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2005 Subaru Impreza stalls after clearing codes

Hi there

The check Engine light on my 2005 Subaru Impreza is on and the codes that I have seen are P2096 and P0506. After my mechanic clears the code, I drive off, unknowingly that soon after my car would stall due to (which I later found out from Subaru) the computer having to re-learn to idle after clearing the code. My local Subaru dealer said I need to let the car idle in neutral for about 20 minutes, which I thought was an absurd answer, especially coming from Subaru who knew about the issue. My mechanic said they have seen it with other car makes (Honda or Toyota). I consider this to be a huge safety concern and the “idling” solution is unacceptable.

Has anyone experienced this? I have already lodged a complaint with the NHTSA.

Thank you

“re-learn to idle”, yeah, the dealer is feeding you some bull.

3 to 5 minutes is usually sufficient, the 20 minute response keeps the service writers phone from ringing for at least 20 minutes.

The safety issue would be the technician returning the vehicle before the idle has stabilized, I don’t think the NHTSA will go after an individual for this.

@BillRussell, I’m aware that the dealer’s response is bull, but the fact remains that the the Subaru tech I spoke with understood what I was talking about, which is the actual issue.

@Nevada_545, whether it’s 1 minute or 20 minutes, the point is that it’s an issue that consumers shouldn’t have to endure. I’ve read about similar incidents on several forums.

Regarding your NHTSA comment, were you referring to them going after the individual dealer?

Again; The safety issue would be the technician returning the vehicle before the idle has stabilized,

Fair enough. It was a simple question to get clarification, so need to get uppity with your response and bold typeface.

I should also clarify that my complaint with the NHTSA was with Subaru corporation, not an individual tech or for that matter, an individual dealership.

Other posters here have said that their vehicle’s idle had to be re-learned after some service or another had been performed. So what you are saying is something to be expected with newer computer controlled engines. The throttle body passages can clog up over time and mileage, so the engine computer has to adjust the throttle plate nominal position to get the same airflow into the engine at idle as when the car was new. This adjustment happens automatically and gradually over time in normal operation, so isn’t noticed. In older cars there was no automatic idle adjustment, so the owner would have to take the car to the shop to have the idle mixture and idle speeds adjusted – done by turning various screws in the engine compartment – as part of a yearly tune-up.

But with new cars when the computer gets reset during a service the engine computer thinks the car is new again. But it isn’t, so the engine won’t idle correctly. And there’s no screws the service staff can turn to return the engine to a smooth idle. Hence, the need for the idle learning process.

I do think you have a point OP that the shop should return the car to your with it idling properly, whatever it takes. You paid for the work, and that’s their job to return it to you with the job done. Their counterpoint would probably be that a 2005 is an 11 year old car and with normal wear and tear can’t ever be expected to idle like a new car, unless the owner was willing to spend large sums of money to completely rebuild the engine. So some minor idle-learning annoyances have to be tolerated by the owner in the interest of minimizing repair expense billings. Who’s right? Both sides seem like they have valid points. Some compromise is needed on both sides I guess. It will be interesting to hear what the NHTSA says.

Let it relearn idle. Our 2005 legacy gt had a full code clear to get rid of check engine light however the problem when I got it back was stalling. After driving roughly a half hour it cured itself and check engine light never returned.

Mechanic did state he forgot this quirk of our 2005 legacy.

@BillRussell This happens with many newer cars it may not be complete BS.
My 2002 Camry and as far as I know many other Toyotas does the same thing if I clear the codes by disconnecting the battery (which I consider the wrong way). If I clear the codes with a code reader (which I consider the correct way) no problems with the idle.

Pvt: new to me, but I believe you.