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Subaru Repair/Subaru Forester starting problem


QUESTION: I have a 2006 Subaru Forester automatic with 29,000 miles on it. Obviously, I don't drive much. For the past month or so I've been having an intermittent problem starting the car. Sometimes when I turn the key in the ignition I get a sound that is the same as the sound when the engine is already on and I forget and inadvertantly turn the key in the ignition. I'm sure you know the sound. It's sort of a high pitched rattle/screech/knock. I installed a new OEM gas cap and tried my spare key. It still happened. Then I started pushing the key and holding it in while I turn the ignition on. It never happens then. If I don't hold the key in it happens every 8-10 times. My mechanic could not replicate the problem so can't say what it is. Do you know?

Subaru Expert
Subaru Expert  

"I installed a new OEM gas cap and tried my spare key"

I am confused by this statement?  Im not sure why the gas cap was replaced, or what they key would have to do with it.

A 2006 Subaru Forester with 29,000 miles has been used in the most of severe way, mostly for short trips with lots of sitting in between, most likely the starter is failing and everything it makes that grinding noise the ring gear on the Flywheel or Torque convertor is being damaged as well.

This is not something that can be diagnosed over the internet.

My Suggestion

Look for a good Independent Subaru Shop, be prepared to leave the car with them until it acts up and they can hear it several times to understand what may be wrong. Or take it back to your Mechanic and do the same, we often have cars left for a week or longer if its an intermittent problem, sometimes a Technician will make it their daily driver for a few weeks, sometimes that's what it takes to get the job done, and only a great shop will be willing to do that for you.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Justin,

To answer your question, I put on a new gas cap because some people have said one that is defective can influence the proper starting of the engine. I tried a different key because I though it might be possible that the key was worn or bent, thus not turning whatever it turns in the way it should.

Unfortunately, I can't be without my car for a week which might be the amount of time it takes for the problem to happen.

Thanks for your input.


Hello Mary,

No, a gas cap would never Cause a noise from the starter, I think that because a loose gas cap can cause a check engine light to come on, as can many, many other items, that some non professional and incorrect information floats around. It appears that would be the case here, a gas cap is not to expensive but I do hope a OE Subaru cap was purchased.  

I am not trying to tell you its going to take a week, I am trying to convey that if its truly that intermittent it could.  While I understand its difficult to go with out the car, I just don't want to see you hit with an expensive repair, if part of it could have been avoided.  Maybe you can leave it with a service provider for a couple of days?


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All Subaru Repair and Service Questions. Master Certified Technician. Now the Owner of an Independent Subaru Service center in the Seattle area of Washington State.


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