Subaru won't start

My 1995 subaru legacy will not start. I turn the key and it tries to turn over, but it will not start. The more I try the worse it gets. I checked the battery, put starter fluid in intake, and nothing. All lights/radio are working. In the past this happened intermittently but eventually would start with repeated tries. Any ideas?

How did you check the battery? The lights and radio will work even when the battery does not have enough amperage to turn the engine. The battery should be “load tested.”

Are you sure the engine is getting fuel and spark?

the engine is getting fuel and spark. we tested the battery with one of those voltage testers (i think-I didn’t actually do it a friend did)

Does it sound normal when you try to start it? You need three things to get it started:

  • Fuel * Spark * Compression. If it is compression it likely will not sound right when you are trying to start it.

Have you checked the fuse(s) associated with your fuel injectors? You may have fuel pressure in the rail, but if the injectors are not working it doesn’t matter.

“It tries to turn over” means what? Do you hear the starter engage and the lights dim, or what? If this is the behavior, then, either not enough power is getting to the starter, or the engine has too much drag. Does it start with jumper cables connected? If the engine seems to take a lot of effort from the starter, some belt driven component could be dragging (often, the A/C compressor). Remove the belt(s) and see if the engine cranks more easy.

yes it sounds right. I turn the key. It has gas. It has spark. It sounds like it normally does when i start it from the get go but then it doesn’t “catch” and “connect” if that makes sense. Its like the engine turns over and over but wont connect to whatever it needs to to start. I could only explain it as if it isnt getting the “fuel” or “spark”, but we checked all that and it is fine.

that I have not. will do that-thank you!!

The lights do not dim. However, repeated tries appears to drain the battery as the “attempts” get slower and lagging. It wont start with cables attached-and it still slows/lags with them on-leading me to believe not a battery issue. will check belt driven component. thank you!!

You might have a broken timing belt. The belts are in the black case in front of the engine. I suggest you do a compression test to see if that is the case. Also check the ECU for any codes.

You need to assure that full battery power is getting to the starter. To do that, disconnect the battery cables, check the end of the positive cable, where it attaches to the starter (if accessible), for snugness. Use a round wire brush, a file, or sandpaper to remove the corrosion from the inside of the battery cable terminals. Clean battery post to shiny. Smear petroleum jelly on the terminals and reattach to the battery posts. Charge the battery with jumper car or jumper battery for some minuets. Attempt to start. Results?

From what I understand after reading the posts, the OP is having trouble getting the engine to start; not with the starter cranking the engine over.

Since you have even tried starter fluid sprayed into the intake and still cannot get it to run this is not a good sign. I really suspect you have a broken timing belt causing the problem.

how do i check if the timing belt is broken? we changed out the ignition relay and that wasn’t it. It isn’t a battery issue either.