2019 Subaru Forester - Auto Off Hard on Engine?

RE: Your Engine Won’t Care If It Turns off – but You Might
Hi guys,
I live in NYC but on my annual trek to San Antonio last week, I saw your column in the local paper and the article mentioned above was of interest to me.
Last January, I purchased a 2019 Subaru Forester Sport which has this “feature” and I HATE it. As you mentioned, some vehicles with the Auto-Off are smooth when they restart (my girlfriends 2018 Audi Q5 does), but some are not, like my Forester you mentioned.
Good answer to the question but I take issue with one paragraph when you say “the engine really couldn’t care less how many times you start and stop it. In fact, the less it runs, the longer it lasts. So arguably, you’re prolonging the life of the engine by allowing it to shut off regularly”
Really? When an engine shuts off, the oil drains back into the oil pan. When it restarts there is a brief period of time when there is very little oil circulating and over the long term, this could cause engine damage. Also, the vehicle now needs a more robust starter and a larger battery to handle the additional starts, which adds to the price (Forester replacement batteries are just under $400).
My Forester is in Savannah Georgia and on a 95 degree day the A/C has to continue full blast whilst the engine is off, so it does not stay off the entire time for long red lights.
I get that people want to reduce emissions, but how about more traffic circles which are far safer than intersections and keep the vehicles moving? Auto-Off is a TERRIBLE idea, and hopefully go the way of the door-mounted seat belts of 20 years ago.
John Palmieri

Many of us on this forum agree with you. But get used to it, it isn’t going away.

As someone who has lived in a couple of towns with a big traffic circles… they create accidents like a naked clown running the wrong way in the middle lane of the highway! :laughing:

Not to mention the expense and time it would take to change even a small number of intersections to traffic circles.


Actually traffic circles are far safer than intersections. Studies have shown that though fender-benders may be more frequent (mostly due to bad drivers), t-bone crashes and fatalities are very rare. Also, the long-term expense to maintain a traffic circle is cheaper than the cost of lights and the electricity to keep them going 24 hours per day. Not to mention the polution generated by starting and stopping engines.

Should should be able to run off your auto start/stup function, has to be done each time you start your car. Not all vehicles offer this option, consult your owners manual.

We have a few ‘death circles’, hate them, and often you have to stop before entering.

My former city removed the traffic circle because it was the location of the highest number of traffic accidents for over 20 years. My traffic planning engineer father thought it was a great thing but admitted it was an accident point because most US drivers don’t know what to do with them.

Isn’t that pretty much the cause of EVERY accident? Sort of like admitting water is wet or ice is cold?

We’ve had the roundabout discussion here a few times before. You are not going to convince anybody to embrace them nor will I convince anybody to dump them. So there is that.

But, that involves reaching all the way over to the glovebox, opening the glovebox, retrieving the manual, taking the shrink wrap off of it, and then–God forbid–actually reading it.
Surely there must be an easier way!!!

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While I am personally not a fan of auto shut off, all of your oil isn’t going to drain back into the oil pan during the duration of a red light- making that part of your argument invalid.

but I hate round-a-bouts too. They are the Aquaman of intersections- probably good for something, but nobody likes them…


Sarcasm aside, there is NO way to permanently shut off the Auto-Off “feature”, at least on my Forester and my girlfriends Audi Q5. You have to do it every time you start the engine.At least in the Q5 it is visible, in the Forester it is on the second row of buttons to the left and down nearly on the underside of the dash.

Washington State DoT:
Studies have shown that roundabouts are safer than traditional stop sign or signal-controlled intersections. Roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Because you obviously missed that…

I personally like them. They entertain me.

Oh, yeh!
Especially the multi-lane ones :slight_smile:
I come from city in Europe where a 3-lane road to the satellite town gets through the 5-exit roundabout and traffic there was always crazy.
Surprisingly, it was not that many accidents and drivers were careful about getting into a proper lane in and out.
I agree that here in US a substantial number of drivers just do not know how to use roundabouts properly.

I rode around the Arc de Triumphe in Paris with a friend. 5 roads coming in, 3 lanes and a traffic light stpping us in the roundabaout. 3 lanes blending into 2 lanes. Seamless but insane!

I am totally convinced that the recent roundabout installation in my area will save lives. The problem is I think they have become a fad and they are now starting to put them up Willie Nillie.

I concur w/the OP that the auto shut-off feature, while it may have some merits, the feature should be set up to be easily disabled by the car owner , and stay that way without further electronic complaints, if the owner doesn’t want to use it. Car buyers of course hold the ultimate power. If buyers refuse to purchase cars with this feature, the manufacturers will stop offering it.

As far as round-a-bouts, the vast majority of the ones I’ve experienced in the USA are really quite terrible. Versions I’ve experienced driving in other countries for the most part seem very safe & work rather nicely. The big difference b/t the USA version and others is the area it takes. USA versions are far more compact, and compactness isn’t a good thing for a good round-a-bout design.

That’s ironic, considering we have much more space here