2019 Subaru Ascent electrical problems: open tailgate drains battery

Open Tailgate Drains Battery

2019 Subaru Ascent

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Subaru dealer.

9.0

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
2,650 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (6 reports)
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2019 Subaru Ascent electrical problems

electrical problem

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2019 Subaru Ascent Owner Comments

problem #6

Aug 012019

Ascent Limited 2.4L Turbo

  • CVT transmission
  • 1,450 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Leaving the tailgate open for over 2 hours drains my battery, leaving my Ascent stranded. It's a very bad design.

- Nextmoonyt .., Brooklyn, NY, US

problem #5

Aug 112019

Ascent Touring 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,400 miles

As an SUV it sucks. I was one of the instructors this weekend for an outdoor class so as usual I left the tail gate up for the class (4hrs) had to get someone to jump the car the battery died!!!! Not enough room, seats to small, back up alarm with a trailer is total pain in the ass. I pay Subaru a fee to start the car from my phone only to find out it shuts down in 10 mins to save my foot print on earth,, It takes 15mins or more here in the winter time to get a car warm. Cup holders all over. Should have used this space for SUV storage. Head room too low and I am a short man. Trailer hitch you take 1/2 the bumper off to use it, that looks really Good, and the hitch vibrates all thru the car when you hit a bump. LOW PROFILE tires on an SUV that you would like to use as an SUV, another SUCKS!!!! There should be and option for full size tires and rims . I know better to buy these because my wife drives a Subaru Legacy and I have to plow the driveway when we get 8 to 10" of wet pack snow because it will hi-center her car when she gets to bottom of the drive way. There are no lights in the lift gate, no coat hangers in the rear or on the lift gate. Gas tank is on the wrong side of the car. Alarms keep going off driving on county roads ( I am guessing because mail boxes are to close to the road??). Only 1 CD disk at a time for the radio and they wanted to omit that. 4 cylinder motor, its needs to be a 6 for towing 5000 pound, if you're that worried about gas then sell bicycles. Transmission shifts rough. 3rd row seat is only good for small children or really small people. Wish I could have used it for a month to find out how lame it is. On the up side it does ride and handle well on the highway and to town. Like other reviews I am seeing now I wish I could have tried it out for month before buying. You want a SUV, this is not it.

- whkisner, Kitzmiller, US

problem #4

Jan 092019

Ascent Limited

  • CVT transmission
  • 2,000 miles

When the Ascent's tailgate is open, it pulls 4 Ah!!!! Subaru claims this is normal, that the car is operating as designed, and there is no fix in store. That type of parasitic battery drain means that your battery will die after having the tailgate open for 4+ hours, in some cases much less.

The first time it happened to me, I was the last person on a large, remote training property with my 2 dogs (hunting training). Battery died, locking the two dogs in the rear with no way to get them out. I was fortunate enough to have cell service and was able to reach another person I had trained with and she circled back to the property to help jump start my car. that was the beginning of several dead battery incidents which then occurred while I was out of state training my dogs. In fact, it happened 3 days in a row while training on huge plantations in GA with no cell service. There were still people around so we were able to jump start my car.

This car is marketed to Dog owners, people who camp, people who like to have tailgate parties yet the stupid engineers at Subaru couldn't figure out a way to cut off the power after a preset amount of time to the tailgate when it's open - the way that the Toyota Highlander does (boy I wish I had bought the Highlander). I know of people who tried camping in the Ascent and putting the tent around the open tailgate and their battery was dead. Some people have had their battery die after one hour, some after 4. But this isn't happening to everyone - which makes one wonder if there is a quality control issue. They claim that the cars that don't die don't have the optional auto-dimming exterior lights; however, I personally know two people who have an Ascent whose car died and they do not have these lights.

After my car died 3 days in a row in GA, I bought a battery disconnect switch (which I then made Subaru pay for and the dealer install) and I now cut the battery off every time I train my dogs. I ended up buying a new non-Subaru battery (Odyssey) that I can get 4 hours out of with no issues. I haven't had an opportunity to test it beyond that but I think I need to get a bench battery charger to top it off b/c the Ascent just doesn't seem to be charging it all the way.

Take a look at the Facebook group called Subaru Ascent Dead Battery Club to see what others have experienced. But remember to register a complaint with SOA 800-782-2783. Then register a complaint with the NHTSA. Write reviews for JD Powers, CarComplaints, TorqueNews.com and any website that features the Ascent.

Hopefully if enough people complain, Subaru will realize that this is a real problem for people who want to use this $45k car in the manner in which Subaru advertises!!

- Lynn P., reston, VA, US

problem #3

Jul 072019

Ascent Limited 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,678 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I went out in my garage and noticed the tailgate was up. The car is used only occasionally, maybe once a week. I tried to close the tailgate but nothing happened. The battery was dead. I did not operate the tailgate earlier and don't know how it opened. I jumped started the car and it started easily. However all the dashboard items went back to factory default and now the car does not recognize my Bluetooth cell phone nor does it respond to the time and date updates on the phone.I will send a letter to Subaru to see if this is a problem with other Ascents.

This is the first time I noticed the tailgate apparently causing the battery drain but on three other occasions I had to jump start the Ascent.

- phiggins630ph, Westminster, US

problem #2

Jun 142019

Ascent Limited 2.4L 4 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 125 miles

OK let's assume that I pocket launched the lift-gate latch late in the evening and discovered the liftgate open in the morning. Then I discovered the battery was almost dead like so many others. Now let's look a bit deeper at the known facts.

The cargo lamp, a 5 watt 12 volt = .416 Amps, incandescent comes on when the lift-gate is open.

The Owners manual stated that the Cargo Lamp goes out after 20 min, presumably by Subaru software trying to be nice to the battery. Note that a .416 Amp drain on a 425 or so Amp/Hour battery somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 hours! The battery lasted less than 8 hours.

Do you smell something funny yet? This seems to be a systemic with Subaru Outbacks as well.

The dealer said that you cannot even listen to the radio for 20 or 30 min with draining the battery when the engine is not running.

Replacing or upgrading the battery will not resolve this problem.

Opening the tailgate not only lights the little cargo lamp but also activates every CAN processor in the vehicle as it expects to jump into action at any moment it seems. That would drastically increase the current drain on the battery.

A smart dealer technician could easily measure the increased current drain to determine if that is so. If that is the case then the "near root cause" is the Subaru software awakening all kinds of systems unnecessarily.

If this, in fact, is the case they could awaken some sleeping software engineers and create a software patch to resolve the issue. Sometimes software is not released it just escapes.

- otetiana, Fairport, US

problem #1

Jan 232019

Ascent Premium 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles

Subaru Ascent was marketed to outdoor enthusiasts and dog owners. The add shows people camping with tailgate open. The problem is that the open tailgate (not the inside lights) will totally drain the battery. One could be left stranded. The control panel cluster also pulls on the battery. Many dog owners/trainers who are out in the field all day purchased this car with the intent of being able to leave the dogs in the car with the tailgate open. Ascent owners are very upset that Subaru will not fix this problem.

- Barbara R., Cincinnati, OH, US

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