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Battery issue 2020 outback


Dean Franklin
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I've had this outback since mid December and am happy with the overall performance etc. In march during lockdown and the car hardly being driven the Battery went flat. No issue got Subaru assistance to come out and start me up and the offer of a new Battery .Great service and put it down to lack of driving .

I just took them up on the new Battery on the 9th and yesterday the 19th the Battery was dead again , Subaru assistance sent the local garage and got me restarted.I then did a bit of digging and found this is a problem in the US. Cars would have dead batteries for no apparent reason and new batteries fitted would die just the same. Is there a known problem with all the electronics draining the battery when turned offf and is there a solution. I can't afford to have a vehicle that doesn't start. I've invested in a car battery booster/starter but am !Removed! off I've had to do this with a new car with less than 4000 miles on it.

 

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13 hours ago, Dean Franklin said:

I've had this outback since mid December and am happy with the overall performance etc. In march during lockdown and the car hardly being driven the battery went flat. No issue got Subaru assistance to come out and start me up and the offer of a new battery .Great service and put it down to lack of driving .

I just took them up on the new battery on the 9th and yesterday the 19th the battery was dead again , Subaru assistance sent the local garage and got me restarted.I then did a bit of digging and found this is a problem in the US. Cars would have dead batteries for no apparent reason and new batteries fitted would die just the same. Is there a known problem with all the electronics draining the battery when turned offf and is there a solution. I can't afford to have a vehicle that doesn't start. I've invested in a car battery booster/starter but am !Removed! off I've had to do this with a new car with less than 4000 miles on it.

 

Try taking the Battery out and trickle charging it overnight. A lot of ‘new’ batteries don’t come fully charged, this can be the problem especially if your doing a lot of short trips 😉

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18 hours ago, Dean Franklin said:

I've had this outback since mid December and am happy with the overall performance etc. In march during lockdown and the car hardly being driven the battery went flat. No issue got Subaru assistance to come out and start me up and the offer of a new battery .Great service and put it down to lack of driving .

I just took them up on the new battery on the 9th and yesterday the 19th the battery was dead again , Subaru assistance sent the local garage and got me restarted.I then did a bit of digging and found this is a problem in the US. Cars would have dead batteries for no apparent reason and new batteries fitted would die just the same. Is there a known problem with all the electronics draining the battery when turned offf and is there a solution. I can't afford to have a vehicle that doesn't start. I've invested in a car battery booster/starter but am !Removed! off I've had to do this with a new car with less than 4000 miles on it.

 

I bought my registered September 27th 2019 XV a few weeks ago and on day 3 of ownership 98 miles from home had a flat Battery. After AA assistance drove home and Battery went flat overnight. Dealer replaced the 60ah factory Battery with  new Yuasa 65 ah Battery. Last week talking to the parts guy at Simpsons Swindon when buying some mudflaps he told me the factory fit batteries are rubbish and that the ones replaced under warranty should be Yuasa and they are far superior. 

Might be worth checking what battery you have now. 

BTW the vin on my car shows it was Manufactured in 2018. 

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2019 Outback - When open, the rear hatch eats 4 amps continuously. Sub have a mod for this, although the daeler might need a bit of encouragement to apply it. Still draws 4A when open, but only for about 20min, then goes down to the normal low level.

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I'd also read about this being a problem with Subarus too.

I've just been car camping for a few nights and had the boot open for extended periods and the doors too. Fortunately no issues. Same on a previous trip away in June - boot open to provide shade.

I have been following the advice of the dealership I bought the car from, who (when I mentioned the Battery issue) told me to drive with the side-lights on, even on short trips.  Apparently, this forces the alternator to recharge the Battery. I've no idea if that's a load of codswallop (and I can't see why it wouldn't charge it anyway just like in all the other cars I've owned and never had to replace a Battery for years in), but so far I've no issues with a flat Battery (that'll jinx it!!).

Let us know how you get on, as with winter approaching, and the nights drawing in ( 🙂 ) I want ALL the electrics to work as and when needed.

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1 hour ago, Justin Time said:

I'd also read about this being a problem with Subarus too.

I've just been car camping for a few nights and had the boot open for extended periods and the doors too. Fortunately no issues. Same on a previous trip away in June - boot open to provide shade.

I have been following the advice of the dealership I bought the car from, who (when I mentioned the battery issue) told me to drive with the side-lights on, even on short trips.  Apparently, this forces the alternator to recharge the battery. I've no idea if that's a load of codswallop (and I can't see why it wouldn't charge it anyway just like in all the other cars I've owned and never had to replace a battery for years in), but so far I've no issues with a flat battery (that'll jinx it!!).

Let us know how you get on, as with winter approaching, and the nights drawing in ( 🙂 ) I want ALL the electrics to work as and when needed.

I should have added, I turned all of my internal lights off, and have left them off, weeks ago.   There's also an interesting thread currently on this issue here currently (no pun intended 🙂 ) subaruoutback.org

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6 hours ago, Dean Franklin said:

I've taped the boot light in the off position as I've turned it on a couple of times taking stuff out of the boot. I've also purchased a NOCO potable jump starter Battery supposedly good for 20 jump starts so if the Battery dies I will be able to get it going wherever I am.

I appreciate why you feel the need to do that.  No one likes to feel vulnerable and potentially stuck with a 'dead' car, especially if away from home.  But it's annoying to have to go to those lengths.  Is the car still under warranty?  It can't be right that a modern car has such a chronically persistent issue - if that's what it is.  Rather undermines Subaru's boasts of reliability if it can't be solved.  

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Here's the latest from the OB thread I mentioned before, which seems to summarise the issue/problem and also offer a solution.

 

"This issue has been discussed MANY times. Some of the comments in this thread have it correct.

This method of Battery charging is not unique to Subaru, but is used by several auto manufacturers. The reason - in order to squeeze a tiny bit more fuel efficiency, the alternator is shut off while running. Presumably, it is supposed to put enough charge back to the Battery by periodically cycling on during running. Unfortunately, the method is not that great and does lead to Battery undercharging. The result is shortened Battery life and occasional non-starting. While the OEM battery is not the greatest, it is adequate for this size vehicle. Even with a high quality, high capacity replacement, the charging algorithm will eventually lead to any battery running down.

As some have mentioned, turning on the parking lights will tell the ECM to bypass this mode, and run the alternator full-time. Yes it does. One can simply leave these on all the time, or even do a little modification to one of the wires leading to the ECM. The better solution is to have the dealer reprogram the ECM with a new update that eliminates this unnecessary/unwanted characteristic. After two battery failures and replacements, I've had this done - for free (as it is their poor choice). Since then, my Outback battery running voltage has been a steady 14.2 - 14.4 Volts (yes, on a calibrated voltmeter). It is definitely worth getting this done." (from subaruoutback.org )

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  • 3 weeks later...

Apparently there's a fix for the Battery under charging issue due to the 'smart'/variable charging alternator issues that seem to leave people with flat batteries, especially after short driving trips (other fixes for different problems also referred to).  It entails reprogramming the car's ECU - a job for dealerships rather than DIY, apparently.  Applies across the Subaru  model range 2015 - 2018 except the XV (crosstrek), it seems.  It might also apply to later models, or something similar perhaps?

This is from Subaru of America.  Dead Battery fix?

Those on this forum with more technical knowledge and know-how might be able to comment further.

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In the trade it refereed to dumb charge .
They would save more fuel if reduced weight by throwing lot of the electronic garbage in the bin .
You would also reduce landfill and pollution from all the short life Battery waste and constant part replacement and poor mpg from emission engineering (diesel DPF prime proof of this issue) and excess system weight and horrendous exhaust cleaning chemicals needed in keeping newer cars usable .

My Battery waste recycling collection has doubled over last 4 years as we get quite a pile and keeping too many on premises is an issue with insurance and safety inspections .

The modern world is a ballache and headache of stupidity just snowballing issues that never really needed re-engineering in first place  .

I remember a time when an OEM Battery lasted 7 to 8 years and alternators worked faultless for 15 to 20 years !
People could leave their car parked up for 3 months and when came back to use it, it would still start.
You didn't need read forums to do hack modifications and didn't need carry jump packs and lucky charms lol .

What amazes me is people still stupid enough go out buying this garbage for 20 to 40 grand of hard earned real money when can buy far better made older cars for few grand that work better, far more reliable and cheaper run long term and potentially better environmentally based on vehicle life to death pollution waste .

 

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30 minutes ago, Mr B said:

In the trade it refereed to dumb charge .
They would save more fuel if reduced weight by throwing lot of the electronic garbage in the bin .
You would also reduce landfill and pollution from all the short life battery waste and constant part replacement and poor mpg from emission engineering (diesel DPF prime proof of this issue) and excess system weight and horrendous exhaust cleaning chemicals needed in keeping newer cars usable .

My battery waste recycling collection has doubled over last 4 years as we get quite a pile and keeping too many on premises is an issue with insurance and safety inspections .

The modern world is a ballache and headache of stupidity just snowballing issues that never really needed re-engineering in first place  .

I remember a time when an OEM battery lasted 7 to 8 years and alternators worked faultless for 15 to 20 years !
People could leave their car parked up for 3 months and when came back to use it, it would still start.
You didn't need read forums to do hack modifications and didn't need carry jump packs and lucky charms lol .

What amazes me is people still stupid enough go out buying this garbage for 20 to 40 grand of hard earned real money when can buy far better made older cars for few grand that work better, far more reliable and cheaper run long term and potentially better environmentally based on vehicle life to death pollution waste .

 

I whole heartedly agree with all of that.

The current and growing eco damage is, ironically, also being caused by the rush to convert everything to Battery power.

(Rant Alert).

What most so-called Green eco-warriors try to hide is the very dirty little secret about everything that runs on lithium batteries.  All of these require cobalt in their manufacturer and 75% of the world's cobalt comes from the Congo basin region where it's mined predominantly by child slave labour (up to 35,000 to 38,000 kids per year work in the industry).

Even The Guardian Knows the Truth!

https://www.beroeinc.com/article/child-labor-and-cobalt-mining/

Amnesty International

and many many more reports.

I had to smile watching the BLM supporters use their mobiles phones to celebrate pulling over Colston's Stature in Bristol last year  (   Bristol  ) annoyed because he traded in slaves to work in plantations to supply ordinary people in Europe with cheaper sugar, yet they couldn't see they were just the same with their 'child-slave-labour' mobile phones and the like - hey ho!!!

(Rant over)

 

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^
Indeed
as a mechanical engineer I find current engineering trends of eco stability complete lunacy .

Quite simply you can not fix the damage of industrialism with more industrialism .

All these batteries and solar panels rely on diesel powered machinery and oil in production stages and finally people driving round in diesel and petrol vehicles fitting the products which have a short working life as quality is appalling with reason being it reduced pollution in manufacture to make modern eco product spec garbage  ! where the logic in that  !!! (only logic is you need replace more frequent so someone making more money)
If you start looking at landscape damage from sourcing base materials and damage from electrical power plants of any type that going be needed keep potential grid supply capability for the amazing eco Battery future you have a MASSIVE environmental impact issue greater than anything so far .

The only thing eco marketing and legislation been good at is scr3wing mr average out of more of his hard earned money for garbage ideas and products .

Things going get even worse as ability to repair is going be restricted even further with more basic parts being coded and no affordable aftermarket parts and restriction on part manufacture used and who can fit them  all under the disguise it environment and safety concerns !!!
Farm and construction equipment suffering a lot from this and it spreading thanks to companies like Apple that now coding phone parts so highly difficult repair as can't even swap used original parts without specialist coding .

We all being lied to and about time a lot of people started thinking and researching rather than following marketed nonsense .
 

The real answer is clever products that last decades and easily repaired but unfortunately you can't make so much money doing that so world got suffer to the bitter end unfortunately  ...

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  • 2 years later...

Have a look at this thread (and there's a few others about Subaru Battery issues too:  

In brief: If you've a 2021 OB then it should still be under warranty?

I've got the original Battery in and all is well (is that tempting fate or what?).  I was told by the sales person to 'always drive with the sidelights on'.  Seems to have worked for me, as forces Battery recharge all the time.  Also, never, never, leave the electronic boot open for more than 10 mins...it'll drain the Battery pronto unless you do the karabiner trick where you fool the car that it's closed.  Definitely, don't do short journeys without the side lights on (i.e never leave the light switch in 'auto' setting).  You can check the state of your battery regularly by using the 'dealer' or 'factory' modes on the infotainment 'secret' modes settings. (see youtube, etc.).

Hope you get it sorted - you're definitely not alone with having battery issues (see US Subaru forums).

 

 

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