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Repeated Battery drain on 2005 Subaru

My car was overturned for about 4 hours after i slid on ice and off the road on a steep grade. After sitting for 2 days, the wrecker guys replaced fluids and had to jump the car to restart it-and also every time they had to move it. It runs fine when jumped, but won’t turn over again once the engine is cut. When I do try to start the car again, all the dash lights flicker on and off very fast, accompanied by a tch-tch-tch-tch sound-maybe like hot wires are being crossed. Not normal dead battery action. It seems like bad connections somewhere or some connection got loose in the wreck. The wrecker guys suggest a new battery.

Any other suggestions of what I may try before investing in more repairs?

You need a new battery. It was damaged by being upside down.
What you describe is a normal symptom of a weak battery.

Being upside-down is not good for a battery.

Replace the battery, and you should be good to go, as long as you haven’t already killed the alternator by forcing it to work overtime trying to recharge the dead battery. The longer you continue to jump-start the car and drive it this way, the greater the chance of killing that expensive alternator.

I Don’t Know A Subaru From A Bale Of Hay, But This Must Be A Subaru Model Without That Road-Hugging AWD, Eh ?

Anyhow, I wonder if the battery was drained by something being left on while it was belly-up.

A drained battery will freeze.
A frozen battery won’t charge.

Was the battery recharged by battery charger, inside the shop, after it had sufficient time to thaw out ? Once the car went back outside with an insufficient charge then the battery could refreeze.

A drained battery will freeze.
A frozen battery won’t charge.

Just be sure that the battery thoroughly thawed (I’d take it out and put it someplace nice and warm for at least 12 hours) and had a good charge put in it with an automotive battery charger (It could be tested after doing this.) before being reinstalled.


Unless you had something like a Optima battery installed in the car the acid inside the battery has at least drained out to some extent which could cause this trouble. Replacing the battery as the others have stated should get you going again. It would also be a good idea to clean the battery connections even if they look ok.

Since the car was upside down for a while, and its possible that the battery acid escaped its prison, you might want to look at the condition of your engine bay to see where that battery acid leaked to, and make sure you don’t have additional damage from it.


Thank you so much, everyone. Of course this makes perfect sense now…YES, I took your advice and a new battery took care of my engine power problems. Yes, alot of fluid did leak out of the former one while upside down, mostly onto the interior cover of my hood–which I only noticed after posting this. I would imagine the acid will deteriorate that interior cover and perhaps I should replace it. I wonder about fumes, as well…
the body shop steam cleaned the engine. My local fire chief said he’d mix up some baking soda and water and clean the (battery acid dirty) engine parts with it. Anyone heard of that?

Thanks, I’ll tuck that little mantra away. The weather here turned warm-50’s & 60’s, so I know the cold wasn’t and issue. Yeh, i love my subaru-it handles terrain and inclement weather great; I was unfortunately on a mountain and hit ice on a steep grade. No awd can handle that. But it was a slow roll, and I walked away without even a bruise. (Yes had seat belt on; no air bags deployed.)

Baking soda and water will help neutralize the battery acid and damage it can cause.


"Anyone heard of that?"
No! That’s Fantastic. Bake That Fire Chief Some Cookies Or Something. My Fire Chief Never Comes Over And Works On My Car !