New Subaru, intermittent problem

With my 2015 Legacy, a couple of times I have turned the key to start the engine and nothing’s happened. No sound, no dashboard lights. I’ve had to try several times before the car “sees” that I’m turning the key.

Is this likely to be an electrical problem, or a mechanical one with the lock?

And how would the dealer diagnose it, since he could try starting it 50 times and not get the problem to happen.

Take a video on a smartphone after it happens and hope it happens again. Make sure to clearly show the key being turned all the way and then the resultant lack of dash lights. They likely will throw parts it like a new ignition switch etc since it is under warranty.

The next time this happens, try starting it in Neutral. If it starts in Neutral it may be a bad or out of adjustment Neutral Safety switch.


If there are no lights, then it’s electrical. Either battery connections or ignition switch.

When this happens, keep the key in the start position and step down a little harder on the brakes and see if it starts then. I bought a 2014 Legacy last year and it seems to require more brake pressure that previous cars that I’ve owned. BTW, I noticed the same thing on my daughters new Camry so maybe all new cars are affected.

Must push brake pedal to start? Since when?

My guess like the posts above is a faulty ignition switch, or less likely, battery or battery connection problem.

Must push brake pedal to start? Since when?

Since now I guess. Its part of the push button start systems.

Correction: I guess I have the same issue with my Subaru and every time it didn’t respond to the key, I just stepped on the brake a little harder and it started. Turns out the brake is not needed on the 2014 Legacy. I have always had the habit of at least positioning my foot over the brake pedal when starting, maybe I was taught that in driver training back in 64, but I can’t really remember.

But it is required on my daughters 2014 Camry which has the push button start and it was required on the 2013 Altima that I rented earlier this year while on a trip. The 2014 Legacy uses a key to start, if the 2015 uses a push button, then it probably requires the brake to be on to start.

I have turned the key to start the engine and nothing's happened. No sound, no dashboard lights. I've had to try several times before the car "sees" that I'm turning the key.

Not a push button start.

Ok its a key. Mine does that once in awhile where nothing happens on the first turn, but it always responds to the second try. It’s only a wild guess but I think it may have something to do with the key. The security system has to detect the transponder in the key before it allows anything to happen, or at least allows the engine to start. Maybe some electrical interference in the area is blocking the signal momentarily.

You wouldn’t happen to have another car that you carry the transponder key for on the same key ring would you? Maybe they interfere with each other. Just throwing guesses out there.

Wow, I’ve always thought that I had to depress the brake pedal to start my car. Turns out, the owner’s manual does not say that. It’s so much of a habit now that I doubt I’ll stop doing it unless it’s somehow damaging something.

It’s been a couple of weeks that I’ve hoped the problem had fixed itself, but today it happened again. I didn’t get video of what was happening, but I do have more specifics:

  1. It took about 5 tries to start the car.
  2. NO signs of life. Dashboard dark, no chimes, no heater fan.
  3. Once it did start, I was able to drive, but the center mechanical buttons (fan speed, defroster, etc.), electronic touch buttons (radio), and info readouts (info screen, cabin temp reading, clock) did nothing. However, the windshield wipers did work.
  4. After about 3 minutes of driving, the controls and screens all came back to life at once, and the things that were pre-set (temp, clock, radio stations) were remembered.

I have an appointment at the Subaru dealer, but I just wonder what to suspect now.