2000 Subaru Outback died while driving

While driving my 2000 Subaru Outback (197,000 miles) the speedometer, tachometer stopped working but the fuel and temp gauges were working fine. The transmission felt like it was slipping. When I used the brakes they were grabby, jerky and made a loud clunck. The engine began sputtering and I was barely able to keep it going as I tried to get home. At stop lights I had to put the car in neutral and rev the engine. We also noticed that while the engine was running the power windows were very slow to open and close and the turn signals and emergency flashers did not work at all. Now the car is in the driveway dead as a doornail and the key stuck in the ignition.

The battery is one year old and the alternator is the original. The fuel tank is 3/4 full. I bought the car new in 2000.

Does anybody have any ideas on what the problem could be?

One of the battery cells may have shorted. Remove the battery and get it tested. It most likely is severely discharged and if a cell truly is bad then a new battery is needed. If the battery is okay and charges up normally then the alternator and its associated wiring needs to be checked out. You should get a voltmeter if you don’t have one to check problems like this.

+1 for Cougar, but get the battery load tested. A voltmeter check is not good enough. I have had a year old battery crack an internal connector. The battery would measure 12.6 volts with a digital voltmeter and look like it was taking a charge, but under a load test, it did not pass any significant current.

Think of it like a garden hose with a kink in it. Now if you have a nozzle on the end and you close it, eventually water pressure will build up, but as soon as you open the nozzle, the water drops to a drizzle.

A load tester is a pretty big tester, it can be carried but it is fairly heavy and has jumper cable sized cables and clamps. It does not fit in the palm of your hand like a voltmeter would. Most autoparts stores will do a load test for free.