2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback
Denis Flierl's picture

Subaru Stop Start The Worst New Gas Saving Feature Ever? How To Turn It Off

Check out the stop/start system on the 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek. Why is it worse than other automaker’s technology?

Auto-Stop-Start is one of the most controversial fuel-efficiency features on new Subaru vehicles. Many automakers use a system that automatically stops the engine when you come to a complete stop for more than a few seconds. It’s designed to save fuel every time the car stops at a stop sign or you wait at a traffic light.

The frequent starting and stopping of the engine are tiresome to some drivers who live in urban areas, especially if you commute in heavy stop-and-go traffic every day. And many Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent owners say they don’t like the car stopping and starting because it shakes the car every time the engine starts back up.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback

Why does Subaru’s system shake the car more than any other automaker’s? A recent column in the San Diego Union Tribune says Subaru is among the worst for engine vibration on restart. They say Subaru’s Boxer engine design in which the pistons are horizontally opposed creates more significant side-to-side movement and more vibration.

One Forester owner says he asked the dealer about the issue, and the salesperson who sold him the car said that if you turn on the rear defroster, the shaking will stop. Why does turning on the rear defroster stop the vibration?

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback

Using the defroster temporarily disables the start-stop system. When there’s a sizeable electrical draw, the car’s computer disables the start-stop system to keep the battery from being drained with the engine is turned off. It’s not the best to run the rear defroster all the time when it’s not needed.

Can I disable my Auto Stop-Start?

The Auto Stop-Start can be disabled on 2020-2021 Subaru Outback, Forester, Legacy, and Crosstrek. It’s different for each model, and the problem is that you cannot permanently disable it in some models like Forester. The system will always default to an on position once you turn the car off. So every time you get back in your vehicle, you have to disable the system again manually.

The new Outback and Legacy do have a feature on its new 11.6-inch touchscreen menu, and you can disable the system. When you are on the home screen, push the car icon button to change the settings and then click on “Others,” allowing you to turn off the Auto Stop-Start system. The Auto Stop-Start on the new 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Legacy, and Crosstrek can be annoying, but it will save fuel if you live in an urban area.

You Might Also Like: The Subaru Forester Model Year Most Likely To Need An Expensive Engine Rebuild

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Subaru Report - We’ve got you covered! Check back tomorrow for more unique, informative SUBARU news, reviews, and previews you can trust.

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: main image Adventure Subaru

Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.

Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.


I will never buy a car with Start / Stop. I can't stand it.
Guess you're not buying any new car then. Quick! Alert all the auto manufacturers that William Bindas will not be buying one of their vehicles!
I am not a potential customer for any vehicle/make that sells start/stop without a permanent OFF option.
I agree with Mr Bindas. Time to take the garbage out. I love my outback but auto start stop is garbage. It should be optional. To Karen quit trying to sell people garbage and listen to your customers
Every car should have this. Your annoyance isn't more important than lowered emissions
This auto stop/start feature is extremely dangerous in the snow when driving in areas with hills. If you start to slide backward, step on the brakes and ... the engine cuts out leaving you without power steering and the ability to use the famed 4-wheel traction to correct the skid. So there you go sliding backward out of control. I live in Seattle, a city with dozens of very steep hills. I would never, ever have this system in my car. Much too dangerous for my family and others on the road. From a safety standpoint, it should auto-disable anytime there are snow or ice conditions. It should always allow the driver to permanently disable this "feature."
Art, what on earth are you talking about? The feature is easily disabled by pressing a single button. A single degree turn of the steering wheel also causes the engine to re-engage. I know you're still shocked it's not 1930, but try and stop the doomsday speeches on a feature that millions of people live with every day.
millions of people "live with." well that says it all.
Figures that your name is “Karen”
Totally agree !! And is annoying the shaking
Where do you find your authority to tell your neighbor what his $20,000 to $30,000 automobile must have? Are you even an engineer?
Since you asked someone, I am an Engineer. But this (SPECIALLY ITS IMPLEMENTATION) was a bad idea.
How deluded that someone could think that electric cars are better for the environment Yes I can read your mind, don't bother and you are welcome.
Who said anything about electric cars in this thread? Though to counter your statement, why do you suppose vehicle manufacturers are increasingly stating they are only making electric vehicles in the future? Maybe they know something that you don’t…
Not if you live in (for instance) HUGE Southern California, where "freeway" hypercongestion would shake you up every few feet! SPECIALLY in an Outback, with its horizontally-opposed engine. The car should have a simple BUTTON on the dashboard, instead of a multi-step touchscreen menu function. Who thought this was a good idea? Good car otherwise, but it's a deal breaker.
Stop start is an annoying feature. But my main concern is that people put there keep referencing subaru engines as horizontal opposed. Subaru along with porsche, air còoled Volkswagen, Alfa suds, jowett, and the list goes on, are not horizontal opposed engines. For an engine to be horizontally opposed it must have 2 pistons in the same cylinder bore,. For some reason modern journalists who have no engineering or mechanical qualifications have come up with this nickname due to ignorance. Google commer knocker to see what a real opposed engine design is. I hope the journalist that stared this conversation gets back to me so I can explain the principal to him in detail. Nical
FROM J.D. POWER: When it comes to internal combustion engines (ICE), the vast majority of the cars sold are motivated by “inline” and “V-type” engines. These terms designate the configuration of the cylinders arranged along the crankshaft. Inline engines typically have three, four, or six cylinders lined up in a vertical row. V-type engines angle the cylinders in a shape similar to the letter V, alternating cylinders on either side of the crankshaft. They typically have six, eight, ten, or twelve cylinders. Far less common are HORIZONTALLY OPPOSED engines, which usually arrange four or six cylinders horizontally in relation to the crankshaft. This is why they are often called flat-4 or flat-6 engines. Alternatively, because the pistons within these cylinders “jab” outward from the crankshaft, they are known as BOXERr ENGINES. Currently, the boxer engine is a defining trait of the Subaru brand. From the BRZ sports car to the Ascent family-sized SUV, every vehicle in its lineup has a flat-4 with or without turbocharging. Until a few years ago, some Subarus also had a flat-6 engine. AND, FROM AUTOS.CA: Only two manufacturers currently use horizontally opposed engines: Subaru and Porsche. Subaru uses four and six-cylinder versions; Porsche uses a six-cylinder version in its Boxster, Cayman and Carrera models, but V6 and V8 engines in other models.
This is why (stop and start feature) I will not be purchasing a new vehicle from Subaru. I can say that I love my Crosstrek BUT I am not at all impressed with the stop and start feature. Bummer!
I Love my 2021 crosstrek, I HATE the auto stop/start feature, So I press the disable button each and every time I get in the car. After a while it becomes a habit. I'm waiting for a software update to permanently disable the feature.
As much as I HATE the AUTO-START-STOP, I love our CrossTrek more. So I agree w/ Bonnie, make it a habit: Press START ENGINE followed by pressing the A. The first time it came on, it scared the heck out of us. I was ok with it stopping, we can deal with that, but the car tremble, jerk, whatever, it was horrible. Worse thing the new era of cars ever came up with.
WORST feature ever! You should be able to permanently turn it off or on. Im sure having it on and stopping in the city at every light and stop sign is not good for the starter. Wish I had researched this more before I bought the 2021. I HATE IT!
Worst car feature ever? Boy, do I have a Pinto to sell you. Real cheap, it might even come with a free campfire, just make sure you bring Marhmellows!
Same here. Awaiting and hoping for a software update to permanently disable this feature in my Forester. I've disabled the lane centering, now this is the next feature to go.
OMG. I thought I was the only person who goes through “the process” of turning off this feature EVERY time I get in the car. I also disable the feature that tells me I’m not looking at the road. Screw you Subaru. You are lucky my wife loves the car or it would be gone. I’ll stick with driving my I-Pace
this article fails to mention that you can easily bypass this stupid gas saving feature by buying the "Autostop Eliminator." i have a 2021 forester touring and added this in 10 minutes, plugs under the driver seat. it reduces your fuel mileage, but the engine doesnt shut off at red lights.
I have it installed in mine. Made me forget the forester has the feature at all. Best upgrade I made to it.
Thanks for this... I'm researching this possibility now. I just got the car two days ago, and it really gave me a scare when it shut off on the one lane, extremely steep, mountainous road I live on when I pulled over to let another car go by. I'm dreading winter now. I didn't even know cars did this as it didn't occur on the test drive, or I probably wouldn't have bought it.
I’d think that Subaru could provide a software update for the 2021 Forester to allow a fixed defeat of the annoying engine on/off feature. Please pass along this request to Subaru. Thank You!
I have had Foresters with the start stop feature for some time now. I currently own a 2021 Forester. If you stop the car and just easy up on the brake enough to hold the car in place the start stop feature won't engage. If you apply firm pressure to the peddle while stopped then the car will shut off. Try it, stop the car and relax the pressure on the brake and see what happens.
I have a '21 Outback and would like to know if there's a data of fuel savings with this annoying feature. I think you're wearing out starter motor and also emmission would be bad every time engine starts and stops.