Forester CEL blinking, low power, jumpy idle

30

Asked by Jun 02, 2015 at 12:42 PM about the Subaru Forester

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 2005 Subaru Forester just passed Rhode Island inspection last week. I didn't use for 6 days. Last night when we got home I moved the car and noticed a strong gas smell. This morning on I drove it cold on way to work right away I noticed lack of power at low gear (its automatic trans), a jumpy idle, and some smoke out back (not too much and looked whitish). Check engine light flashed a couple of times but didn't stay on nor flashed continuously. I know flashing CEL is BAD, so I went right back home and parked, didnt even drive a mile.

I'm thinking some sort of cilynder misfire.

My mechanic is less than a mile from my home. My question to the forum is: Is it safe to drive there or should I go with a tow truck?

13 Answers

43,825

As long as you have plenty of oil, I would say it's safe to drive it there. White smoke could mean bad head gasket. Strong gas smell could mean it's running too rich. But it would be black smoke. May have a fuel line leak or EVAP issue.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
30

Thanks! On way to mechanic it had none of the symptoms. it ran perfectly! Made me look bad! Wonder what happened? It is a rainy day.

43,825

You should have had the error codes scanned. Whatever it was will come back again. You can always take a water bottle and mist down your wires and coil packs. See if it starts to skip, Hopefully it's something simple like that.....

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
Best Answer Mark helpful
30

Thanks again for your response! I misted the plug wires and in one particular place near the sparkplug end the misting triggered the misfire.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
43,825

Nice! That was easy!

7,215

Major kudos Reelin. question: Is this a scenario that causes the cruise light to flash? I know there are many factors with all the sensors and components but it is a question that is often asked. My response is usually along the lines of "the computer is monitoring a fuel/air ratio that can damage the catalytic converter" etc etc. And Carlos, this was your CEL flashing and not a SOLID CEL and flashing cruise? Thanks guys.

30

Yes Reelin, thanks! I did a tune up today and its running like new (so far)! No oil or coolant anywhere that it shouldnt have been, thankfully, but old wires looking worn out. Walth: The CEL flashed (scary!) for about 5 seconds whenever the misfire was actively happening and then stopped until it happened again. Cruise control light never came on and CEL didnt stay on beyond the flashing. Thanks!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
30

Scanned and the code was for a cylinder #3 misfire, btw.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
43,825

Walth, thanks! If you have a Forester, this seems to be an ongoing problem with this model. There are many posts that say if the CEL comes on, the CC light will flash as well. Some people say to get the error codes read, fix the issue, then remove the negative battery cable for an hour or so. Some Forester owners still have the flashing cruise issue. Now they just ignore it. Try researching for example "Subaru Forester TSB 2005." Or whatever year you have. All the TSB's will come up. Maybe there's one for the Cruise light flashing. Good luck!

43,825

Nice job Carlos! Glad to help!

7,215

I have 03 and 04 forester but no issues. I just try to help people on here and was curious if this question was related. Sometimes it's just me and Mark and maybe one or two more answering on the Subaru Q's. Thank you both for the quick replies.

10

My Forester is a 04, Lately it's been happening to her. But always super cold mornings and snowy. I always give her lots of time to warm up before going anywhere on days like that. It's usually when i hit the highways ill all of a sudden loose power and my speed starts decreasing instead of increasing when pushing the pedal. When that happens i go off to the side of the road and give her a few minutes and ill turn her off then back on again. The CEL will be Blinking when I loose power and after a bit of sitting it will stop blinking on its own. I still give it some time but it can get back on the road after a few minutes. I need to figure out whats going on and how to fix it. Especially because I do lots of highways driving

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
43,825

Crossroad_1101, get codes read first. That will save a ton of guess work. Post codes back here.

Your Answer

Forester

Looking for a Used Forester in your area?

CarGurus has 37,356 nationwide Forester listings starting at $995.

ZIP:

Subaru Forester Experts

  • #1
    Nick Eidemiller
    Reputation
    3,950
  • #2
    walth
    Reputation
    3,410
  • #3
    lifeson34
    Reputation
    2,810
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Subaru Outback
359 Great Deals out of 32,453 listings starting at $1,695
Used Honda CR-V
750 Great Deals out of 53,118 listings starting at $1,500
Used Toyota RAV4
712 Great Deals out of 54,880 listings starting at $1,995
Used Subaru Impreza
173 Great Deals out of 20,421 listings starting at $1,995
Used Subaru Crosstrek
52 Great Deals out of 11,442 listings starting at $16,995
Used Subaru Legacy
226 Great Deals out of 13,825 listings starting at $1,745
Used Toyota 4Runner
296 Great Deals out of 27,600 listings starting at $1,900
Used Ford Escape
1,275 Great Deals out of 98,717 listings starting at $800
Used Subaru Impreza WRX
36 Great Deals out of 1,153 listings starting at $4,295
Used Toyota Highlander
571 Great Deals out of 37,457 listings starting at $2,000
Used Mazda CX-5
216 Great Deals out of 25,739 listings starting at $7,955
Used Subaru XV Crosstrek
59 Great Deals out of 1,717 listings starting at $9,000
Used Nissan Rogue
839 Great Deals out of 65,238 listings starting at $3,599
Used Toyota Tacoma
648 Great Deals out of 40,817 listings starting at $2,000
Used Honda Pilot
672 Great Deals out of 36,157 listings starting at $1,750

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.