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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
I was driving on the highway the other day when suddenly several lights illuminated on my dash. They are:

Vehicle Dynamic Control Indicator turned on,
Check Engine Warning Indicator turned on,
Brake System Warning Indicator began flashing on and off,
and the word 'Cruise' started flashing on and off.

I had not been using my cruise control at all. I had driven approx 2-3 hours on the highway before this began.

I stopped and visually checked my tires in case something was amiss (some awning had fallen off a camper several cars ahead of me and landed on the highway. I missed most of it but did drive over what seemed and looked like a foot long piece of pipe wrapped with awning tarp laying flat on the road) The tires seemed fine and, here the next day, the tires still look good. I did not hear anything hit the undercarriage of my car.

I checked my brake fluid level but it is rather hard to tell... the fluid is definitely not at max but it seems the fluid container bottom half is darker than the top half... exactly where the top part is fused/fastened to the bottom half. I am not sure if the bottom could be low or is stained from the fluid. The top is definitely clear enough that I know the fluid is not at max. Trying to shake the container slightly to see if the liquid will move is difficult as it is all fastened down very firmly. I did not seem to be having any difficulties with the brakes working, although I suppose they could be a bit on the soft side. I could top it up a bit. The gas cap says Dot 3 type. Is it safe to assume the factory default fluid would have been standard glycol based and not synthetic?

My gas cap seems to still seal fine but if there is some minor issue with it I don't know how to test it.

When I had noticed the Cruise light flashing, I tried cancelling cruise control just in case I had accidentally pressed one of the steering wheel cruise buttons while driving but it has no effect.

These are all things I have managed to google so far. Has anyone ever experienced these same warning lights at the same time?

Thanks for any help,
Scott
2011 Subaru Outback 3.6r
 

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how old is that battery? ( = see christmas tree effect).
 
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1999 30th Anniversary Legacy Outback DOHC 2.5L 4EAT, 2008 Impreza WRX 2.5L 5MT, 2008 Impreza Wagon 2.5L 4EAT
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On the newer cars when the check engine light comes on it disables the Cruise control and posts several other lights to freak you out so you will take the car in to get it looked at. Too many people ignored the Check Engine light in the past.

Have heard of other 6 cyl Subaru's being fussy with alternators and replacement of the alternator (with a quality part, not some cheap chinese junk from an auto part's store) eventually fixed the issue. Battery can also cause similar issues
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies! I'll check into some of the simpler solutions but this Christmas Tree Effect sounds worth investigating.

You'd think it would have been easy enough for Subaru to have just put in an 'Electrical Fault' indicator on the dash (assuming, of course, that my issue is electrical) to help indicate more accurately where a potential issue may lie. Of course, Subaru just wants the car brought in for more business.

Scott
 

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Why dont you read with one OBD reader what are the faults. Your engine light is on. It wil give you search direction.
 

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Thanks for the replies! I'll check into some of the simpler solutions but this Christmas Tree Effect sounds worth investigating.

You'd think it would have been easy enough for Subaru to have just put in an 'Electrical Fault' indicator on the dash (assuming, of course, that my issue is electrical) to help indicate more accurately where a potential issue may lie. Of course, Subaru just wants the car brought in for more business.

Scott
With my first Saturn (93 Saturn SC2) at around 178,000 miles, I got into my car, started the engine, and had ALL the idiot lights come on at once. It was nearly sunset, and I turned on the headlights, and noticed they were... not 100% steady illumination. I drove it home, left the engine running, suspecting what had happened, because an important thing to remember is certain circuitry needs to have full, proper power to operate correctly, and I suspect this was designed to fail in such a way as to be very blatant. When something is horribly amiss, it's best to have it fail in a safe manner; in my car's case, that may have been along the lines of "We don't have enough power to run the fancy car computer in this situation, so just make all the lights go on" (really, that might have used less power).

When I ran into my house and got the multimeter and measured across the battery terminals, it read something like 10 volts. The car still functioned, but poorly, on that power. I had the Saturn dealership a few miles away, and I could take almost entirely back roads, which I did. When I got it there right before their closing time, my lights were getting very dim, and I had to rev the engine high to keep them on. They measured about 9 volts across the battery terminals.

Get your alternator/voltage regulator and battery checked out: if you go too long, dying alternators tend to do a murder/suicide pact against the will of the battery, and take it with it. It can also work the other way around, with a dying battery stressing the alternator out.
 
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Time to go-to AutoZone and get the code pulled. Once you get the code you'll have a direction on where to go
 

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Thanks for the replies! I'll check into some of the simpler solutions but this Christmas Tree Effect sounds worth investigating.

You'd think it would have been easy enough for Subaru to have just put in an 'Electrical Fault' indicator on the dash (assuming, of course, that my issue is electrical) to help indicate more accurately where a potential issue may lie. Of course, Subaru just wants the car brought in for more business.

Scott

the way subarus are wired and the way the failing battery reacts to the cars systems, they are all complaining to you that they are running on 90% power vs. the 100% they want.

and one of the functions of the battery is to absorb voltage spikes, when the battery is getting old, it can no longer do this ....so when there are periods of spikes all the systems start to complain.

and the ECU makes phantom codes that mean nothing. (along with the rest of the junk codes in the ABS etc. ...VDC off light comes on with any dash light in the other systems).

Lots of first time posters with 5 -7 year old cars pop up here with this issue. with a original battery that has done its service and needs to go to the recycler.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, I took the vehicle in (time for the 80000km service anyways) and they said it was an inadequate seal at the gas cap according to their computer reading... code P456.

I had read that possibility online a couple days ago so refueled and made sure gas cap was as tight as I could get it. It did not help me doing that because you need to have the car hooked up to the computer in order to clear the code... just fixing the problem won't clear anything. Personally I think its a bit of a shame that fixing the problem may 'physically' help but will not clear codes.

Can you buy a reasonably affordable version of a code reader for the Subaru (with the ability to clear a code should it be something simple to fix like in my case)?

At least there was no extra charge for the extra work beyond the standard 80000km service but if the error code was my only reason to bring it in I would be mighty put out for something so simple to fix myself but cant be cleared by me.

Scott
 

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p0456 is like "the" gas cap code, (others exist in similar #s for other evap leaks).

and those do go bad I have one now on one of my cars peristantly coming up and I keep canceling it. thinking about trading caps between the cars I have. to see if it goes away,

good news = a typical subaru gas cap for such cars costs $20-$30 US on amazon's bunch of subaru dealers.

as a code reader I use $5 torque pro on my $30 android phone. just need a bluetooth or wifi dongle for ODBC2 port, perferably one that states it uses little of the car's power. (the one I have is discontinued and it draws enough if I forget it in the car that I have to charge the battery on a wall charger).
 
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