Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

starter stops mid-cranking in cold weather

1996 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Inspector
My 2010 Fozzie XT does not like to start in the very cold temps here in the bitter Canadian winters. Bought used 2 years ago in the spring. The starter worked fine all summer and fall of last year and this year also, but it is not the quietest or I don't think so, neither is it spinning as fast as it should be I don't think! In comparison, my '13 Outbacks starter is smooth and quiet.

In the winter at -20c and below it cranks slowly for 4 or 5 turns then stops!! On the second attempt it starts right up.

A new battery was fitted last winter and I'm trying 0W30 and there is absolutely no difference.

Might it be the starter itself that's worn out with an engine that has 150,000 kms or is the relay even going bad?

Anyone experienced similar issues or know what is happening here?
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Have you measured the battery voltage? Measuring the battery voltage before & after trying to start the engine will tell you if the battery is failing.

A poorly charged or marginal... failing battery will tend to under perform... fail when it's very cold.


['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
If you think your battery is, in fact, good. Check out this video to show you some typical failure points

  • Like
Reactions: 1
Informative video. My battery new as of last December 2017 is showing good voltage, I have checked that. This still does not answer the problem of why my starter stops turning after about 4-5 cranks though in the extreme cold. Once the motor is running then any subsequent starts are fine during the rest of the day it's only that initial start from absolute cold. Suggesting the starter internals are probably worn somewhere, but once warmed up functions and spins continuously.

Mmmmm, the engine was totally rebuilt 30,000 km's ago surely it isn't still "tight". Maybe the old original starter is too worn to be able to keep up with the brand new engines compression!
If the transmission is manual, are you pushing in the clutch while cranking?

Have you checked the ground strap for corrosion - as well as all other connections?

I don't believe the starter motor is the problem. They tend to either work or not work.
Hey Old Goat, it's an auto, if it was manual I would have the clutch pedal depressed. Not checked the ground straps yet for corrosion or any others, reason being is that it isn't a problem when its -10c or warmer! It's only when its -20c or colder that the starter actually stops turning. The engine was rebuilt in April 2017 at the dealer so I had no reason to doubt that any cables are corroded. Could be though!

Possibly a block heater will be the answer here like you say if it was the starter motor it wouldn't have worked at all.

Thanks for your suggestions anyway.
Something is probably worn and the cold tends to increase tolerances as all the metal shrinks. It's probably just causing something to bind or the contacts to lose connectivity. Personally, i would just pull and replace the starter instead of risking it fully stranding me.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts