Who likes a challenge?



I have a 1995 Subaru Impreza with 168K miles & about a year ago it started having an intermittent problem. It won’t start. It will crank and crank, just not turn over. Cooler weather & humidity seems to aggrevate it, but not always. I read somewhere that it could be a coil problem, but am not sure if this car has a coil??


You either have a single coil or a series of 6 “direct ignition” coils, one on each spark plug, depending on your engine.

I’m guessing froim your description that you have a 4-banger with a single coil. And yes, weather can cause a bad coil to act up. It can also cause a bad ignition wire from the distributor to short to ground and prevent spark. How long has it been since you had a good tuneup with new ignition wires? If these are the originals, I’d start by doing the tuneup, since it’s overdue anyway.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, some diagnosis is in order, starting with checking when it acts up to see if you have spark voltage out of the distributor. If you do not, voltage on the primary will need to be verified. NOTE: in truth, a scope is the best way to do this work, so it may be better to just bring it to a reputable shop and let them diagnose it. If fact, a scope will show most ignition problems even if it isn’t acting up. Seeing the actual voltage spikes and the waveforms they create as the coil collapses can tell a whole lot.

Chances are excellent that it will be an affordable fix.


Your car has a “coil pack,” which is basically two coils together in one unit. If the coil pack is bad it will do exactly what you describe. Another possible problem is the spark plug wires. When old and dried out, the wires may not deliver sufficient current to the spark plugs to fire them.

Testing the coil pack and the plug wires is simple. Any mechanic should be able to diagnose and repair this problem for you.


Before going after the coil(s) I would suggest making sure of the plug wires. Even if they look good, replace them. Don’t buy the expensive designer junk, but get OEM.


You could probably troubleshoot this youself by spraying water (use a glass cleaner sprayer) on the ignition system parts while the engine is running. Try it and see what happens.


Thank you for the suggestions. I am going to print this stuff out to take with me next Tuesday when i go to a new mechanic…the old one blew it!!


I will have the new guy check this for me, Thanks!!


Maybe if I knew which parts…maybe I can enlist a friend!