2004 Forester does not always start when gear shift shows it is in park. Happens intermittently. Lights, radio come on (battery is OK), but nothing else happens. Car will start after shifting in and out of park and trying again. Have replaced and tightened bushings. Gear shift now moves easily. Mechanic is suggesting a new starter. Any other suggestions??
I think you may need a new mechanic. This is a classic case of a worn neutral safety switch. If it fails to ever start in park before the switch is replaced just shift to neutral. The neutral portion of the neutral safety switch is rarely utilized so it rarely goes bad.
I have very close to the same problem with an automatic 2003 Subaru Forester with under 40K miles on it. It won’t start, but on a very intermittent basis for the past 4 months. Like the car above the radio, lights, fan, etc all come on. My husband said the battery is fine after using his multimeter on it. The starter doesn’t even make a click noise when the key is turned. Nothing happens at all except that the electronic components come on. The only difference from the above car is that it gets stuck in park and I cannot move the shifter into neutral. The only way to get it to to start is to get rough with the shifter and push it side to side a bunch of times and try to start it again. It starts after doing this once or a few times. Once the car even got stuck in park when it was running and I had a very hard time getting it out of park. I can’t remember how I finally got it unstuck, but I think I may have turned it off and started all over again. Anybody have any ideas what this could be? Is is the neutral safety switch like above? (Also, should I post this in a new thread to get answers?)