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2014 forester automatic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last week, I had 4 episodes with my 2014 Forester where the key would not turn. First time, I was with my husband in my driveway (flat driveway, straight, warm weather). The car was in park so we had to rock it back and forth and finally the key turned. Second time was late at night and I just got off work - same thing, but I was in a bad neighborhood by myself. 3rd time, same thing. 4th time I was with my oxygen dependent Mom at the hospital and the clock was ticking. I did everything, turned the steering wheel back/forth, rocked the car, used the spare key - no luck. In a panic, I muscled the key to turn and immediately called the service manager at the dealership.

He said he never heard of the problem before, but to bring the car in, which I did. Later he called and said I could pick the car up. They didn't find anything wrong with it. I impressed upon him that there WAS a problem and I couldn't trust my brand new car any more. He said unless his technicians experienced the problem first hand, there was nothing they could do. I got the service manager involved who said they would keep trying, but unless the key stuck in their presence, they wouldn't know what to fix.

Right now, the car is still at the dealership. I don't know what to do because the problem isn't 100% reproducible and they are firm about doing nothing. I'm afraid I'm going to get stuck again, in a vulnerable situation.

Any suggestions? Any ideas on what I should ask the technician to check? To do? Is this reasonable from the dealership?

Thanks in advance,
Karen.
 

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Premium Member
2018 Forester XT Touring CVT
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1,008 Posts
I had a similar problem with my 2014 XT when I first got it where the key would turn, but I couldn't remove it from the ignition. Had to sometimes restart the car and shift it from park to drive and back. I was thinking that maybe I was shutting the car off too quickly after putting it in park where it wasn't registering yet. Only happened during the first few weeks of ownership though and hasn't occurred again since.

Maybe yours will just magically disappear too, but it could be something to do with the steering wheel lock mechanism or the shifter where it doesn't realize it's in park and won't let you do anything with the key.
 

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1998 Maxima auto
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256 Posts
With some cars, if the wheel is turned into a curb or similar, the key won't turn. It is like that on my Maxima. Not sure if this might be the issue.

Additionally, may key wore down enough over 16 years that it would intermittently not start the car. I needed to change to the spare key. I am pretty sure that is not your issue, but try switching keys in case one is slightly different.
 

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2014 Forester xt prem Cvt
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161 Posts
Nothing holds the key in if it's in the off position. Pins hold it in everywhere else. You said you already worked the steering lock and tranny load lock. Try jiggling the key as you turn. Lift up/down, left right, and in/out while turning. My old Nissan skyline used to do that. I just did the jiggle every time. I considered it an anti theft add on. Tell the service dudes to check the pins, they could just barely be in tolerance, but the way you turn the key puts it out of tolerance.
 

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2014 forester automatic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thx

Thank you so much for the replies. I just got home from work and there were no messages from the dealership. Is that good? Bad? Regardless of the answer, I would like the courtesy of a call.

If they tell me again that there is nothing they can do, I'll be educated with a few suggestions, thanks to you all.

Karen.
 

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2014 FXT
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41 Posts
I could be wrong on this, but I had the same issue and for me I had to push in and turn the key to get it to work right. Have you tried that?

Also, the steering wheel locks sometimes and you need to grasp the key and turn the steering wheel a 10 degree turn left or right it will unlock.
 

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2014 forester automatic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, I feel like I tried everything, especially with the key. The only thing that allowed the key to turn was when we got out of the car and pushed it forward, back, ie rocking it. Today, someone suggested that the car might not be fully in park. Have you heard of that?
 

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2014 forester automatic
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This could cause me to sell the Forester

After the dealership washed their hands and told it's *my* fault, either the way I park, shift, turn the key, hold the wheel, ..., I guess I learned to live with it. About twice per week, I can't turn the key. The steering wheel is locked, can't shift, nothing. I have to use my weight to rock the car front to back a couple times, then use all my might to get the key to turn. I escalated with the service department, but they said they never heard of this problem and couldn't reproduce it. (of course it never sticks when they test it) I don't know the words to use to get them to take this seriously.

This weekend, I was with my husband in my car and the key stuck. We're both frustrated and now he suggests to sell the car. It's only 1 year old with 10000 miles. I'll lose money. It's not a key problem. It's a transmission problem. The only way to get the key to turn is to physically shove the car forward, which isn't convenient or safe.

I don't know what to do. I want to love the car - we actually bought 2 identical 2014 Foresters. Please, can someone give me a concrete suggestion to tell the service manager.

k.
 

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Administrator
2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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29,432 Posts
Ditch that dealership if they refuse to do anything. If it's the only one in your area, call Subaru corporate (1-800-SUBARU3) and open a case with them.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i CVT
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222 Posts
I also agree, forget the dealership, escalate this to SOA. Also I would advise if possible the next time it happens to call Subaru's roadside assistance and see if the person coming can figure out what's going on. At the least you'll have another party that can verify the issue.
 

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2014 Forester XT Touring CVT
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12,780 Posts
I escalated with the service department, but they said they never heard of this problem and couldn't reproduce it. (of course it never sticks when they test it) I don't know the words to use to get them to take this seriously.
Next time it happens, call the dealership and get them to send someone out to you and see it for themselves. When they are there, record their attempt with your phone so you can show the rest of the dealership crew.
 

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2014 forester automatic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
One last try at the dealership

Thank you, everybody. The car is at the shop now. I talked to the service manager and the sales manager. I asked them to review my records and understand how serious this is - think about me getting stranded downtown at the worst time possible.

I like the idea of calling roadside assistance at the time the key is stuck. It's a hassle, but good for documentation.

I'll pick up the car tomorrow and hear what they have to say. Thanks PLEID7 for the 1(800) number. If I open an case, I'll post back here with the status. And you are all right - not acceptable.

k.
 

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2015 Forester I-Premium 6MT
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2,362 Posts
something else that might have helped.. have someone video you while you are having the issue. (cell phone or whatever)

show it to service manager.
 

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2014 forester automatic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great idea to videotape! Easier than calling roadside assistance, and shows the problem first hand.
 

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2015 Impreza 5-Door Sport Auto (CVT)
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2,351 Posts
I run into the problem occasionally and in my case I simply jiggle the steering a wheel a little and the key will turn and be able to start it.
 

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Premium Member
2014 Forester XT Touring CVT
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12,780 Posts
I run into the problem occasionally and in my case I simply jiggle the steering a wheel a little and the key will turn and be able to start it.
When you turn the steering wheel when the car is off, it locks it. You need to jiggle the wheel to unlock. My Ford Ranger did the same thing.

I think it is a safety feature for if the car rolled away when parked on a hill.
 

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03 XS AUTO
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847 Posts
If you will take a minute before you get out of the car, it will keep it from happening again. Set the Ebrake, Center the steering wheel before you shut the car off(make the wheels face forward), then put it in park. That should keep it from happening again. The usual cause of the issue is trying to remove the key too fast after stopping. People get in a hurry and stop/put in park/twist the key out. It really doesn't take much of a bind on the ignition lock to keep it from moving. It is not uncommon on many vehicles, but the person it happens to, keeps having it happen again. I am a big guy, and I have had to twist the hell out of the steering wheel in my Civic a couple of times. I am to the point that I set the Ebrake as soon as i stop. It takes a couple of seconds to straignten the wheel, and after a while it becomes habit.
You may find it happens more often when there is a big change in temperature from the time you parked it until you use it again.
 

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2018 Forester Limited
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146 Posts
I thought i was the only person who experienced this issue. Last year i went to test drive a base model,and the key was hard to put in the ignition. My 14 Premium had the same issue,when i bought it,but over time it has been getting better and easier to put in. I start the car and remove when i turn it off, i no longer have wrestle and fight it,probably because it's a brand new key and lock and it has to get used to being used over time. I couldn't believe how hard it was to put the key in,and remove it earlier on though.
 
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