Top 6 Subaru Forester Bluetooth Pairing Problems – Best Solution in 2023!

Your Subaru Forester SUV comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity. However, it is not uncommon for users to experience Subaru Forester Bluetooth pairing problems.

In this day and age, the hands-free connection is more of a necessity than it is a luxury.

So, believe us when we say we understand how agonizing Bluetooth connection issues can be.

In this post, we will endeavor to describe each of the problems you might encounter while trying to connect your devices to your Subaru Forester.

Furthermore, you will learn a thing or two about your Subaru Forester Bluetooth system and how to solve some of these issues yourself.

6 Common Subaru Forester Bluetooth Pairing Problems with Solutions

Any number of things can make Bluetooth pairing difficult, and in some cases, impossible. Device compatibility, signal interference, and active DND mode are a few culprits.

When these villains come to play, you may experience some of the following:

01. Bluetooth Not pairing

To start enjoying the benefits of your Subaru Forester wireless connection, you simply have to perform a one-time pairing procedure.

But some users have not found it to be a simple walk in the park. One of the common problems people have encountered is the error message, ‘unable to establish connection’.

If you get this message, you need to first determine the source of the problem.  Is it your device or the Subaru Forester head unit?

Knowing the offender can save you unnecessary troubleshooting procedures.

Two devices attempting to share data via a Bluetooth connection depend on hardware and software to communicate seamlessly.

Needless to say, a disparity in either will effectively render connection between your device and your car Bluetooth impossible.

02. Intermittent Bluetooth interruption

For the most part, it occurs because your head unit is free to search for other nearby Bluetooth devices.

However, it will abruptly drop the already established connection as soon as it experiences an interference.

Again, the signal frequency of the USB 3.0 signal is the same for most Bluetooth devices (2.4 GHz), as a result, your car’s Bluetooth can drop its connection in the presence of a USB 3.0 signal.

Any device that uses USB 3.0 technology (your laptop, for example) is a potential threat. This is due to poor shielding.

However, with a little tweak, which we shall soon discuss, you should regain control without having to take your car back to your dealer.

03. Unpleasant Fizzling of Audio

Performing seamless wireless operations on your Subaru Forester can be challenging.

You may notice that the audio quality is perfect when your device is connected via an aux cable but fizzles over a Bluetooth connection.

Reducing the volume will do little to stop the fizzling sounds.

Crackling, popping, and buzzing static sounds emanating from your Bluetooth connection are telling of an interference.

Poor shielding is a possible culprit here. This experience is popular among the 2014 and up Subaru vehicles.

04. Bluetooth not connecting automatically

After the first pairing operation, your device should pair automatically with your head unit. This eliminates the need to manually pair your devices anytime you start your car.

Bluetooth technology depends on the software configuration of both devices.

Any alteration can upset the balance until you find a lasting solution. Some accessories have a memory bank of previous device addresses.

So if you encounter problems with pairing automatically, there’s a chance that a full Bluetooth address memory is the culprit.

There might be a simple solution for you in this post. Keep reading.

05. Bluetooth device not found

Ideally, for two Bluetooth devices to connect, one device must search while the other listens for the signal.

However, the pairing process is complex and can fail if one of the devices is not discoverable or if both devices are listening or searching simultaneously.

In any case, your Bluetooth devices will not find each other. However, with the right settings, your devices should be able to find each other and pair successfully.

Subaru Forester Bluetooth System: What and Why?

The Subaru Forester Bluetooth system is a 2.4 gigahertz short-range wireless technology that enables you to listen to music, podcast, radio, and make calls while you’re on the steering wheel.

According to Micheal Foley, the physical layer of the Bluetooth transceiver operates a star topography, with one domineering device and up to seven worker devices in sync with each other.

The master device (your smartphone) dictates the synch order to the worker devices (your Subaru head unit, watch, AirPods, etc).

To establish a Bluetooth connection, devices listen in on predetermined frequencies for other inquiring devices.

Once an inquiry is gotten, the two devices perform a series of complex handshakes too boring to put down in this post.

That’s how a Bluetooth connection is established, and thankfully, it happens without your realizing it.

Solution for Subaru Forester Bluetooth Pairing Problems

Here are some of the things you need to do if you are having Subaru Forester Bluetooth pairing issues;

1. Change the connection method

If you’re constantly experiencing Bluetooth signal drops, the problem might be from your head unit and devices trying to connect simultaneously.

To stop them from competing to connect, try changing the connection method on your head unit to ‘From device’.

Doing this stops your car’s Bluetooth system from performing the search operation.

This way, after the initial pairing process, your devices should pair automatically with your head unit anytime your Bluetooth is switched on and nearby.

2. Try Deleting Device

If you find that you have difficulty taking calls or listening to music, you can try deleting your phone from the head unit’s memory, followed by a fresh pairing process.

If you’re using an iPhone, you can also disable the Handoff app on your phone.

Once done, put on your Bluetooth devices and pair them via your steering wheel control. This should solve the problem.

3. Try a soft reset

If all else fails and you’re desperate for immediate functionality, you should try a soft reset on your Subaru Forester head unit. To do that:

Step 1: Locate the volume, tune & scroll button, and the CD eject button.

Step 2: Press and hold the three buttons simultaneously for about 10 seconds.

Step 3: Please wait until the monitor turns off. It will come back on within a few seconds and complete the reboot process.

Step 4: If it takes too long, you can simply press the power button to bring it back to normal working order.

Admittedly, some phones are not compatible with your Subaru Forester vehicles.

Therefore, if the problems persist after troubleshooting you need to check your phone’s compatibility on the vehicle’s website.

How to Pair Your Device to Your Subaru Forester: 4 Steps

Step 1: Activate your car’s Bluetooth by pressing the settings button and navigating to ‘Bluetooth connection”.

Step 2: Put the head unit in pairing mode, by pressing the ‘pairing’ button. This enables your smartphone to find your car’s Bluetooth system.

Step 3: On your smartphone, go to settings and enable Bluetooth. Your smartphone is designed to automatically enter pairing mode.

At this point, you should be able to find your car’s Bluetooth under ‘available devices’

Step 4: Click on your car’s Bluetooth name on your smartphone to initiate the pairing process. You will now get a passkey notification.

Verify that the passkey is the same on your smartphone and your car monitor. If same, click on ‘ok’ or ‘next’ to proceed.

Once pairing is complete, your devices will automatically memorize their Bluetooth addresses for seamless connections in the future.  Enjoy!

Crucial FAQ for the Subaru Forester Bluetooth Not Working

How Can I Check if My Phone is Compactible with my Subaru Forester?

To check your phone’s Bluetooth compatibility, you need to head over to the company’s (Subaru) website to confirm. Here is the website (Subaru Bluetooth Compatibility).

Why does the audio slow down, speed up or skip over Bluetooth sometimes?

This could happen for a lot of reasons. Some of which include:

  • Background processes

If your smartphone is running a lot of background processes, it can cause the Bluetooth module to glitch, thereby impairing the audio.

  • Obstacles

Bluetooth signals travel very poorly through liquid bodies. Therefore, if your phone is inside, say, your back pocket, it can negatively affect your Bluetooth connection.

  • Distance

The average operable range of a Bluetooth connection is about 10 meters. At a distance above 10 meters, the connection may start to stutter.

What should I do? Bluetooth is connected but has no audio.

First, confirm that your car stereo’s volume is not turned all the way down. If that’s the case, make the necessary adjustments.

However, if it persists, check that your phone is not muted. If all these fail, you can try doing a soft reset by following the steps listed above.


Subaru forester Bluetooth pairing problems are not uncommon among newer lineups (2010 upwards).

The severity is particularly pronounced among iPhone users. Updates to the phone’s software versions have been reported to trigger unexpected distasteful outcomes.

Ultimately, you can save yourself a lot of stress by first confirming if your phone is compatible.

In conclusion, if you’re having issues connecting your devices to your Subaru Forester head unit, kindly run through the DIY solutions listed above to resolve it.

If all fails, you can go back to your dealer knowing you’ve done all you could.