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Topic # 239983 14-Aug-2018 08:45
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I have a 2011 Subaru Legacy Wagon with push-button starting.  On the whole this works pretty well, but a couple of times it hasn't started.  The most recent was on Friday night.  Sitting in the drivers seat with the remote in my pocket (as normal), and when I pushed the button - nothing.  The dash lit up, the stereo came on.  But the engine didn't turn over.  I tried a variety of things - turning off the stereo, holding the remote right next to the start button, but none of that worked.  I ended up calling the AA, and while I waited for them to arrive I googled to see if there was anything else I could try.  By some strange fluke, my 4-year old daughter from the back suggested I try wiggling the wheel (which happened to be something I found suggested on a forum I was googling), and that worked.  The steering wheel lock was activated, but jiggling the wheel while pushing the start button worked (what made that worse was my probably condescending Dad comment that it wouldn't work, and then having to contend with Miss Four's smugness when it did.  That'll teach me...)

 

Now this is weird (putting aside the somehow prescient solution offered up by my daughter).  The steering wheel lock is often activated yet it's never prevented the car from starting before.  I even tested it the next day, wiggling the wheel until the lock activated, and then trying to start the car, leaving the wheel alone (it did, no problems).  So I'm at a loss to explain what happened here, and why this "fix" worked.  Are there any clever people here who can explain why jiggling the wheel when it's locked will miraculously help the car to start?


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  Reply # 2073086 14-Aug-2018 09:01
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It is the same in a car with a key ignition.

 

At certain points, with the wheel locked, you cannot turn the key.

 

If it is locked 'hard' one way, you have to slightly move it the other way to disengage the lock and allow you to start. It has been that way with just about every car I've owned or driven - will not start with the wheel locked hard.


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  Reply # 2073087 14-Aug-2018 09:04
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Perhaps the car won't start when the steering wheel lock is engaged. I remember in my older cars the wheel lock would bind and you had to take the tension off it by moving the wheel then the key would turn freely and disengage the shaft lock. 

 

I can only assume there is binding between the lock and the steering column where, and when moved it allows free disengagement. 

 

 

 

A guess, 


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  Reply # 2073089 14-Aug-2018 09:08
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Maybe it's a safety interlock so that the electric(?) steering isn't energised to turn the wheels to the side immediately when the button is pressed. In much the same way as you usually have to have your foot on the brake pedal when starting. Was the car stopped with the wheels turned to one side?

(Please note it's a push button start. No need to turn a key, so no binding against the mechanical steering lock.)




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  Reply # 2073091 14-Aug-2018 09:12
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The other 'lock' that these use is the brake - the fact your accessories came on but the engine didn't suggests it did not believe the foot brake was fully depressed.





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  Reply # 2073092 14-Aug-2018 09:13
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trig42:

 

It is the same in a car with a key ignition.

 

At certain points, with the wheel locked, you cannot turn the key.

 

If it is locked 'hard' one way, you have to slightly move it the other way to disengage the lock and allow you to start. It has been that way with just about every car I've owned or driven - will not start with the wheel locked hard.

 

 

Yeah - I agree - and the 4YO had probably been in a car with key ignition switch and seen the driver jiggle the wheel to free up the ignition switch lock.

 

It probably wouldn't be great to have a car that could be started by push button, then driven with the steering wheel still locked. 

 

I'd assume that there's a safety lockout mechanism in the push button start - much the same concept as what's probably there that'll prevent the start button from working if the car isn't in park or neutral (or the clutch isn't depressed if it's a manual), and/or your foot isn't on the brake on some cars.   

 

If it's a regular thing, probably worth getting it checked/serviced, in case there's a fault with the solenoid activated steering wheel lock system.




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  Reply # 2073104 14-Aug-2018 09:34
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Thanks for the replies.  I can confirm that the brake was fully pressed before pushing the start button, so no issues there.

 

I do recall occasionally in the past having to wiggle the locked wheel before I could turn the ignition key, when the wheel was especially strongly locked.  I suppose that this is much the same thing.  I guess it just seemed odd because not having a physical key to turn meant there was no "feedback" that the wheel was locked and needed to be moved, like it did on my older car.

 

 

 

At least it wasn't as embarrassing as my previous AA call out, when the car wouldn't switch off.  The engine stopped but the accessories/dash didn't switch off.  Turns out I still had it in Drive, not Park.  Whoops!  The only redeeming part in that situation was that I discovered it before the AA technician did, who was under the bonnet looking for an electrical issue of some kind...

 

 


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  Reply # 2073134 14-Aug-2018 10:11
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No expert on Subaru's and only surmising here, but it is logical for it to have an interlock to prevent the car starting/driving if the steering is locked. If the steering unlock mechanism is becoming weak or intermittent through some kind of impending failure or dried out lubrication, then jiggling the steering will help it to unlock and then allow the car to start.


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