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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Twice in the last three weeks of owning a new, 2020 Ascent, I've had the same thing happen: I've gone to start the car, and it won't start. Front dashboard is all lit up with everything, but it won't start. And after I try a couple times, the steering wheel and brake pedal lock up.

The first time it happened, I thought I must have somehow left the lights on and the battery must have died, but that wasn't the case. After waiting a few minutes, it suddenly started up just fine.

Same thing happened today. Out getting some stuff done. Go to the car to get in and drive somewhere else, and it won't start. Front dashboard all lit up with everything. Steering wheel and brake pedal stiffen up when I try to start it again. After 5 minutes of waiting, it suddenly starts up again.

Anyone know what's going on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Push start. Don’t think I did anything differently when I drove it the times before it decided not to start, but don’t know for sure.
 

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Is your steering wheel straight, or turned? When the steering is locked and forced against the lock (think old 1980's car with a key - you had to give the steering wheel some counter-slack to turn the key), the push start will not go (it will flash). Grab the wheel and turn away from the lock, and try again.

Or if that's not it, monitor your battery. Next time it happens, with car On, under the screen, while holding the home button, double click on the right knob (just below the screen). Should bring up a diagnostic menu. Touch on the 2nd tab, and at the bottom should be a voltage reading. Low 11's would be a battery that is suffering. (12.x is very good, high 11's is ok.)

F.S.
 

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Long shot... But since it's push start and depends on a key fob... Do you have two fobs? Does the experience change between the two?

Maybe a weak fob battery or incorrectly registered fob at play?

Just some ideas...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
FirstSubie,

I think the steering wheel was relatively straight when it happened, maybe turned somewhat, but I don't think drastically so.

My battery, at the moment...with the car on...says 14 something. But, of course, the temporary no start/brake pedal and steering wheel lockup thing is not happening at this very moment.

Very unsettling...and aggravating....
 

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My fiancee just had a similar problem. We have the keyed version though. But she called saying it wouldn't start, but turned the wheel (away from the steering lock position) and it started right up.

I'm guessing it's the same mechanism even with they key fob.

I bet she used the steering wheel to help get in/out and pulled it locked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Kevin,

Thanks for your reply. Do you happen to know if she also noticed the brake pedal stiffening up? Just trying to see if we might be experiencing the same thing.
 

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Its good practice to straighten your steering wheel after parking and shutting it down. I’ve had had this happen with key start cars ,nudging the steering wheel was the cure.
Had to teach this to the wife and kept reminding her until it became second nature to her.
This vehicle is our first push button start and had to remind her the concept is still the same.
 

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Kevin,

Thanks for your reply. Do you happen to know if she also noticed the brake pedal stiffening up? Just trying to see if we might be experiencing the same thing.
Just a data point to add - back when I had a battery problem and the car didn't start on the first button push /crank, the brake pedal did stiffen up. Feels the same as when I'm on a slight hill and the car holds the hill by itself (without Auto Vehicle Hold on - just the regular hill holding that the car does); the brake pedal stiffens up, like the car is applying the brake a little and the cylinder is pushing back on my foot.

Anyway, I don't think the brake pedal causes anything. If it's related to whatever you're seeing, it's a downstream effect and not the root cause, IMO.

F.S.

P.S. - If you're reading 14.x volts, that's too close to having had the alternator running and charging up the battery. Wait until before the first crank in the morning.
 

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I had the same thing happen to me 3 weeks ago...there is a chance i turned off the car while not in park...not sure, but I had the same symptoms. Once i got the steering wheel unlocked (turning it back and forth), I conducted a reboot of the ignition switch (i pushed and held the start button for 10 seconds). This started the engine...major "Phew!" moment!
 

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Kevin,

Thanks for your reply. Do you happen to know if she also noticed the brake pedal stiffening up? Just trying to see if we might be experiencing the same thing.

No, I don't know about the brake pedal stiffening up.

But I don't think that is related to your problem and is normal. When you go to start the car, it's by FAR the biggest drain on the battery. To compensate, usually almost everything electric is shut off to give the battery the most juice for the starting process. This would include the master cylinder pump, which gives the boost to the brakes. So the feel of the pedal will change while starting, then once the engine starts, the master cylinder pump starts up again and the brake feel is restored.
 

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Twice in the last three weeks of owning a new, 2020 Ascent, I've had the same thing happen: I've gone to start the car, and it won't start. Front dashboard is all lit up with everything, but it won't start. And after I try a couple times, the steering wheel and brake pedal lock up.

The first time it happened, I thought I must have somehow left the lights on and the battery must have died, but that wasn't the case. After waiting a few minutes, it suddenly started up just fine.

Same thing happened today. Out getting some stuff done. Go to the car to get in and drive somewhere else, and it won't start. Front dashboard all lit up with everything. Steering wheel and brake pedal stiffen up when I try to start it again. After 5 minutes of waiting, it suddenly starts up again.

Anyone know what's going on?
This happened once to me. After researching and reading blogs, I unscrewed the gas cap and put back on. This corrected the problem. Weird!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The gas cap thing is an interesting connection. ...Especially since I have been testing the theory about the locked steering wheel, but I can't get the nonstart to replicate. So I don't think a locked steering wheel is the issue in the case of my Ascent.
 

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As a quick note, we've had something similar happen a few times in ours and I'm pretty it's due to trying to shift into gear before the push start cycle has fully completed. It seems as though the car is on but it's not running and the controls are "locked". In that state, it won't respond to key presses, brakes, steering, etc and you just kinda have to wait for the system to reset itself.

Hope you figure it out!
 

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I had this happen once...weirdly, it wouldnt lock/unlock the car through the app either...car was thinking it was running. I tried a restart through the app and it worked...dealer wasnt able to replicate the issue, but said its most likely a faulty fob...
 

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I (rather my wife) have had this happen on both our 2019 and just yesterday, our 2020 Ascent. My wife filmed it both times. If I'm reading the above correctly, perhaps ours is different slightly. When starting the car with the wheel locked, the engine does indeed start, after which nothing works and the car eventually shuts itself off (maybe 60 seconds). While it is running, you can shift but the tranny does not engage, you cannot turn the car off via the start/stop button, and the dash is lit up like a xmas tree. On the 2019, the dealer kept it for almost a week, told us they cleared a bunch of codes...none of which would have caused what we had on film and that was all they could do. For a number of reasons, SoA ended up swapping our 2019 for a 2020 (kudos to them) just prior to the start of the COVID-19 lock down so we have not really driven the 2020 much (550 miles in 8-10 weeks which is not much for us). Yesterday the same thing happened to my wife in the 2020. We have again captured it on film, and she was actually able to recreate it a couple of times. By the time she got home, we could no longer recreate it.

I plan to address it with our local dealer once this pandemic dies down, but it is CLEARLY a software bug that is undiagnosed on the SoA side of things and has something to do with starting the car while the wheel lock is engaged.
 

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While you are not driving much, why not drop it off at the dealer and get a loaner? They would disinfect the loaner and hopefully this will be fully addressed by the time the lockdown is over. SOA should be notified.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Boz151, please report back what you find out. I took mine into the dealer a while back, but, of course, they couldn't replicate the problem. It hasn't happened since, but, then again, I haven't been driving much lately for obvious reasons....
 

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With the push button start, for some Subaru reason, it has its moments. You'll have to reset the ignition by holding the push start button for about a minute and it will reset itself.

And Subaru roadside assistance is useless in this subject.
 
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