Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC
Car Year: 2012
Car Model: Forester 2.5X
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I would like to share my experience with the issue. I believe my problem has been solved (for now) and wanted to share in case it works for anyone else.
I bought my 2012 Forester with about 65 000 km on it already. The issue did not arise until more recently, maybe around 75 000 km.
I was driving on the highway, and seemingly randomly, the check engine light, traction control light, and flashing cruise control light all came on at once. Apart from no longer being able to use cruise control (which I hadn't been), I couldn't notice any other symptoms with regards to performance. However, the lights alone do cause quite a dreadful feeling. I managed to borrow a friend's code reader and learned of the P0171 System Too Lean error code.
After reading this forum, I decided that since the actual check engine light was not flashing but solid, it wasn't so serious that I should drive straight to a mechanic. In the interest of saving money on a garage's guesswork, I went to the internet for help.
The first, cheapest option, was to top up the fuel and make sure the fuel cap was clicked on tightly. Having already returned the code reader, I needed to reset the lights and error code in order to tell whether the problem was actually resolved. I disconnected the battery for about a minute in order to accomplish this.
I am not a confident mechanic, so even simple things like this make me uneasy. I have found carcarekiosk.com to be very straight-forward and helpful. (I also used this site to change my bulbs.)
After driving something less than 200 km, the CEL, traction light, and flashing cruise light came back on. So, the next least expensive thing to try was STP fuel injector cleaner dumped into a fresh tank of gas, which I purchased at a gas station. I had read someone solved their issue with this code earlier in this thread. And I reset the code.
Having dealt with check engine lights in my previous vehicle and now in this “new” one, I decided to get my own code reader. I ordered the Veepeak Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner for Android off of Amazon for around $25 CAD. It has turned out to be very worthwhile. I use it with the free Torque Lite app, which allowed me to read that it was again the P0171 System Too Lean code, and then reset the code. And now I am prepared to see any future codes immediately, since the code reader is cheap enough I’m comfortable leaving it in my center console.
By this point, I had discovered another symptom. On at least two occasions, when I was initially starting the Forester, it struggled quite a bit to start. I actually pumped the gas a little bit to get it started.
Within another 200 km. The lights came on again. Same code. The next least expensive option was to clean the Mass Air Flow Sensor. It seemed to make sense based on what I had read in this and other forums (although much of it was a bit over my head). I bought some cleaner for around $10 at Canadian Tire, and found some instructions on a website I unfortunately cannot seem to find now. But it is a very easy piece to access. Making sure not to let it touch any other surfaces (with gloves and goggles equipped) I gave the interior and exterior several quick blasts of the cleaner. Then I let it thoroughly dry before replacing it.
It has now been nearly 1000 km of driving, so I’m considering the problem to have been resolved. Bearing in mind that the code reader wasn’t a necessary purchase, this only cost me about $20 for the injector cleaner and MAF sensor cleaner. I shudder to think what I could have spent at the dealership…