I have trouble starting my 2011 Subaru Outback most of the time. I hear the starter working, but it doesn’t “catch,” as in it seems that the fuel is not igniting. Sometimes it helps if I park my car so that it faces downhill, and it always starts after I’ve tried to start it repeatedly about four times, let it sit, tried another four times, let it sit, repeat, and then wait about an hour. (I wait at least fifteen seconds after each try, and eventually wait an hour.)
It’s at the dealer right now and they say it started just fine when they did it! …
I read the trouble shooting process that’s outlined in the owner’s manual and I follow those steps each time I try to start it, but it doesn’t help.
FYI: It has a little over 185,000 miles on it. No accidents.
When were the spark plugs last replaced?
You may need to build up fuel pressure. Turn the key to Run (not all the way to Start.) The fuel pump should run for a couple seconds. You may hear it back in the tank. Then key to Off and back to Run, wait a couple seconds for the fuel pump to turn on and back off. After a few cycles of this “key dance” turn the key all the way to Start. Does it start and run?
The first step is to determine if the problem is spark or fuel. Either check for a good healthy blue-white visible spark at a spark plug during cranking, or spray starter spray into the air intake. Either should provide a good clue to what’s wrong.
Sounds like an anemic or intermittent fuel pump either due to a tired pump, clogged tank filter or a failing fuel pump relay. Not too hard to figure out which for a competent mechanic.