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Subaru 2003, 6cly LLBean edition, 55,000miles

The subaru just is not reliable. Sometimes it starts, sometimes we jump it or trickle charge. Dealer had it for 2 weeks, local mechanic reccommended new battery, so we did that. Took it to a third mechanic, no answers. They suggested we start the car and let it run every few days. We are an older, retired couple so we do not to use the car daily. We are so frustrated. We can’t be jumping the car before we leave the house. Any ideas??

Just to clarify something here. When the car does not start, do you mean that it turns over slowly? Similar to a weak battery?

Or do you mean there is stone silence; no starter noise, no starter solenoid click sound, etc.?

If you mean the former, then the car should be inspected for a voltage draw, which is easy to determine.
If you mean the latter then you may have a faulty neutral switch. To check this, try shifting into neutral and see what happens.

I have no idea what the problem here is but this malfunction should not be very hard to figure out at all.

How often do you start and drive the car? And how far do you drive it when you drive it? The answers to these questions will be very helpful.

If the battery is good you should be able to leave the car for a week or two at at time with no problems. When the car is driven, however, it should be driven long enough to allow full warm-up of the engine, transmission, and drive train. This usually means 20-30 minutes minimum.

Starting the car and letting it run won’t help. It takes more battery power (amperage) to start the engine than the alternator can replenish at idle. The car needs to be driven to recharge the battery.

If you are driving this car a few miles at a time, once or twice a month, or even once or twice a week, it would explain everything.

If this is the case you need a Battery Tender. A Tender is not the same as a battery charger (get rid of the trickle charger). A Battery Tender (less than $50) will keep your battery charged without overcharging it, and is very easy to hook up and use.

I recommend a Battery Tender Jr. (you can find one easily enough with a simple Google search). There’s one hooked up to the battery of the car in my garage right now. It works perfectly.