2000 Subaru Outback Wagon electrical issues

Well, after reading other folks’ postings, there doesn’t seem to be a easy resolve to the electrical issue…My Subaru 2000 Outback Wagon had no electrical power and all the idiot lights got wonky once battery was recharged, back in December 2012, so the Alternator was replaced. Then in January of this year, the car wouldn’t start and this time it was the starter (the repair resulted in the steering column not being able to ‘lock’ once car is shut off, but to fix that would cost more $$$). Then in March of this year the car wouldn’t start in a store parking lot, so we replaced the battery with a new one. And wouldn’t you know, yesterday the car wouldn’t start up because the battery had been drained down enough that the headlights worked, but the car couldn’t “turn over”. I’ve got 170k on it and a completely rebuild engine put in December 2011. I feel like ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ but this is getting out of hand. Ugggh!

I think the connection is between the steering wheel lock and the battery drain. Often when there is a parasitic drain on a battery, it is an electrical item that doesn’t work as it should. I just have trouble seeing the connection between the steering wheel lock and the starter replacement.

If the steering wheel lock worked when the car went in for the starter replacement and did not right after, then the mechanic who replaced the starter probably broke or cut a wire for the steering wheel lock, and he should fix it at no cost to you, and it will probably be an easy fix. The broken wire could be shorting to something on occasion, draining the battery.

thanks for your comment Keith…I’ll be sure to discuss this with the guys in the morning. If I get some real resolution to this problem I’ll be sure to update.

Update on the Subaru: I shared Keith’s comments with mechanic but insists he cannot find any “draw” to the electrical system and that the starter repair/non-locking steering column is not the issue. They went ahead and replaced the Alternator as it was still under warranty, and did not charge me anything for any of this…

Good so far, but let us know if the fix “sticks”.

If the starter isn’t working at all when the trouble happens then the inhibit or safety switch should be checked for a problem. It is a pretty common issue.