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Mike V.
Mike V., Subaru Technician
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 24013
Experience:  Certified Subaru Technician, factory trained by Subaru.
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Subaru Outback Security System Preventing Car from Starting.

Customer Question

2001 Subaru Outback's security system is preventing the car from starting. Is there any way to reset the system?
The headlights turn on and battery is fully charged. The security chip has been taken out and re-inputted.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for your question!
My name is ***** ***** give me a moment to review your question and respond with the assistance you need!

Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

What exactly is happening when he tries to start the car?
Is the alarm going off?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
It has battery power but is preventing the starter from getting power
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

So is there a click or anything when he turns the key?
Also, again, is the alarm actually going off?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
alarm is not going off. no sound at all
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

Ok

do you have the remote for the door locks?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
This has happened before and the car starts after a few hours.
yes he has the remote
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

Ok

This style security system is very basic. He could close the doors and cycle the door locks. This will turn the security off completely. I do not think the issue is there. Is the car an automatic or manual?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Automatic. He has locked and unlocked the car and still will not start.
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

Ok

The issue is probably in the shifter. I would have him put the car into neutral and try to start it. No sound means the switch on the side of the transmission isn't letting the power get to the starter or the ignition switch isn't working and sending any power. This isn't a security issue.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
He tried the neutral thing and nothing. What next again this has happened multiple times the last three years and the car restarts after time. Is there a way to reset the system?
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

Yes, cycling the door locks resets the security system.

Have him put the car in reverse with the key on in the run position and check and see if the back up lights are working.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
the back up lights are on. The car has full functionality it is just not allowing power to the starter, Seat warmers work and everything has power except the starter.
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

Ok, so we do know the switch is working at least I little. I still think this is the issue however because there isn't any sound at all when turning the key. At the very least he should hear the lockout relay click when he turns the key on to start if the security was the problem.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
We still think it is the security so what is your solution to start the car?
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
If it is not the security, would disconnecting the battery reset anything?
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

I don't know how many times I can say this. You are turning off the security when you unlock the car with the key fob.

If it's the inhibitor switch on the side of the transmission it needs to be replaced. Sorry to say there isn't a quick fix.

The only other way to turn off the security is to cycle the ignition from off to on 3 times, but the alarm isn't going off so I don't think that will do anything to help.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
What would occur if the security system has a short circuit, could that be occuring?
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

Well, I think if it had a short the alarm would be going off, but I suppose it is possible, however no sound when trying to start the car still leans towards the switch breaking the connection. There is a relay called a starter interrupt relay, this will click when you go to start it.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
What are the symptoms of a dying switch?
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

If the switch were bad, then I think you would lose more then just the starter. The radio, blower, wipers all wouldn't work if the ignition we the problem.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
How does the security prevent the car from starting? Is there a way around the system, just turn it off.
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

Give me a minute to try and locate the interupt relay. I am not sure it's shown anywhere in the service manual, but I can look.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
The brand is dealer security system would that mean factory installed?
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

I don't believe so.

Ask him if it's bolted in or if it's being held in with zip ties. plastic straps.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Car just started. Would not start for almost an hour then just starts.
Expert:  Mike V. replied 2 months ago.

Ok

I think you should get it to a shop and have the inhibitor switch tested, but also if this is some kind of aftermarket security system the shop could remove it. It doesn't sound like the original system to me.

Again, if it's not original, he may be able to just unplug the box himself. Usually a small black box held in with zip ties on the aftermarket stuff.


This really seems like the inhibitor switch, but like I said, with a possible aftermarket alarm it's hard to say.
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Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
he is taking to a shop tonight