Subaru Outback Battery Problems: Common Issues and Solutions

(Last Updated On: February 5, 2024)

If you own a Subaru Outback, you may have experienced battery problems. This is a common issue that many Outback owners have reported. The battery may drain over a period when the car is not used, leaving you with a dead battery and a car that won’t start.

The Subaru Outback battery problems are often caused by a parasitic drain, which occurs when a component in the electrical system continues to draw power even when the car is turned off. This can be caused by a malfunctioning electronic component, a wiring short, or an incorrectly installed aftermarket accessory. In some cases, the problem may be due to a bad alternator or a dead battery.

If you are experiencing battery problems with your Subaru Outback, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure that all of the electrical components in your car are turned off when you park it. If you are going to be leaving your car parked for an extended period, consider disconnecting the battery to prevent it from draining. Additionally, you may want to have your battery and alternator checked by a mechanic to ensure that they are functioning properly.

Common Subaru Outback Battery Issues

If you’re experiencing issues with your Subaru Outback’s battery, you’re not alone. Here are some of the most common battery problems that Outback owners face:

Dead Battery

One of the most common issues with the Subaru Outback’s battery is that it can die unexpectedly. This can be caused by a number of factors, such as leaving your headlights on overnight, not driving your car for an extended period of time, or a faulty alternator. If you’re experiencing a dead battery, you’ll need to jump-start your car or replace the battery altogether.

Parasitic Drain

Another common issue with the Subaru Outback’s battery is parasitic drain. This occurs when something in your car is draining power from the battery even when the car is turned off. This can be caused by a number of things, such as a faulty radio or a malfunctioning alarm system. If you’re experiencing parasitic drain, you’ll need to have your car checked by a mechanic to determine the source of the problem.

Faulty Charging System

A faulty charging system can also cause battery issues in the Subaru Outback. This can be caused by a number of factors, such as a faulty alternator or a bad battery connection. If you’re experiencing issues with your charging system, you may notice that your battery isn’t holding a charge or that your car isn’t starting properly. In this case, you’ll need to have your car checked by a mechanic to determine the source of the problem.

It’s important to address battery issues in your Subaru Outback as soon as possible to avoid getting stranded on the side of the road. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it’s best to have your car checked by a mechanic to determine the source of the problem and get it fixed as soon as possible.

Diagnosing Battery Problems

If you are experiencing issues with your Subaru Outback’s battery, there are a few steps you can take to diagnose the problem. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Using a Multimeter

One of the first things you can do to diagnose a battery problem is to use a multimeter. This tool can help you determine the voltage of your battery and whether it is holding a charge. To use a multimeter, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off your vehicle and disconnect the negative cable from the battery.
  2. Set your multimeter to the DC voltage setting.
  3. Connect the red lead of the multimeter to the positive battery terminal and the black lead to the negative terminal.
  4. Check the voltage reading on the multimeter. If it is below 12 volts, your battery may be dead or dying.

Checking the Alternator

Another possible cause of battery problems is a faulty alternator. The alternator is responsible for charging your battery while your vehicle is running. If it is not functioning properly, your battery may not be getting the charge it needs. To check your alternator, follow these steps:

  1. Start your vehicle and let it run for a few minutes.
  2. Turn on your headlights and other electrical components.
  3. Use a multimeter to check the voltage at the battery terminals. It should read between 13.5 and 14.5 volts.
  4. If the voltage is too low, your alternator may be faulty and in need of replacement.

Identifying Parasitic Draws

Finally, a parasitic draw can also cause battery problems. This occurs when an electrical component in your vehicle continues to draw power even when it is turned off. To identify a parasitic draw, follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the negative cable from your battery.
  2. Connect an ammeter between the negative cable and the battery terminal.
  3. Wait for a few minutes to allow all electrical components to shut off.
  4. Check the reading on the ammeter. If it is more than 50 milliamps, you may have a parasitic draw that is draining your battery.

If you are unsure about how to diagnose or fix your Subaru Outback’s battery problem, it may be best to seek the help of a qualified mechanic. They will have the expertise and tools necessary to identify and fix the issue.

Troubleshooting Steps

If you are experiencing battery problems with your Subaru Outback, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take before seeking professional help. Here are some things you can try:

Jump Starting the Outback

If your battery is dead, you can try jump-starting your Outback. To do this, you will need a set of jumper cables and another vehicle with a good battery. Follow these steps:

  1. Park the two vehicles close together, but do not let them touch.
  2. Turn off both vehicles and make sure the keys are out of the ignition.
  3. Connect the red jumper cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
  4. Connect the other end of the red jumper cable to the positive terminal of the good battery.
  5. Connect the black jumper cable to the negative terminal of the good battery.
  6. Connect the other end of the black jumper cable to an unpainted metal surface on the engine block of the dead vehicle.
  7. Start the vehicle with the good battery and let it run for a few minutes.
  8. Try to start the vehicle with the dead battery. If it starts, let it run for a few minutes before disconnecting the jumper cables.

Battery Replacement

If your battery is old or damaged, you may need to replace it. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Turn off your vehicle and remove the key from the ignition.
  2. Locate the battery under the hood of your Outback.
  3. Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery first, then the positive terminal.
  4. Remove any brackets or clamps holding the battery in place.
  5. Lift the old battery out of the vehicle and dispose of it properly.
  6. Install the new battery in the same position and secure it with the brackets or clamps.
  7. Connect the positive terminal of the new battery first, then the negative terminal.
  8. Turn on your vehicle and make sure it starts.

Alternator Repair

If your battery is constantly dying, it may be a sign of a bad alternator. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Turn off your vehicle and remove the key from the ignition.
  2. Locate the alternator under the hood of your Outback.
  3. Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery first, then the positive terminal.
  4. Remove the drive belt from the alternator.
  5. Disconnect the electrical connections from the alternator.
  6. Remove the bolts holding the alternator in place.
  7. Lift the old alternator out of the vehicle and dispose of it properly.
  8. Install the new alternator in the same position and secure it with the bolts.
  9. Reconnect the electrical connections to the alternator.
  10. Replace the drive belt.
  11. Connect the positive terminal of the battery first, then the negative terminal.
  12. Turn on your vehicle and make sure it starts.

By following these troubleshooting steps, you can determine whether your battery is the problem or if there is a more serious issue with your alternator. If you are still having problems after trying these steps, it may be time to take your Outback to a professional mechanic for further diagnosis and repair.

Preventive Measures

To prevent battery issues in your Subaru Outback, you can take some preventive measures. Here are some tips to maintain your battery health, upgrade the charging algorithm, and minimize electrical loads.

Maintaining Battery Health

To maintain the battery health of your Subaru Outback, you should perform regular checks of the battery and electrical systems. You can do this by checking the battery voltage and inspecting the battery terminals for corrosion. You can also check the battery cables for any signs of wear and tear. If you notice any issues, you should take your car to a professional mechanic to have it checked and fixed.

Here are my suggestions for the best battery chargers, and the best portable jumpers (for that worst case scenario):

Upgrading the Charging Algorithm

The charging algorithm of your Subaru Outback is responsible for charging the battery and maintaining the system voltage. If you are experiencing battery drain issues, you can upgrade the charging algorithm to improve the battery performance. You can do this by installing a smart charging system that can adjust the charging voltage and current based on the battery’s condition and the electrical load of the car.

Minimizing Electrical Loads

To minimize the electrical loads of your Subaru Outback, you can turn off unnecessary electrical devices when you are not using them. For example, you can turn off the radio, the air conditioning, and the headlights when you are parked or when you are driving on a well-lit road. You can also avoid using power-hungry devices such as high-intensity discharge (HID) lights or aftermarket sound systems that can drain the battery quickly.

By following these preventive measures, you can improve the battery performance of your Subaru Outback and avoid battery drain issues.

Understanding the Subaru Warranty

If you’re experiencing battery issues with your Subaru Outback, you may be wondering if the warranty covers it. According to Subaru of America, their battery warranty is good for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. This means that if your battery fails within that time frame, you may be able to get it replaced for free.

However, it’s important to note that the warranty only covers manufacturer defects, not wear and tear or damage caused by other factors. If your battery fails due to something other than a defect, you may have to pay for a replacement out of pocket.

Class-Action Lawsuit Information

Subaru of America has faced multiple class-action lawsuits over battery drain issues in their Outback, Forester, Legacy, WRX, and Ascent models. The lawsuits allege that the vehicles have a defect that causes the battery to drain prematurely, leaving owners stranded and requiring costly repairs.

If you own one of these vehicles and have experienced battery drain issues, you may be eligible to join one of the class-action lawsuits. However, it’s important to note that joining a lawsuit can be a lengthy and complicated process, and there’s no guarantee of a favorable outcome.

Seeking Reimbursement

If you’ve had to pay for a battery replacement or other repairs due to battery drain issues in your Subaru Outback, you may be able to seek reimbursement. Subaru of America has reached a settlement in one of the class-action lawsuits, which includes provisions for reimbursement for certain battery-related repairs.

To be eligible for reimbursement, you must have paid for the repair out of pocket, and it must have been related to the battery drain issue. You’ll need to submit a claim form and supporting documentation to the settlement administrator to be considered for reimbursement.

Overall, if you’re experiencing battery issues with your Subaru Outback, it’s important to understand your options for warranty coverage, legal action, and reimbursement. By staying informed and taking action when necessary, you can protect your investment and ensure that your vehicle remains reliable and safe to drive.

Assistance Services

If you are experiencing battery problems with your Subaru Outback, there are several assistance services available to help you get back on the road. Here are two options to consider:

Towing and Roadside Assistance

If your car won’t start, you may need to have it towed to a repair shop. Subaru offers a towing and roadside assistance program called Subaru Roadside Assistance. This program provides 24/7 emergency services, including towing, jump-starts, flat tire changes, and fuel delivery.

To access Subaru Roadside Assistance, simply call the toll-free number provided in your owner’s manual or on the Subaru website. You will need to provide your vehicle identification number (VIN) and your location. The program is available for the duration of your Subaru’s warranty period.

Customer Support Channels

If you have questions or concerns about your Subaru Outback’s battery, you can contact Subaru of America’s customer support team. They can help you troubleshoot the issue and provide guidance on how to resolve it.

You can reach Subaru of America’s customer support team by phone, email, or live chat. The contact information is available on the Subaru website. When contacting customer support, be sure to have your VIN and other relevant information on hand.

In conclusion, if you are experiencing battery problems with your Subaru Outback, don’t hesitate to take advantage of the assistance services available to you. Subaru Roadside Assistance and Subaru of America’s customer support team are both valuable resources that can help you get back on the road quickly and safely.

Model-Specific Concerns

If you own a Subaru Outback, you may have experienced battery issues. While these issues are not unique to the Outback, they seem to be more prevalent in this model than in others. Here are some model-specific concerns to keep in mind:

Outback vs. Forester

The Subaru Forester is a compact SUV that is similar to the Outback in many ways. However, the Forester has a smaller battery, which means it may not be able to handle the same amount of power as the Outback. This can lead to issues with battery life and performance.

Outback vs. Ascent

The Subaru Ascent is a midsize SUV that is larger than the Outback. It has a larger battery, which means it may be able to handle more power than the Outback. However, the Ascent is also heavier, which can lead to issues with battery life and performance.

Outback vs. Legacy and WRX

The Subaru Legacy and WRX are both sedans that are similar in size to the Outback. However, they have smaller batteries, which means they may not be able to handle the same amount of power as the Outback. This can lead to issues with battery life and performance.

Overall, if you are experiencing battery issues with your Subaru Outback, it is important to understand the specific concerns that are unique to this model. By doing so, you can take steps to address these issues and ensure that your battery performs as it should.

Owner Experiences and Complaints

If you own a Subaru Outback, you may have experienced issues with your battery. Here are some anecdotes and complaints from other Outback owners that may help you understand the scope of the problem.

Dead Battery Issue Anecdotes

Some Outback owners have reported that their battery died unexpectedly, leaving them stranded. For example, one owner reported that their battery died after only 10,000 miles of driving. Another owner reported that their battery died while they were on a road trip, leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Battery Drain Problem Reports

Other Outback owners have reported problems with battery drain. This can be caused by a variety of issues, such as a malfunctioning electronic component or an incorrectly installed aftermarket accessory. For example, one owner reported that their battery drained quickly after they installed a new stereo system. Another owner reported that their battery drained overnight, even though they had not used any of the car’s electrical systems.

Stranded Outback Owner Stories

Some Outback owners have reported being stranded due to battery issues. For example, one owner reported that their battery died while they were driving, causing the car to stall in the middle of traffic. Another owner reported that their battery died while they were parked in a remote area, leaving them stranded without cell phone service.

If you are experiencing issues with your Outback’s battery, you should take it to a certified Subaru mechanic as soon as possible. They can diagnose the problem and recommend a solution that will get you back on the road safely.

Technical Insights

Subaru Electrical System Design

The electrical system of the Subaru Outback is designed to provide reliable performance. However, there have been some reported issues with battery drain. This could be due to a number of factors, including the infotainment system, security system, or other electrical components.

One possible solution is to turn off the factory mode. This mode is designed to provide power to the infotainment system and other components when the engine is off. However, it can also drain the battery if left on for an extended period of time.

Factory Mode and System Voltage

When the factory mode is turned on, the system voltage is lowered to conserve power. This can cause the battery to drain more quickly than normal. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended to turn off the factory mode when the engine is off.

Another possible solution is to use a battery charger or maintainer. This will help keep the battery charged and prevent it from draining. It is important to use a charger that is designed for your specific battery type and voltage.

In conclusion, the electrical system of the Subaru Outback is designed to provide reliable performance. However, there have been some reported issues with battery drain. By turning off the factory mode and using a battery charger or maintainer, you can help prevent these issues and ensure that your vehicle is always ready to go when you are.

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