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2014 Forester automatic
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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a 2014 Forester in early October, 2013. It is the 2.5 with auto tranny. I recently have been driving on some slick highways. I drove 2600 miles from Alaska to Washington State in December of this year, very little bare pavement. I found the "Dynamic Control" to be a real pain and a danger. It would kick in at between 40-60 mph when there was traction loss. The effect was loss of control, the car would "wiggle around" enough that I had to slow down. At times we got passed by little two wheel drive Hondas as well as big 4 x 4 pickups. I turned to "off" the little traction symbol light when the wiggling happened (suggestion from the dealer service guy). I had it "off" most of the trip.

I have been driving winters in Alaska for more than 40 years and know what to expect. This is the sixth consecutive Subaru I have owned. This car is unpredictable and feels unsafe to me. Does anybody think it is malfunctioning? Is this an issue for other drivers of new Foresters? I am VERY disappointed in this feature and am looking into pulling the fuse on it if I can. This will probably void the warranty so I am not anxious to do it.
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,073 Posts
For some one who has a lot of seat time in driving in low traction situations, I have found they often have a hard time letting vehicles with stability control do their thing. Seems their natural reaction is for them to fight the system and get frustrated with it.

If you are on stock tires, they are marginal at best in the snow and ice. Dedicated winters go a long way.

I would suggest taking the car to an area where you can safely play around with it and learn how the system responds so you know what to expect from it before you jump the gun calling it unsafe. I know my first time intentionally playing around with a Forester that had the stability control, I was unsettled and had to learn to relax and let it do its thing.

Drivers who are skilled in driving in low traction situations are used to largely maintaining control via throttle and steering inputs. It can be hard for them to let the vehicle actuate individual brakes to slow the corner stepping out to rotate the vehicle back into line. It is a different feel. I don't like the feel, but it does work well.

As far as pulling the fuse. No warranty issues, but the insurance companies might have some thing to say should you have an accident.
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,073 Posts
Cool 60 mph on slippery roads huh.
Notice he said 40-60 mph.

...... It would kick in at between 40-60 mph........
Defaulting to just the higher figure leaves much of the story out. I wouldn't consider 40-60mph to be unexpected, properly equipped.

On summers or worn out all seasons 10mph could be outright dangerous. On a set of dedicated winters selected for those conditions, 70mph might feel perfectly safe and in control. Even a little light weight FWD with dedicated winters will run around a AWD/4x4 with new all seasons.

The op didn't mention what they are on for tires, which is why I did.

It could also be that this is the first time the op is in a vehicle with dynamic stability control and has a learning curve to experience and get through, if they can. A combination of this and factory all seasons I can understand the frustrations.

No one wants to accept that their $20-40K new vehicle designed to work in all conditions sucks in the snow and ice due to marginal factory tires and that they should invest in better ones. Factory all seasons tires are there to just get the job done in all types of conditions, not to be dominant in any of those conditions.
 

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2011 Forester
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107 Posts
Notice he said 40-60 mph.



Defaulting to just the higher figure leaves much of the story out. I wouldn't consider 40-60mph to be unexpected, properly equipped.

On summers or worn out all seasons 10mph could be outright dangerous. On a set of dedicated winters selected for those conditions, 70mph might feel perfectly safe and in control. Even a little light weight FWD with dedicated winters will run around a AWD/4x4 with new all seasons.

The op didn't mention what they are on for tires, which is why I did.

It could also be that this is the first time the op is in a vehicle with dynamic stability control and has a learning curve to experience and get through, if they can. A combination of this and factory all seasons I can understand the frustrations.

No one wants to accept that their $20-40K new vehicle designed to work in all conditions sucks in the snow and ice due to marginal factory tires and that they should invest in better ones. Factory all seasons tires are there to just get the job done in all types of conditions, not to be dominant in any of those conditions.
And that's why most of the vehicles I see spun out and wrecked are 4wds. I just honk and wave when they are scratching their heads wondering want happened.


Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

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'19 Forester LTD CVT
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I'd play around with it a little bit more. It is a very strange feeling when you enter a curve a little too fast, and instead of counter steering, you hold the steering wheel where it is and let the computer pull you out. It's nice when you get used to it, but unnerving at first.

Also, if your car is equipped with x-mode, that is only for slow speed driving (out of a snow bank and over other obstacles). Having it turned on (default is OFF) at higher speeds can cause an experience where the stability control is overly active. It should automatically turn off after 25-35 (don't remember which) MPH anyway.
 

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2014 Forester XT Touring CVT
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12,859 Posts
Here is what I posted in a similar thread about VDC, based on my experiences: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f89/traction-control-function-tell-me-whats-happening-here-262378/#post2740506

Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) is the button you pushed.

This is Subaru's description of VDC

The driver’s driving habits are detected from the steering angle, engine speed, selected gear and braking conditions to constantly calculate the best driving mode for the vehicle. Actual driving conditions are monitored by each sensor. This electronic control system takes this information to constantly and automatically optimise traction and stability with a computer. Torque distribution between the front and rear wheels is optimised, torque distribution between left and right wheels is controlled when braking, and engine output also controlled in a flash, without hindering the sporty driving required by the driver, all to maintain a safe level of driving.
- SUBARU | Subaru Technology | Vehicle Dynamics Control System

In our vehicles you can push that button to "turn off VDC", at least that is what it tells you happens. It actually just relaxes the system, but it will still activate. I tested this on a gravel road and described it here: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f62/first-experience-vdc-2014-xt-233922/

In my experience, which was sliding around a gravel corner, turning off VDC allowed me to slide more than with the system on. My back end got over far enough that I was probably at about 30 degrees in relation to the road. That is when the system activated. With VDC on I was able to slide much less before the system activated... probably closer to 10 degrees.

Also, unlike X-mode, I believe VDC will remain off until you either turn it back on with the button or until you shut off the vehicle.
 

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2014 Forester CVT
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Yes, it feels creepy driving on ice highways, even without vdc being activated. I'm not yet sure why. It is the same feel on winter tires, as well as all season. I do know however that fwd's and 4x's dont make me feel like im going to lose control at any moment.
 

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2014 Forester automatic
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Guys (and Girls?),
Many thanks for the discussion. I will answer some questions raised; "Cool 60 mph" is sometimes just keeping up with traffic. The tires are the factory Yokohamas, nothing aggressive (yes, better tires would probably help). Tire pressure was checked @ 50 psi, recommended. This is my first experience with VDC ( my point exactly!). I find very little difference withe VDC switched "off" (lighted symbol on) or on.
I think that I will drive it on a lake where I can't hit anything and try to get more comfortable with the VDC controlling, get a better feel for it.
Thanks again,
Gary
 

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2014 Forester automatic
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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, it feels creepy driving on ice highways, even without vdc being activated. I'm not yet sure why. It is the same feel on winter tires, as well as all season. I do know however that fwd's and 4x's dont make me feel like im going to lose control at any moment.
The other guys don't make me feel like I am losing control. My point is that I am supposedly in a competent vehicle but am getting passed up by front-wheel drives and fat 4 x 4's while struggling to keep the Forester on the highway. The Forester should be able to keep up, traction-wise, at least. You said it right "feels creepy".
 

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2014 XT Touring CVT
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18 Posts
Even before I took off my factory tires I thought VDC did a pretty good job driving around in the winter up here. Much better than my Chevy's traction control. Feels much more grounded than my other rigs, and I haven't seen it kicking on unless something is actually slipping and does a good job keeping the car going straight. I did notice it being more squirrelly before I aired the tires down to factory specs from the dealer fill. On my XT its supposed to be 32 I think and they had them up at 45-50. Felt like I had rocks on there instead of rubber and was all over the place.
 

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2014 Forester XT CVT
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80 Posts
Guys (and Girls?),
Many thanks for the discussion. I will answer some questions raised; "Cool 60 mph" is sometimes just keeping up with traffic. The tires are the factory Yokohamas, nothing aggressive (yes, better tires would probably help). Tire pressure was checked @ 50 psi, recommended. This is my first experience with VDC ( my point exactly!). I find very little difference withe VDC switched "off" (lighted symbol on) or on.
I think that I will drive it on a lake where I can't hit anything and try to get more comfortable with the VDC controlling, get a better feel for it.
Thanks again,
Gary
50 psi? Who recommended 50psi in your tires? Max cold inflation is only 44, and 33/32 is what the manual calls for.
 

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2014 2.0 XT Touring CVT
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50psi? Geez - mine gets skittery on a simple wet road at 40psi - which is what mine had when it landed. I can only imagine what 50psi is going to do to you on ice.

I agree - 32, max! You won't believe the difference.

PS - don't ever listen to whoever told you 50 ever again.
 

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2017 Limited
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Yup, 50psi is super hard, the car more than likely would be jittering all over the place on a bare tar road even.
 

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2014 2.0 XT yes
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50 PSI!! You may as well be driving with solid rubber wheel barrow tires -- or a Prius. At least you didn't crash.

The correct tire pressure can be found by the driver's side rocker panel.

You cannot complain about the behaviour of the VDC when you tires are inflated wildly out of spec. I will suggest that it won't activate at all when you fix this.
 

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2014 Forester automatic
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Discussion Starter #19
Tire pressure

50psi? Geez - mine gets skittery on a simple wet road at 40psi - which is what mine had when it landed. I can only imagine what 50psi is going to do to you on ice.

I agree - 32, max! You won't believe the difference.

PS - don't ever listen to whoever told you 50 ever again.
I was getting excited to think that the problem was just tire pressure. I checked all four and found they all were between 32 and 34 psi. Inside door panel info on this vehicle recommends 30 psi front and 29 psi rear tires, cold. So I will go to that pressure.

I had to replace a ruined tire at just 2K od. miles. The mechanic told me the tire had 50 psi max on the sidewall. I thought he was recommending that pressure for all, just a misunderstanding. He put the new tire on at 32 psi.

BTW the warranty needed to have the tire replaced with the exact tire & tread depth. It was good that the tires were still new, full tread depth. The Yokohamas that come on the 2014 Foresters are made ONLY for that car, replaceable only through the dealer ($263!).
 
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