Oil Warning Lights in Your Subaru Forester

Published: June 3, 2022
Last updated: August 16, 2022

The engine oil makes sure that all of the moving parts inside are properly lubricated and protected from friction and heat damage. Are you aware that many other components also have their own oils? In the event of an issue, your car will tell you with a warning light on its dashboard! We will tell you what you need to do about your Subaru Forester's oil warning lights.

A low oil pressure or low oil level may cause your Subaru Forester's oil warning light to illuminate. Your engine may even suffer damage if the problem is not addressed. You should not ignore these warnings at any cost. The following are why one or more warning lights on your dashboard may come on and what you can do to resolve the underlying issues.

AT Oil Temperature Warning Light

You'll see the "AT OIL TEMP" light on your dash if the fluid temperature in your automatic transmission is too high. Immediately after starting the vehicle, if the "AT OIL TEMP" light may flash, indicating transmission problems. The transmission may behave abnormally until a Subaru-certified service provider resolves this problem.

Stop Driving & Turn Off the Engine

When your Subaru Forester AT oil temp light comes on when driving at constant speed, the first thing to do is find a safe place to pull over (not on the side of the road or busy street). You should turn off your engine and turn on your hazard lights when you reach the location. The next step will require the engine to be turned off, but it can also prevent further damage to the engine.

Check The Oil Level

There is a possibility that your vehicle's oil warning light has been illuminated because there is not enough oil in the engine. It is possible to check if this is the case after shutting off your car. Take the dipstick out and wipe it with a soft cloth. It should be reinserted into the oil reservoir and removed to check the oil level. When the oil does not reach the recommended fill line, it may be due to low oil. The best thing you can do here is adding more engine oil--but don't stop there. The low oil level may have damaged your Subaru Forester's engine, or it may indicate other problems, so you should immediately take it to an authorized Subaru service center.

Call For A Tow

If the light still comes on after topping off the oil (or if it wasn't low), then it is probably not the low oil that is causing the low oil pressure. An oil delivery system component might be damaged, or a sensor might be damaged. You shouldn't drive if the light stays on or if the Subaru Forester makes strange noises even when it's off. Rather than attempting to repair the car yourself, have the vehicle towed to an authorized car dealer.

Low Oil Level Indicator Light

According to the manufacturer, the oil system alert light should resemble an oil can with an oil droplet gushing from the spout. If your engine's oil system light is amber, you need to add oil. When this light comes on, be sure to add oil to the engine as soon as possible to prevent interior engine damage that will require extensive repairs down the road. Driving too long with this light engine will cause major problems, but adding oil is a fast, cheap, and easy way to resolve this issue. 

R. Diff Temperature Warning Light

When the rear differential oil overheats, it will illuminate the "R. DIFF TEMP" warning on your dashboard. During this time, it is recommended that you pull over and let the differential cool off. Driving with an overheated rear differential will damage the differential and put additional strain on the engine, causing further damage. The maximum torque will automatically be applied to the front wheels when this light is illuminated, regardless of user settings.

Your rear differential oil also protects the meshing metallic parts from wear and friction, just like the engine oil. Furthermore, it prevents excessive heat from accumulating. The lubricating properties of differential oil will decline as it ages and breaks down. The rear differential fluid needs to be replaced when this light appears in most cases.

Low Oil Pressure Warning Light

Compared to the amber warning lights described above, this one is red and indicates a far more serious issue. When you see a light that looks like a genie lamp but is red instead of yellow, you should stop driving the vehicle and tow it to a nearby service center. 

The oil pressure in the engine is low if the oil system light is red. The sensor could also be failing. An engine with low oil pressure won't get enough oil coverage to protect parts, so it isn't wise to let this one slide. The engine will likely begin to overheat, and metal parts will start grinding against each other, resulting in severe damage. When this light comes on, stop driving your car as soon as possible to avoid a major repair bill.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair Subaru Forester’s Transmission?

Maintenance on Subaru vehicles, especially the powertrain, is not cheap. Changing the transmission fluid is the cheapest possible fix, and it costs around $200.

Unless you know what's broken, figuring out how much it will cost to fix it is difficult, but you can expect expenses to start at $1,000 and average around $2,000. It will cost you up to $3,500 to refurbish or replace a complete transmission.

A transmission oil change and an inspection of the vehicle would be better. Consider weighing the vehicle's current value against the cost of repairs if the problem has not been resolved. When the math doesn't add up, it's better to sell the car than repair it and buy another one.

Are you interested in learning more about cars and their maintenance? Head over to the KeepDriving website and check out our blog post on how hot can a car trunk get.

Founder, Editor-in-Chief Carmelo Pickel is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Keep Driving, with almost 20 years of experience working in the industry. Before founding Keep Driving, Carmelo held leadership roles for over a decade on top automotive dealership corporations across North America, handling various leadership roles in Sales, Marketing, and Incentives.
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