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Forester takes a long time to warm up

I love my 2011 Forester except for one thing. (you all knew this was coming) it seems to take forever to warm up! My Forester has a blue light on the dash (Coolant temperature Light) It turns red if the temperature is too high and it is blue when the car is started and then goes out when the car is warmed up. To me, this seems to take too long. My Forester has 50,000 miles on it. The other day I timed how long it took to warm up. The forester sat at work for 8 hours. When I started it up to go home, (it was 42 degrees), it took almost 4 minutes for the blue light to go off indicating the car was properly warmed up. All my coworkers were long gone. I bought the car new and I intend to drive it for many years so I have been waiting for the blue light to go off. I get a hard time from friends and family telling me to get going…I don’t think it takes this long for other cars to warm up. is this happening to anyone else?

Start your car and go. There is no need to wait for the blue light to go out. It will go out just fine as you are traveling down the road. Waiting for a vehicle to warm up went out in the Model T Ford days. If you are starting in extreme cold say near or below zero then wait a minute but no more.

You don’t need to sit and idle when the blue light is on, just drive gently.
The engine will also warm up faster driving gently.
If it’s above freezing there’s no need to sit idle more than about 15 seconds, to let the oil circulate.
Below freezing I recommend a minute or two, more if the windows aren’t clear obviously.
This will save gas and time.

I’m Guessing That The Blue Light Goes Off At Around 195*F Engine Temperature, Normal Operating Temperature.

You’ll get heat inside the vehicle long before it reaches that level and it’s not necessary to wait until it’s fully warmed-up. In fact, driving gently until the light goes out will get it up to full temperature faster.

Could you tell us what the Owner’s Manual says about this issue ?


Yep, no need to sit and wait, just don’t push the car hard while the blue light’s on. What does your owners amanual say about it?

While I have never actually timed it, I would estimate that it takes the blue (cold) light on my 2011 Outback about 4-5 minutes to go off in winter temperatures. So, I would guess that the OP’s Forester is actually normally.

The only thing that the OP should be concerned about it the amount of both gas and time that he is wasting by (apparently) idling until the light goes off. As was said, on modern fuel-injected cars, it is absolutely NOT necessary to warm-up the engine before driving. Just start the engine, put on your seatbelt, check your mirrors, tune to a radio station that you like, and–voila–you are ready to go. That entire procedure should take you all of 30 seconds or so.

The blue light is your signal to drive “conservatively”, not to sit there and idle the engine. The engine (and the transmission!) will warm up more rapidly by driving–slowly and conservatively–rather than by just sitting and idling.

it takes longer then 4 min.s for my 300M temp gauge to come off of cold and to be up to temp. that takes about a few miles if it sits and idles it takes about 10 mins to show some temp but not at norm. so i would re-readd the owners manuel about this temp light.

" The only thing that the OP should be concerned about it the amount of both gas and time that he is wasting by (apparently) idling until the light goes off. "

That’s a matter of opinion. My wife uses her factory remote start on her Impala very frequently in winter. This morning it was -18*F when she was getting ready to leave and she would be an unhappy camper without a warm car.

What is remote start for and why do manufacturer’s install it on most (all ?) vehicles if it’s not to start and warm the car before use ? Oh, and those heated seats . . .

Good luck to you if you want to argue this with my wife about it. She doesn’t consider pre-heating a car to be a convenience, but rather a necessity and I won’t be the one to argue. The little gas that’s consumed is well worth the results.


“What is remote start for and why do manufacturer’s install it on most (all ?) vehicles if it’s not to start and warm the car before use ?”

Clearly, it is for comfort (in both winter and summer), and it is not for gas-saving.

Oh, and those heated seats . . .

Yup! I really like that feature, which I have had on all of my cars since 1997.

If I lived where the winter temps were in the range that you experience, I would probably opt to idle the engine for a longer period of time. In my neck of the woods, the lowest that the winter temps ever go is in the teens, and more typical is 32-45 degree winter weather. So, I just start the engine, put on my seatbelt, turn the seat heaters on, back out of the garage, and drive…conservatively…for the first 5 minutes or so.

I Believe I Fairly Recently Saw A Survey That Showed Some Most Popular Options Amongst New Car Buyers. The Survey Considered Men & Women Buyers.

Two of the most popular top 3 ( I don’t remember the other one or the order) according to women were remote start and heated seats.

Women need to have their rear-ends heated to be able to drive, men not so much. Men’s results were a bit different, but I don’t recall the details.


If you want your car to last, then start driving it right after start up, just go easy and don’t jump on the freeway for a couple of minutes. Idling is not good for your car. Also when you idle the engine until it gets warmed up, then the engine is ready to go, but the rest of the car is not so you need to drive easy for a few minutes anyway. Might as well let everything warm up at the same time by driving easy while it is cold.