My 2011 Subaru Outback Is Now a $33,000 paper-weight
My 2011 Subaru Outback, with only 35,000 miles on it, only starts when it feels like it. The battery is brand new, connections are strong, wires are clean and sound, starter cranks like a champ, but the car just won’t start. This began shortly after the 30,000 mile servicing. The car usually starts in the morning, or if you leave it parked for seven hours or more. But otherwise, chances are it won’t start.
I have been stranded four times now over a three week period. I take the car to Stamford’s Subaru service center and they keep it for three days and then tell me their diagnostic computer says there’s nothing wrong with it and to come pick it up. Last time I did, I ran into a neighbor with a new 2016 Outback, and she said she has exactly the same problem. She has had the dead car towed to Subaru Service four times. They told her it was her fault because she “wasn’t driving it enough.” No, seriously.
Subaru Service is playing dumb; They told me my problem was very rare. Wrong – just go on a Subaru forum, or Google “Subaru won’t start” and you find a bunch of owners with the same problem. They, too, have been put off by Subaru service departments, who obfuscate or shift the blame, and who have no solution. From the forums one is amazed at the myriad repairs, tricks and work-arounds that Subaru owners have come up with to try and solve this problem. There is no quick fix. In fact, as of now, 11/26/16, there is NO certain fix, and Subaru Service appears to be as baffled as angry owners.
When I picked my 2011 Outback after the fourth incident, the service manager said they still couldn’t find anything wrong on the diagnostic computer, and my car started up every time they tried it. One of the service techs told me to use my smart phone to video the non-starting failure every time it happens, and I am now doing that. It doesn’t help start the car, but it does allow Subaru Service to see what procedures I use to start the car, and it becomes a record of incidents.
I am a 75-year old veteran, and my wife has only one leg; we can’t afford to be stranded somewhere, especially in winter, at night, in the middle of nowhere. It’s just too dangerous, and could result in serious harm, injury or even death. We bought the Subaru because of its reputation for reliability, and now we are afraid to drive it anywhere beyond walking distance.