pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
21,600 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (6 reports)
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2020 Subaru Forester electrical problems

electrical problem

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2020 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #6

Dec 172023

Forester Sport

  • CVT transmission
  • 985 miles


I traded my 2018 Forester in on this 2020, My 2018 had 32000 miles. This one had 450 miles when I bought it in December 2022. I had just replaced the battery in my 2018 and was told the 2020 had a new battery in it. All I can say if it does it's not much. Although it was really cold a few days I went out and let it run 15-20 minutes each day because this is not the first time it has happened. Thank God for AAA. I will NEVER have another Subaru.

- Patricia H., Asheville, US

problem #5

Jun 062023

Forester Touring 4 CYL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,672 miles

I drive my Subaru at least 3 times a week. I went to start it and the battery was completely dead. I had the battery replaced 5 months ago for the same reason. You have to use the physical key to unlock the door if it is locked and then pop the hood to start charging the battery. Once the battery has a minimal charge, the car alarm starts going off when it realizes you broke in to your own car. That then causes the battery to drain again and you have to wait on it to charge back up some more and hope to be able to disarm the system when it wakes up. I don't know why the battery has to drain in such a short amount of time. I don't want to keep it hooked to a battery tender or do unnecessary driving just to keep a charge on it.

- Richard C., Durham, NC, US

problem #4

Aug 222022

Forester Limited

  • CVT transmission
  • 33,000 miles

Car has been at the dealership for over 1 week. Parasitic drain on the battery. When the dealership started the car last week, during business hours, the car turned over. However, while it sat in their possession over a weekend, Monday morning it was dead. They do not know what is draining the battery. I first experienced this issue 3 weeks ago. I've had a dead battery 4 times this month. This is the 10th day without a vehicle.

- Kim K., Clyde, US

problem #3

Aug 152022

Forester Limited

  • CVT transmission
  • 33,500 miles


My 2020 Subaru Forester is still at the dealers. The battery continues to drain from an unknown cause and the problem is not fixed. The dealership wants to replace Engine and Cabin air filters, and told me my brake pads and tires need replacing. Both are fine, brake pads are an inch thick. Tire treads are worn the same on all 4 tires, they are also fine, they have many more miles on them, car is only 2 years old. Our car just passed inspection on July 20th, and if those items were faulty, it would have not passed in NYS. We will replace our own filters, thank you very much. Figure out what is causing the battery to drain!!!

- Kim K., Clyde, US

problem #2

Aug 012022

Forester Limited

  • CVT transmission
  • 32,000 miles

My 2020 Subaru Forester's battery kept draining. I took it to the dealer and they stated that it was my after market remote start as the problem and removed it charging me $240.00. So now I'm out the remote starter in Upstate NY brutal winters that I paid $300 for plus the cost for removal. Btw, they kept the remote starter. I took the car to Virginia for a Family vacation and all was well for a week, we arrived near our home after driving 11 hours straight, pulled in to get gas, shut the engine off and battery was drained. Battery was charging for 11 hour drive! Luckily we received a jump start at the gas station and was able to get our car home.

The next day, it drove fine, started and stopped as it should. The next day it wasn't driven at all, the next day it wouldn't start and needed to be towed to the dealership. Because the battery tests that it is "good", Dealership will not replace battery. I've read that others have experienced a drain on their batteries. Is it a software issue? Will a new battery fix the issue? Something is draining this battery. Car is under warranty for only another 2k miles. My car is still at the dealership going on day 4. Add me to the list!

- Kim K., Clyde, US

problem #1

Feb 292020

Forester Limited 2.5L 4 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 200 miles

Purchased my new Subaru Forester Limited from a Subaru Dealer in January 2020. I'm retired. My wife is disabled and not able to drive. I make short trips 4 to 5 miles round trip for groceries 3 times a week and occasionally an 8 to 12 mile trip about every 2 weeks. The rest of the time the car is parked in my driveway. After sitting for three days the battery is drained and the car won't start. I disconnected the battery and charged it. Checked with multi meter showing 12.7 volts. Three days later the car won't start again. I checked the battery and it is drained again!

I charged the battery and went to dealer and talked with service dept. They said it was my fault because I don't drive the car enough to keep it charged. I asked if it is safe to use a trickle charger on the battery when parked to keep the battery maintained. They said that was a good idea. Asked about jump starting the battery if needed. I was told the battery is "special" and it is not supposed to be jump started.

About a month later all my gages when crazy. I managed to drive it to the dealership and the service dept. checked and told me the master computer had completely gone out and commented "that has never happened before with any of the cars they service." I told them something is draining my battery because it can't hold a full charge for 3 days and I have to have a trickle charger on it when I'm not driving it. The master computer was replaced under warranty and I've had no more problems with that, but the battery drain is continuous.

Last week I took the trickle charger off the battery the night before I was to go to an early doctor's appointment. I checked the battery with a multimeter and it showed 12.7 vlt. The next morning my FOB wouldn't unlock the driver's door. I had to use the FOB "key". When I tried start the car, all the gages came on and started flashing in random order - and I heard a buzzing, clicking and some clanking like two piece of metal hitting each other. I tried 3 or 4 times to turn off the car but it wouldn't respond. Finally I popped the hood, got out and disconnected the positive battery cable and all the electronics stopped. I checked the battery with a vet meter and it read 5.7 vet.

I didn't have time to charge the battery and I was afraid if I jump started it that might damage some electronics. I called Uber to take me and my wife to our doctor's appointment. In my haste, I left my phone at home, so I had to walk 3 miles home and get a neighbor to take me back to the doctor's office to pickup my wife and bring her home. I called Subaru and explained in detail the foregoing. The lady taking my report was really nice making sure she got everything I told her noted correctly. She told me to call Subaru Roadside Assistance to get the car towed ini and scheduled a service appointment for 10 am the next day.

When I called Subaru Roadside Assistance I got a robotic AI answering menu that said they were experiencing more than normal amount of requests and unless my tow was an emergency they could not get me a two until the next day. Next the AI said for me to go to the Website and put in my request. I did that and got an appointment for a tow in about an hour. An hour-and-a-half later I got an automated call that my request for a tow was canceled and I should resubmit it tomorrow. I called AAA and got a tow to the deanship in about 30 minutes later.

First the tow truck driver jumpstarted my Forester and partially charged the battery checking it with his electronic meter. He said their was nothing wrong with the battery and I probably had a short draining the battery. The next day I got a call about 1 pm that my car was ready for pickup. I asked what did they find and what did they do? I was told they installed a new battery and there would be no charge to me. When I got to the dealership I talked with the service rep. He said the car had a normal parasitic drain. I asked how long I should expect the battery to hold a starting charge if it is not driven. He said probably 2 days - 3 at the most. He explained the car is never off when I "turn it off" and there are dozens of computers constantly checking and monitoring all sorts of electrical and mechanical functions. That is what he meant by parasitic drain on the battery. He said the battery was a very special graphene battery and a trickle charger would maintain the charge but damage the graphene so it wouldn't hold a charge as well, eventually wearing it out quickly. Instead of using a trickle charger, I should disconnect the positive cable from the battery and make sure the battery terminal is shielded so it can't accidentally short.

I keep a wrench by the garage door to reconnect the battery cable. I googled graphene batteries and read that almost all new cars have parasitic electronics, so why aren't more cars having battery drain problems like my Forester? It seems the electronics in the car have a Control Area Network (CAN) that monitors and regulates the electric flow so that when the car is turned off it turns off the major parasitic drains to the battery. If the CAN doesn't shut off some of the parasitic functions when the car is off they will drain the battery.

And that is what I think is wrong with the car. I don't think it's the battery. I think it's the CAN or programing of the CAN that needs to be fixed. When the Subaru rep and I discussed the parasitic battery drain, he said they measured the drain and it was within the normal limits. He also said all the newer cars have the same problem. He said that Subaru had to go the Graphene battery in order for the Auto Stop/Start function to work and to restart the car and quickly recharge it. So, why don't all the new cars with Stop/Start feature have the same battery problem I'm having? Again I think it has to do with the CAN failing to regulate a proper shut down of parasitic functions so the battery is not drained.

The Subaru rep. said the CAN was working "normally". So, now I'm stuck with a 'new' car that I have to disconnect and reconnect the battery to keep it from loosing its charge while it is parked for 2 or 3 days in order to start the car when needed. Talk about primitive! I read in other owner's complaints that you have known about this battery drain problem since as early as 2014 and you haven't done anything about it. Shame on you Subaru!! Shame on you!!

- JACK P., Little Rock, AR, US

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