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Battery Discharge - Help


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Hi Guys,

A question for you experienced Subaru owners.  I bought a new Forester XT in September. I commute on the train, so it isnt driven daily, but it does get a long run at weekends and a couple of short hops in the week.  On Saturday, I could not get into the car via keyless and had to use the manual key.  We ended up calling Subaru assist out as the Battery seemed dead as a doornail and the charger I had did not seem to touch the sides - the alarm was going crazy too!.  Recovery guy put it on charge but mentioned it was very slow to recharge to begin with and later the charging rates were all over the place. He said that if he would class the fault as Battery failiure and recommended a replacement, although he said really, it was too early in the cars life for the Battery to go, unless we had left an interior light on or similar (we hadn't)

Cutting the story, it went back to the dealer, they had it on charge all weekend, say it's fine now BUT, they say they these cars should only be driven on long runs to give the Battery time to recharge - he also mentioned something about regenerative braking. Bu tthe upshot was him saying that this car is no good and the battery will continue to fail unless it's taken on regular long runs.

This does not make sense to me - no car I have had (including an older model Legacy) has come with a caveat of needing to be driven in order to keep the battery charged.

Can I have your thoughts please?  I'd hate to think i've just spend £30K on what for me is a dream car only to potentially have to trade it in for a Mazda !!!


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So Tidgy, it went back to Subaru and they advised that it needed to be driven more.!

I am shocked !!!!   In all my years of car owning (and it's a few) and of all the makes and models I have owned I have never been told that I don't drive enough to keep the Battery topped up.

Infact, I have never had a Battery fail on me in over 20 years of motoring and it's especially not expected on a car that is less than 4 months old.

So i have been advised that all the bells and whistles on the car means that it suffers from this problem if not driven a good distance each week, I honestly find this unacceptable and have lost so much faith in the brand. I have to say I am gutted.  

I'm going to look into ways of managing the problem, because while I am not a high miler, the car does not sit idle for weeks on end. (My Mitsi L200 sat for 6 weeks in the cold after a tendon tear and started up first turn without an issue!) So in my mind, this type of thing is not acceptable. 

So things to try ?   the only thing that comes to mind is  to turn off the keyless entry - don't really need it - it's a gimmick.

Anyone thing of anything else that is not needed but may help protect the Battery.??

Many Thanks all !


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I was surprised to find modern cars get hardly any Battery charge from alternator, as it is too busy running all the electrical bits modern cars need. Most charge comes on braking or overrun (when you take foot off loud pedal, for any reason). I also do a low mileage, but do use the car most days, and with all the hills, I get plenty of downhill running and braking,  so Battery always well charged.

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