Keyless Remote Control for Subaru Forester 2003



We recently purchased a 2003 Subaru Legacy (60K Miles) at a local used car dealership.

The dealer did not provide the keyless remote controls for the car. Upon verifying that our car did come with keyless remote as a standard option, we went ahead and bought a pair of remote controls on the internet.

We followed the programming instructions, which said (Among other things) to turn the key off-on about 10 times until the honk sounded once. Once the horn sounded once, we were supposed to follow a few simple steps to program the remote control.

Alas, we cycled the key as instructed but the horn never sounded and we could not program the remotes.

Has anyone else tried this and encountered the same problem? Please advise.


Juan Rivera



You can’t program remotes unless you already have ONE programmed. THEN you can program up to four or five of them.

The remotes are programmed with ever changing radio frequencies and the dealer is the only one who can do it.

Get them to do one then you can follow the procedure for the others.


The remote for my Acura is programmed by a series of key turns and button pushes, as you describe. I’ve done it and it works, but I was following the instructions in the factory service manual. Where did the instructions you are following come from? Ten turns of the ignition key seems excessive to me.

Are you POSITIVE the car has remote capability. If the car does not have the necessary computer stuff, NOTHING you try will work.


You need to get instructions from Subaru for this. “About” ten times is BOGUS. There is a specified number of times for you to turn the ignition key, and a specified time in which to do it. If you turn the key to few or to many times, it won’t work.

Get better instructions.


Here are some instructions to program the remotes. See if this matches what you were doing.

Unlock all doors, foot on brake, all doors closed. Cycle key quickly but carefully on-off appr 10 times until the car honks one time.
Do not turn the key far enough to start the car, just to the ‘on’ position so the dashboard lights up.

When the horn honks, open and close the driver’s door, press any remote button and that’s it.
Program another remote? Quickly open and close the driver’s door again and push a button on the 2nd remote. That’s it.

When you’re done, remove the key and the horn should honk 3 times. You’re all set.
Sometime it takes more than 10 on-offs to set program mode. Open/close the door, lock/unlock etc, wait 10 minutes, then try again.


Make sure you follow directions real close in your owners manual. I have a Subaru WRX (2004) and remember that you have to cycle the ignition 10 times also however have to open/close door either before or after (not sure).

Also are you really sure you have the correct remote?


Thanks for your answers.

We finally figured it out and were succesful.

Here is the procedure:

  1. Open driver’s door and enter the car. Make sure ALL DOORS are UNLOCKED.

  2. AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE: Close the door, Foot on brake AND Cycle the key between the LOCK and ON positions about ten times within 15 seconds until the horn sounds once.

  3. Make sure key is stopped at the LOCK position and leave it there.

  4. QUICKLY OPEN AND CLOSE the driver’s door then PRESS AND RELEASE any button on the remote you wish to program. The horn will sound twice to indicate the remote is programmed.

  5. If programing another remote, repeat STEP 4 above.

  6. Remove key from ignition. The horn will sound three times to indicate the programming mode has ended.



I forgot to mention we found the procedure above on an Online Subaru Service Manual. It may be downloaded at

The important thing is we did the procedure above and IT WORKED!

Hope this helps someone else…


Juan Rivera
Kihei, MAUI.