Why is that light showing up on the dashboard? How do I fix whatever it is telling me to fix to get the light to go away? There aren't a lot of perennial questions for cars, but everyone at some point has heard their car make a ding and had no idea why it was mad at them. Well, no longer! We have the top Subaru dashboard questions answered here, but have no fear: we've also answered the other ones!

Click whichever picture below fits the dashboard symbol you want to know more about to get the information you need about what it is and how to fix it or scroll down for the answers to our most-asked "what is that?" lights.

check engine


Coolant temperature warning light

We have a whole bunch on this here, but the short version is:

  • When the light is blue, the coolant temperature is low. This is why it lights up blue when you start your vehicle. It will turn off when your engine gets to appropriate operating temperatures.
  • When the light blinks red, the coolant temperature is high. It means your engine is close to overheating and you should stop safely and manage the overheating.
  • When the light stays red, your engine is very likely overheating. You should deal with the overheating and schedule a service immediately before the engine is worsened by further overheating or irregular wear by warped parts.

Learn how to manage overheating.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) warning light

What does this light mean?
When the ignition is turned to the ON position, the low tire pressure warning light will come on for about 2 seconds while checking the TPMSystem. If there is no problem, and the tires are properly inflated, the light will turn off.

If the light stays on or comes on during driving, it means you have at least one tire that is likely significantly underinflated. Underinflation leads to greater wear on the tread, decreased gas mileage, and can negatively impact handling and stopping.

The Subaru Tire Pressure Monitoring System also comes with a malfunction indicator. If the TPMS blinks for a minute then stays illuminated, then begins blinking again (and so on), that indicates a malfunction with the TPMS that could be for a number of reasons including a replacement wheel or tire that impairs TPMS's ability to function.

What should I do about that?
Each tire (including the spare) should be checked monthly when cold. They should be inflated to the inflated pressure recommended by your manufacturer. If you don't know what it is off hand and you don't want to bother flipping through your owner's manual to find how much air to put in, the driver-side door frame has a plate with the VIN and tire pressure or, like with this 2012 Outback, a plate with the VIN and a sticker with the recommended tire pressure for each tire. You'll notice that the tire pressure is higher up front because the front of the vehicle is under greater load, and the higher pressure compensates.

Properly inflated tires will make for a smoother ride, lengthen the life of your tires, and improve your gas mileage.

If the light doesn't come on for the two seconds it should when your car starts, if the light stays illuminated after you've thoroughly checked all your tires, or if the malfunction sequence occurs, you should get it into a shop to have your system inspected and repaired.

For more on TPMS, check out this post dedicated to it, and just as a reminder, TPMS should not replace normal tire maintenance.

Icy Road Surface warning light

What does this light mean?
This light comes on if the temperature gauge registers a temperature at or below 37 degrees Fahrenheit / 3 degrees centigrade. This light is only available in certain models and certain packages. it will interrupt the information display for a few seconds before the display returns to normal.

What should I do about that?
Be aware that road surfaces may be icy, and you may want to drive with a little extra caution. Keep in mind that the temperature gauge only measures the air temperature around the gauge and may not necessarily reflect an accurate air temperature for you or the vehicle as a whole. Also keep in mind you should check driving conditions every time you get behind the wheel. This warning is just meant to be a little reminder.

Categories: Service