2017 Subaru Outback batteries died twice

subaru
outback

#1

I bought the car new. At 9301 miles, my battery died and the dealer replaced it. They said the factory original battery was not made for cold weather areas. At 12,628 miles, the second battery died and the dealer replaced it. They said that it was defective. Both times the dealer wanted it towed in so they could check out the system. I have owned the car 1 year and 10 months. This is unreal. I bought this car because of its reputation for reliability and safety.


#2

Could just be the batteries, but you might want to have the car checked out by another dealer or a competent shop just to be sure. A bad voltage regulator (built into the alternator) could cause the a battery to overcharge and maybe fry, but that’s pretty easy to diagnose. Heavy duty batteries are available but usually for use in diesels and not in areas with a typical cold climate.


#3

That is total BS. Unless you live near the north pole. Even then, they sold you the car with that battery in it. I’d go to a different dealer if possible, if not, bump this up the chain to subaru headquarters. Phone number should be in your owner’s manual.

But perhaps first check with the dealer owner or manager. Service writers (presumably the one who told you that BS) are not mechanics and usually know little about cars.


#4

Thanks for the information. I am taking it to the dealer in September for oil change and inspection and will talk to them about it.


#5

Some battery constructions and chemistries do better in hot or cold weather respectively, but unless you live in the arctic or burning desert that shouldn’t be a factor. It could be bad batteries, but after the second one this seems unlikely. Could be the charging system. Someone at the dealership should know how to evaluate both a dead battery and the charging system.

It also can be how one uses them - running a modern starting battery down to a low state of charge either multiple times or for periods of time (either by lights left on, by frequent short trips only especially in winter, or by parasitic discharge from several weeks to month or more at a time of non-use) will result in early death. In their last years of driving my parents made just a few 1-2mi. trips to the store each week during Chicago winters resulting in new batteries in two successive years.


#6

I had a new Volvo. i live in Southwest Florida. It had 2 replacement batteries in less than 2 years. At least they didn’t tell me Volvo batteries were not made for the hot climate.


#7

Thanks Ben.


#8

I believe your battery problem is really the symptom of another problem, probably within the charging system. I also have a 2017 Outback with about 10K miles. In Pa the last two winters haven’t been especially bad, but I’ve never had any problems with my battery. I’ve had several other troublesome problems, but no problems with the battery. I would definitely go to another dealer, if possible, and ask them to check out the battery and charging system. From my experience, Subaru’s quality has definitely gone downhill.


#9

Why wait until September and talk to the dealer once again? In the mean time, contact Subaru higher up via the contact information in your documents.


#10

If you have a push button start with a remote that has to be near or in the car, make sure that remote is far from the car when you are not driving. If you leave it in the car the electrical system will never shut down fully, and that can kill batteries fast.


#11

Thank you for the suggestion, however I do not have a push button start. I am learning a lot from all of the responses I am receiving.


#12

Thank you Ben for your suggestion. I am scheduled for an oil change and inspection in September and I will suggest checking out the charging system. This is my first Subaru and except for this problem, I am very satisfied with it. I want it resolved before the warranty expires in another 14 months.


#13

I presume OP doesn’t use the vehicle’s battery in an unusual way. Rapid discharges, running something on the the battery until it is totally discharged, leaving lights on, etc. Discharging a battery more than it is designed for will definitely reduce its expected life. But if the vehicle is just used & driven in a normal manner, and not in an extreme, extreme climate …

If I had that problem, first thing I’d do is measure the current drain on the battery when the car is parked, key removed, and everything is turned off. It should be around 50-100 mA, definitely not more than 150 mA. (My Corolla measures 15 mA for comparison.) I’d also check the battery and charging system voltages. Before first start of the day, the battery should measure about 12.6 volts. Immediately after starting the engine, 13.5-15.15 volts. After running the engine for 15 minutes, in the 13-14 volt range. If any of these measurements didn’t match up to expectations, there’s a problem with the vehicle that needs correction.

One other thing: OP, suggest to tell us more about the climate in which you live.


#14

suggest the OP get a voltmeter that plugs into the cig lighter connection. Here is one from amazon.

then make the checks George_San_Jose1 suggests.


#15

I remember reading a feedback from the last-gen Outback owner who had similar issue and upon a couple of trips to the dealer, they found that some small trunk light is not getting turned off as it has a confusing 3-way rocker switch and is easy to forget in the ON state.
Surprisingly, Outback has all other lights timed to turn off but this small one.


#16

Thanks. I will check it out.


#17

Good point!


#18

We had a 2016 and traded it last year for a 2018 and haven’t had any battery problems. I do go on a Subaru forum and yes this had been a problem with weak batteries. Most people ditched the Subaru batteries and bought a better battery on their own and haven’t had any problems.

The outback is a very good car and reliable.


#19

I am very careful about shutting everything off when I shut down the engine. I am retired, however, and do not put a lot of mileage on the car on a given day. Then again, I may drive 8 hours away to visit a family member. Some days I may not drive at all. These are not things that I every thought about when I had other cars. My Malibu’s battery was 8 years old before it was replaced. Thank you for your input.


#20

That was exactly what the service guy told me the first time I had it replaced. In fact, he mentioned the same week mine died, they had to replace a slew of batteries in other 2017 Outbacks. He said the cars came from factories on the West Coast, blah, blah, blah and the batteries were not the best for cold cranking. I never heard of such a thing.

Good Idea about dealing with someone higher up. I had a problem years ago with a Chevy van that was peeling badly and the dealer would not do anything about it. I had to open a claim with General Motors to get the work done.

BillRussell

    July 9

Mary48:
They said the factory original battery was not made for cold weather areas.

That is total BS. Unless you live near the north pole. Even then, they sold you the car with that battery in it. I’d go to a different dealer if possible, if not, bump this up the chain to subaru headquarters. Phone number should be in your owner’s manual.

But perhaps first check with the dealer owner or manager. Service writers (presumably the one who told you that BS) are not mechanics and usually know little about cars.