Is Your Subaru Touch Screen Not Working? Reasons & Solutions

Cars have made substantial improvements in their infotainment and navigation systems recently. But when those parts begin failing, it can cause a profound headache. If your Subaru touch screen not working is causing you problems, you’re in the right place.

This article helps you figure out why your Subaru touch screen is not working. We’ll first go over some simple ways you can try to fix the issue quickly, some more in-depth solutions you can attempt, and finally, what to do if the worst-case scenario happens.

subaru wrx interior steering wheel radio touchscreen

3 Reasons for Subaru Touch Screen Not Working

There are three primary reasons why you might have ended up on this article. Ultimately, your touchscreen isn’t working in your car and you need to find a fix – which we’ll help you do.

When troubleshooting your Subaru touchscreen, you may find that the symptoms are one of these three:

  • Touch Screen Not Responding – if your touchscreen is lit up, but nothing happens when you touch it, it could indicate that it needs a reset. Your screen is frozen. Check out the section below for how to unfreeze a Subaru screen.
  • Turning On and Off – if your head unit turns off after being on and working fine while you drive, there may be a loose connection, faulty fuse or software bug. There are a few ways to fix this, which are discussed below.
  • Not Turning On – Sometimes, the infotainment unit may not turn on. This could be caused by a blown fuse, cut wire or faulty unit. We’ll talk about your options below.

Reset or Update the System

It is surprisingly normal for electronic devices to encounter issues. After all, they are complicated devices that rely on significant coding and a symphony of parts working together.

Thankfully, you can solve the problems by turning the system off and on or completing a more thorough reset. Both of these can help fix problems quickly and easily.

One of the reasons for the Subaru touch screen not working can be that the system encountered a bug or problem with the software. Resetting the system can solve these issues, clearing software issues and allowing you to use the system again.

If you’re wondering how to reset a Subaru touch screen, it’s an easy process. You can do a quick restart or a system reset. I’ll walk you through both now.

Quick Restart

The first way is to turn your vehicle off and back on, making sure to allow the touch screen system adequate time to turn completely off. This is a simple system restart, and it’s the first solution to try.

You need to turn your vehicle completely off for this to work. You can’t just use the power button to try and cycle the unit.

Of course, you’ll need to stop the car first to turn off your vehicle. Some cars require you to open the door and engage the locks to turn off the touch screen system. Perform those and any other necessary steps to ensure the power is cut to the system to restart it.

Some head units are programmed to check for an automatic software update after a quick restart or power down (older units may need to have an update performed manually using a computer and USB Cable).

subaru wrx touch screen not working troubleshoot

Factory Reset / System Reset

If that doesn’t fix the problem, move on with a system reset. This one tells the system that there might be a problem, allowing it to perform a quick reset, which might remove some of your customized settings and options.

Depending on the unit, you’ll want to either hold down only the power knob or the power knob, scroll button, and eject button. Hold down the button(s) for at least 10 seconds.

You should see the unit power off and back on, showing that it has reset. It might reset your time, radio stations, and other preset information. But it also should have reset your touch screen system, which might solve your problem.

Some head units are programmed to perform an automatic software update after a system reset.

Hopefully, that fixed your Subaru touch screen not working, but if not, don’t worry. I have some more solutions to try out before taking more drastic steps.

Inspect Fuses and Electrical Connections

What to do if resetting doesn’t fix it? A reset might not fix your problem. And that’s alright. There are still more things you can do before calling in the professionals and spending money.

If that’s the case, it’s time to take a closer look into your electrical system. You might be able to identify problems with the power supply or fuse. Or even locate and fix a short circuit in the system.

Blown Fuse

I recommend starting by locating and checking the fuse for your Subaru touch screen system. Most of the time, if the fuse is the problem, the touch screen will fail to power on at all. So if your Subaru touch screen doesn’t even start up, the fuse could be the issue.

It can be challenging to locate the specific fuse for your Subaru touch screen. Modern vehicles use many fuses, often in more than one location, to safely operate the electrical systems.

The owner’s manual can help identify the location of the fuse box and fuse. Use it, and any labeling found on the fuse box cover to locate the fuse for the touch screen or radio system.

Once you find the fuse, remove it to check if it is blown – this happens when the connection between the sides is separated, showing that the fuse received too much electrical power and cutting the circuit to avoid worse problems.

If you find a blown fuse, replace it with a new fuse and check your system.

Automotive fuse box with fuses and relays

Sometimes that will fix the problems. Other times, a blown fuse can indicate a more significant problem in your system.

When fuses continue to blow regularly, it signifies a more significant electrical problem. You should identify and fix it. Electrical problems can be a fire hazard and drain the electrical system, leaving you stranded at inopportune times.

Electrical Connections

If your touch screen is not responding or responding slowly, it might have other electrical problems. One of the most common problems for any electrical system is failing connections.

Depending on your level of comfort in working with your touch screen unit, you might be able to remove the Subaru touch screen not working and inspect the electrical connections.

You’ll likely need to remove some of the dashboard trim surrounding the touch screen unit, then remove the touch screen unit from its housing – this will give you access to the back of the unit and the electrical connections.

If you find any loose connections, plugging them tightly together might fix your issues. Dielectric grease might be useful in some cases.

If you find any connectors have corrosion, water in the system might have happened, allowing for a buildup to form on the connector. This can disrupt electrical current and cause problems with the power supply. It’s also a sign that water is entering an area it shouldn’t be.

Some Subaru touch screen units have a faulty connection between the circuit board and the face. If that’s the case and you’re comfortable digging into the electronics, you might be able to solder the pieces back in place and fix your problem.

But if these steps are over your head or don’t fix the problem, it’s time to call in the big guns.

Replace Parts or Entire Touch Screen Unit

As much as I prefer to fix things myself, sometimes you have to take things to the professionals. For a Subaru touch screen not working, you might be able to find an electrician or general mechanic who can fix the problem.

But in some cases, going to the dealership can fix these problems quickly – this is the best bet if you have warranty coverage, although sometimes warranties don’t cover touch screen units.

What if the radio isn’t working? Taking it to a professional should help identify how to unfreeze a Subaru screen. It might be a tiny problem with the fuse or connectors, but sometimes it’s worse.

In the worst-case scenario, a replacement of specific parts or the entire touch screen unit may be necessary. While it might be frustrating to experience, touch screen units are susceptible to failure like any electronic device. Sometimes replacement is the only option.

How Much to Fix a Subaru Touch Screen That’s Not Working

How much to fix a Subaru touch screen that’s not working? This depends on many factors, including the year and model of Subaru you have, the options you selected, and the shop you use to perform the replacement.

The Deal (or Not) with Dealerships

Dealerships often give you an exact original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement.

The benefit is that they usually see similar problems in other Subaru models and can identify and fix the issue quicker than independent shops. They also are more likely to have the replacement parts in stock.

The problem with dealerships is that they often charge top rates for the parts and labor. They usually are not the most affordable solution, but they might be able to get you back in working order the quickest.

Most of the dealerships I called for this article said that the repair or replacement of the head unit could range between $600 and $2,200 depending on the year and what they had to do to fix it.

Independent Mechanic Rundown

Independent mechanics can be completely capable of fixing a Subaru touch screen that’s not working. They’ll go through a similar diagnostic process as the dealership and do their best to identify a problem before replacing parts.

The best mechanics are thorough with their diagnostic process, which takes time and might have a fee associated. But these inspection fees can be well worth it. By figuring out the exact issue, they can replace a specific problematic part rather than the whole system.

Other mechanics use a different strategy that can cost you money. If they think replacing an entire unit is likely to fix it, even if they don’t identify the problem, they might suggest replacement even if it is unnecessary.

In any case, independent mechanics work on many different vehicles and tend to replace parts rather than repair them. It might take time for your part to ship to them for installation.

This is why a specialized electrical technician can be an excellent solution.

Specialized Electrical Technicians

These experts focus on electrical issues, can perform extensive electrical testing to identify specific problems, and in some cases, can repair existing components rather than replace them.

Electrical technicians can be well worth their price. They save you money by repairing small components, such as a faulty connector or wire, even if their hourly labor rate is more costly.

They can also help with more creative solutions, such as replacing the touch screen unit with a different system that might be more affordable and making it so that the problem does not repeat itself.

Both Independent mechanics’ shops and Specialized Automotive Electrical Shops quoted me anywhere from $300 to $2,000 to repair. And, like the dealers, they said it depends on the year of the Subaru, the availability of parts and what is needed to do the repair.

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