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Sometimes when I turn the ignition key, all the lights come on, but nobody's home

Sometimes I have to shift the automatic gear lever out of park once or twice before attempting to turn the ignition key a second time, then the engine will turn over. When activating the auto starter from indoors, sometimes it will appear that the car has started, as the lights will come on, but when I get outside, I may find that only the ignition lights are on and the car is not running. The gear shifter is getting progressively harder to shift, also.

Make, model, year, shifter on console or on the column will help.

Subaru Forester 2004 w/shifter on the console, 104,000 miles.

I was at first going to suggest the neutral safety switch, but then I saw that you have a remote starter. Is this an aftermarket remote starter?

Yes. It has an after market remote starter.

In that case I’ll suggest that the problem is with the remote starter installation, possibly in combination with the car’s built in security system. I can’t offer any details, as I’ve not had to work on one of these (thank heavens) but remote starter installations on modern cars are know to be troublesome. Security systems built into the car have to be messed with and can react in strange ways.

I would expect the remote starter circuit would run through the safety switch circuit though I could be wrong. It would not be safe to bypass it. I think cleaning the contacts or replacing the saftey switch will clear the trouble.