Subaru vehicles have earned their popularity due to their outstanding reliability and impressive lifespan, often extending beyond fifteen years. Modern Subarus come equipped with advanced features, such as touchscreen technology, which enhances navigation and smartphone connectivity.

However, encountering issues where your Subaru touchscreen becomes unresponsive can be quite frustrating. While driving, losing the convenience of a functional touchscreen can disrupt your experience on the road.

What Causes the Unresponsiveness of the Touchscreen?

Several common issues can lead to an unresponsive or frozen touchscreen in Subaru vehicles. Here are three of the most frequent culprits:

  1. Operating System Error: Your touchscreen may become frozen or unresponsive due to a software glitch or error within the operating system. These issues are relatively common in Subaru systems and can often be resolved with a simple soft reset.
  2. Short Circuit: Occasionally, electrical currents may divert from their intended path, leading to a short circuit. Signs of a short circuit may include a burning odor, flickering lights within the vehicle, or melted residue on wires. Addressing a short-circuited system promptly is crucial to prevent potential fire hazards.
  3. Power Supply Problem/Blown Fuse: Another common problem relates to the power supply. The power supply button is located near the touchscreen. Turn it off and inspect the fuse box to check if a fuse has become detached or blown. Fuses are designed to blow out to prevent power from reaching the car’s head unit, which would force the touchscreen to shut down for safety reasons.

Does the Touchscreen Issue Affect All Subaru Models?

Newer Subaru models dating back to 2016 share similar touchscreen issues. A class-action lawsuit filed against Subaru in 2020 alleges problems with the Starlink infotainment system, developed by Harman International, installed in Subaru touchscreens.

Drivers have reported various problems, including unresponsive touchscreens, frozen backup cameras, and instances where the central head unit ceased functioning altogether, necessitating replacement.

Some user manuals suggest that touchscreen performance may be affected by proximity to TV towers, power plants, gas stations, broadcast stations, large electronic displays, airports, or any location emitting strong radio waves or interference.

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Furthermore, these manuals indicate that issues can arise when carrying or charging portable wireless communication devices like radios or cell phones inside the vehicle.

Can You Perform a Simple Reset to Address a Frozen Screen?

Yes, you can! Depending on your Subaru model, you can follow a few straightforward steps to reset a frozen touchscreen.

How to Reset the Touchscreen on Various Subaru Models

Subaru Crosstrek To reset the unresponsive touchscreen on your Subaru Crosstrek, press and hold down the power, tune, and CD ejector buttons simultaneously for at least 10 seconds. This action will initiate a reset and reboot of both the touchscreen and the head unit system.

Subaru Forester Similarly, for your Subaru Forester, resetting the touchscreen involves pressing the power/volume, tune/scroll, and CD ejector buttons. You’ll find the tune and volume buttons just below the screen, and the CD ejector is located above the tune/scroll button. Keep these buttons pressed until the screen powers off and then restarts.

Subaru Outback On the Subaru Outback, the reset button for the touchscreen is positioned on the left volume knob of the display. Hold down this button until a message appears, asking if you’d like to turn off the display. Continue pressing the reset button until the screen goes black. The system will reset and restart.

What to Do If Your Subaru Touchscreen Isn’t Working

If your Subaru is experiencing one of the three most common touchscreen issues, consider these potential solutions:

  1. Reset Begin by attempting a system reset to address a frozen or black screen. A soft reset is a safe option as it won’t affect your data or saved settings. If your Subaru touchscreen remains unresponsive even after resetting, you might be dealing with a defective operating system. Contact your dealership, especially if your vehicle is still under warranty. They may replace the head unit containing the touchscreen or perform necessary software updates.
  2. Circuit Check If you suspect a short circuit, inspect the connectors. If the issue persists, consult an auto electrician for professional guidance.
  3. Power Supply Check Should you discover a blown fuse, replace it with the correct amperage fuse. It’s crucial to use the appropriate amperage rating to avoid further complications.
  4. Seek Expert Assistance If your DIY attempts to fix the touchscreen prove unsuccessful, don’t hesitate to seek help from professionals. If your car is under warranty, the manufacturer or dealer might repair the touchscreen at no cost. If not, consider reaching out to a mechanic, dealership, or auto electrician with expertise in servicing vehicle touchscreens.
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Is It Possible to Replace a Subaru Touchscreen?

If none of the previous troubleshooting methods resolve the issue with your Subaru touchscreen, you have a couple of options for replacement:

  1. Dealership Replacement: Your car dealership can replace the Subaru touchscreen for you. This is a suitable choice if you prefer professional installation and have a warranty covering the replacement.
  2. DIY Replacement: If you are comfortable working on cars, you can purchase a replacement touchscreen yourself and install it, potentially saving money on labor costs.

Subaru Touchscreen Replacement Costs:

  • DIY Route: Opting for an aftermarket replacement screen for a DIY installation typically costs around $245. You can find these replacement screens from various suppliers, including official Subaru parts and accessories available on the Subaru website. Online resources like YouTube tutorials can guide you through the installation process step by step.
  • Dealership or Certified Mechanic: If you choose to have the replacement touchscreen installed by the dealership or a certified mechanic, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500 for parts and labor, depending on your location and specific requirements.

Ultimately, the choice between DIY and professional replacement will depend on your comfort level with car repairs and your budget considerations.