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Impreza
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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning everyone!

You all have helped me through a couple of really perplexing issues with my Impreza; the last being a broken sway bar. You all told me it would be a bitch to get off. My guy who moonlights as a mechanic on the side had to torch it for two hours on and off to even get it to budge. He told me never bring my car to him again hahaha.

Anyway, I now have a different issue. Since I'm not sure if all three are related and have no idea what to search for, I'm posting here.

For the last six months, I've had a check engine light and cruise control flashing on and off. Sometimes the CEL flashes as I'm accelerating up a hill and then goes solid. Sometimes it's not on at all.

Yesterday morning the car wouldn't start. The dash dummy lights all flashed as the engine clicked but it wouldn't turn over. My neighbor tried giving me a jump to no avail. It has been sitting at 20 below for almost a week outside (I live in Illinois) with minimal driving. Everyone at work told me it was the starter or battery. Advanced Auto told me the starter and alternator were perfect but the battery is almost dead. Due to the extreme cold, it may or may not charge with a jump. It was able to be started with a jump later on that day.

Now, the car starts and runs but the CEL just flashes constantly with the cruise. When I sit idle at a light, it's "missing" and the lights dim and go bright and dim and go bright. It's like it's running out of juice but barely hangs on. Is this because of the battery? Could the battery be causing this much grief?

If not, is there a bigger issue? I keep seeing things about catalytic converters and O2 sensors.

Thanks everyone. I appreciate your help. I'm a rookie with car stuff so please feel free to explain things to me like I'm five. :)
 

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'04 PSM WRX Premium
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8,339 Posts
Flashing CEL that stays on after is a misfire. Cruise control and other lights such as traction control (newer models) may also flash and stay on when this happens as the CEL disables them.

Start there. Check your plugs and wires. Actually... start by getting the code pulled. Why didn't the advance auto guy do that for you? lol

The battery may or may not be related.
 

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2001 A.W. L
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13,249 Posts
yes you have a misfire and should not be driving the car when that happens.

As cmiovino said, whenever the CEL is on it disables the cruise so the cruise light will flash
 

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Impreza
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Discussion Starter #4
He, the Advanced Auto guy, told me that he didn't have to check the light because the battery would cause it and as soon as I bought one, it would go away.

Could you provide a worst case scenario; like it would be better to just get another car than spend thousands to fix it? I really do not want to sink a ton of money into this car but I'm also not in the market to buy anything worthwhile. I'm a single mom of two little girls so reliable transportation is a must but so is economical repairs.

:(
 

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2001 A.W. L
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13,249 Posts
If the battery is bad, I would start with that since it needs to be replaced anyway. Trying to solve an issue with a car around other known issues can be problematic, so you def want to fix what you know is wrong for sure first.

Advanced should replace the battery for you, in doing that it will clear all the codes (disconnecting the battery serves as a reset for the computer). Drive the car and see if the CEL comes back, if it does have the code pulled and we can try and help more then.
 

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Black 2001 RS
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787 Posts
Remember that in addition to providing startup electricity, the battery also serves as a sort of electrical damper. If it's unable (due to cold or age) to do this, you may see odd things as a result. Fix the known issue first.
 
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