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2008 Forester 2.5X
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145 Posts
I thought this was a European safety requirement. My VW had something similar prewired where you could turn on the left hand parking lights with a setting on the headlight switch. I presume it's intent is for double parking on those narrow city streets at night preventing the next guy from rear ending your car. It's wired that way so you can lock, alarm, and leave your car with the lights on.

Since a great deal of Subarus go elsewhere beyond the States it didn't surprise me to "discover" this feature. However, they could have simply left the switch off, replaced it with a cover, and saved several million dollars.

I'll email them that cost cutting idea right now?
 

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Dodgy Post Whore - eh!
2003 XT 2.5 AT
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1,840 Posts
My VW had something similar prewired where you could turn on the left hand parking lights with a setting on the headlight switch.
I drove a VW van in Europe a handful of years ago and I think the park lights on either side could be turned on depending on which way the indicator stalk was switched, when the van was off.

The van had a rough life. It had someone cycle into the back of it (during the day) and broke the back windscreen, dented the back door, etc.

I was on my way to an event last Friday night and had to stop to consult the map and phone home to get someone to consult a web site, so I parked in a side street and turned off the engine. Instant darkness so I flipped the park light switch so I could actually be seen... and forgot to switch it off when I moved on.

At the event: "Before we get started there are a couple of cars with their lights on..." He didn't even need to mention that the first was a Forester with my number plate for me to realise it was mine. (The other car was an interior light, and coincidently was parked right next to mine. We commiserated each other.) I HATE THE SUBARU WAY OF SWITCHING THE LIGHTS. Is there an easy way to change it to normal?
 

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2004 XS Premium 5MT
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223 Posts
Once left the (former car) Impreza with my in-laws as they had offered to wash it as a b-day gift.
When I returned late that night, they told me that they had to disconnect the battery because they did not know how to turn the lights off!! I laughed at them a bit!!

... I must add that this switch is the second one that my 2 y-o daugther figured out how to use on the Forester (after hazards)!
 

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Dodgy Post Whore - eh!
2003 XT 2.5 AT
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1,840 Posts
When I returned late that night, they told me that they had to disconnect the battery because they did not know how to turn the lights off!! I laughed at them a bit!!
Having to retune the radio would be more annoying than having to crank the engine for an extra half second. But it's a stupid system anyway.
 

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2005 2.5 XT
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7 Posts
This actually happened to me today too... :) I've had the FXT ('05) for less than a month and I was about to go nuts until I remembered seeing that button... ;) I hit it while cleaning the car... D'OH! :)
 

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Administrator
2016 & 2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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19,341 Posts
I see that this is your first post, so welcome! We're glad to have you here.

I guess you didn't see my annual Spring Cleaning public service announcement.

And the rules of the forum are that you have to go to this thread and post your abject confession before you're accepted as a full member! :icon_wink:
 

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2006 V50 T5 6spd Manual
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2,510 Posts
Since we've revived this thread....

...my friend who owns a '10 WRX (no drain switch) just bought an '02 RS as a rally monster... and joined the battery drain club. I said, "Welcome aboard the old Subaru club." :smile:
 

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2001 Forester
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1 Posts
My headlight socket melted after a few weeks (cheap replacement) and my parking light turned on (wouldn't turn off) the same day... I thought my melted headlight socket fused some other parts of my car wiring until I read this forum.... i pulled my fuse for the illumination (in engine compartment) to stop the parking light from turning on (even w/ the car off...)
I searched this forum until I found this thread and realized my parking lights were on independently (even after the key is out of the ignition)...
anyhow, looks like I'm a victim like many others...

I have a 2001 Subaru forester S as my daily driver and a 2010 Subaru WRX STI pearl white limited SE that I'm working on...
 

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2001 Forester S
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46 Posts
Took my car to Apple Auto-Glass the other day to have a chip repaired; when they were done they brought the car around and parked it out front. I noticed the lights were on and the car was off-- I had the key in my hands. All of the staff and I tried everything to figure it out, to no avail. Eventually I called the Subaru dealership and quickly found it to be the parking light switch; wow did we ever feel stupid! In all this I did find out that one of my tail-lights was half burnt out, so I replaced it.

I had played around with the parking light switch before and knew it existed...just not that day, two years after getting my Subbie.
 

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2003 forester 4 auto
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3 Posts
A side-bar issue you mention - one CAN accidentally leave the overhead or map lights on even with the key removed and kill the battery. I found this out the hard way.
 

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2016 & 2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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19,341 Posts
Swap the bulbs for LEDs and you're good for a day or two!
 

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2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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29,432 Posts
I've left my map lights on overnight many a times, and so far it has never killed my battery. :confused: But then again, this is with an Optima battery.
 

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Registered
2004 2.5 XT Auto
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26 Posts
Thanks for the post

WOW... Dont I feel like an idiot. I just purchased my FXT in December and always wondered why that switch was there and why I would ever use it.

So I come back from the bar with my lady friend and she's like... "why are your Tail lights on?" I couldn't figure it out and just thought it might be a fuse about to go bad. I drove my Subi home and parked it in the garage and waited to tackle that issue the next morning.

So before I even look at the owners manual or check any fuses or do any trouble shooting at all on my own... I checked this website out.

And look at that... I found the issue right away and ran out to my Subi to flip the Parking Switch back... Then I had to get it jump started.

But N E ways... Yeah I feel dumb, D-U-M-B... but now I know... and knowing is half the battle.

:woohoo::bacon:

Thanx Guys!
 

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2016 & 2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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19,341 Posts
You've survived the initiation, and now you're one of us.
 

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07 FXT sport
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1,736 Posts
Today walking into the local fast food establishment, I spotted an young granola couple opening their hood on their late maybe 90's outback. I asked if they needed any help or tools, and the guy said no, "I'm just pulling the connection at the battery terminal because I have a wiring issue and the parking lights stay on and drain the battery."

I said, oh really? I asked this is a Subaru right? The front end of it looked like it had seen about 500,000 miles and a number of collisions. He said yeah, so I proceeded to walk him over to his steering column, sure enough the "kill" switch was pressed. I said see that switch on the top of the steering column? Flip it and connect your battery again.

The look on his face was priceless. He said that they had lent their vehicle to his wifes parents, and the "wiring" had been messed up since. He indicated he had been disconnecting his battery for months!!!

I told them both not to feel bad, that it is a common "operator error issue".

As I was leaving I overheard the same couple making a cell phone call saying "you never guess what happened at lunch today...."
 

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2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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29,432 Posts
^^Nice! :lol: The existence of the battery drain switch never ceases to take people by surprise. Yesterday I saw an Outback parked in a grocery store lot with the parking lights on. Unfortunately the owner was nowhere near the car.
 

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1999 Forester S 5-Speed Manual
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217 Posts
I saw this and had to laugh. I bought my '99 SF two weeks ago and without having an owners manual for it, wondered the same question.

I did the smart thing: Went to a local Subaru dealer and asked them. Surprisingly, they didn't laugh or otherwise make me feel dumb.

They also advised me that the owner's manual for a 2000 Forester on Subaru.com would work for a '99 since my model year wasn't available online.
 

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2019 Sport CVT
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789 Posts
I now have a '12 & a '13 and was sad to see the switch go away. It was just another funky Subaru thing.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter called and said she got her car washed and now her lights won't turn off...
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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13 Posts
I'm so freaking happy I found this post. My 2001 Subaru Forester overheated last night (blown headgasket, unfortunately - but she's back in business now...$2,115 later). For some reason, I was so pissed and flustered that I couldn't find the hazards before I left it to hitch a ride. I was hitting everything until I finally found the hazards (I was blinded by rage, what can I say?) and left those on when I left because I had somewhere else to be. When I came back the next day with the tow truck driver to take it in, he said the battery was completely dead. "I can't even put it into neutral to get it on the truck." We had to jump start it just to put it into neutral!

I was just sitting here, the night before I go pick up my repaired HG Forester, and thinking "I still have to deal with those damn parking lights that I couldn't turn off", so I searched for it and found this. WOW. Thanks guys. You saved me a couple sleepless nights.
 
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