2008 Subaru Forester Remote Programming


Last Update: Aug 9, 2021 @ 18:50

When it becomes necessary to replace or add a new door remote, getting the Security System into programming mode can be difficult.

Many owners have reported that programming mode seems impossible to start. The Owner’s Manual described sequence is also less than helpful.

What is supposed to happen?

You have to turn the ign switch between LOCK and ON ten times in 15 seconds, at which time a beep will sound, at least is it supposed to.

Notes on the driver’s door and push lock or unlock buttons.

  1. These function normally, even when the key is not in the ignition.
  2. They are repurposed to enter the remote 8-digit ID code.

Security System (SS) honk / chirp auto settings

    To ... maybe ...turn the chirp off or back on:
    Step 1: Sit in the driver's seat and close all the doors and rear gate.
    Step 2: Place the key in the ignition switch.
    Step 3: Open and hold the driver's door then remove the key from the ignition.
    Step 4: Hold down the UNLOCK door button.
    Step 5: Insert and remove the key in the ignition at least 6 times in 10 seconds.
    Step 6: Still holding the UNLOCK key down, close the driver's door and the turn signal lights will flash 3 times. 

    This indicates the completion of the operation.

    TBI: with honk / chirp enabled, does the 10x LOCK to ON position (below) work as described?

If honk / chirp is disabled, the programming mode audio signals (maybe…) don’t work. For non-obvious reasons the audio signals stop working or have become disabled. We have not located any way to test this. Maybe one day …

Programming mode is however still functional.

The problem most owners have is knowing if programming mode has been started when no audio signal occurs.

Here’s a quick and easy test to check.

Turn the ignition key from LOCK to ON position 10 times within 15 seconds. Be sure to stop at both LOCK and ON. After the tenth turn, return the key to the LOCK position.

Even if there is no audio signal, open and close driver’s door again.


Assume that programming mode is ready.

Press the Unlock button on the door. If there is no noise from the lock mechanism, you are in programming mode.

Remove the key from the ignition to end the test. No changes have been made to the Security System.


OK, now you are ready to start the sequence again to program the new remote. In the text below, audio signals may or may not occur.

Open and close the driver’s door.

Turn the ignition key from LOCK to ON position 10 times within 15 seconds. Be sure to stop at both LOCK and ON.

The horn will (maybe) honk once to indicate transmitter programming mode is activated. Leave key in LOCK position and don’t remove it from the ignition.

You now have 45 seconds to complete the programming as below.

Open and close driver’s door again.

This prepares the Security System to receive the 8-digit remote ID code, and it takes takes two passes through the programming sequence.

Pass #1: Enter the ID code:  Press the UNLOCK button n-times for each code digit, followed by LOCK. 
Pass #2: Verify the ID code: Press the UNLOCK button n-times for each digit, followed by LOCK. 

When the code is verified, the normal LOCK/UNLOCK button operation will be reset.

To continue and program other remotes at the same time: open and close the driver’s door and push lock or unlock on the remote. The driver’s door must be opened and closed between each remote you want to program.

Done programming? remove the key from the ignition and the horn will (maybe) honk 3 times.

Try the newly programmed remote. With any luck you have done it correctly.

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