I didn’t expect anything memorable to happen yesterday afternoon. It was still cold (-24°C, -11°F), but the insurance on our car was about due, so I braved the frigid temperatures and drove into McBride to renew the car insurance for next year.
I had plugged in our 2016 Outback’s block heater earlier in the morning so it started up without trouble. I took Kona along with me, so it would break up her day a bit. Once I got to town I parked in front of the insurance office, went in and got the insurance.
Once I was done, I walked back out to the car, got in, pressed the START button, but nothing happened. That’s not exactly right; the dashboard lights did come on, as did the radio, but there was no response from the engine.
“That’s strange,” I thought, so I tried it again. Again, I got no response, but a message came up on the dashboard that read, “KEYLESS ACCESS DISABLED.”
I tried the START button several more times, but again, no sign of life from the engine.
I couldn’t figure out what was happening. The battery was clearly working because the dashboard lights and radio came on. The fob seemed to be okay because if it wasn’t I would have gotten the message “ACCESS KEY NOT DETECTED.”
Luckily I was parked close to the garage, so I walked over there to see if Zach had any ideas about why the Subaru wouldn’t start. We walked back to the car, and he tried the same things I did, getting the same results. He couldn’t explain it. While he was there trying different things, I phoned to the Subaru dealer in PG. The woman who works in the Service Section Desk had never run into that problem before, but suggested that maybe the battery in the fob was weak.
I wasn’t convinced that that was the problem, but I walked to the hardware store, bought a new battery and installed it in the fob. It didn’t really make any difference in starting the car.
I was getting cold, as was Kona, who had been sitting in the cold car the whole time. I thanked Zach and told him I was just going to leave the car there, because I spotted Ingrid’s truck across Main St. parked by the grocery. She lives just up the road from us. I caught up with her at the end of one of the aisles in the grocery store and asked if she could drop me and Kona off at my house on her way home, which she said she would be happy to do.
When Ingrid came out of the grocery and went to her truck, Kona and I were waiting and piled into the front seat. Her dog was in the back seat, very curious, and I was really happy that Kona did not go into a ballistic barking fit, instead just touching noses with the dog. I hadn’t seen Ingrid for over a year, so we caught up on events as she took us home.
I was very worried about what I was going to do about the Subaru. I could hardly drive it to PG to get it fixed, if I couldn’t get it started. Towing it to PG would be outrageously expensive and dicey considering all of the ice road conditions on the highway. It was all very depressing.
Back home I did an Internet search for “Keyless Access Denied” and found a couple of other people that had experienced the same thing, but there was no solution given. Their Subaru just started as normal after some period of time. I wasn’t very reassured since there was no reason as to why it had happened in the first place, but I did get some hope that maybe with some time the problem would disappear.
I then went out and plugged in the block heater on my pickup truck deciding that later, when it’s engine warmed up, I would go back to town with my wife and try using her fob to start the Subaru.
After supper, that’s what we did. The Subaru looked pretty lonely sitting there, but there were a lot of lights from the insurance office shining on it and the sidewalk. Miracle of miracles, when I sat down in the drivers seat with my wife’s fob and pressed the START button, the Subaru started up as normal.
I was so relieved when we got the Subaru back home in our carport, but now I don’t trust it, and that is a bad feeling to have for a vehicle. In the other Internet incidents, it seemed that it was only a one-time event, and I certainly hope that will be the case for me, but I will find it scary to drive the Outback anywhere for a while. If only I had some explanation for why it happened I would feel more secure about driving it.
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