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Subaru Outback Flashing Check Engine Light

I have a 2000 Subaru Outback. The check engine light has been coming off and on for the past couple weeks, but today the light started flashing. The car is running a little funny - not accelerating well and shaking when I start it. Any ideas about what’s wrong with it?


A flashing check engine light indicates a misfire. Not accelerating well and shaking confirm this. It is best to not drive the car, you can cause a lot of damage. Get it to a shop ASAP, get it towed if you can. It could be as simple as needing new plugs and/or wires or it could be more involved.

Thank you! I appreciate it.

You may get a misfire code. Pray that this misfire code is not set due to tight valve lash.
Driving around for several weeks is plenty long enough to burn an exhaust valve seat and valve face and this would mean a major expense, as in valve job or cylinder head replacement.

Hopefully it will be nothing more than a faulty spark plug, plug wire, or something like that. If the plugs come out a compression test should be performed and if the engine is in decent shape you should see readings of 175 PSI or higher on all cylinders.
If you get a low one then the valve lash should be inspected and if an exhaust valve is tight then you’re likely in mechanical trouble.

“get it towed if you can”

Hopefully, sporis has not already followed SteveRB’s suggestion!

Yes, the OP should avoid driving the car.
No, it should NOT be towed, as very expensive damage to the car’s AWD system will result from that misadventure.

My advice is to have the car placed on a flat-bed car carrier so that no damage is done.
Why add AWD repairs to the repairs necessary to rectify the misfire condition?