Steps to Reset Subaru Check Engine Light Codes Without a Scanner

Ever had that little yellow terror, the check engine light, come on in your Subaru and thought, “Not again!”? It’s something no Subaru owner wants to see, especially if you’re cruising around in your trusty Subaru Forester. 

But, what if I told you there’s a way to play hide and seek with that troublesome check engine light? If you’re looking for a DIY Subaru Forester check engine light reset, then you’ve found the right place! 

This article isn’t just about helping you reset your Subaru check engine light but also explains what might cause that light to turn on. In addition, we’ll provide a decoder ring for those mysterious Subaru check engine light codes. So, get ready to figure everything out about those check engine lights with this guide to Subaru check engine light reset!

Subaru Vehicle is that solid, trustworthy car brand from Japan that we all know and love. Most Subaru models are fitted with a check engine light that flips on when something’s up with the vehicle’s emissions system.

If the dreaded check engine light comes on in your Subaru, fear not. You may be able to reset or clear those pesky codes without needing a scanner. Just disconnect the battery for a good five minutes. This effectively gives the car’s computer a restart and wipes the codes clean. But beware, if you haven’t fixed the underlying issue, that little light will make its comeback.

Causes of Check Engine Light Coming On

What Makes That Check Engine Light Turn On?

Pesky Gas Cap

That gas cap can be a real troublemaker. If it’s loose or faulty, or the pipes and valves connected to it aren’t doing their job, your check engine light might pop on. This is one of the most common culprits, so give it a check first.

Oxygen Sensor Shenanigans

Your car’s oxygen sensors are key in getting the air/fuel mixture just right. If one sensor throws a tantrum, your check engine light might join the protest.

The Sparks Aren’t Flying

If a spark plug or ignition coil isn’t sparking joy, or indeed, isn’t sparking properly, it can trigger the check engine light. These little guys ignite the air/fuel combo in your engine, so if they’re out of sorts, you may have a problem.

Catalytic Converter Complaints

Your catalytic converter has a big job – transforming harmful emissions into harmless gases before they’re set free. If it’s not doing its job, that check engine light might start blinking at you.

EVAP System Leaks

Your EVAP system snares any naughty fuel vapors escaping from the fuel tank and sends them back to the engine to be burned. But if there’s a leak, guess what? Yup, the check engine light may come on.

Mass Airflow Sensor Mayhem

The mass airflow sensors help calculate the amount of air surging into your engine, keeping your car efficient and emissions low. Ignore these sensors at your peril – problems here can lead to worse issues like bad gas mileage, your car stalling, or even engine failure.

How to Reset That Check Engine Light

Pop open your Subaru’s hood and find the black, negative battery terminal – it’s typically hanging out on the driver’s side of the engine bay.

Grab a wrench, loosen it, and remove the negative battery cable from the black, negative battery terminal.

Wait five minutes for the car’s brain to reset.

Hook the negative battery cable back up to the black, negative battery terminal.

Shut the hood, and you’re done! That check engine light should now be off.

Decoding Subaru Check Engine Light Codes

You can do this in two ways:

  1. Using an OBD2 scanner
  2. Without a scanner

Method 1: With an OBD2 Scanner

If you want to pull the codes from the car’s brain, you’ll need an OBD-II scanner. This is because the check engine light is a little tattletale, controlled by the onboard diagnostics (OBD) system.

Method 2: Without a Scanner

If you don’t have an OBD-II scanner, don’t worry. There’s another way to reset that check engine light. It’s a bit of a trick, and you might need a few tries or goes at it before you see the code display.

Spotting Engine Trouble

If you’re not keen on disconnecting your battery, just watch out for the following tell-tale signs when your check engine light is on:

  • Rough running
  • Loss of power
  • The engine shaking
  • Misfires
  • Overheating
  • Smoke from the exhaust
  • Poor throttle response
  • Struggles to start the car

If you spot these symptoms, your Subaru is trying to tell you there’s an engine issue. Find a safe spot to park your car, turn OFF the engine, and get in touch with a mechanic as soon as possible.

If the check engine light is on, but your Subaru seems to be behaving, it might be something as simple as a loose gas cap or an evaporative emission control system leak. Try tightening the gas cap, or getting a new one to see if that resolves the issue.

Remember, whether it be simply resetting or deciphering check engine light codes on a Subaru Forester, they’re simply looking out for you both to ensure many more miles of safe motoring together! Stay safe and enjoy every mile in your Subaru Forester whether there is or is not an engine light present!

Scroll to Top