Subaru Impreza Dashboard Warning Lights

Subaru Impreza Dashboard Warning Lights

Detailed below are the Subaru Impreza dashboard warning lights with an explanation of each symbol and manufacturer recommendation on what to do should a warning light illuminate.

Several of the warning and indicator lights illuminate when the ignition switch is initially turned to the ‘on’ position. This is normal and is simply a bulb check or a systems check. Dashboard display layout and warning light location may vary depending on your model of Subaru Impreza.

Subaru Impreza Airbag Warning LightAirbag Warning Light

If the Subaru Impreza airbag warning light exhibits any of the following conditions, it indicates a malfunction with the seat belt pretensioners and/or the SRS (Supplementary Restraint System) airbag system: The airbag light is flashing, the airbag light fails to come on with the ignition, the airbag light remains permanently lit. In this situation, the airbag / seat belt pretensioner system may fail to activate in a collision.

Common reasons for the airbag light remining lit are malfunctioning passenger occupancy sensor, crash sensor, seat belt buckle. Alternatively, wiring under the front seats can easily become disconnected or dislodged.

Subaru Impreza Check Engine Warning LightCheck Engine Warning Light

Versions of the Subaru Impreza that utilize the on-board diagnostics system (OBD) monitor engine emissions control system. When a fault is detected, the check engine / engine malfunction warning light illuminates. The check engine warning light is generic, meaning that there many potential faults associated with the light coming on.

When the check engine light illuminates, a fault code is stored, requiring diagnostic tools to connect to the OBD port to read them. Most vehicle workshops have diagnostic code readers, else they can easily be purchased online.

If the steady check engine warning light illuminates on the Subaru Impreza, it’s usually safe to continue driving. If the check engine light is flashing, it can indicate an engine misfire, resulting in high heat levels that can damage the catalytic converter. In this instance, reduce speed, avoid hard acceleration and have your vehicle seen to as soon as possible.

If you own a version of the Subaru Impreza that does not have a OBD system, it may indicate that there is a problem somewhere in the engine control system.

Subaru Impreza Engine Coolant Warning LightCoolant Temperature Warning Light

For a systems check, the engine coolant warning light remains lit in red for approximately 2 seconds when the ignition is switched to the ‘on’ position. After this, the coolant light switches to blue and goes off when the engine is warmed up. The Subaru Impreza engine coolant warning light has the following three functions:

  • Illumination in blue indicates insufficient warming up of the engine
  • Flashing in red indicates that the engine is close to overheating
  • Illumination in red indicates overheating condition of the engine

Before Driving

If on the Subaru Impreza, the ignition is switched to the ‘on’ position and the coolant temperature flashes in red or alternatively flashes in red and blue, or remains lit for more than 2 seconds it may indicate a fault with the electrical system.

While Driving

If driving and the coolant temperature warning light remains lit in red or remains flashing, it means the coolant is overheating. If steam is coming from the engine, pull off the road and immediately switch off the engine. If there is no steam, keep the engine running at idle and open the hood / bonnet to allow ventilation. Visually confirm the cooling fan is working. If it’s not immediately switch off the engine and arrange recovery.

After leaving the engine to idle and when the warning light goes off and only when the engine has fully cooled down, switch off the engine and check coolant levels. If topping up with coolant, it’s recommended that you first wrap a cloth around the radiator cap to avoid scolding from steam.

Subaru Impreza Battery Warning LightBattery Charge Warning Light

The Subaru Impreza battery warning light illuminating when the engine is running can indicate a problem with the charging system. If the red battery light remains lit when starting the engine, avoid driving the vehicle. If the battery light comes on while driving, stop as soon as safely possible and check the alternator belt.

Other issues can be due to battery terminals being corroded or loose. Often you can only drive for a limited distance without battery charge. If there is a vehicle repair shop close by, make your way directly there.

Subaru Impreza Oil Pressure Warning LightOil Pressure Warning Light

The Subaru Impreza red oil light illuminating is an indication of a fault within the engine lubrication system and is not usually a symptom of low engine oil level. However, if engine oil levels are excessively low, it may cause the low oil pressure light to come on. If the dedicated low engine oil warning light comes on Subaru Impreza Low Oil Level Warning Light then add oil as soon as possible.

If the low oil pressure light comes on while driving, safely stop the car as soon as possible and immediately shut off the engine. Check oil levels and add oil if required. If you added oil, only continue to drive the car if the oil pressure light has gone off, else significant engine damage may occur. If it remains lit, arrange for recovery.

Subaru Impreza At Oil Temp Warning LightAT OIL TEMP Warning Light

The Subaru Impreza AT OIL TEMP warning light stands for automatic transmission oil temperature and it illuminates due to the oil temperature being too hot. If this warning light comes on while driving, safely leave the road and stop the vehicle. Allow the engine to idle until the warning light goes out.

If the AT OIL TEMP warning light flashes after the engine has started, it may indicate that the transmission control system is not working properly. In this instance, have your vehicle checked as soon as possible.

Subaru Impreza Tire Pressure Warning LightTire Pressure Warning Light

As a system check for the Subaru Impreza tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), the tire pressure warning light illuminates for approximately 2 seconds when the ignition is switched to the ‘on’ position. If the system functions normally and the tire pressure of all four wheels is appropriate for the selected TPMS mode (if applicable on your model), the warning light will turn off. The TPMS mode should be changed according to the specified pressure shown on the tire inflation pressure label, located inside the driver’s door.

If one or more tires become under-inflated, the tire pressure warning light illuminates. If there is a fault with the TPMS, the tire pressure light flashes for around 1 minute, then remains on. TPMS malfunctions may occur for a variety of reasons, including the installation of replacement or alternate tires or wheels on the vehicle that prevent the TPMS from functioning properly. It’s common for the tire pressure light to flash after the installation of tires or wheels. check that all tires have pressure sensors installed, including the spare.

Subaru Impreza ABS Warning LightABS Warning Light

ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) is an additional braking feature which helps to stop the wheels from locking while under hard braking. If the Subaru Impreza ABS warning light fails to come on with the ignition, or if it remains constantly lit, it means there’s a fault with the ABS. Providing that the red brake light is not also illuminated, only ABS will be affected and your car’s brake swill work as normal. The typical cause for ABS failure if one of the wheel speed sensors.

ABS and Red Brake Warning Light

If the ABS warning light illuminates together with the brake system warning light, it’s an indication of the EBD ( Electronic Brake Force Distribution)
system malfunction. EBD provides varying brake force to individual wheels based on requirements. EBD failure can result in unstable braking, therefore have the brake system serviced immediately. In the event of EBD systems failure, the ABS, red brake and VDC warning lights may come on simultaneously. In this instance:

  1. Stop the vehicle in the nearest safe, flat location.
  2. Shut down the engine, apply the parking brake and then restart the engine.
  3. Fully release the parking brake.
  4. Even if all the warning lights do not come back on, the EBD system may have a possible malfunction.
  5. If all the warning lights stay illuminated or come back on after approximately 2 seconds, shut down the engine, apply the parking brake and check the brake fluid level.

Subaru Impreza Vehicle Dynamics Control Warning LightVehicle Dynamic Control Warning Light

Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) provides the Subaru Impreza with handling stability to help prevent understeer and oversteer and provides  ABS control through the electrical circuit of the ABS system. If the electrical circuit of the VDC system itself malfunctions, the ABS remains fully operational. The VDC light can illuminate due to a wheel speed sensor fault, VDC or ABS module fault.

The VDC light also illuminates when there’s an engine fault, illustrated by the check engine warning light. This is due to VDC being automatically disabled in case of reduced engine power being implemented. Once the engine fault has been addressed, the VDC light will go off.

Subaru Impreza Red Brake Warning LightBrake Warning Light (Red)

With the parking brake fully released, the Subaru Impreza red brake warning light remaining lit is an indication that brake fluid levels have reached the minimum acceptable level. The red brake light can also be an indication of excessively worn brake pads. It can be dangerous to continue driving with low brake fluid levels and this can affect the vehicle’s braking performance.

Subaru Impreza Yellow Brake Warning LightBrake Warning Light (Yellow)

The yellow brake warning light illuminates on the Subaru Impreza’s dashboard when the electronic parking brake is malfunctioning. If you start the engine while simultaneously operating the electronic parking brake switch, the light may remain illuminated. In this instance, restart the engine, then operate the switch. If the yellow brake warning light remains lit, contact a Subaru workshop immediately.

The yellow brake warning light may also indicate a malfunctioning vacuum pressure sensor, or that brake booster pressure is decreasing. During the latter, it may become harder to operate the brake pedal. In this instance, carefully drive your vehicle to the nearest Subaru workshop.

Subaru Impreza Electronic Brake Warning LightParking Brake Warning Light

The red ‘P’ symbol illuminates when the Subaru Impreza’s electronic parking brake has been applied. If you operate the electronic parking brake switch while the electronic parking brake cannot be operated, this light flashes for approximately 10 seconds. If the light continues to flash, it’s an indication that the electronic parking brake has malfunctioned. If the light continues to flash, or the light remains lit even if you have released the electronic parking brake while the engine is running, contact a Subaru workshop.

Subaru Impreza AVH Warning LightAVH Warning Light

The AVH symbol stands for ‘Auto Vehicle Hold’ and  automatically keeps the vehicle stopped even after releasing the brake pedal when the
vehicle is at a complete stop, such as at traffic signals. While the vehicle is kept stopped by the Auto Vehicle Hold function, the Auto Vehicle Hold operation indicator light will illuminate Subaru Impreza Auto Vehicle Hold Operation Warning Light

Subaru Impreza AWD Warning LightAWD Warning Light

The AWD symbol stands for ‘All-Wheel Drive’ and flashes indicating a problem. Continuing to drive with the AWD warning light flashing can damage the vehicle’s powertrain. If the AWD warning light starts to flash, promptly park in a safe location and check whether the tires have differing diameters and whether any of the tires has an excessively low inflation pressure. The AWD light may also flash if the temporary wheel has been fitted. Use the spare wheel for a minimal time only.

Subaru Impreza Power Steering Warning LightPower Steering Warning Light

An exclamation point along with a steering wheel symbol is an indication of power steering malfunction. When the power steering warning light is illuminated, there may be more resistance when the steering wheel is operated. There are circumstances where the power steering may be temporarily disabled, or reduced power. If:

  • The steering wheel is operated frequently and turned sharply while the vehicle is maneuvered at extremely low speeds, such as while frequently turning the steering wheel during parallel parking.
  • The steering wheel remains in the fully turned position for a long period of time.

Subaru Impreza Immobilizer Warning LightImmobilizer Warning Light

The Subaru Impreza immobilizer warning light will flash to indicate that the system is armed. There is potentially a malfunction with the the immobilizer system if the warning light does not flash under the following conditions:

  • Immediately after the push-button ignition switch is turned to the ‘off’ position.
  • Immediately after the driver’s door is opened or closed when the push-button ignition switch is in the ‘on’ or ‘ACC’ position and the engine is not running.
  •  Immediately after the key is pulled out.
  • Approximately 60 seconds after the ignition switch is turned from the ‘on’ position to the ‘ACC’ or ‘LOCK’ position.

Subaru Impreza Auto Start Stop Warning LightAuto Start Stop Warning Light

The Subaru Impreza auto start stop system temporarily stops the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. This is indicated by the green symbol. If the yellow symbol with a strike through it illuminates, it means the required conditions have not been met in order to stop the engine. If the start stop warning light flashes in yellow, it means there’s a malfunction with the start stop system.

6 thoughts on “Subaru Impreza Dashboard Warning Lights

    1. Hi Duane,
      The security indicator light (car with a key in it) should stay on flash slowly, twice approximately every 2 seconds, when the car is off and locked up to indicate the system is armed. This does still sound like the security warning light, but perhaps it’s difficult to see the key part.

  1. I have a 2013 subaru impreza and have been issues with the engine missing. Took it to the shop and had it rectified but now all the lights in the dashboard are on. Female driver

  2. My Vehicle Dynamic Control Warning Light, and check engine lights are on and the cruise control is blinking. When there’s someone in the passenger seat, the airbag indicator comes on and the passenger airbag turns off. I’ve already changed my catalytic converter. So now I’m lost.

    1. Hi Craig,
      The VDC / ESC can often be disabled when an engine fault is detected. The same can be said for the cruise control being disabled. Most of these issues should be resolved when you get the engine light problem sorted. Are there no fault codes?

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