check engine light with flashing cruise control light

submom
110

Asked by submom Oct 29, 2011 at 02:08 PM about the 2005 Subaru Forester XS

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Checked codes at Auto Zone:  catalyst efficiency low-bank 1 probably cause: CC failure possibly due to: (1) engine misfire or running condition (2) large vacuum leak (3) engine oil leakage into exhaust-valve guide, seals, piston rings.
Less than 52K mis -- shouldn't be CC, right?  Likeliest cause?  A mechanic said they'd have to due a smoke test, service meter, and induction test (for $70 each).  Also said there are 3 CCs on the Forester.  Any suggestions would be welcome.  

45 Answers

submom
110

I found an answer on another post. This seems to be an ongoing problem for the Forester. People have had lots of work done at Subaru without fixing the issue. I'm going to try to following suggestion: plug in MAF sensor after replacing air filter with an after market. Unplug battery for 1/2 hour. If that doesn't work, I'll try replacing the oxygen sensor and resetting the computer.

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.
albalegume
235

Two foresters 06 and 08, both do this periodically, engine and check cruise control lights. Dealer can find nothing, they stay on for awhile then go out after a couple weeks. I ignore it now. Nothing has happened to the cars since. The 06 did it within a year of buying the car, the 08 started within about the same time period.

16 out of 16 people think this is helpful.
dianala62
150

2005 forester, just recently had blinking cruise, solid lit CEL, going into dealership this week, posts were extremely helpful to a single, 62 year old female, THANKS...will post outcome, and if not guaranteed to resolve issue, will take advice and do nothing...when I did call dealership, they did say "no worry" if CEL is solid and not blinking as if they are quite familiar with this sort of problem...will post at later date..Diana

15 out of 15 people think this is helpful.
Scott Malefyt
225

My 2007 Forester had CEL come on with blinking cruise (and cruise dosn't work either) about 35 miles after i filled up at a non-mainstream gas station. I turned to the owners manual and i guess the Forester can be picky. The manual (see 7-2 in 2007 owners manual) states that some gas stations put an "...octane-enhancing additive called MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl). If you use such fuels, your emission control system performance may deteriorate and the CHECK ENGINE warning light/Malfunction indicator lamp may turn on." That being said, i currently have a FULL tank of crappy gas...does any have a recommendation of what kind of additive i should put in to make the gas better.

22 out of 22 people think this is helpful.
fastrunner
180

not sure if this will help anyone but our 2007 2.5 turbo had the blinking cruise light and engine light on. we have found out its the fuel cap, it has a small sensor on it, and when released to put fuel in and replaced it can set the lights off up to a day later?? yes the forester can be picky

18 out of 18 people think this is helpful.
NotHappyJan
30

I had the same issue with my 07. $5200 later it was rectified. Bent valves, compression leak.... The list went on. apparently its a know fault with is model. Anyone else in the same boat??

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Jeff Smith
1,135

Bent valves? That really only occurs if the timing skips, and is not common at all.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
jmarie220
90

Glad to report that the solid check engine and the blinking cruise lights shut off this morning. Three days of anxiety over! Thanks for this forum and the above answers. Undoubtedly saved me hundreds of dollars. The dealers here in South Jersey just love to take us for a ride.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
jasmina
40

jmarie220, how? how did it turn off? it bugs me for months now, the computer has allegedly detected secondary air pump error. when replaced, it was off for some 200 km, then went on again. (same thing - cruise blinking , CEL constantly lit). i do have gas built in on my 2.0 2006 forester, though, with oil droppers (maybe it is another expression, but lubricating the valves)

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Madison02
30

I have a 2006 Forrester L L Bean model and the check engine light went on causing the cruise to blink. Young Subaru charged me for hundreds of dollars for DX could nt fix it, after $900.00 worth of work, problem still persists. Now my headlights and tail lights stay on even when the car is off....frustrated. Have to disconnect battery to turn them off, anyone have any ideas?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Jeff Smith
1,135

Did you check the parking light on top of your steering column?

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
Madison02
30

I was cleaning around that area yesterday, I didn't realize there was a switch there. I went out connected the battery and checked the switch and fixed the problem. I don't know why you would use them, I never have cos I didn't know I had them. I'm not blonde I'm a red head......lol. THANK YOU all who helped me with this question you were all helpful!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Jeff Smith
1,135

No problem, that's a rite of passage for every new Subaru owner.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Noynek
130

I too had the Check Engine Light/Cruise Control flashing problem happen on my 2009 Forester. My yellow traction control light (squiggly tire marks behind car) also comes on. I went to a tiny garage in east Tennessee and they guy did a diagnostic and said that it is caused when you haven't had an oil/filter change in over 7000 miles or so (he checked a "code" database to find out). He changed my oil and reset the computer. All better. Then 7000 miles later (I drive a lot and sometimes miss my oil changes), the same thing happened. Got the oil changed again and reset the computer, fixed again! Happened a third time and again got it fixed, but this time they forgot to reset the computer. Lights came back on quickly, but I went back and they reset the computer and all has been fine. Since I've had my oil changed regularly, no repeats of the problem.

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.
Subaru_Jim
65

Ii has to be something with the transmission or front differential fluid from what I can tell. I've had it happen many times, and it has gone away on its own in some cases, but other times, the "fix' was to add fluid. The first time it happened, I had parked my car sideways on a steep hill for a couple weeks. Shortly after leaving, the car bucked and heaved if I accelerated too much, and those lights came on. Since then, I have had it happen after long periods without any problem when I hit the accelerator hard for whatever reason. My only remaining questions are (1) is it the transmission fluid or differential, and (2) why is it getting "low"?

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
albalegume
235

My 2008 just stopped running 1 month ago. It continually had these lights come on when driving over 100 miles at a time on the interstate. Then it would jerk when accelerating. When it died, it jerked and just lost power. For a 2008 it should have lasted much longer and was regular maintained.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
subidoo
50

I don't think there's an easy answer. My 2009 Forester does this intermittently (CEL, blinking CC, TCL stays on). The number of possibilities listed in this forum tells me there's a lot of things that could be involved, but no single consistent finding. I've maintained the vehicle properly & it runs fine; I've quit worrying about it.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Dallas_Subaru
60

A 10mm wrench, undo negative battery terminal. Wait 5 min. Reconnect, turn switch to run, but do not start. Wait about a minute while fuel injection brings pressure back on line. Start car. May have to crank it a bit. Reset radio and cruise on. Repeat as necessary.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
Subaru_Jim
65

OK.. one more time.. I found that I had overfilled both the transmission and front differential. I brought both back to the right level and still had the idiot lights come back on. FINALLY, it occurred to me that I haven't changed the oil filter in a while, and changed that. BINGO! Lights out!!

Tanya Vanderhoeven
20

I have a 2005 Subaru Impreza, Solid CEL and blinking CC light, cruise does not work. I've had the oil changed regularly. 143K. AutoZone gave me an error code of #2937. It's running just fine. I change the spark plugs. They needed changing anyways. No change. Dash light still on. Will unhook battery and see what happens - for now - black electrical tape covers annoying lights.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Jeff Smith
1,135

The code 2937 is not a valid code, I would have them check it again. A word of warning on the check engine light: that same light is used for minor as well as major issues. If you get used to ignoring it and a major issue comes up, you won't catch it in time and can do damage to the engine. Much like the poster several posts up who had a check engine light and then the car simply "stopped running." The light is triggered for a reason.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Tanya Vanderhoeven
20

But Jeff, it says right on the little ticket they handed me - #2937. And it says OEM number to Po420. Is that the correct code? It also says - Catlyst efficiency below threshold bank 1, prob cause rich a/f ratio, ignition system malfunction, faulty catalytic converter. Thank you for the help and advice.

jmarie220
90

My 2007 Forester CE light turned on for a third time in a year a few weeks ago. I checked the code with a device I purchased from Amazon. Turns out it was "engine misfire." Took it to a reliable local mechanic; oil was leaking into one of the cylinders. They couldn't get the valve cover off (?), and they now have to approach the problem from underneath. I'm at $748 and counting, but it will probably be near $900 before they are done. Car only has 77K miles on it...bummer. Can bad gas start this cascade?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
BenBen7
10

I get in on a acceleration up a tight on ramp - not sure if its the incline or hard turn with the acceleration. It'll turn off after 3 starts w/o doing it again. Always worth checking your oil level and for any loose tubes, ducts, wires when you get lights on.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
JMM111
30

From what I understand, this is common with Foresters, 2005 on. The first time this happened I panicked! Had local mechanic change oil, since it was about 1000 miles overdue, which made sense. Problem solved. Three days later CEL solid, and CC flashing light returned. I returned to local mechanic, and he reset. He told me if this happens again, I have to take it to the Subaru dealer, to fix. He said my engine was in good running shape, and drivability was also fine. The reason is, only a Subaru dealer can communicate with main console, to find the source of the problem. Since my Subaru dealer "rips me off", every time I take my car in, I will take my chances if the problem re occurs. If the CEL light goes from solid to blinking, then you really have a problem. Stay Tuned!

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
You think this is helpful.
RobsSubaru
20

My 07 Outback has 136K miles on it. For the past year the cc light starts flashing, and CEL illuminates intermittently. Except for 1 time when this ouccured when accellerating from a stop, the problem consistently occurs when travelling at hwy speed and while using cruise control. However, it doesn't happen every time I use the cruise control. The dealer read the code and then replaced the mass air flow sensor. That didn't work, so they replaced the same sensor again. I got tired of paying for the same repair so now I just carry a wrench with me to disconnect the battery terminal to reset the code. This happens about once a month for the year. There does not seem to be amy other performance problems with the car. Any suggestions?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
ginapineapple
20

2006 LLBean Forester with 75k, properly maintained. My CEL is solid, CC flashing for 5 days. Car runs great. The dealer wanted 400 to replace the MAF and I walked away. Reading up on it and going to see this fixes itself over time. I was ALSO told at my last oil change a few months back that both head gaskets were starting to leak and I needed to replace at a cost of $1600. Again, this car drives fine. No misfires, obvious leaks, or spikes in temp. I'm just keeping an eye on the car and my wallet. I might disconnect the battery and see if the lights return. Great thread, thank you!

JMM111
30

In reading above answers, I have concluded there is no common denominator that causes CEL solid/CC blinking. Looks like even Subaru dealers don't have definite answer. I, like I think some here, am afraid to take my 2005 forester back to the dealer's service department. They will charge me a lot of money, and it only might, fix the problem? We all have paid good money for our Subaru's, and they are good cars, but should not have to deal with a glitch like this! We should not have to be traveling with wrenches to dis connect our batteries, at least not for the $$$ we paid. Unfortunately, I am pessimistic, that Subaru, would do much to fix this glitch, but sometimes going to the top works. See below. Subaru of America Inc. has named Tomomi Nakamura as CEO effective April 1, taking over from Takeshi Tachimori. Tachimori will return to Japan, where he will be responsible for global sales, including those in the United States, for Subaru's parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries. Subaru of America names Nakamura CEO - Automotive News www.autonews.com/.../subaru-of-america-names-nakamu... Automotive News

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Noynek
130

It appears to happen when the oil gets low. It happened again to my 2009 forester and the mechanic said I was low on oil. He reset the computer and changed the oil. All better. I have 114K and minor head gasket leaks that don't affect compression. I spent $35 on an oil change and now I'm back in business.

Subaru_Jim
65

OK... now some time has passed since I *simply* changed oil filters, and I have had no more problems So THAT was the answer - at least for my car. I suspect that there are other things that could cause this, but a clogged, dirty, or poorly designed oil filter that impedes oil flow might be the ridiculously simple cause for most of us. The oil pressure must be monitored after the oil filter, and if its too low, on come the lights. CERTAINLY it is such an easy and cheap fix that everyone should try it before spending hundred$ at some shop for some "repair" that does no good at all.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
obare
0

I had the same problem, I unplugged the battery for about 20 minutes, then plugged it back, then opened the fuel cap and closed it. Started the engine and let it run for about 10 minutes (the CEL and CC lights were still on), then switched of the engine and switched it on and the problem has disappeared. When opening the fuel cap, it looked like it had not been tightened properly, so I dont know which worked, that is, unplugging the battery or opening and closing the fuel cap.

Aannddrreeww Wootten
10

Subaru Forester 2007. I didn't have the lights "problem" UNTIL I changed my oil today, and, as always, a brand new oil filter. It is topped off properly, full. However, maybe I did too MUCH maintenance? I also changed the air filter, transmission fluid, and its filter. Have I taxed the system too heavily? Since reading some of the above comments (THANK YOU ALL! I came here FIRST!), I have gone back and checked, double-checked, all fluid levels, and re-seated the housing for the air filter. And lastly checked the gas cap. I also filled from about 1/4 tank, to full, with premium gas. (I do that on every oil change as well) I have never seen the light combo as mentioned in previous posts. I, too, have the flashing CC light and steady CEL. I now have the battery unplugged, and will leave it so about a half hour from what I have read. I will comment again about the end result.

Aannddrreeww Wootten
10

(Well, I was merely going to append my previous comment, but that function is not present.) I waited the 30 minutes, unscrewed the gas cap, re-seated it firmly, turned the ignition key to ACC, but did not start the care. Waited about a minute (the flashing CC light was gone, but the steady CEL remained) (interesting, the radio's display flashed "SYSTEM CHECK" non-stop...), then turned the key and started the car. All lights were gone/normal display! Again, thank you for all the helpful comments. Perhaps after doing my own oil changes, I will remove the negative battery terminal cable for the duration. I'll check back in about 4,000 miles. ;) Or comment if it pops up sooner.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Grubbles1966
0

Same is happening to our 06 Subaru Forester - flashing CC and solid CEL. Our car manual indicates that its a sign the CC has been deactivated... that all. That's why the car still runs fine and no specific fault can be identified. You can inactivate the cruise control by pushing the CC on button or lever as you turn the engine on. Apparently you can reactivate it by turning off and doing the same again. This has worked for me a couple of times - but not now. It won't do it. The car manual is a little vague about this - but perhaps Aannddrreeww's method is the 'key' (pun intended!). Has anyone experience a situation where, by ignoring the flashing CC and solid CEL that the car has suddenly stopped working, failed to start a all, shuddered to a halt in the middle of the freeway or anything dramatic....? If not - then it may not have anything to do with oil, fuel or air at all. The car manual also says that the CEL should be flashing before you panic. Has anyone check the fuses for the CC system??

Chinafromboston
30

We did as some here advised..Disconnected neg battery terminal 20 min;reconnected battery then took off gas cap and 're closed it thoroughly(apparently if cap is not on properly it can trigger these lights) then reconnected battery put key in ignition turn key to " first"position but don't turn car on for a few minutes. Then turn car on.We Almost started crying when the cell and cc lights went off! THE FIRST TIME SOMEONE'S ADVICE worked!Good luck!

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Christy McNulty
20

This works! I still can't believe it! Thank you EVERYONE!

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
2010frster
0

the cruise light flashes because the cruise doesn't work when the check engine light is on. This started happening to us after hitting the front bumper lightly into another vehicle. Turns out the outside air sensor is very sensitive to a bump and needed replaced. disconnecting the battery terminal will turn off the light temporarily but it will come back until the issue causing the the ce light is rectified.

ginapineapple
20

It's great to see so many people fixing this without spending crazy $$$$. My CC/CEL lights are still on after at least 5 weeks. Disconnecting the battery (plus gas cap off and on tightly) didn't work. Nor did fiddling with the CC switches on the dash. Next step is replacing the air filter. And if that fails I will replace the MAF myself rather than drop $400 that the dealer estimated. Blink on!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
GPfeffermann
20

This happened to me both with my 07 WRX and 06 Forester. Thanks to the reader's contribution, I disconnected the battery for a half hour or so, then re-connected it, and lo and behold, the problem has been solved. :-)

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
You think this is helpful.
Englishwanderer
0

I just brought my 2009 turbo xt forester into dealer for constant check engine light with ABS lit as well as flashing cc. Was told I would need a new air pump for $1100 - $125 diagnostic fee I was charged today. 75k miles. Didn't have it done...thinking it might be time to sell. Any advice?

ginapineapple
20

125 diagnostic fee! Ouch. I dropped $47 at my dealership and am still kicking myself. Apparently autozone will run the codes for free. Interestingly, autozone's diag showed a different part that needed replacing (02 sensor, vs the MAF that the dealer said). Hard to know who to trust. Read the whole thread - disconnecting the battery for a time and retightening the gas cap has worked for many people. Good luck.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
You think this is helpful.
GPfeffermann
20

See my post above. First time I disconnected/reconnected battery, the problem disappeared but then reappeared. I repeated disconnect/reconnect, and now everything runs normally for the past week.

JRLyons
0

Dallas Subaru guy... Brilliant!!! 10 mm wrench, disconnect negative pole, wait five minutes, reconnect negative pole, turn key on to maximum before it will crank the engine, wait one minute, turn key start engine! Voila!!! magnificent I love it when life works like that. Someone needs to take Dallas Subaru guy out for dinner and drinks!

GPfeffermann
20

Actually, I discovered that disconnecting the battery wipes out the computer data. I found this out when the car could not be tested for emissions control. After driving it around for a while, the flashing "cruise control" indicator + check engine re-appeard....

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
subidoo
50

If the problem(s) that caused the cel/cc/traction control lights to illuminate isn't fixed, disconnecting the battery & resetting the computer will only work temporarily. My 2009 Forester had an intermittent fault causing these lights to illuminate. Eventually the lights remained on continuously. Replacing the catalytic converter has resolved the problem.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

Forester
Looking for a Used Forester in your area?
CarGurus has 26,624 nationwide Forester listings starting at $1,650.
ZIP:

Search Subaru Forester Questions

Subaru Forester Experts

#1 Nick Eidemiller
Nick Eidemiller
Reputation 1,370
#2 lifeson34
lifeson34
Reputation 1,200
#3 lizlubee
lizlubee
Reputation 880
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Subaru Outback"
340 Great Deals out of 16,083 listings starting at $1,999
Used Honda CR-V"
717 Great Deals out of 52,411 listings starting at $1,400
Used Subaru Impreza"
160 Great Deals out of 6,439 listings starting at $2,000
Used Toyota RAV4"
716 Great Deals out of 37,030 listings starting at $1,995
Used Subaru Legacy"
163 Great Deals out of 9,981 listings starting at $1,395
Used Ford Escape"
1,323 Great Deals out of 57,978 listings starting at $950
Used Subaru Impreza WRX"
10 Great Deals out of 1,725 listings starting at $5,600
Used Subaru Impreza WRX STi"
21 Great Deals out of 978 listings starting at $12,995
Used Toyota 4Runner"
310 Great Deals out of 12,314 listings starting at $2,490
Used Toyota Highlander"
515 Great Deals out of 15,838 listings starting at $3,650
Used Hyundai Santa Fe"
445 Great Deals out of 23,372 listings starting at $1,825
Used Honda Civic"
798 Great Deals out of 56,463 listings starting at $995

Used Cars For Sale

2015 Subaru Forester For Sale
3 Great Deals out of 20,449 listings starting at $24,990
2014 Subaru Forester For Sale
44 Great Deals out of 928 listings starting at $18,995
2013 Subaru Forester For Sale
25 Great Deals out of 446 listings starting at $15,975
2012 Subaru Forester For Sale
35 Great Deals out of 724 listings starting at $13,497
2011 Subaru Forester For Sale
36 Great Deals out of 1,050 listings starting at $12,991