2018 Subaru Outback - Won't start - dealer can't help

I purchased a CPO 2018 outback 3.6R touring with 37613 and I have driven it less than 400 miles and when I push the start button the car will not engage it takes about 4-6 times before the car will actually start. I took it in and they could not duplicate the issue so I have sent videos of the issue. Any suggestions?

Does it crank but not start or is it a no crank situation?
Keep any and all documentation of reports from the service department.
It is possible this is a battery problem, though just two years old it might be weak.

Why won’t the dealer help? If they can’t duplicate it, they can’t fix it. I get that.

Can you duplicate it for them? You need to duplicate the conditions as closely as possible. If this only happens in the morning when you first try and start it, you might have to leave it overnight and stop in first thing in the morning.


The first file was to big so I’ve trimmed it

(Attachment 20200826_121952_001.mp4 is missing)

Can you figure out a pattern for no start to be able to replicate the problem?

It didn’t post the file. Not sure it would help us anyway.

I’m having to read between the lines a bit but it sounds like you are saying the starter motor will not physically crank the engine over.

It’s also possible that the problem could be battery or scaled over battery cable terminals which could be causing this. The age of the battery could well be 3 years old and that is certainly enough time for one to get weak; especially depending upon the environment and date of manufacture of the battery.
The car is a 2018 model so it could have been sold in 2017 with the battery produced in the spring of '17.

Many batteries have failed when only a year old. In a case involving a battery I bought once it died the very next day and by died I mean totally expired and would not take a hint of a charge.

Thank you for your info. The battery has been replaced in July 2020 and I had them test it again a week ago when it was at the dealership. The car has push start and with this happening intermittently I wish I was able to attach the video the car will start and immediately dies. Typically it will take 5 times before it will stay running. The dealership is scheduling another loaner car to check the computer sensors to see if they can locate the issue.

‘starting and stalling’ is very different than ‘no start’. Make sure your dealership knows that the car will start then stall out, and make sure this is what is actually happening, and not one of the following:

  • ‘Crank- no start’ where the engine turns over but will not actually begin running on its own.
    -'no crank’, where when you turn the key (or push the button in your case,) that nothing happens with the engine at all- but all other electrical is working fine- lights, radio, windows, etc.
    -‘Crank, starts, then stalls’- when the engine cranks over, starts to run, and then dies- either on it’s own or with some input from you (like putting it in gear, stepping on the brake pedal, shutting the door, etc.)
    I say this, because what you are telling us now is different than how you worded it in your original post.

And like was said above- get and keep all documentation on repairs made or not made. This will help if they don’t get this figured out and the warranty expires.


Thank you for the breakdown. That helps me explain clearer when I talk to the service advisor.

And no codes? Maybe check the harness connectors for the crank and cam sensors. Seems to me I read something similar on a Subaru forum and the problem turned out to be a defective crank sensor.
Other cheap thing to try would be to change the battery in your key fob. Maybe the signal is a little weak?

Thank You for the input. I have dropped the car off at the dealership and did ask them to check the fab battery which we did while I was there and it is testing good, the last time the car was in there they only tried starting to duplicate it and I asked if it was hooked up to a diagnostic machine and they didn’t do that. I have now been in contact with the General manager and the Service director so hopefully staying on top of them will get the results. I am going to text the service advisor and ask about the crank and cam sensor which in my mind would make sense as it takes 5 times of crank and no start then it will start on the 6th time it is very bizarre…

If I could suggest, buy a cheap code reader. You will find them on Amazon or Ebay, and you can get one that will allow you to read most codes and clear them as well for around $20. Considering a lot of places charge you to check a code, you are financially ahead the first time you use it. Later you can amaze friends and families with your wizardry.
When you have a code its very easy to google it, and it will take you to sites that will explain it. In the factory service manual which you can buy, you will also find a complete list of the codes and usually an accompanying diagnostic procedure to follow…
I would also suggest joining a Subaru Outback forum and looking there to see how others may have dealt with the same problem. Good luck. Nothing worse than intermittent issues

Thank you I am going to look into that today.