pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
14,950 miles
Total Complaints:
38 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. not sure (26 reports)
  2. replace battery (9 reports)
  3. failed "brake light switch." (1 reports)
  4. replace trunk (or boot) light switch (1 reports)
  5. spider on sensors - check your sensors! removal fixed (1 reports)
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This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Subaru dealer.

problem #38

Mar 092022

Outback Touring

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,800 miles

It seems like there is a parasitic draw on the battery - it has died numerous times. I have to keep jumping it. The car is only 4 years old, the battery is from less than 2-1/2 years old.

When the battery is dead, I can't open the rear hatch to get at the jumper battery I've taken to carry around with me - as the battery has died so many times - and I've been unable to start car.

- kguarnotta, North Woodstock, US

problem #37

Mar 142022

Outback 4-Dr Touring 3.6L R

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles

Experienced dead battery first time on 11/19 when the car would not start after continuous cranking. It finally started after 3rd attempt at continuous cranking. Dealer could not replicate problem.

Battery replaced with stronger battery from Costco (550 cold cranking amps) after car would not start on a Sat morning 12/19/20.

Next experience on 1/27/21, windows would not operate or open individually but did so only with master switch from drivers door. Dealer performed reset to all window auto function. Battery parasitic draw test was ok at .03AMP. Dealer wanted to replace the battery but I refused. On 1/30/21, I took battery back to Costco & replaced it under their warranty claim.

This was 3rd new battery put in this car, as original battery was replaced on 12/19/20 with new battery from Costco with more cold cranking amps. And that battery was replaced on 1/30/21 also with 550 cold cranking amps.

On 3/14/22, car would not start using remote auto start. Also would not start using start button in vehicle. Vehicle cranked rapidly but would not turn over until 6th attempt using start button. On 3/15/22 dealer could not replicate problem but found bad battery during rest. It had no parasitic draws, which dealer stated was due to low mileage of 1,000 mikes in last 2 months. Dealer recommended installing a battery tender to keep battery charged while not driving. I had dealer install a battery tender. Dealer also charged battery.

- Kathy B., Oakdale , MN, US

problem #36

Jan 272021

Outback 4-Dr Touring 3.6L R

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,032 miles

1/27/21 Replaced Costco battery under their warranty after dealer made that recommendation.

- Kathy B., Oakdale , MN, US

problem #35

Mar 162022

Outback 4-Dr Touring 3.6L R

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,500 miles

12/12/20 Replaced original battery with battery from Costco with more amps. (550 CCA).

- Kathy B., Oakdale , MN, US

problem #34

Nov 202019

Outback 4-Dr Touring 3.6L R

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,005 miles

First experience, dealer said battery was okay, they couldn’t replicate.

- Kathy B., Oakdale , MN, US

problem #33

Dec 052019

Outback Touring 2.5L Dohc 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles

This car, a 2018 Subaru Outback, has had a dead battery for the third time in a month. The first time the car was left in an airport parking lot for ten days. A service call got us a jump start and when we drove to the dealer, they were too busy to help us and told us to return after the weekend. The car was dead again a day later, and we purchased and used a portable jump starter. The dealer gave us a full charge and recommended that we never leave the car undriven for more than 2 days! WHAT craziness is this?! This morning the car was dead again... silly us, we haven’t driven it for three days.

We are a couple in our 80’s and though not infirm, we must have a car we can depend on. This car is unreliable and has the potential to leave people in life threatening situations. We are so very disappointed in what seemed a carefully chosen vehicle for our senior years.

- James H., Placitas, NM, Canada

problem #32

Nov 132019

Outback Limited 3.2L V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 3,000 miles

After multiple (10+) boosts and the battery that kept going dead, I made time to take it to the dealer to replace.

- brogonni, New York, US

problem #31

Dec 182019

Outback 3.6R Touring 3.6r

  • CVT transmission
  • 12,035 miles

Had to buy a new battery for my car. The dealer is not being fair. I've had to take the car in many times, they test the battery and say they don't know what's draining the battery, but after 24 hours my battery always dies. It died while they were working on it and still they never offered a solution or anything. This has happened about 8 times over the course of a the first year of owning a brand new car. They replaced the battery in the first 6 months which did absolutely nothing.

I was told to get a bigger battery with more CCA which I did today and hopefully that fixes it. If not, I will be contacting Corporate once again. I shouldn't have to buy a new battery when my car is still under warranty. Everything will be turned off in the car and it still dies. Sometimes when I try to start it when it's dead, I hear my rear hatch open itself. This isn't only due to cold weather, I drove 35 minutes to work, parked in a temp controlled garage, 8 hours later it was completely dead.

I had to buy jumper cables ($12) which I leave in my car, and since I am sometimes alone and not near other vehicles I also had to get a jump starter for $80 so I don't get stranded. So far this issue has cost me a total of nearly $250 and the dealers continue to be stumped. When will the matter get looked into? I am not going to let this slide.. I didn't spend nearly 50k on a fully loaded Subaru Outback just to be yanked around by clueless dealer personnel.

- bakerchopz, Heber, US

problem #30

Nov 012019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

My 2018 Subaru Outback began to have electrical/battery problems in November. If the tailgate remained open more than 20 minutes, the car needed a jump start. This also occurred with varying times with the doors, interior lights, etc. After my dealer couldn't replace the battery even though the car is under warranty (30,000 miles) because after jumping it, it showed okay, and could offer no other solution, I purchased a jump starter as a necessary accessory for this car. I also found Subaru Roadside Assistance was good.

After the last refusal to replace the battery, which shows it cures the problem by others on here, I kept notes and after the latest "dead" battery I again called SRA, this time to my home. The tech said it's just a crappy battery, so Subaru had a bunch of them go through, and he had jump started 18 of them in November. In no case would Subaru replace the battery. I had left the tailgate open, but this time I had him check the battery BEFORE he jumped it. It showed "low" and as usual started after the jump.

This time I made an appointment with my dealer, who again said as long as it showed a good battery on the test, he could do nothing, but if not he would gladly replace it. This time I got there a half-hour early and raised the tailgate. I told the tech it wouldn't start and to check the battery, which failed the test. I got a new battery with everything re-set on the car and happily drove off. If he had refused to give me a battery I planned to either get a loaner or rent something, leave the car and tell them to call me when they had solved the problem. That wasn't necessary, thankfully.

I hope this helps someone else get this fixed the way it should have been taken care of long ago. I'm really disappointed that Subaru is not doing the right thing by replacing these batteries - the car has electrical problems and they know it. I think it actually is a safety issue along with being very annoying and inconvenient.

- Michael W F., Clearville, US

problem #29

Jan 232020

Outback 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles

Here I am in the UK with the same sort of battery problem. Parked outside for 2 days, definitely no lights or anything else left on, and battery went absolutely flat. Unable to open the door with fob or by keyless - just nothing - so I had to use the key. The car is often left for longer than that and never had a problem before. It is only a little over 1 year old. I have now looked at lots of postings about this problem and it must be a Subaru fault - not the battery. Funny thing was that a few days ago, just after we locked the doors, we heard a short buzzing from what seemed to be the rear of the car. Never heard it before!

I have a rescue starter battery, similar to the ones that the AA have, and used it successfully to start the car. I will be carrying it with me from now on!!!!

Update from Jan 25, 2020: Boot (trunk for you all in the USA) light switch faulty and therefore sometimes is permanently ON. It seems to use about 1 amp when measured (seems high), but explains flat battery after a couple of days!

- Nick D., York, Yorkshire, UK

problem #28

Oct 032019

Outback Lmited 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 25,733 miles

If the car sits unused for four days, the battery is drained so car will not start. I replaced the battery on my own dime. I put in an Interstate battery. The problem still exists. The problem will never happen if the vehicle is run every 1 or 2 days. I have disconnected the new battery and let the car sit for a month. I reconnected the battery after the month and the car started with no trouble. Therefore the battery is good but is being drained rather rapidly when the car is not being used. This has happened numerous times since the first time it happened in Oct, 2019.

I am aware of a class action lawsuit against Subaru regarding this problem. However when I called the dealer I WAS TOLD THEY WERE NOT AWARE OF ANY PROBLEMS WITH THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM THAT WOULD CAUSE A SERIOUS DRRAIN ON THE BATTERY WHEN THE CAR WAS OFF.

- Gene Y., Cave Creek, US

problem #27

Oct 252020


  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,300 miles

Battery dead! I went to storage unit, and was only there 5-10 minutes before my finger and toes got too cold. I got in car. Dead Battery. Snow and ice from day before and damn cold outside temp. I was the only soul around, had to walk on snow and ice to get address and to open gate, for tow truck driver. I regret not doing research before purchase. I also regret selling my reliable 2003 Acura a week before.

- rjonesing, Idaho, US

problem #26

May 142020

Outback Limited H6 3.6L

  • CVT transmission
  • 15,000 miles

We have 2017 Outback 3.6 CVT ETC.

GREAT CARS, BUT MT WIFE HAD HER Battery replaced today on the 2017 right at 3 years into it and repeated episodes of dead battery including the first year. I’ve had several instances in my 18 month old of the dead battery problem, most recently after not driving for 3 weeks thanks to the pandemic.

Subaru has a battery problem. I will eventually replace it with a better battery with more reserve Amos, etc.

I don’t want to have more of the same problem, one which seems to be very common.

- Joseph C., Stamford, US

problem #25

Apr 062020

Outback Touring 3.6r

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,773 miles

I have a 2018 Subaru Outback 3.6R Touring with 17,773 miles on it. On 6 Apr 2020, I attempted to start the car but could't because the battery was dead, luckily this happen in my garage. I jump started it and took it for a +/- 70 mile ride to recharge the battery. For the next several weeks it started fine. However, on May 4th it happened again, at home (lucky me), it didn't start/dead battery. I could go back to the dealer but I would get another sub-par battery, in my opinion not worth it.

My conclusion, I strongly believe the battery in my car is simply a sub-par battery to get new owners like me going just for a little while, in my case, 19 months. Not cool!

- Edgardo M., Layton, UT, US

problem #24

Mar 162020

Outback Touring 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,800 miles

This is the third time I have had to deal with a dead battery for the car. I don't drive it often, and the car runs absolutely fine when the battery is actually working, but the battery dies on its own which leads me to believe that it's somehow draining on its own. There has got to be a recall about this soon.

- Anon O., Brooklyn, NY, US

problem #23

Nov 132019

Outback Limited 3.2L V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 3,500 miles

I went to my Subaru Outback to unlock and the battery was dead again. This is the second time my battery was dead and I had to get a replacement that cost me $180.

Thanks Subaru.

- brogonni, New York, US

problem #22

Sep 092019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles

I have now experienced a dead battery 6 times in my 2018 Outback. Each time nothing was left on in the vehicle and it is parked inside a temperature controlled garage. The first time, the hatch opened during the night by itself (keys were nowhere near the vehicle as I live on the top floor of a high rise). Subsequent times it has occurred when the car hasn’t been driven between 2-7 days. Dealer replaced the battery after the 4th time with the same size battery. It has happened twice since then. I’ve complained to the service department repeatedly that this is an issue and a simple Google search will pull up multiple complaints about it. I have been told repeatedly that the battery may die if it isn’t driven enough. This is a ridiculous response. You should be able to go for 2-7 days without worrying that your battery will be dead! There is even a class action investigation now about it. https://chimicles.com/2018-subaru-outback-dead-battery-class-action-investigation/

- Xan P., Denver, US

problem #21

Jun 202019

Outback Limited 2.5L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

Wife returned to car after lunch to find rear hatch open and battery dead. This is incident #6 like this (but the first time the hatch has opened itself. After the second time I bought a TackLife jump start battery for $80 and have used it to "save myself" four times and counting. Dealership says our days of short runs don't keep the battery charged. I make a point of making a 20 minute run each day so that's not it. This car, and judging from the many similar complaints...this model in general has some electrical problem. They should come with a jump battery kit

My plan for this car.... 1. ALWAYS carry a fully charged jump battery. The TackLife I got is easy to use and works great! 2. Keep the jump battery in the front or 2nd row...with battery dead the hatch won't open 3. Start keeping a log...where, when, what driving conditions preceded event, etc., etc. 4. Call the dealer and complain every time this happens. 5. Another forum mentioned how to start a case with Subaru.....do that. 6. At every service visit, demand that Subaru reimburse me for the Jump Batt which is now part of the car. 7. Warn potential buyers....Great Car....except for this one completely random GOTCHA!

- Steve D., Boise, US

problem #20

Apr 242019

Outback Limited 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 4,100 miles

Liftgate randomly opens overnight, draining battery. Has occurred 6 times since purchasing vehicle June 2018. Had to purchase portable battery jumper (cost around 200.00 to ensure not being stranded somewhere.) Dealer refused to install higher capacity battery.

- Mark E., Chapel Hill, NC, US

problem #19

Feb 152019

Outback Limited 3.6r

  • CVT transmission
  • 8,046 miles

Was left for 3 - 4 days. Went to start, battery low and car goes nuts, relays clicking and clacking but won't crank. Takes a few presses of the start/stop button to shut off this racket. Obviously battery low and won't start car. Got a jump from a kind friend and car starts. Placed on charger overnight and is fine. Subaru dealer consulted and "if it happens again bring it in and we will test battery".

- Les J., Ladysmith, BC, Canada

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