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Many dashboard lights on - 2012 Subaru Outback

Hi all! I have a 2012 Outback with 140k miles on it. I’ve had the check engine light and traction control light on with the cruise control light and red brake light flashing for months. I took it in to the dealer, who said I need a new catalytic converter. I’ve had the brakes and rotors replaced since this started, no brake issues since. Lights seem to respond to significant temperature changes, but will also turn on after driving for ~15 mins if the car starts with them off initially. Today, failed state inspection because of the brake light flashing. Do I really need a catalytic converter? Incidentally, a coworker had a similar issue and said it ended up being the ignition coil pack. Thoughts? Thank you!

If the CEL is on, there will be diagnostic codes stored in the computer memory. To offer much help here we need to know what those code numbers are. They usually start with the letter “P”. It sounds like you have more than one problem.

The warning lights are tied into the alternator field circuit and if the alternator has a problem it can cause problems with the warning lights under certain conditions. When the warning lights are on shut the engine off and remove the connector with the small wires going to the alternator, don’t mess with the large main output wire on the alternator. Start the engine and see if the warning lights are out. If they go out then chances are the trouble is within the alternator. The battery warning light may turn on while you do this procedure.

On the newer generation Subarus, when the CEL lights-up, all of the other lights will be activated as well, in order to make sure that you notice that something is amiss. This was done because there is a significant portion of the population that believes it to be “normal” for a CEL to be lit-up, and thus–they think that it can be ignored.

From afar, nobody can answer that question.

… and, based on what the folks at the dealership told you, it is likely that the codes will indicate a problem with the catalytic converter but without knowing the exact codes, this is just a shot in the dark on my part. However, if the codes indicate a problem with the cat converter, it is entirely possible that simply replacing oxygen sensors will remedy the problem. Again, from afar, nobody can say for sure.

I hope the OP is aware that the vehicle’s anti-skid system is currently disabled, along with the Cruise Control, so the vehicle is definitely less-safe to drive until the underlying problem is repaired.