If you own a Subaru, it’ll shake when starting up or with start/stop on, and it’s totally normal.

Earlier this May, my family and I took a much-needed vacation to Palm Springs, CA, and that meant a rental car.

We got a 2024 Subaru Forester and, while we were initially hoping for something more room, the Forester quickly won me over as one of the best five-seaters I’ve ever driven.

Our Subaru Forester rental parked next to an Orange Grove in Madera, CA.

On top of that, we ended up having all the rear trunk space/storage needed.

One quirk I found endearing was the side-to-side shake I felt on every morning startup and when the engine shut off.

I’d press the start button and the Forester would do a little side-to-side shimmy while the engine cranked over.

While I know what’s happening, you, an actual Subaru owner, might not.

You’ll be happy to know it’s perfectly normal and is an engine start-up characteristic found on almost all Subarus since the 1960s.

If you didn’t know, four cylinder Subarus are Boxer Engines, which means their pistons go side-to-side instead of up and down like a conventional inline four cylinder.

Subaru has a helpful video to help you understand what’s going on, and here’s a gif, too.


The side-by-side shake is most noticeable on first start when the engine is cold, is quite mild, and should only last for as long as your Subaru is cranking over.

Once your Subaru starts, the shaking should stop.

If you notice shaking after your Subaru engine starts, or the shaking is harsher than it usually is, that isn’t normal, and you might have an engine issue that needs addressing ASAP.

But as for a light shake on start-up or when you’re stopped with start/stop enabled, that’s normal.


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