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Electrical 96 Subaru

Driving this morning, odometer, tack fell to zero, then car quit. Got it started again on a downhill. But could not restart it. Battery dead. Left car, took battery, now recharging battery.

If I put recharged batter into car, will it run the car to get it to the shop or must I have it towed?

My guess is the electrical charging system has a problem since battery seems to be taking trickle charge. Yes?

Don in Portland

Get it towed (actually, FLAT-BEDDED, in view of the AWD system!!) and have the shop test your alternator. I believe that a failing alternator killed your battery and that the alternator is now as dead as the battery.

taking a recharged battery may get you home (or to the shop) but don’t get comfortable with it.

you need to find out why it discharged, and why it wasn’t recharged.

if YOU can’t do this, then a mechanic has to do it for you.

When the tack went to zero, it later came on for a short time. Have smelled strange smell as well past few days. If the alternator is not putting out, will I be able run the engine on just a recharged battery? Don

Trust me–your alternator is now dead. Have the vehicle flat-bedded to a reliable mechanic, as it will only run on a good battery for a very short period of time, and your battery is no longer good because of what the failing alternator subjected it to.

I know this because I had the exact same scenario with a '97 Subaru when the alternator died in 2001. Even though the warranty had expired, Subaru replaced the alternator free-of-charge, due to a run of defective alternators from one of their suppliers. After this many years, I don’t think that you will be as lucky as I was, but you never know.

Anyway, even though you can recharge that battery, it was badly damaged by the failing alternator, and as a result, I wouldn’t expect it to run the engine for more than a few minutes.