pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
45,000 miles
Total Complaints:
24 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (23 reports)
  2. keep a charged gooloo or similar device in the car (1 reports)
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2016 Subaru Outback electrical problems

electrical problem

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2016 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Aug 032021

Outback 3.2L V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 48,000 miles


Battery died, so I replaced it on my own, and it died again within 1 week. I went to the Subaru dealer and they told me the battery was no good. I purchased a dealership battery, which lasted for a month or so and I had to keep jumping the car. Went back to the dealer and they told me nothing was wrong with the battery. I went back weeks later with another dead battery, left for several days while they tested it, then after it sat overnight. It was dead for them, and still told me nothing was wrong, then put in another battery again. Then the same thing in 2 months. Again I returned for another new battery and they told me nothing was wrong and said this had never had this happen before! 4 new batteries and there is nothing wrong?? C'mon…

I have an extended gold level warranty and they now get very nasty with me.. Service manager never responds to me. Notified Subaru Corporate for help. Of course they told me to drive the car every other day for at least 1/2 hour. Already doing that with no result… Car has sat previously years for weeks at a time with the original battery and never an issue. This one guy told me batteries are not their problem and got very nasty and rude with me. Refused to refer me to someone who could be in a better position to help or higher up. Refused to answer and told me we were done !

Started the process again and got someone new at Corporate. He actually called dealership and believed them that 'nothing was wrong with battery or alternator', but did offer to repay me for a battery from an autozone or such that is bigger than the Subaru one. They would not tell me what to get, and said AutoZone would recommend it. I do not see where it will fix the problem but maybe I will try... I do not feel I should have to buy a new car because they refuse to fix the parasitic drain, plus I have a warranty they from Subaru that they are refusing to honor. I paid for that... At a loss of what to do or who else to contact... Any help would be greatly appreciated.

- jldeputy, Tabernacle, US

problem #23

Mar 292022


  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,961 miles

Car sat for 7 days in my garage and battery completely drained. This has happened before so I now keep a Gooloo jump starter in the car at all times. I was able to jump the car myself without calling roadside assistance. In the past when the battery has drained when I am parked in the garage I have had to call because my garage is single car and standard jumper cables won't reach from another vehicle. This is not a plug for Gooloo but since there doesn't seem to be a solution offered by Subaru I would recommend always keeping some sort of jump starting device in the car. I have a friend who travels frequently and has to jump her Subaru in the airport parking lot after almost every trip.

One other issue this time around-- when the car started X-Mode was engaged and could not be turned off even when driving up to 40mph. The only way to get it to disengage was to turn off the car and let it sit for a minute or so before restarting. Obviously, this is not an ideal situation after just dealing with a dead battery. I was hesitant to turn off the car thinking it might not have charged the battery enough to start on its own and I wasn't sure if my Gooloo had enough juice to do a second jump. Fortunately I was OK.

- James J., Boise, US

problem #22

Nov 012020

Outback ES 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

I have had it in the shop twice for a drained battery. Mechanic said there was nothing wrong with my electrical system, but that I had a parasitic battery drain that left my battery dead if I did not drive my car almost daily. If I was away for 3-4 weeks I disconnected the battery. Purchased two new batteries at a cost of about $160.00 each.

- Chris S., Mariposa, CA, US

problem #21

Dec 052019

Outback Limited 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles


We had to put 3 batteries in car in 3 years. Had to put on a tender. My husband is disabled, has Alzheimer’s and I could not drive somewhere and be sure when we were to leave it would start... a real predicament especially in MN winters and given his condition. He need 24/7 care, and can never be left alone.

I no longer have all those receipts as I no longer have the car. Just had to have reliable transportation. I now own a Jeep and it starts.

We could drive our Subaru 30 min, come home and it would not restart. It made it very hard for medical appts etc. I liked the Subaru, lots of nice features especially Eyesight, but I had to make a change.

I did file a complaint with NHSB. Someone got a nice used car but the battery was an issue.

Update from Jun 8, 2022: My husband is totally disabled, we live in Mn now and could not risk taking him to MD in winter and car not starting. It was on a tender in the garage but still would stop.

We traded for a Jeep Cherokee.

- tollefson , Little Falls, US

problem #20

Apr 022022

Outback 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

Car battery died and I replaced the battery. One day later battery is dead again so I charged it - and 2 hours later the battery is dead again.

- Kevin H., Nokomis, US

problem #19

Apr 152017

Outback LX 2.5L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,500 miles

I have replaced the battery in this Outback 4 times already?!?!! This is ridiculous!!

- James P., Pinehurst, US

problem #18

Jun 012020

Outback Limited 2.5i

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles


Bought Outback Limited 2.5i in 2016 and battery was fine for 3 years. I would leave it for up to 6 weeks at a time and it would always start. Then around June of 2020 the battery was dead, it was jumped and fine but would die after 7 to 10 days. I replaced the battery, but same thing kept happening. I bought another battery at Pep Boys which was way more than the car needed and it did the same thing. I have bought 3 batteries since 2016, 2 in the last year, now it must be started every 2 to 3 days or the battery dies. This newest battery was sold by AAA, is only 3 months old and dies.

Subaru cannot find an electrical problem. It is clear to me that something electrical is draining the battery. I don't trust the car at all any more and it was a very expensive POS. Subaru service is terrible. They smile, are polite and don't solve the problem. As far as they are concerned there is no problem if it doesn't show on the diagnostics, even though it continues to happen and is getting worse. I do not see the point of paying Subaru hundreds of dollars multiple times to solve this problem since they always are unable to locate the source or find the constant battery drain.

Subaru does not back its products. I do not understand where all the glowing reviews come from in the different forums and surveys. My gas mileage has been always been 10 mpg less than other Outbacks at around 20 mpg but Subaru told me it didn't qualify under the lemon law because it still drove and that I probably caused the problem by driving the wrong way. Huh??? I've driven other Outbacks and got 29 - 31 mpg around town and more on the road, I am not the problem. Subaru America is the problem and it is clear from posts on this forum that the battery drain has been going on for years and Subaru has never addressed the problem. Grrrr. I do feel safe in the Outback, love the backup camera and suite of safety features. Hate that there is a 1 to 2 second hesitation when switching from reverse to drive since I back into a busy street and need the car to move when I step on the gas to avoid being hit by someone speeding down the street. I don't know why that is not considered a safety issue but was told by different Subaru dealerships that the hesitation is normal. It shouldn't be. Over my 50 plus years of driving I've driven many different vehicles but this is my first experience with a car not responding to the gas pedal after changing gears. Subaru told me to try different dealerships which I did, but none of them have improved the mileage, the battery problem or the hesitation while changing from reverse to drive.

This is my first and last Subaru.

- Alice B., South Pasadena, US

problem #17

Feb 252022

Outback Premium 2.5i

  • CVT transmission
  • 134,000 miles

Issue same as others. 2016 Subaru Outback (purchased new) with severe electrical problems in the form of (frequent) battery discharge/non-start. This has been a reoccurring issue since early 2017 and is still a problem, even after replacement of the previous battery. I've had the replacement battery tested on several occasions after recharging and the result has always been that the battery is in good operating order. Subsequent alternator tests show the alternator is charging within manufacturer specifications. I've performed multiple tests after fully recharging the batter on several occasions, making sure all electrical accessories have remained (off) for extended periods of time, and the battery continues to discharge. The electrical system has been tested with a professional scan tool, on multiple occasions, and has yielded no adverse results. There has never been any vehicle warning indicators activate to indicate a problem.

Today (2/25/2022) I had to have my Outback jump started 3 times in route to my home 65 miles away. The car died on the road shortly after the first jump, and again after turning the car off to refuel. I looked online to see if anyone else has had similar issues and found the battery discharge/non-start issue to be widespread... and Subaru seems to have been aware of the issue as early as 2017 according to a TSB Subaru sent to all dealers alerting of a potential electrical problem, but providing no solution.

This is a SAFETY ISSUE. If access to an operable car were ever needed in an emergency situation (or) a vehicle lost power while in operation causing an accident resulting in injury or death due to a documented issue Subaru was aware of, but neglected to address, would be tragic. Not only for owners of the affected automobiles, but also any other parties involved. This issue should be immediately investigated & addressed by the NHTSA. If anyone has any advice to offer, it would be much appreciated.

- Brandon L., Sullivan, Mo., US

problem #16

Nov 012020

Outback 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles

2016 Subaru Outback, purchased brand new. During the 1st. year of ownership, after sitting unused for only 3-4 days, the battery was dead. This happened 3 times during the first year. Now that I have owned the car for 5 years, (still only 12,000) miles, the car cannot be unused for more than 2 days or the battery dies. Absolutely no lights or accessories have been left on. The dealership, (Maple Hill Subaru in Kalamazoo, Mi) says there is nothing wrong with the battery and it's normal for a battery to discharge after a couple days of no use. (THAT'S BALONEY) My 2009 Subaru can sit unused for a week and still starts easily. I think this is a Subaru problem they don't want to acknowledge or pay for. IT IS NOT USUAL OR NORMAL FOR A CAR BATTERY TO DRAIN IN 2 DAYS OF NO USE! That's pure BS. The service tech says there's nothing to test because to them the battery is fine. Tell that to my wife when she goes to the garage on her way to a doctor's appointment and the stupid battery is dead again After reading all the other posts about the same issue, I'd gladly join a movement against Subaru for failing to re-call and fix this known ongoing issue. Certainly affecting my future car buying attitude.

- Lyle R., Portage, MI, US

problem #15

Dec 192021

Outback Premium 2.5i

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,488 miles

Battery drained several times after we'd been away from home a few weeks. Each time I jumped it and drove it around to recharge. First time AAA said I needed a new battery: $150. Second time I took it to a local shop and asked them to look for a stray electrical leak or short circuit. They found nothing but charged $300 for the test and $200 for a replacement battery. I now see from comments on the web that this is a common Subaru problem that has never been acknowledged by manufacturer, hence there is a class-action lawsuit on it. Count me in.

- Guy A., Woodacre, US

problem #14

Sep 102020

Outback 3.6R 3.6L

  • CVT transmission
  • 51,749 miles


Did not drive the car for one day. Would not start when I wanted to leave. Luckily it was in the driveway. Hooked up my battery charger and fixed the problem.

It was a certified used car when I bought it 18 months and 21k miles ago. It came with a new battery. This is the second occurrence. I have noticed sometimes the car goes into accessory mode when I walk by with the key fob in my pocket. I wonder if it does not go back to sleep after I leave. I've driven cars for 50 years, I know when a light left on will kill the battery, and that is NOT what is happening. I put my booster cables in the car today. An electrical engineer online says it's the charging system not working continuously, by design. ???

- Tommy N., Gladstone, US

problem #13

Jul 162021

Outback 3.6L

  • CVT transmission
  • 42,000 miles

This is approximately the 5th or 6th time I have come out to start my car and it is DEAD. No lights left on, or anything else to drain the battery. Took it to the dealer - they said everything is fine including the battery. If that's the case, why does this car go dead every so often?

- Camille F., Ridgefield, US

problem #12

Feb 082021

Outback 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

2016 Subaru Outback battery keeps dying. Lights if accidentally left on inside will cause this. This has now happened to us 7 times. We had the battery replaced for a higher quality battery but still have this issue.

- Dianne H., Moses Lake, WA, US

problem #11

Aug 192020

Outback PZE 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Bought Subaru used from a dealer on 8/22/19 with 27,290 miles on it. It appeared to have a new battery from 2019. I got a dead battery several times and finally bought a new one. The battery place said the battery was ok that I bought it with but, sold me a new higher cranking battery...

Just 6 months later, the battery has drained 3 more times. I bought a battery starter for $130. I have used it several times on the new battery... I do not want to get stuck.

I looked it up on your site. Subaru needs to fix this problem. They have had lawsuits over this.

I noticed when it happened again tonight the radio light with the time is lit even though I can not unlock the doors the battery is so drained. This is dangerous.

Please contact me. I wonder if a class action suit is in order.


- Lynne D., Prescott, AZ, US

problem #10

Mar 222020

Outback Limited 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

Once again, the battery is dead, the car was driven yesterday briefly and still woke up to dead frickin battery. Have called Subaru multiple time and still they're not willing to acknowledge the issue. Not what I expected from Subaru at all.

- Tara B., Chesapeake, US

problem #9

Jan 212020

Outback Limited 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,500 miles

didn't drive the car yesterday and woke up knowing the car would not turn over, dead battery. Died again!

- Tara B., Chesapeake, US

problem #8

Nov 192019

Outback Limited 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

I have heard multiple car owners stating the same issue yet when I contact Subaru they refuse to acknowledge this is an issue. I have increased the CCA on the battery, make sure my key is nowhere to assist in draining. When I connect my jump box (which I now carry fully charged in my car) it reads my battery isn't dead at all.

This problem started in early 2019 then again in Nov 2019. I will continue to add the additional month basically if i don't drive the car every day, I know the following day I have to get a jump. I've gotten new batteries every time this has happened. Told the dealership and even if under warranty they simply replace the battery and the issue continues. At this point, I will be selling the car to avoid further issues.

- Tara B., Chesapeake, US

problem #7

Dec 012017

Outback Limited 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles

Known issue. The car draws more amps than the alternator can recharge the battery, so eventually you will have a dead battery. Took it in a couple times at Subaru of Gwinnett in GA. 1st visit, they said nothing was wrong. 2nd visit, battery was dead when they tried to start it, so they replaced battery with same battery and supposedly did a software update. Still having depleted battery, so I put a charger on it once a month. It will charge for 10 hours or longer each time. Have been doing this every month for 3 1/2 years.

Call Subaru @ Gwinnett now, their advise is to purchase a larger CCA aftermarket battery. Yes, you read that correctly. We at Subaru are not going to fix a known issue with our Outback’s electrical system...sorry. It’s your problem to solve. Installing a larger CCA battery only buys you more time between putting a charger on. Doesn’t solve the problem.

- Steve M., Dacula, GA, US

problem #6

Oct 302019

Outback Limited 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 74,000 miles

Been happy with my 2016 Outback Limited / 2.5L 4-Cylinder DOHC. Then, over the past three 3 weeks I've required a jump start because of battery drain. The first time I blamed it on leaving the accessories on when parking for 3 minutes after turning car off. The second time I kept my foot on the brake petal a while after parking. The third time was yesterday. Colder weather has hit Minnesota. The factory battery is only 356 CCA, not enough for a Minnesota winter. After the third time I replaced the battery with 550 CCA. I suspect a new battery will help with adding dependability again, but suspect the problem of battery drain will continue because of the quick electrical draw.

- James K., Eden Prairie, MN, US

problem #5

Sep 152018

Outback Premium 2.4L

  • CVT transmission
  • 58,000 miles

It happened several times since middle of 2018. A typical case is that after I drive about 1 hour from home to my company with audio on, when I try to start the car before going home, it is difficult to start it, just like the battery is gone. Another case is that after driving 30 minutes, I waited for about 10 minutes in Costco gas station with car in idle, after refilled gas, the car almost cannot be started (hesitating start). Just have Walmart auto service check the issue, thought it must be a dead battery issue. But it came out that the battery is good! Now, I even dare not to listen any radio when I am driving. My Outback is even less than three years old! Will bring the car to dealership for further analysis.

- Qingjun Q., Dublin, CA, US

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