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2011 Outback 3.6 premium, rear sway bar, and way too many accessories. Anything that can make Boston winters more tolerable (e.g. remote start, molded wintertech snow mats etc).
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Discussion Starter #1
While driving down the street in my 2011 Outback yesterday my dashboard lights suddenly lit up like a Christmas tree and started to flash. The CHECK ENGINE, BRAKE, CRUISE, and swerve/traction indicators all started to flash (may have been others too). No change in driving or braking ability. I parked the car, cycled the power on and off, walked around, cycled emergency brake on and off, and drove it last night as well. Seems to drive perfectly fine, but the flashing is rather distracting. I'll take it to the dealer Monday, but of course worry will gnaw at me all weekend. Is this just a well-known fluke that arises every once and a while? :confused: Or there any threads that discuss this?

Christopher
 

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2014 2.5i Limited
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951 Posts
take it to Autozone, or similar parts store and ask them to scan it...IF IT is out of warranty. Otherwise take it to the dealer.
These cars with all this electronic stuff can "burp" sometimes and trigger a light.
 

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2011 Outback 3.6 premium, rear sway bar, and way too many accessories. Anything that can make Boston winters more tolerable (e.g. remote start, molded wintertech snow mats etc).
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279 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The car is still under warranty, so I'll take it to the dealer lickety-split.

One edit: the check engine light is on steady now. I called the dealer and the service department fellow said that this is less dire. I was told that one should not drive it if the check engine light is flashing, but steady is less worrisome. This is probably well-known to everyone on this website...each day I learn something.

I have read in some forums about a code scanner that one can buy. Is there one people would recommend? I always like to do what is going on under the hood, and to keep track of problems as they develop.

Christopher
 

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2013 Outback Limited 2.5 EyeSight & 2010 Legacy Premium, 2010 OB Limited (traded)
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You have a simple check engine light which could be caused by many things. The other lights come on with the CEL for many codes and most people mistakenly try to diagnose their problem with those lights. Most of the CELs on the forum have been caused by loose gas caps. Check yours, if it's not tight, fix it, and either wait for the CEL to go out on it's own or disconnect the negative battery terminal for a few minutes. If you wait for it to go out on it's own be patient. It takes quite a few start/stop cycles for this to happen.
I have a code scanner from Costco that cost $25 a few years ago. It reads the code and resets the CEL. There are many cheap code scanners available that can suffice for this purpose.
If it were me and the gas cap wasn't loose and the car was on warranty I would just let the dealer worry about it. But if it's out of warranty or the dealer is a hassle to get to, I would just disconnect the battery. Problem is now the code is lost. But who cares if it never returns. And if it does, now you have it again.
 

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2011 Outback 3.6R Limited, Graphite Gray & 2002 Chevy Suburban LS 2500 4x4 6.0 V-8(Retired) 2009 Chevy Suburban LS 2500 4x4 6.0
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While driving down the street in my 2011 Outback yesterday my dashboard lights suddenly lit up like a Christmas tree and started to flash. The CHECK ENGINE, BRAKE, CRUISE, and swerve/traction indicators all started to flash (may have been others too). No change in driving or braking ability. I parked the car, cycled the power on and off, walked around, cycled emergency brake on and off, and drove it last night as well. Seems to drive perfectly fine, but the flashing is rather distracting. I'll take it to the dealer Monday, but of course worry will gnaw at me all weekend. Is this just a well-known fluke that arises every once and a while? :confused: Or there any threads that discuss this?

Christopher
Have you tried re-seating your gas cap? The gasket went bad on mine and the whole dashboard lit up, When in this mode my cruise control stopped working, when you re-seat your gas cap it takes some time to reset everything. Subaru did some testing and replaced my gas cap. Think it had to do with emissions evap system...good luck
 

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2011 Outback 3.6 premium, rear sway bar, and way too many accessories. Anything that can make Boston winters more tolerable (e.g. remote start, molded wintertech snow mats etc).
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279 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Now that's an interesting idea...over the past few weeks the car has made a moaning sound, like gas slowing filling in a space under partial vacuum (think tupperware), when I let off the gas and let it cruise...but not really when I floor it and consume alot of gas. That problem might be consistent with a bad gasket somewhere in the gasoline system. I just re-seated the gas cap right now (it was tight, and red gasket on cap is in good shape) and will monitor it over the weekend. Funnily enough, there is a warning on the gas cap "loose cap can cause check engine light to come on."

Yes, when I saw my dashboard light up Friday, the three remaining neurons in my brain connected and a vague recollection of what I had read online here floated to the surface, but I had forgotten that it was traced to a bad gasket. Thanks for reminding me!

Christopher
 

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2011 Outback 3.6R Limited, Graphite Gray & 2002 Chevy Suburban LS 2500 4x4 6.0 V-8(Retired) 2009 Chevy Suburban LS 2500 4x4 6.0
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Now that's an interesting idea...over the past few weeks the car has made a moaning sound, like gas slowing filling in a space under partial vacuum (think tupperware), when I let off the gas and let it cruise...but not really when I floor it and consume alot of gas. That problem might be consistent with a bad gasket somewhere in the gasoline system. I just re-seated the gas cap right now (it was tight, and red gasket on cap is in good shape) and will monitor it over the weekend. Funnily enough, there is a warning on the gas cap "loose cap can cause check engine light to come on."

Yes, when I saw my dashboard light up Friday, the three remaining neurons in my brain connected and a vague recollection of what I had read online here floated to the surface, but I had forgotten that it was traced to a bad gasket. Thanks for reminding me!

Christopher
Hope everything works out for you, took my subie couple days to clear the 'christmas lights' and of course the day I have my subie appointment all the lights dont come back on...lol....but they still found the problem.
 

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2013 3.6R SAP BBP Outback
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I have an Actron scanner ($40) that I consider as important as a screwdriver for tools nowadays with our computer-run cars. There's lots of threads on dash lights and CEL lights, plus good info in the owners manual. Searches here and manual reading can save lots of "gnawing worry", as can a code reader.
 

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2012 Impreza Sport Ltd 2013 Outback Limited SAP
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Christopher,

Overfilling the gas tank (topping off) can also cause this happen, as well as, a misfire on one or more cylinders.
 

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2011 SSM Outback 2.5i Premium
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One edit: the check engine light is on steady now. I called the dealer and the service department fellow said that this is less dire. I was told that one should not drive it if the check engine light is flashing, but steady is less worrisome. This is probably well-known to everyone on this website...each day I learn something.

Christopher
It's covered in the book that was delivered with the vehicle, pages 3-12 and 3-13...
 

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2012 Legacy 2.5GT-L
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One edit: the check engine light is on steady now. I called the dealer and the service department fellow said that this is less dire. I was told that one should not drive it if the check engine light is flashing, but steady is less worrisome.
A flashinc CEL indicates a misfire condition, which can cause significant damage in some instances. A solid indicates a fault of some sort (can be many, many different things, which is why you need to pull the code). For modern cars, a code reader is an important tool to have, so I'd also recommend picking one up.
 

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2011 Outback 3.6 premium, rear sway bar, and way too many accessories. Anything that can make Boston winters more tolerable (e.g. remote start, molded wintertech snow mats etc).
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279 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Update: I started the car late this afternoon and all the flashing lights have disappeared on their own. Must not have been too serious. Meanwhile I ordered a code reader based on some of the threads I found. I should receive the code reader in a few days, seems like a good idea to have one on hand.

Thanks for all the good advice.

Christopher
 

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2011 Outback 3.6 premium, rear sway bar, and way too many accessories. Anything that can make Boston winters more tolerable (e.g. remote start, molded wintertech snow mats etc).
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279 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
More newbie questions:
The flashing lights went away in a day or so. To understand it better, I obtained an Innova 3130 code reader (sweet!) and read
1. P0700 : "Hey dude, I found a code from your tranmission control module!"
2. P1718 autmaotic tranmission CAN communication (it was mispelled in the Innova 3130 display!!! :)

Since this car is under warranty, perhaps it is worth having Subaru document the code generation during my next oil change in case this problem snowballs and occurs more frequently.

Is this basically meaning that there was a temporary communication hiccup between the TCM and the central computer running everything?


Christopher
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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I have a scanner/code reader from CarMD.com and I am happy with it. You get subscription from them up to max 3 cars in your family, after you register your device with them. I found it useful on older cars that are out of warranty.
 
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