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Hi,
Got my first subie last month and I'm not sure what is normal and what isn't. I can understand the cold engine sign coming on when I start the car for the first time every day but it comes on when I start the car on the way back home from work. It also stays for a good 15 seconds. I usually start driving before it disappears as I'm driving slowing to get out of parking lot. Is this normal? Is it better to wait till the light disappears before driving?

Thanks
 

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It is normal, it is just letting you know the engine hasn't warmed up yet, until it has been running for say about 15 seconds.
 

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2013/14 2.5i-L CVT
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701 Posts
Is it better to wait till the light disappears before driving?
No. Not only is it bad for the environment and wallet, but idling the engine doesn't warm up the rest of the drive train. The engine isn't the only thing which works better hot. Getting the CVT, particularly the torque converter up to operating temperature is also important. Just don't drive it like you stole it until everything warms up.
 

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2019 Forester Sport Rubber band
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470 Posts
The blue light stays on until about 90 degrees, nowhere near warmed up.
 

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2018 Forester Touring CVT
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67 Posts
When it's 20 degrees F, my light goes out after 2 miles of 30 mph driving. That's about 4 minutes.
 

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On the newer Foresters, the blue "engine coolant cold" light becomes dark when the coolant reaches approximately 120 degrees F. The engine has not reached normal operating temperature until the coolant reaches 185 degrees. But the newer Foresters (and Impreza and Crosstrek models) don't give you a a coolant temperature gauge, so you have to guess when the engine is ready to perform best.
Don't work the engine hard until it reaches operating temperatures, but you can and should drive moderately when the cold light is lit.
 

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And that's just the coolant temperature. Does not account for the oil temperature is many degrees less and slower to catch up to coolant. So just start it and drive.
My last Outback (2015 Premium) has a oil temperature display that alwsys shows the oil temperature as higher than the coolant temperature. This makes sense because the oil actually contacts the engine parts the get the hottest (exhaust valves, pistons), where as the coolant only contacts the non moving parts (other than the coolant pump impeller) such as the engine block and heads.
 

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2018 Premium 2.5i 6M
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143 Posts
My '18 6M has a great little quirk: So, about 40 seconds after the blue light goes out, the car has this slight kick or lurch, like a turbo boost is kicking in -- and the car is a whole different beast: peppy, responsive. Makes a wonderful driving experience. I'm always assumed that this is when the car is warmed up and good to go :)
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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131 Posts
Yeah, it's one of those quirky Subaru things. I have one on my '11 Foz. It comes on when the coolant temperature is below a certain point and goes out once it rises past that point. I think. Or it might be the tranny fluid ..IDK. What do I notice most when the "blue light" is on is the engine will stay in each gear a lot longer (I have the 4EAT 4-speed auto) and the converter will not lock up in any gear. The tranny acts almost as if it's in the "sport" mode ...until the blue light goes out and then the tranny starts to act normally. In my Foz, the light stays on for a good 5 minutes or so. Why it's there is one of those Subaru mysteries.
 

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2003 Forester XS
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38 Posts
On the newer Foresters, the blue "engine coolant cold" light becomes dark when the coolant reaches approximately 120 degrees F. The engine has not reached normal operating temperature until the coolant reaches 185 degrees. But the newer Foresters (and Impreza and Crosstrek models) don't give you a a coolant temperature gauge, so you have to guess when the engine is ready to perform best.
Don't work the engine hard until it reaches operating temperatures, but you can and should drive moderately when the cold light is lit.
I'm no expert, and I have a 2003 Forester XS. I'm finding this interesting because when you start my car in the morning (and yes I let it run a bit before putting it in drive, including using a remote starter), Until you've driven at least half a mile, maybe a mile, it won't go into high gear, overall seems a bit stiff - since I bought it new. After that, as the temp gauge gets into the normal range, it runs nicely. Subie mechanics told me this is absolutely normal, and it sounds very close to what's being said here. Basically the car knows to limit performance until it is warm enough.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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306 Posts
That little blue light will go out (as said) after a few miles of driving, when the radiator & coolant hits a certain temperature.

I've also noticed - as somebody else did - that power sometimes is a bit ... limited ... and when the light goes off, power returns to normal....

For those of us that don't have a turbo and - therefore - can't use one of those COBB engine control units - I found an interesting little device that plugs in to the OBDII port (under the dash) and then can send system details to your bluetooth phone... Including coolant temp... It's a nifty little device from a company called NONDA - do a google search.

531737


I think that what it shows as "turbo" PSI may be more just the pressure reading from the MAF or something...
 

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Yeah, it's one of those quirky Subaru things. I have one on my '11 Foz. It comes on when the coolant temperature is below a certain point and goes out once it rises past that point. I think. Or it might be the tranny fluid ..IDK. What do I notice most when the "blue light" is on is the engine will stay in each gear a lot longer (I have the 4EAT 4-speed auto) and the converter will not lock up in any gear. The tranny acts almost as if it's in the "sport" mode ...until the blue light goes out and then the tranny starts to act normally. In my Foz, the light stays on for a good 5 minutes or so. Why it's there is one of those Subaru mysteries.
If you read your owners manual, it would not be a mystery. Here is what the maual says about the blue light: "This BLUE illuminated light turns off when the engine is warmed up sufficiently." Here is what the owners manual says about the transmission shifting:"
When the engine coolant temperature is still low, the transmission will upshift or downshift at higher engine speeds than when the coolant temperature is sufficiently high in order to shorten the warm-up time and improve driveability. The gearshift timing will automatically shift to the normal timing after the engine has warmed up."
RTFM -Read The Friendly Manual.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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541 Posts
If you read your owners manual, it would not be a mystery. Here is what the maual says about the blue light: "This BLUE illuminated light turns off when the engine is warmed up sufficiently." Here is what the owners manual says about the transmission shifting:"
When the engine coolant temperature is still low, the transmission will upshift or downshift at higher engine speeds than when the coolant temperature is sufficiently high in order to shorten the warm-up time and improve driveability. The gearshift timing will automatically shift to the normal timing after the engine has warmed up."
RTFM -Read The Friendly Manual.
Imagine that.... actually referring to the owner’s manual to learn about vehicle behavior and characteristics...

Who would have thought...?
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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131 Posts
I'm no expert, and I have a 2003 Forester XS. I'm finding this interesting because when you start my car in the morning (and yes I let it run a bit before putting it in drive, including using a remote starter), Until you've driven at least half a mile, maybe a mile, it won't go into high gear, overall seems a bit stiff - since I bought it new. After that, as the temp gauge gets into the normal range, it runs nicely. Subie mechanics told me this is absolutely normal, and it sounds very close to what's being said here. Basically the car knows to limit performance until it is warm enough.
Yup ...and in reality, most vehicles with multi-speed automatic trannies limit certain functions until the engine warms up. On my '11 Foz the tranny shift algorithm is such that it will hold each gear longer until that blue light goes out. The tranny will shift into fourth but the converter won't lock up in any gear (it locks in 2,3 and 4). My '98 GMC pickup won't go into converter lock up until it is appropriately warmed ...I just don't have a little blue light to tell me what's up.

And firmer shifts with a multi-speed automatic is simply a function of the cold ATF ...every non-CVT automatic equipped vehicle will shift firmer until the tranny fluid reaches normal operating temp.
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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Imagine that.... actually referring to the owner’s manual to learn about vehicle behavior and characteristics...

Who would have thought...?
A-Mazing what you can learn by reading the owners manual ...probably eliminate a good 50% of the questions that get asked. Is it a generational thing? Always being told what to do and not being challenged to find information on your own? IDK ...but gawd knows there's a whole bunch of people out there who haven't a clue.
 

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A-Mazing what you can learn by reading the owners manual ...probably eliminate a good 50% of the questions that get asked. Is it a generational thing? Always being told what to do and not being challenged to find information on your own? IDK ...but gawd knows there's a whole bunch of people out there who haven't a clue.
I agree, but Owners manuals are harder to read these days. The 6 document set I received with my 2019 Forester is daunting. The Operation Guide is over 500 pages! And much of it is simply general common sense advice.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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138 Posts
On the newer Foresters, the blue "engine coolant cold" light becomes dark when the coolant reaches approximately 120 degrees F. The engine has not reached normal operating temperature until the coolant reaches 185 degrees. But the newer Foresters (and Impreza and Crosstrek models) don't give you a a coolant temperature gauge, so you have to guess when the engine is ready to perform best.
Don't work the engine hard until it reaches operating temperatures, but you can and should drive moderately when the cold light is lit.
On my '19 Forester, one of the top screen choices is labelled' Favorites' in the menu and it allows customizing the 3 things that display there. I have an oil temp gauge for one (shows degrees) and water temp for another (no degrees but shows hot/norm/cold analog). I suspect this is available on any of the newer models. You just have to search for the settings for that.

As for the blue 'cold' indicator, it's not unique to Subaru. My daughter's 2018 VW Beetle has the same thing.

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