What is THAT?

I have a Subaru Outback (2003).

There’s a little switch next to my right knee. It’s not in the manual.

What is that for?

What happens if I switch it?

Will I be sorry?


ps…Why does my car not have an antenna but I still get radio reception?

You’re going to have to be a bit more specific regarding the switch.
Is it on the dashboard, or is it on the console?
Are there any markings on the switch? If so, please describe them.

As to the radio, you have what is sometimes called a “Diversity” antenna system, which is contained inside the glass of one of the windows in the cargo area. If memory serves me correctly, it is inside the glass on the driver’s side. Take a look to see if you see tiny “wires” embedded inside that glass.

Thanks for responding. I appreciate it.
The switch is not on the dashboard or the console. It’s right to the right of my knee (literally). It’s the wall of the driver compartment. It has no markings whatsoever. It’s a little metal piece sticking out and it has two positions. It comes out at a 45 degree angle.

I don’t see any wires in the glass.

Well, the ‘diversity’ antenna system uses two antennas, constantly picking the best signal to reduce interference. They can either be normal antennas, or ones mounted to the glass.

But you’re right, the OP’s car probably has a glass-mounted antenna, like my Forester.

The wire can look like a defroster wire, the Forester’s in the left rear-most window.

Did you buy this car used? If so, the switch is probably something the previous owner added. Maybe it’s for an alarm of some sort.

“the wall of the driver compartment”


Do you mean that the switch is on the driver’s door panel or the passenger door panel?
I don’t know what “the wall of the driver’s compartment” might refer to if you are not talking about interior door panels.

How about taking a photograph and posting it for us?

Take a picture(s) of the switch and post it.

I’m sorry but I don’t know how to do that.

Well, with the paucity of information that we have, I am going to agree with Tardis that the switch is likely for an aftermarket alarm system.

If you are not aware of the existence of an alarm system, and/or if you don’t know how to turn it off once it activates, I strongly suggest that you use a heavy layer of duct tape over the switch in order to keep curious fingers from moving it. You probably wouldn’t believe the amount of problems that can result from an aftermarket alarm system!

Incidentally, can you give us a better description of the location, other than “the wall of the driver compartment”?

You could try flipping the switch NOW, ON PURPOSE, rather than waiting to flip it accidentally. Just a thought.

Flip the switch while the car is idling and see what happens. Not any new lights on the dashboard that might tell you what you turned on or off.

Flip it and if something starts counting down, run away from the vehicle immediately!

it is probably a K I L L switch. if you touch it then you will be ______?

just kidding.

I have this on my 2006 Outback. It controls the automatic/remote starter. When the switch you’re describing is in the up position, the remote starter function is “on” and you can start the engine from outside the car by pressing the “lock” button three times. When the switch is down, the remote starter is off.

If you use the remote starter, there’s a specific sequence in which you have to do the next actions: open the door, put the key in, turn the key, shift out of park, put your foot on the brake – I can never remember the correct sequence and if you do it wrong then the engine will turn itself off again, which kind of negates the whole point. Which is why I never use the remote starter. :wink:

Is this a factory or aftermarket feature?

Did the prev owner add Fog lights and then steal them off the car before you bought it? Or are they still there? If not look to see if there is evidence of them having been installed. Sounds like someone added an accessory…look for it.

Hey EVEN BETTER…thats awesome. I didnt know they put that in Subarus…A great feature to warm up your engine right before you jump in the car and speed off to work…esp in the winter. I used to use mine constantly…I’d hit it 5 or less min before running out the door to go to work in the mornings.

I am pretty sure it’s a factory feature since it’s described in my owner’s manual? But I bought the car used so I can’t say for sure.

The correct sequence is to:

  1. unlock/open the door
  2. Turn the key all the way on
  3. Foot on brake
  4. Shift and go

If you step on the brake before the key is all the way on it shuts down…thats a safety feature to prevent people from stealing the car w/o the key while its running.