2019 Subaru Outback V6 starter locking

Perhaps I’m just not accustomed to using a button to start a car, but the push button ignition in the Subaru Outback seems to struggle. Many times it does not feel like a clean start, and two times this year, the button has locked, also locking the pedals and the steering wheel and I’ve had to call roadside assistance to jump the battery to get the button to depress. Each time, the battery is fine. The Subaru dealer can find no actionable codes in the computer or figure any other problem. My mom has also had this twice occur on a 2016 Subaru Outback. The guy who most recently jump started my car at a rando gas station off of I-95 told me that he jumps more Subarus than any other vehicles. So I’m guessing others may have had this problem… Thoughts? Thanks!

If the battery isn’t the cause of this problem then there would seem to be problem within the power distribution to the things you mentioned having trouble. There is a common connection to power going to those areas mentioned most likely and that would be the place to start the hunt for trouble.

1 year old car under warranty. This is the dealers problem to fix, not yours.


You may not be pressing the brake pedal hard enough. When you press the brake pedal the indicator light in the start button should turn green, if not press harder.

If the brake pedal is pressed more than once with the engine off the vacuum in the brake booster will be expelled and the brake pedal will feel hard and more difficult to press but not locked. This can happen when exiting the vehicle and when you return the pedal is hard the first time you press it.

Each time the vehicle was jump started was it another person that press the brake and started the engine?

This is a note from the owners manual;

“When the engine is not started, the brake pedal may feel stiff. In such a case, depress the brake pedal more forcefully than usual. Check that the operation indicator on the push-button ignition switch turns green, and press the push-button ignition switch to start the engine.”


Additionally, the OP owns a truly unique vehicle, as it is the only Subaru ever equipped with a V-6!

(Note for OP: Your engine is an H-6, not a V-6. My 2011 Outback has the same fantastic engine.)

I have the same vehicle and the only time I have ever had a problem starting was when the steering wheel was locked in a weird position and the only way I could get the engine to crank was to forcefully move the steering wheel. When I explained this to my dealer he thought that the interlock was possibly out of alignment or something like that. This happened twice and never after that. I have had 5 Outbacks and an Impreza and have never had to have a battery jumped. I am truly surprised by the comments that they jump more Subarus than any other car.


Yes, that was an opinion with no supportive evidence.
I have owned 3 Outbacks over a period of 24 years, and I have never had to jump-start any of them.

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Using that road side service drivers opinion since we had to have our Volvo jumped one time in 10 years that means I should take Volvo off our list of next vehicle purchase .

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I was the person starting the car when it was being jumped both times, and it operated normally and turned over without problem.
The brake pedal depresses properly and the green light shows on the start button. At times it has felt like the starter button does not fully engage even when the button all the way–like a stutter start. However, in the instances where the button/steering wheel/brake pedal has locked and car will not start, the button will not depress at all from the initial start when my foot is pushing on the brake pedal. The service techs don’t seem to want to/or aren’t equipped to think beyond finding computer codes to remedy the problem. So I appreciate other suggestions I might offer for them to consider.

Do the service techs ever talk about just replacing the starter button? That would be my first guess, and easy to do.

No, that would seem like a good starting point, though. The subaru service techs seem totally reliant on finding a computer code that will tell them what to do. Maybe it’s a policy that they are discouraged from doing major diagnostic work when the car is pretty new and under warranty and I’m not paying $1K+ to have them dig around to find the problem. I don’t know…

If you haven’t “kicked” your complaint up to the corporate level, you really need to do so. It’s amazing how much… motivation… a dealership will suddenly display when they have to deal with the corporate folks. I would suggest that you politely request an appointment with the Regional Service Supervisor when he/she next visits the dealership.


The techs have entered three reports with Subaru of America on these two instances. I’m not sure how that differs from me trying to call myself. Seems that the dealership can’t even schedule the Field Service Engineer to review the car/problem without having a code to provide! My option at this point is to leave the car with them for a week, etc. to see if they can replicate anything to provide more computerized info, then get the next level involved.

If you call yourself, you are making the manufacturer aware that you are not happy with what has transpired in the service department so far. A customer who is polite, yet irate, about problems with the repair of their vehicle will be much more likely to get help from the manufacturer.

Trust me–I have done this with a Ford, a Honda, and a Toyota, and it made a major difference. Just be sure that you don’t say… “I’ll never buy another xxxxx”, because then you are removing their motivation to come to your assistance.


VDC’s advice is right on. Your owner’s manual will tell you ways to contact Subaru corporation about this. Doing that has the best chance of getting a good result.

You deserve a good result. It will require your effort in the right direction. Good luck and please keep us informed.


Thanks. I do wonder if I should let them keep the car for the week first (to determine nothing), then call corporate, so I don’t completely burn a bridge with the dealership. I’d already moved on from the Subaru dealer where I bought it b/c my earlier complaints at that location were met with “This is your first Subaru? Well, that’s normal.” I’ll run out of dealerships! But, yes, my calling makes good sense.

Calling optional and probably not effective. Better a letter. Better certified mail. Good luck.

If you moved on to another dealership after that statement, then you did the right thing. As to the veracity of their statement, consider this reality:
My '97 Outback was more reliable–with lower total repair costs–than any of my previous vehicles, and that included a Honda Accord.
My '02 Outback had a total of one repair (replacement of an evaporative emissions solenoid), and that was taken care of under warranty in about 40 minutes. That was the sole repair in the 110k miles that I drove it.
My '11 Outback has had one truly trivial repair (replacement of the windshield washer fluid reservoir), which was also done under warranty. As of today, it has close to 106k on the odometer, and that was the only repair.

I wouldn’t have bought the second one if my first hadn’t been more reliable than all of my previous vehicles, and–of course–I wouldn’t have bought #3 if the second one hadn’t been superior to even #1.

There can be drastic differences from one dealership to another. It looks like you found one that was really bad, and another that is only slightly better.

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I would get the ball rolling with a phone call, and then follow-up that call with a certified letter laying out the complete situation, and referencing the phone call, including the date on which you called.

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I see where you are going, @VDCdriver, but then go to the full extent and say “and make sure you check you state’ laws on the books for the lemon definition and deadlines”.

in VA, for example, you have to have a traced written request to the manufacturer AND you have to file your case in court no later than 18 months from the purchase-new date… yet lawyers often do not even accept your case if you get within 2-3 month to that date