Q--I own a 1997 Subaru Legacy Outback with the four-cylinder engine. The car will take up to ten times of turning the key on and off before it will start. After that it might be fine for a few weeks and then it might do the same thing. The battery is six months old and the posts are clean. The two places I had the car for this said the electrical charging system is fine. Weather seems to have no effect. It can happen after the car sits overnight or only a few minutes. No pattern as to occurrence. Any ideas would be appreciated.
A--If nothing happens when you turn the key, we can probably rule out the battery and starter. I have a hunch the problem lies in the ignition switch — the part that the key operates. But, before you replace it, try starting the car in neutral instead of park. Also, try jiggling the gear selector while turning the key. If it starts with either of these maneuvers, the problem is probably the neutral safety switch.