5 Problems with Subaru Crosstrek Remote Start System

The Subaru Crosstrek is one of the Japanese automaker’s best-selling models, and it is clear to see why. This feature-rich SUV comes at an affordable price, making it the best choice for suburban families. However, its remote start system is known to cause some headaches for owners.

In this article, we’ll tell you the major reasons that result in the Subaru Crossterk remote start not working. Additionally, we’ll teach you some precautionary measures to avoid this major inconvenience in the first place!

Broken hood pin switches, discharged key fob batteries, programming issues, and improper use are the main factors that cause Subaru Crosstrek remote start malfunctions.

If you own one of these small crossovers, it is important to have a clear understanding of these problems.

Subaru Crosstrek

The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek: Pricing, Features, and Specs Unveiled | Subaru  of Glendale

In case you have been living under a rock for the past few years, let us introduce you to the Subaru Crossterk before discussing its remote start issues.

With the popularity of crossovers astronomically rising through the early 2010s, almost every car maker started adding one to their fleets. The XV Crosstrek was Subaru’s entry into this growing market, first hitting showroom floors in 2012. Subaru chose the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show for the unveiling of this brand-new model.

However, the Crosstrek wasn’t always called that. Until its fourth generation, the model was called the “Outback Sport” tying it in with its larger sister model. Although it had a new exterior, the underpinnings were shared with the familiar Subaru Impreza 5-door hatchback. The raised suspension was the main factor that differentiated the two models.

Since its launch, the Crosstrek has been well-received by car enthusiasts. The raised ride height, spacious cabin, and large cargo compartment were some of the many factors which made this crossover a fan favorite.

Throughout the years, Subaru continued updating the Crosstrek with modern powertrains and technological features. The addition of a hybrid variant in 2013 marked a milestone in Crosstrek’s history and contributed to popularizing the model with the fuel-economy-conscious crowd.

Fast forward a decade, and the Crosstrek is one of the most advanced family crossovers you’ll find. The 2024 model offers the perfect mix of on-road comfort with admirable off-road capability for a vehicle in this segment. But, some of you may undoubtedly moan about the exclusion of the manual transmission option (which was offered by Subaru until the 2023 model year), replaced by a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

To say that the remote start system is one of the biggest convenience features of the Subaru Crosstrek would be an understatement. So, let’s focus on some of the most common problems associated with it, shall we?

Remote Start Fob vs. App

Similar to other automakers, Subaru implements the remote starter in their keyfob. However, the main differentiating factor between this system and others is the additional use of a remote start app.

Not only that, but the integration of climate controls directly into the remote start system also sets the Subaru Crosstrek remote starter apart from the others.

The key fob is considered the easiest way to remotely start the Subaru Crosstrek by purists. But, with smartphones becoming an integral part of our lives, more and more Crosstrek owners are starting to consider the remote start app as a viable alternative.

It is important to keep in mind that the remote start app cannot be utilized on its own. You must also have the key fob in your possession, and the app also uses a personal PIN to enhance security.

5 Most Common Subaru Crosstrek Remote Start Problems

Subaru Crosstrek Remote Start

Although remote start systems offer a convenient way of stopping and starting the engine, they often suffer from different reliability issues. The same goes for the Subaru Crosstrek as well.

Some of the most common Subaru Crosstrek remote start problems encountered by owners and the causes behind them include,

  1. Discharged Key Fob Battery
  2. Broken Hood Pin Switch
  3. Programming Issues
  4. Valet / Second-Car Mode
  5. Improper Use

Discharged Key Fob Battery

Let’s get the most obvious reason behind the Subaru Crosstrek remote start not working out of the way first. You already know the importance of the key fob for the remote start system. Can you imagine what will happen if the battery powering the key fob goes dead?

Depending on the model year of the Crosstrek, your remote key fob will either use a 2032 or a 2025 battery. Although these batteries are designed to last 3 to 4 years, they will deplete faster with frequent use.

Broken Hood Pin Switch

Imagine what will happen if someone remotely starts your Crosstrek while a mechanic is working on the engine. Hood pins and hood tilt switches are designed to prevent this from happening and causing serious injuries.

The remote start feature only works when it receives the correct signal from the pin switch indicating that the hood is closed. But, if a mechanic accidentally leans against the switch while working, the ensuing damage prevents the remote starter from functioning properly.

Usually, if the remote start button fails to work while the lock / unlock buttons fail to do so, it is a clear indication of a broken hood switch. Luckily, replacing this switch is not that expensive. The average cost of a Subaru Crosstrek hood pin replacement is around $100.

Programming Issues

On rare occasions, the remote start will malfunction due to programming faults with the system. Dead batteries are the most common culprit behind remote start programming issues. Additionally, detaching the main battery might also mess with the remote starter’s programming.

Most probably, there might be a fault in the memory module. On this occasion, you’ll have to seek the help of a professional and have the remote system reprogrammed.

Valet / Second-Car Mode

Similar to other systems on the market, the Subaru Crossterk remote starter also comes with several inbuilt features. The valet mode and second car mode are two of them.

As the name suggests, the valet mode is intended to be used when handing over your keys to a valet. When in this mode, the remote start feature is disabled, and only the lock/unlock buttons will work.

To enter the valet mode, drivers have to press a specific combination of numbers. Accidentally pressing this combination might be the reason behind your Subaru Crosstrek remote start not working.

In the same way, pressing random combinations might also enable the second-car mode. This hidden feature which most owners don’t know about enables you to control two vehicles with the same key fob. In this case, don’t be surprised if instead of your Crosstrek. the engine of another vehicle on your driveway randomly starts up remotely.

On both occasions, you can easily exit out of the modes by pressing the correct key combinations. You can find these easily by consulting the Subaru owners manual.

Improper Use

If you just purchased your Crosstrek only to find out that the remote start isn’t working, the problem might be you – not the car. You see, to start the Crosstrek properly, first, you have to press the “LOCK” button. Next, press and hold the same button for three seconds until the hazard lights flash and the horn honks. Now, your Subaru will start automatically, and keep running for 15 minutes before shutting down.

Newer models of the Crosstrek might also come with the Remote Engine Starter Transceiver, which is different from the regular key fob. Here, all you have to do to remotely start the Crosstrek is simply press the button twice within 3 seconds. The engine will start, and the fob will also beep and flash once for confirmation.

Before attempting to start the Crosstrek remotely, it is important to ensure that the vehicle is in “Park”. In addition, check whether the hood is closed properly, and the hazard lights are not on.

We don’t recommend spamming the remote start button if it fails to work. After two failed attempts, the system will turn off. To enable it again, you have to step into the cabin and turn the ignition on. After turning it “OFF” your remote starter will once again work normally.

Now that you know the most common issues with the Subaru remote start system, let us look into some precautionary measures to prevent failures.

Preventative Maintenance Tips for Subaru Crosstrek Remote Start System

Here are some tips to ensure the longevity of your Crosstrek remote starter.

  • Check the Coolant Temperature and Oil Pressure
  • Replace the Key Fob Battery On Schedule

Check the Coolant Temperature and Oil Pressure

On top of harming your engine internals, low oil pressure and high coolant temperature prevent the remote starter from functioning as well. We recommend keeping an eye on the fluid levels as well as the temperature gauges on the dashboard for any signs of trouble.

Replace the Key Fob Battery On Schedule

Don’t wait until the key fob battery run dry to replace it. Check the owner’s manual, and replace the battery as the manufacturer recommends. You can perform this repair in the comfort of your home garage.

If your Subaru Crosstrek remote start system starts acting up, now you know what to do! It’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for potential issues, as it limits the possibility of nasty surprises!

Related articles:

Common Viper Remote Start Problems

Problems With The Chevy Remote Start System

Who Worked on This?



I'm the guy responsible for ensuring that every blog post we publish is helpful for our reader.

Mahir Ahmed


I'm the guy responsible for ensuring honest, informative, accurate and helpful guide to the reader.

Leave a Comment