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2017 Outback 3.6l Touring
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90 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I had this warning pop up last Monday for the first time on my 2017 Outback. I worked the steering wheel back and forth and the car started. The owners manual basically states do what I did to get the car to start. What I can't find out is how and why this feature works and how to avoid this happening in the future. On my 2001 truck I know the steering can bind the ignition switch and working the wheel back and forth relieves the bind and allows the ignition switch to operate. On a keyless ignition system why would steering locked be a problem?
 

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'15 Outback 2.5i Premium
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On a keyless ignition system why would steering locked be a problem?
Because you can't steer if the steering is locked?

I suspect (but admit that this is speculation) that a solenoid withdraws a locking pin as part of the start sequence, and, if the pin isn't withdrawn, the system won't allow the engine to be started. If the problem is binding, then relieving the pressure on the pin by moving the wheel allows it to retract. If it's some other problem that keeps the steering from being unlocked, you don't want to drive the car.
 

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2017 Outback 3.6l Touring
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90 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I guess I walked into that one... Note to self don't ever try to drive if the steering system is locked.


Solenoid binding makes sense, still don't know why 1 time out of several hundred times parking in my garage this problem cropped up. It is a straight shot in and out of the garage.


My post in the other thread was to possibly help others find information if they did a search on the warning.
 

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2019 2.5i Limited
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546 Posts
This has happened to me with my 2013 & 2017. It has happened to me when the wheels are cut sharply when I turn the ignition off. The steering wheel is hard against the wheel lock pin. You just need to turn the wheel to get the pressure off of the pin. The first time this happened was a couple of days after I bought my 2013 used and out of warranty. I had a sinking feeling in my gut until I figured out what was going on. One more of the downsides of keyless ignition.
 

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2017 Outback Limited -2.5 CVT ---- 'Gone' 2014 Outback Limited - 2.5 CVT ---- 'Rehomed' 2012 Outback Limited - 2.5 CVT - Deep Indigo Pearl ---- "RIP" 2010 Outback - 2.5 CVT - Silver - So's my hair
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120 Posts
Had this happen (no start due to steering lock) last week.

I suspect the wheels were in a 'full turn' position. Was able to jiggle steering wheel to allow start.

Guess the old 'Wheels to the curb' when parking on a hill wasn't part of Subaru planning.
 

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2015 Outback 3.6R Package 23
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1,642 Posts
The steering wheel is hard against the wheel lock pin. You just need to turn the wheel to get the pressure off of the pin.

Yep. This. The solenoid can't disengage the pin if there's a load on it. A tug on the wheel and the car starts right up. It happens to me occasionally.
 

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I also have a 2017 Outback. There are 2 solenoid switches. One on the steering column and one on the shifter. If one of them goes bad, you can't start the car, and/or shut it off. My dealer just replaced both of them. They had to wait a month because Subaru was changing the production of the switches. Mine was 10k out of warranty, but they did it under warranty anyway. About $500-600 at the dealer to replace them. See if your dealer will replace them for you under warranty. It is a known problem. The problem will get worse. Mine got to the point where I couldn't shut the car off.
 

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2019 Touring (Canadian Model) with Eyesight
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496 Posts
Freaked me out tonight when my car wouldn't start. Saw the warning about steering wheel locked so I jiggled it as I would have with my keyed ignition cars and it started right up.
 
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