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2007 Forester Automatic
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I very recently bought a brand new 2014 subaru forester. This is actually my second forester.

Almost a dozen times i have had the following issue:
The vehicle dynamic control, ABS, and hill assist buttons all light up.

The lights stay on until i turn the car off, then when i turn it on again they are off. But i see or hear no changes in the car.

This has happened probably 12 times in the last 2.5 months that i've had the car. I have brought it in to two different subaru dealerships and they both said the computer test showed nothing.

Please help!

P.S.- is it normal for the hill assist light to be lit up for 60-65% of the time i am driving? Even on flat roads (i do most of my travel on the garden state parkway in NJ)
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i 6 spd
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433 Posts
Probably a loose connector. Intermittant electrical issues are extrememly difficult to troubleshoot. It would involve tracing and checking every wire involved.
 

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Premium Member
2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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4,255 Posts
Mike,

This looks like a vehicle electrical system problem to me. Specifically, the battery, the alternator, and/or the voltage regulator -- or their electrical connections -- may may to blame. The 2014 owner's manual makes a vague reference to this behavior on page 3-19.

It could even be something as simple as a loose/bad common (ground) connection, or some other connector. The ABS, VDC, and Hill Assist systems are all inter-related.

My recommendation is that you document the operational conditions and the indications (including pulling over and taking a picture) and then discuss the problem with your dealer. Rather than looking for diagnostic trouble codes (DTC's) via the OBD-II port, they probably should be checking the electrical system.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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2007 Forester Automatic
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the heads up guys. Is this something that can cause further issues if left unchecked? Or is this more of an inconvenience?

Also should my hill assist light be lit up the majority of the time? Seems like it's on a bit more than it should be.
 

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Premium Member
2014 328i xDrive Wagon 8 spd Auto
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1,975 Posts
I agree with Crewzer they should be actually looking at the wiring and connectors vs. just trying to pull codes.

Is yours a manual Forester? I don't think I've ever seen a Hill Assist light on my XT.
 

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Premium Member
2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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4,255 Posts
Among other things, the ABS indicator usually means that the ABS system has been disabled, but the "regular ol'" braking system should still work. I suspect the VDC- and Hill Start functions are also disabled when their indicators are on.

The Hill Start indicator should normally be off; see 2014 OM page 3-20. Personally, I consider the loss of these features to more than an inconvenience.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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2007 Forester Automatic
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Guys i really appreciate the insight. There is no noticeable change with the car when they come on it's just a headache for me since i just spent $25k on a brand new car. And my forester is actually the automatic. I swear the hill assist is on about 60-65% of the time...
 

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2007 Forester Automatic
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So guys i have an update. The lights have been going on more and more. Took it to the dealership today (and lucky me they went on before i got there). They hooked it up to a computer and got the code C1532 BLS which they said has something to do with the brake light system.

The guy asked me things like do i drive with two feet and do i have extra floor mats...

They said they couldn't do anything before Monday because they have to run it by the factory or something and they're closed today. So i got a loaner car.

Funny thing, on my way back the hill assist light (that on my car is lit up the majority of the time did not light up once). And i told them to keep an eye on that as well.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i 6 spd
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433 Posts
All the instrument clusters are the same, so both auto and manual cars get all the many and varied warning lights. What's different is which of them is hooked up. Let me rephrase that: What may be different is which of them is hooked up.

I don't have my owners manual handy, but I really don't see a need for a hill holder function on an auto. I can't recall if the manual is specific as to if the hill holder actually works on an auto.

In any case, I expect your issue will be in a connector or ground. While I feel your sense of violation, this is generally a really, really minor fault. It's not like your crankshaft is going to fall out. It may, however, turn into something of a bear to locate-I had an electrical problem in a Ford once, the engine wiring harness was out of the car three times without finding the problem. We found the cause of that problem by accident, that taught me to never, ever trust a connector.
 

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2007 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
moore thanks for the words of advice. Like i said thankfully this time they found the problem (i took it to them and a dealership close to work the first time it happened) and they weren't able to find anything because the lights were not on. At least this time they got the codes and know what the issue is.

This is my first new car and like with anything new- especially when you pay over $20k for it you're a bit uneasy when even minor things start malfunctioning shortly after you bring it home.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i CTV
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40 Posts
I had three warning lights come on at the same time including the ABS light. Had it towed back to the dealership (just in case, there was a problem) and it turned out to be a control switch that needed replacing (thankfully, under warranty). Problem solved.
 

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2009 impreza manual
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1 Posts
Thanks

Mike et al,
Thanks for your input. I recently started having the same problem with my '09 manual impreza. I'll check it out.
 

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2015 forester
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have a 2015 forester same lights came on..took it in a few days ago, they said it was a brake light switch that failed, they replaced the switch, seem to be fine so far
 

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2015 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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1,317 Posts
Mine is automatic, and I never get any lights at all that come on and stay on (except a CEL once for a loose gas cap). In fact, I don't think the automatics even have hill assist ... no reason for it ... just the manuals. Maybe it was wired wrong from the factory?
 

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2020 Limited - Crystal white pearl
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76 Posts
Bump/more issues

Having the same problem as listed in the beginning... was there ever a permanent fix? They did a software update and replaced the switch on mine, but now the hill start assist light comes on only in the morning and stays on for most of my morning commute...stores no codes etc.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i
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6 Posts
Count me as another one with this issue. All 3 lights on the dash just started showing up. Happened on and off for a week or so on a cross-country trip. Turning car off/on would reset them. But at some point the lights would not go off. This causes a problem. The transmission will not go into gear with the lights on. You will be stuck in park. Turning the car off/on multiple times would eventually allow me to shift into gear. Once in gear, everything seems to be fine with the lights on, except the cruise control won't work.

Got the forester to a dealer. Mechanic told me it was a faulty brake switch part. He claimed it was a cheap $15 part that he has already replaced multiple times on other new foresters. They could not get the part for days and he told me it was safe to drive. Also, the mechanic showed me how to reset the transmission lock. You may have noticed a small circular hole next to the gear shifter. Remove the small circular cover and push a pen or screwdriver down into it to reset the switch.

Drove another 300 miles with lights on to another dealership. (no cruise control) Other dealership had part and was a quick fix. Part number # 83311FJ000 for the switch. That dealer also claimed that the brake lights would not be working with the warning lights on. I did not actually check the lights and have no idea if I drove 300 miles without them on…..

In summary, newer foresters have a cheap $15 brake switch part that may very well go out on you. My forester is 2 years old with 45,000 miles. And the mechanic I talked to sounded like it was a common problem. Also, it's good to know what that small circular hole next to the shifter is for.
 

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2020 Limited - Crystal white pearl
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76 Posts
Hmm maybe I'll have them re do or readjust the brake switch again. It seems to have mostly fixed it from last time but it has flagged a few times.. I'm suppost to drop it off tomorrow and get a loaner ( right in the middle of moving...great)but now it's the hill start that has been coming on in mornings..
 

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2017 VW GTI Sport
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319 Posts
This is kind of unrelated, but I noticed that several people in this thread questioned if the CVT even has Hill Start Assist, and it does, check section 7-45 of the Owner's Manual. There are little to no hills in my area, but even I have felt it kick in once or twice when stopping for a light on an incline. You shouldn't (normally) see the light, however.

Someone more knowledgeable than I could probably explain why a CVT has this like a manual, but a regular automatic doesn't (something about CVT's having low "creep torque" and internal friction??), however, it's not just our Foresters. Other CVT Subarus have it (XV, for example) and other makes/models like Honda CR-Z and Fit, etc. have it too.
 

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2020 Limited - Crystal white pearl
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76 Posts
Interesting!

This morning - to continue the problem - The hill start assist light came on like it does every morning, but i notice as i was driving all of a sudden it would lose power(slow down like i let off the accelerator, it happened twice and i didnt notice an RPM Drop), then the hill start assist light would come on, and it would regain power..
 
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