The Stanley Subaru Scoop




(Alternate title: How to Deal with Beeping Things Guide)

By far one of our most useful posts has been What does this light on my Subaru dashboard mean? And with good reason. It's a great quick-reference guide for almost every light that shows on your dash. So, now you know what light corresponds to what system, but why do they light up? Should you do anything when they do? How involved is it, really?

This is part one of our Technical Schmecnical deep dive on why these lights go off in the first place and what to do about them when they do.


Seatbelt warning light


WHEN AND WHY THEY GO OFF AT ALL


If the driver has an unfastened seatbelt when the ignition switch is on, the seatbelt warning light will flash for six seconds to warn you that the seatbelt is unfastened. If there is a passenger in the front seat with an unfastened seatbelt, the warning light will do the same. If the driver's seatbelt is unfastened, a chime will sound simultaneously.


If the belts remain unfastened after six seconds, a couple things could happen:

  • At speeds under 9 mph / 15 kph, the warning lights will alternate between steady and flashing in 15-second intervals
  • At speeds above 9 mph / 15 kph, the warning lights will alternate between steady and flashing in 15-second intervals as well as sound a chime


The front passenger's seat occupant detection system will monitor whether or not there is actually someone in the seat and will turn off the seatbelt warning system for that seat if it is empty.


WHAT IS HAPPENING? EVERYTHING IS CLICKED OR WHATEVER, AND IT'S STILL GOING OFF. IT IS SUPER ANNOYING.


If the seatbelt warning isn't working correctly, double-check a few things to save yourself a little headache:

  • Tug the seatbelt while it's in there to make sure the fastener is properly secured.
  • If there's no one occupying the front passenger seat, make sure there isn't something (heavy) there. Something on the seat could make the occupant detection system operate like there's someone sitting there. If there's something (or several somethings) there, but you don't think it's heavy enough to trigger it, check anyway. Two minutes of car cleaning is much less unpleasant than constant beeping.
  • Check the seatback pocket. Sometimes items in the seatback pocket can fiddle with the occupant detection. It's not likely, but it happens.
  • Make sure the seat is locked both in the backward-forward track and the seatback is locked into position. You can do it by trying to slide back and forth or rock back and forth. If you hear a click of a lock into position, check to see if the dash warning is gone.

If you've done all that, and it still is giving you a hard time, bring it in to a shop so it can be inspected and fixed. We're handy. You can even schedule right now, if you need.


SRS airbag warning light

(or the word AIRBAG)


SO WHAT DOES SRS MEAN? HOW DOES AN SRS AIRBAG WORK?


The SRS in SRS Airbag means Supplemental Restraint System. It's pretty literal, which is what you want when you're trying to figure out what a car part does, I suppose.


The SRS has a sensor that triggers just like a regular airbag. The light that comes on when you first start your vehicle is your vehicle testing the sensor and system. If the airbag is triggered, depending on the SRS you have, a curtain will drop/inflate to protect occupants' heads from the window and frame during a collision.


AND THE LIGHT TELLS ME WHAT?


If the warning light exhibits any of the following conditions, there may be a malfunction in the seatbelt pretensioners and/or SRS airbag system.

  • Flashing or flickering of the warning light
  • No illumination of the warning light when the ignition is first turned to ON
  • Continuous illumination of the warning light
  • Illumination of the warning light while driving

To prevent risk of unnecessary deployment, if any of these things are happening, the SRSystem will deactivate. Immediately take your vehicle to your nearest SUBARU dealer to have the system checked. Unless checked and properly repaired, the seatbelt pretensioners and/or SRS airbag will not operate properly in the event of a collision, which may increase the risk of injury.



Airbag and passenger airbag indicator lights



OKAY, PRETTY SURE I GET REGULAR AIRBAGS

Yeah. Standard safety feature required in all passenger vehicles for the last 16 years. In a collision, bag inflates in front of vehicle to minimize occupant injury with dash/steering column/stuff. There's some good general information about airbags fromSaferCar.gov here. Remember that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration still recommends children under 12 sit in the back in an appropriate restraint.


SO WHAT DOES THE LIGHT DO IN ALL OF THIS?


When the ignition switch is turned to the ON position, both the ON and OFF indicators illuminate for 6 seconds during which time the system is checked. Following the system check, both indicators turn off for 2 seconds.


If the airbag's on, the on part will light up. If it's off, the off part will light up. Per the owner's manual:

After that, one of the indicators illuminates depending on the status of the front passenger’s SRS frontal airbag determined by the SUBARU advanced frontal airbag system monitoring. If the front passenger's SRS frontal airbag is activated, the passenger's frontal airbag ON indicator will illuminate while the OFF indicator will remain off. If the front passenger's SRS frontal airbag is deactivated, the passenger's frontal airbag ON indicator will remain off while the OFF indicator will illuminate.


With the ignition switch turned to the ON position, if both the ON and OFF indicators remain illuminated or off simultaneously even after the system check period, the system is malfunctioning. Contact us immediately for an inspection. That needs to be fixed right away.



The Deep Dive series:

Part one: Seatbelts and Airbags

  


Part two: Fluids and Batteries PLUS How to deal with an overheating engine



Part three: Moving parts and lights which includes that snowflake (sometimes orange snowflake) that shows up!



Were you looking for why your lights are still on in your Subaru even if you don't have the key in the ignition? Check out our post here.

For more information, Check out our FAQ.

Categories: Technical Schmecnical

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