Subaru Service Lights & Dashboard Symbols

subaru dashboard symbols

As a Subaru owner, it’s essential to understand the various service lights and dashboard symbols that may appear on your vehicle’s instrument panel. These indicators serve as a communication tool between you and your car, alerting you to potential issues or notifying you of regular maintenance needs. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the most common Subaru dashboard symbols and Subaru dash lights. By understanding the meaning of these Subaru dashboard symbols, you can address potential problems and maintain your vehicle’s optimal performance.

Check Engine Light

The Check Engine Light, represented by an engine-shaped icon, is one of the most common Subaru dashboard warning lights. This light can indicate various issues, ranging from minor to severe, such as a loose gas cap or malfunctioning sensors. It’s essential to have your vehicle inspected by a professional to diagnose and repair the issue as soon as possible.

Ignoring a Check Engine Light can be dangerous, as it may indicate a serious problem that could cause the vehicle to break down or even result in an accident. In addition, driving with the light on can cause further damage to the engine or other components, resulting in costly repairs down the line.

Oil Pressure Warning Light

The Oil Pressure Warning Light, represented by an oil can with a drip, signals a problem with your vehicle’s oil pressure. it can illuminate for several reasons, including low oil level, a malfunctioning oil pump, or a clogged oil filter.

In some cases, the Oil Pressure Warning Light may come on due to a faulty sensor or electrical problem. In such cases, the sensor may need to be replaced, or the electrical system may require repair or rewiring.

Low oil pressure can lead to engine damage, so it’s crucial to address this issue promptly. If this light comes on, pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so and check your oil level. If the oil level is low, top it off and monitor the light. If the light remains on or comes back on, consult a mechanic.

Battery Charge Warning Light

The Battery Charge Warning Light, represented by a battery icon, indicates a problem with your vehicle’s charging system. This light typically signifies an issue with the alternator, battery, or wiring. If this light comes on while driving, your vehicle may eventually lose power. 

The alternator is responsible for charging the battery and providing electrical power to the vehicle’s electrical components when the engine is running. If the alternator fails, the battery will not receive a charge, and the vehicle’s electrical system will eventually lose power. A faulty battery can also trigger the Battery Charge Warning Light. A weak or dead battery will not hold a charge, and it may also cause the vehicle’s electrical system to malfunction.

If the Battery Charge Warning Light comes on while driving, it’s essential to take immediate action. First, check to ensure that all electrical accessories are turned off to minimize the electrical load on the battery. If the light remains illuminated, pull over to a safe location and turn off the engine. Check the battery terminals for any signs of corrosion or loose connections. Tighten any loose connections, and clean any corrosion using a wire brush and a solution of baking soda and water.

Coolant Temperature Warning Light

The Coolant Temperature Warning Light, represented by a thermometer submerged in liquid, signals that your vehicle’s engine is overheating. Overheating can lead to severe engine damage, so it’s crucial to address this issue immediately. If this light comes on, pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so, turn off the engine, and let it cool down. Check the coolant level and add coolant if needed. If the light remains on or comes back on, get your vehicle looked at by a professional.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) Warning Light

The TPMS Warning Light, represented by an exclamation point inside a tire shape, alerts you that one or more of your tires have low air pressure. Low tire pressure can negatively affect your vehicle’s handling, fuel economy, and tire life. Check and adjust your tire pressure according to your owner’s manual, and then reset the TPMS system. If the light remains on, take your vehicle to a workshop.

ABS Warning Light

subaru dash lights

The ABS Warning Light, represented by the letters “ABS” inside a circle, indicates a problem with your vehicle’s Anti-lock Brake System. If this light comes on, your vehicle’s standard braking system will still function, but the ABS may not work in the event of an emergency braking situation. 

It’s essential to have your ABS inspected and repaired as soon as possible, as continuing to drive with a malfunctioning ABS system can increase the risk of accidents, particularly in adverse weather conditions or emergency braking situations.

Brake System Warning Light

The Brake System Warning Light, represented by an exclamation point inside a circle, signals an issue with your vehicle’s braking system. 

One of the most common causes of the Brake System Warning Light is low brake fluid. Brake fluid is a crucial component of the braking system, as it transmits the force applied on the brake pedal to the brake calipers and pads. If the brake fluid level is low, the braking system may not work correctly, and the light will come on. In this case, it’s essential to add the recommended type of brake fluid to the reservoir and check for any leaks in the system.

Worn brake pads can also trigger the Brake System Warning Light. Brake pads are designed to wear down over time, and when they become too thin, they will not provide enough friction to slow down or stop the vehicle properly. In this case, it’s crucial to replace the brake pads as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the braking system.

A malfunctioning parking brake can also cause the Brake System Warning Light to illuminate. The parking brake, also known as the emergency brake, is an essential safety feature that prevents the vehicle from rolling when parked. If the parking brake is engaged, but the light remains on, there may be an issue with the parking brake system that requires repair.

If the Brake System Warning Light comes on while driving, it’s essential to take immediate action. Pull over to a safe location and check the brake fluid level. If the brake fluid level is low, add the recommended type of brake fluid to the reservoir. If the light remains on or comes back on after adding brake fluid, it’s time to seek the assistance of a qualified mechanic. They will diagnose and repair the underlying problem, which may involve replacing the brake pads, repairing the parking brake, or fixing any leaks in the brake system.

Low Fuel Warning Light

The Low Fuel Warning Light, represented by a gas pump icon, indicates that your vehicle’s fuel level is low and it’s time to refuel. This light typically comes on when your fuel tank is approximately 1/8 full. To avoid running out of gas, refill your tank as soon as you can.

If you ignore the Low Fuel Warning Light and run out of gas, you may need to call for roadside assistance or walk to the nearest gas station, which can be time-consuming and unsafe. Furthermore, running out of gas can damage the fuel system and potentially lead to costly repairs.

Maintenance Reminder Light

The Maintenance Reminder Light, represented by a wrench icon, notifies you that your vehicle is due for scheduled maintenance. This light is usually triggered by mileage intervals or a specific maintenance item, such as an oil change. Refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance schedule and have the necessary service performed by a professional.

Cruise Control Indicator Light

The Cruise Control Indicator Light, represented by a speedometer with an arrow, signifies that your vehicle’s cruise control system is active. To disengage cruise control, press the brake pedal or turn off the system using the cruise control button on your steering wheel.

Cruise control is a convenience feature that allows drivers to maintain a constant speed without having to hold down the accelerator pedal. This can help reduce driver fatigue and improve fuel economy, particularly on long drives or highways. However, it’s important to use cruise control responsibly and only in appropriate driving conditions.

Keep in mind that cruise control is not a substitute for responsible driving, and it’s crucial to remain alert and prepared to respond to unexpected situations.

Airbag Warning Light

The Airbag Warning Light, represented by a seated passenger with a deployed airbag, indicates a problem with your vehicle’s airbag system. Airbags are designed to protect drivers and passengers in case of an accident by deploying rapidly to cushion the impact and reduce the risk of serious injuries. If the Airbag Warning Light comes on while driving, it’s essential to take immediate action. A malfunctioning airbag system may not deploy, increasing the risk of injuries or fatalities.

Washer Fluid Warning Light

The Washer Fluid Warning Light, represented by a windshield with water droplets, signals that your vehicle’s windshield washer fluid level is low. To address this issue, add washer fluid to the reservoir.

Windshield washer fluid is a crucial component of the vehicle’s safety system as it helps to keep the windshield clear and free of dirt, debris, and other contaminants that can obstruct the driver’s view. If the washer fluid level is low, the system may not function correctly, potentially leading to reduced visibility and increased risk of accidents.

Door Ajar Warning Light

The Door Ajar Warning Light, represented by a car with open doors, indicates that one or more of your vehicle’s doors, trunk, or hood are not properly closed. Check all doors, the trunk, and the hood, and close them securely to turn off the warning light.

The Bottom Line

subaru warning lights

Understanding the meaning of Subaru dashboard symbols, Subaru dash lights, and Subaru warning lights is essential for maintaining your vehicle’s performance and safety. By recognizing these indicators and addressing any issues they signal promptly, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable driving experience in your Subaru Forester, Outback, or Crosstrek.

Remember, when in doubt, consult your owner’s manual or contact your local Subaru dealer for assistance with dashboard symbols or warning lights. Regular vehicle maintenance and inspections by professional mechanics can also help prevent many issues and keep your Subaru running in top condition.

And if you’re interested in more things vehicles, take a look at our blog section. There, you will find information on topics such as the differences between OBD1 and OBD2 scanners, best OBD2 scanners for your Subaru vehicle, what do different OBD2 codes mean, and more. 

Subaru Dash Lights – Frequently Asked Questions

Can I continue driving if a warning light comes on?

It depends on the specific warning light. Some warning lights, like the Check Engine Light, may allow you to continue driving, but it’s essential to have your vehicle inspected by a professional as soon as possible. Other warning lights, like the Oil Pressure or Coolant Temperature Warning Lights, indicate potentially severe issues that may require you to pull over immediately and seek professional assistance.

What should I do when a warning light comes on?

When a warning light comes on, it’s essential to address the issue promptly. Some warning lights, such as low fuel or tire pressure, can be resolved by topping off fluids or adjusting tire pressure. However, other warning lights may indicate more severe problems requiring professional assistance. Always consult your owner’s manual or a Subaru professional if you’re unsure how to address a specific warning light.

Are Subaru Forester warning lights, Subaru Crosstek warning lights and Subaru Outback warning lights all the same?

While there might be some warning lights specific to a particular model, most of them are universal across all Subaru vehicles.