7.0

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
$120
Average Mileage:
14,850 miles
Total Complaints:
23 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. not sure (15 reports)
  2. new battery (4 reports)
  3. replaced battery (3 reports)
  4. put in park (1 reports)
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This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Subaru dealer.

problem #23

Oct 022022

Outback Premium 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles

No warning, next morning went out and car would not start

- Franklin B., Bethel, US

problem #22

Dec 142022

Outback Limited 2.5L 4c

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,863 miles

The car sits in our attached garage. If we don't drive it for a few days, the battery dies!! I've had other vehicles that sit outside in MN in the dead of winter for a month and they have started. Subaru needs to fix this problem.

- Chris G., South Saint Paul, MN, US

problem #21

Sep 262022

Outback 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,300 miles

Wife and I returned from out trip to Maine and reached the Outback at 11:00 pm. The battery was dead. I had to use the key to manually open the door. It was close to 1:00 am before the car was jumped. Ran fine but the infotainment center was constantly rebooting, provide the warning message, turn on the radio and after about five seconds rebooted and started all over again. The next day the battery was dead again. AAA came to the house on the following day and replaced the battery. Jumped the car and it started immediately, but the infotainment center software continued to reboot (constantly). Infotainment center also appears to be the underlying cause of the battery rapidly draining. Let the car sit overnight and it won't start the next day, but if jumped I can drive it, make stops, turning off the car at each stop/shop, and then it starts when I return to the car. Just can't let it sit overnight.

The next issue is the dealer has the infotainment center (radio as they call it) on back order. No idea when it will be available. The car has been sitting either at the dealer or in the driveway now for better part of a month and no repair being made in the foreseeable future. Note: the dealer tried a $160.00 software update of some sort but was unable too. Also, why should I pay for an update to fix existing software problems?

- David J., Stokesdale, US

problem #20

Jun 012020

Outback Limited 3.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 7,000 miles

We have had multiple issues with the battery dying.

Update:

It is now 11-19-2022 at 8,000 miles and the vehicle is just a few months out of warranty. We are experiencing dead battery problems once again. My husband measured the voltage and it is 10 volts. When running it goes up to 14 suggesting that the alternator is working but that there is once again a parasitic drain on the battery.

Solution: replaced tailgate module causing parasitic drain

- Sarah S., Clarksburg, US

problem #19

Nov 082022

Outback Premium 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 39,000 miles

Decades of driving various cars and usually get 4-5 yrs from a battery. This one went 3 yrs.

Update from Dec 28, 2022. 7 weeks after NEW battery installed, "tick-tick-tick-tick-tick" (near dead). There MUST be a parasitic load; no other explanation makes any sense. Called dealer and made appointment for tomorrow.

- porkroll, Bedminster, US

problem #18

Dec 222022

Outback Limited 2.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles

The car did not start on it's own after parking 3 days in my garage. The battery passed the test. This is third time happened to me.

- Oleg D., Needham, US

problem #17

Jun 152021

Outback Touring 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,350 miles

The vehicle was purchased new. It had multiple events with failure to start. The dealer replaced original battery, but only after I elevated my concern to management.

- kahuna49, Park City, US

problem #16

Apr 142022

Outback Limited 3.6L

  • CVT transmission
  • 24,300 miles

This is the second battery that was replaced in my 2019 Subaru Outback 3.6R. First battery replaced at 330 miles, which did leave us stranded. Stateline Subaru in Somerset MA came and had towed the car back to facility to replace the battery at no charge. Second battery left us stranded again. I had just had the car serviced at Stateline Subaru 3/22/2022, milage was 23,095 miles. The battery failed a second time. The car had 23,658 miles and was 39 months old. Called Stateline Subaru again and they said the car was out of warrantee by 3 months. Rays towing service came and replaced battery which cost me $196.88.

This is my first Subaru and probably my last. I need a car that is reliable and at least gives me warnings that the battery needs replacement.

Is it possible for Subaru to reimburse me even though I was not in the class action suit?

- Stephen B., Middletown, US

problem #15

Feb 232021

Outback Prime 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 24,158 miles

Subaru battery drain class action lawsuit?

Question: Is this only for the 13 who failed the suit, or since a settlement has been reached can anyone with the same problem join in???

- Stan G., Oceano, US

problem #14

Nov 242019

Outback LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 820 miles

I bought this Subaru last month, brand new, and after 800 miles it sits in my driveway completely dead. After I called the dealership, I was told that it is normal if I don't run the car for a few days. Well, the battery should last longer than two days, as I had not driven it for two days. I had to call roadside service to get it charged. I will go to the dealer and they will have to do something. THIS IS NOT NORMAL... I'm so disappointed. I have been a Subaru driver since 1993. And I have never had any problems.

- Christine A., Cowen, US

problem #13

Feb 112021

Outback Premium 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 21,520 miles

Like a good new Subaru owner, we went camping in St. Petersburg, Florida in February (far, far from home). On our third night out the battery was dead. We didn't do anything unusual like leaving the dome lights on or the rear door/hatch up for long periods of time. Luckily, we had a neighbor who had a charger and we jumped the car and rode it around a bit to get the charge up. The next morning the battery was dead again. The car was only a year and one half old at this point with only 21,000 miles. We had it jumped again and drove it about 20 miles to the nearest dealer in town. The battery was dead and was replaced with the same type battery.

Since reading about the extensive issues with dead batteries on the model, I'm concerned this will happen again at the moment we least expect it. Every time I have my oil changed or have any service done, I have them check the battery. So far, no issues to report.

- Ken H., Ballwin, MO, US

problem #12

Oct 172021

Outback Touring 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 6,064 miles

The car has 6,000 miles and this is the 2nd time the battery was dead after sitting in the garage at night. The first time was several months ago and the battery was put on charge at the dealer's shop and they could not find a problem. Same thing happened again 2 days ago. Nothing was left on, no doors were ajar. The car had been driven regularly this prior week, including a 20 mile drive 2 days before the problem occurred. I keep hearing about parasitic electrical drain and the need to run the car daily by way of explanation, but this doesn't sound like a reasonable explanation. I have to fly across country and the car will be parked at the airport for a week. It seems unreasonable to worry about not being able to start a car with just over 6,000 miles when I return.

Update from Jan 10, 2022: The problem became more consistent and the dealer found a fault in the OEM battery. The battery eventually was not accepting a charge beyond 45 amps. I believe that that indicated some defective cells. The battery was replaced and that appears to have solved the issue. The mechanic told me he has replaced several of those batteries with low .mileage.

- Rick D., Bel Air, MD, US

problem #11

Apr 102019

Outback Touring 3.6L

  • CVT transmission
  • 8,000 miles

Bought new 11/2019... Now on 3rd (dealer installed) battery.Today, 02/27/2020, and the third battery dead!! I want to be rid of this POS!! Spent too many years fooling with British/Lucas electrical systems!! Owned 2 Subarus before this one... no problem.

Subaru has a parasitic draw problem according to my research. DO NOT TRUST IT!!!

- Sol B., Elgin, US

problem #10

Sep 262020

Outback Premium 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,400 miles

My Outback is just a little over 1 yr. old. Three times the battery has gone dead on me. Nothing left on and I always take the key out of the ignition when parked. Why is this happening? I have read other complaints on this issue and no remedies from Subaru at all. It has been very frustrating and was always worried if my car will start. Called the dealership and they said that they weren't aware of any issues. Hard to believe. Guess they don't read reviews or complaints splattered all over the internet.

Well, it happened again and rather than having the dealer replace it with another crappy battery, I went to the local auto parts store and bought the best battery that I could buy. Out $215, and hopefully no more problems. Love the car otherwise.

- Tim R., Mc Donald, PA, US

problem #9

Nov 302020

Outback Limited 2.5i

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles

Hatch was apparently left open overnight. Even though dome lights were off, the battery died.

- Kevin R., worthington, OH, US

problem #8

Feb 012020

Outback Limited 3.6r

  • CVT transmission
  • 6,000 miles

Key fob will randomly open hatch. When left open, battery runs down primarily due to computer modules (CM) remaining active as long as hatch is open. A partially latched door in a secure garage does the same thing. If interior courtesy lights are active, battery runs down faster, again, because there is no timer to turn them off AS LONG AS THE KEY FOB IS NEARBY. That means if car is parked at home and the fob is close enough to be detected, a open hatch or door keeps courtesy lights and CM’s in “full on” mode which draws 4 amps which discharges battery rapidly.

Dealer contact #1 (after dead battery from hatch opening overnight) - “Make sure hatch light is switched off and be careful, because switch is easy to bump when loading or unloading cargo.” So I taped the switch down in the full “off” position. Note: I had jumper cables, but could not use them because frozen electric parking brake would not allow the car to be pushed out of the carport to access helper vehicle. Also discovered power windows and hatch had to be “reset”. Tire pressure reading had to be reset from metric setting to “psi”.

Dealer contact #2 (after dead battery from hatch opening overnight) - “Oh yeah, the hatch turn on the passenger courtesy lights too. This is because people who go camping want to be able to use the interior lights.” (The info about the camping was false.) So, I made sure that ALL interior courtesy lights were kept “off” at all times. Did reset process again.

After having called AAA for a jump for first event, and Subaru for second event, I realized booster cables were useless because electric parking brake prevented manually rolling car to access battery from another car. So purchased my own “jump start” battery to keep in the car at all time.

Dealer contact #3 (after dead battery from hatch opening overnight with NO lights on overnight) - “Well, do not keep key fob in your pocket. It is very easy to accidentally push the hatch button without realizing it. It is a good idea to keep it in a can, and only have it in your pocket when you are going to drive the car.” But what about the fact that no lights were on? “Well, if you take care of the fob, it won’t be a problem.” Did reset process again, and began keeping fob in an open can.

Note: To solve event #3, I had to crawl over back seat to get to my new jump start battery I stupidly stored in cargo area. You see, the Subaru design wizardry provided a key for the driver’s door in the event the FOB dies. But if the CAR BATTERY dies, and you need to get into the cargo area, you are out of luck. You open driver’s door with the key. Then grope for the rear passenger door lock. Then crawl over rear seat to get to jump start battery “conveniently” stored (by me) close to hatch opening. If Subaru had added an outside tumbler on the hatch like on the driver’s door this problem would not exist. But then to add insult to injury, Subaru instructs us to remove an interior panel on the hatch (after moving or removing cargo) and to use a screwdriver in slot provided to unlatch the hatch. AND Subaru actually provides a screwdriver! But wait! In order to get the screwdriver in the cargo storage area, you have to ALREADY HAVE THE HATCH OPEN!!! 💩💩💩

Events #3 - #9 were variations on previous events with one extra discovery. After parking in secure garage and not locking doors, the right-front passenger was only partially latched. Since keeping interior lights off, this was not noticed. The next morning, battery was dead again. Now keeping my jump battery behind car seat, keeping interior lights off, and being as careful as possible with key fob.

Dealer contact #4 - Car was secured in garage. Before getting key fob out of pocket while in the house, touchy key fob opened the hatch (again). Next morning, hatch open and battery was dead (complete discharge #10 from August 2019 - November 2020.) Closed hatch by hand. Jump started car. Cycled driver’s window to reset it. Backed car out of garage so I could run it to charge battery. Left car running 1 1/2 hours. Note: Subaru makes it impossible to lock car with key fob while running, so car sat unlocked and unattended while charging battery. I live in an area where thefts are not uncommon, so this lack of security was an issue. Shortly after shutting down car, it was time to run errands. As soon as car moved, a LOUD, CONTINUOUS chime sounded which was a HUGE problem alert of some sort. I stopped to check hatch was secure. Alert continued with no confirmation dash light, and I could find nothing wrong. Immediately drove to dealer.

(Contact #4 continued) - Dealer service writer heard the alarming alert. They opened the hatch, made sure there were no obstructions (there were none) and closed the hatch. The alert was now gone. Why? “The cargo hatch module ‘thinks’ the hatch is open.” But the hatch was secure, so why the alert and no alert on dash? “The car ‘THINKS’ the hatch is open.” It turn out that cycling the hatch after a dead battery and manual closing is required to “reset” the control module. The operation manual has this buried in a small sentence among 503 pages as a suggestion, but does not make it clear that it is required. Plus, there is no explanation other than “that’s just the way it works” to explain why there was no dash alert to go with the chime alert. Further, if the car “thinks” the hatch is open, guess what, THE BATTERY WILL GO DEAD!!!

(Extra info from Contact #4) - The dealer finally confirmed several things I had discovered the hard way: 1. Yes, there actually is a timer on the car’s computer modules of about 20 minutes which was operating properly. HOWEVER, if the key fob is sensed by the car, (as is the case when car is parked on carport or in garage next to house), the timer is deactivated and battery can fully discharge. 2. Yes, the computer modules draw 3.6 amps continuously when any activation occurs, and the discharge will continue as long as a key fob is detected. 3. Activation is caused by opening a door, opening the hatch, or by not fully securing a door when parked. Note: The only way to detect this is to attempt to lock car. Car will refuse to lock unless all doors are secure. This makes sense in a grocery parking lot, but not in a secure home garage or carport. 4. The car is not considered to be defective because, in Subaru of America's way of thinking, the car is operating EXACTLY AS DESIGNED. Think about that. This means their cars with push button start and “always transmitting” key fobs are supposed to work just like my car does.

So where are we now? My car has been tested and has been confirmed to be operating “as designed” by Subaru. There is no “defect”, only “operator error”. My dealer has replaced the battery under warranty due to the damaging discharges, but that’s it. But SOA is only partially right. The defect is a DESIGN DEFECT which all auto makers will always deny since the notorious Corvair of the 60’s.

So, to accommodate these defects I must: 1. Treat my key fob like a hand grenade; 2. Keep all doors locked at all times; 3. Have my own jump start battery; 4. Keep the jump start battery behind the driver’s seat; 5. Turn on courtesy lights on and off manually.

Boeing’s 737 MAX flew into the ground, twice, exactly AS DESIGNED. Boeing claimed “operator error” was the only reason. Turns out, it was caused by DEFECTIVE design. Subaru is in the same position as Boeing. Subaru will not kill 336 people with their defects. But is it okay to deny design problems that cause repeated dead batteries and strand owners in who knows what conditions?

Update from May 31, 2021: After Dealer contact #4, I found a Service bulletin dated October 5, 2020 (this is important!). It refers to the "few" customers who have had this problem, so they are offering a repair. The repair is the replacement of the PRG (Power Rear Gate) module. The dealer did not offer this...I had to ask. The Subaru TSB #07-179-20 is listed on this web site.

For almost 6 months the car behaved perfectly. All interior lights went out after a short time even with a door or hatch open. Then, I had a dead battery again in the morning. All doors were locked and hatch closed. Called Subaru for a jump and took car into dealer. Apparently battery was toast (again). So I am on battery #3 in 1 1/2 years. Not good. I asked if this would solve the problem. The answer was, "All we can do is keep our fingers crossed." Great.

I suspect, but have not been able to prove, that key fob proximity is still keeping one or more of the computer modules "awake" which draws down power. It is possible to disable the key fob (if you want to leave it in the car and use the PIN on rear hatch for car access). But that work-around is a pain and shows how poor the technology design is. This is still a huge operational design flaw in the same car which has an excellent Isight system which works perfectly, predictably, and reliably.

Requests to car test companies (like Consumer Reports, TorqueNews, Motor Biscuit, etc.) has not resulted in any evaluation. No one is doing in-depth tests of vehicle operational technology, they are only doing cursory driving tests. So if car operational technology design is too difficult for professional car testers to evaluate, how can consumers possibly make good choices? I need to know a lot more than drivers' opinions on how easy or hard it is to operate the infotainment system.

- Ron F., Marysville, WA, US

problem #7

Aug 252019

Outback Limited V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,500 miles

The battery has drained down twice in the same week. Car is only 6 months old. Nothing plugged in. Very annoying. I had Subaru Roadside Assistance tow it 45 miles to nearest dealer. We will see what happens. Clearly a defect in the 2019 Subaru Outback.

- Kevin F., Indianapolis, IN, US

problem #6

May 052019

Outback LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles

Dealer says I must keep engine running to listen to the radio or open the doors for any length of time.

The drain on battery from the dome lights and computer add to the problem. Pain in the ass.

- Alan J., Big Sur, US

problem #5

May 042019

Outback LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles

Towed in three times for dead battery. Dealer says I have to keep engine running at all times when opening doors or listening to the radio. Dome lights and omputer drain battery dead.

- Alan J., Big Sur, US

problem #4

May 132019

Outback Limited 3.6L

  • CVT transmission
  • 3,800 miles

2019 OUTBACK Limited 3.6. Would not start, battery dead for the fourth time. Roadside service had to jump start the car. Complained to Stateside Subaru, they sent a tow truck and car was carried to them and they replaced the battery. I made sure nothing was left on and put the car in my garage. Two days later tried to start car, would not start. Roadside service came and jumped started the car for the fourth time. This is my first Subaru. We are afraid to take the Subaru anywhere for fear it will leave us stranded. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Update from Jun 15, 2019: Battery replaced by dealer, no further problems.

- Stephen B., Middletown, US

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