For a critical component it’s worth the added expense. For consumer electronics that are mass produced, 10 cents per unit adds up to big $$.
Static switches and connectors are most susceptible, although sometimes vibration can create similar problems. For your steering wheel switches, repeatedly cycling them broke through some of the surface corrosion and helped restore the connection. Depending on how much you use those switches, the problem will eventually reoccur, which is why I recommended a new assembly for the best long term fix. If yours failed under warranty that is certainly premature and I would push for a replacement. Most of my cars that have had this failure have been 5-7 years or older.
On a relatively new vehicle it could also simply be a manufacturing defect that leads to premature failure. However, if cycling all the switch contacts restored functionality, it’s more likely fretting wear of typical consumer electronic components.
Many years ago I had to resolve a failure in satellite units for one of the major TV suppliers. These were similar to simple set top boxes almost all of us have and take for granted, except there were hundreds of them in major data centers around the country. Unlike home units that are typically replaced in about 5 years, these units were expected to last 10 years or more. We found that certain connectors in the units needed to be upgraded from copper to gold to solve their premature failures. It was an expensive retrofit lesson to learn.
 
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