pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
8,000 miles
Total Complaints:
12 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (11 reports)
  2. backgate light on ceiling was left on (1 reports)
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2016 Subaru Outback electrical problems

electrical problem

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2016 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #12

Oct 262018

Outback Limited 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


After having the doors open, probably an hour, while detailing the interior, dead battery AGAIN. Subaru roadside assistance is going to get really tired of hearing from me! They were out in an hour, a jump started it right up. Another call to the dealer. Their comment was that when they detail cars in their shop they put a charger on it to prevent this from happening. REALLY!

All the annoying electrical systems on this vehicle are a pain. Want my old Hyundai back!

Even though the original battery tests good we’ve bought a new one. Not the mileage light and drivers side power window won’t work from the drivers controls. What else! Another trip to the deale is on the calendar to get that fixed.

- Lynn O., Pine Island, US

problem #11

Aug 202018

Outback LX 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,300 miles

My 2016 Outback is having problems starting. It will just die randomly. Yesterday it died for the 3rd time when I was in our driveway. I heard clicking sounds under the hood. Lifted the hood and it was coming from the fuse box inside the car. One of the blue rectangles surrounding the fuses was vibrating. The fan was blowing, but, nothing else electrical worked in the car. Seats wouldn't move, etc. We jumped the car and then the memory in the electrical system was wiped out. EXTREMELY frustrated as this is a new fully loaded expensive car. BTW - I used my 2002 Tahoe sitting in the driveway to jump start the car. This was supposed to be my reliable car. Already having probs communicating with the Subaru dealership. Can anyone listen anymore?? UGH.

Update from Aug 24, 2018: So, after a day and an overnight at the dealership to test if there was any parasidic draw on the battery, yes, eye roll, they replaced the battery. Seems ridiculous. Now, I'm about 5 months from my warrantee running out and considering buying the extended b/c not really sure they fixed it. When we did jump the car at home, the trickle charger said we had a full charge on the battery, so, I don't understand why the dealership determined that was the problem. They irony here is that I used my 2002 Tahoe to jump start my NEW car......I do feel old when I say they don't make them like they used to!!

- Rebecca M., Centreville, VA, US

problem #10

Nov 252016

Outback LX 2.51

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,318 miles

I was on a fishing trip in a fairly remote area and when my partner and I returned to the car to leave I could not start the car. The entire electrical system was down - no lights functioning, etc. I tried all suggestions in the ownership manual and nothing worked. I called the local dealer and was informed that they could not respond. I next called AAA and eventually help arrived and we were able to get the car started with a cable jump start. My fishing partner purchased a similar Subaru about a month before I purchased mine and his wife experienced a similar problem while on a shopping trip. She was unable to start the car because the electrical system was dead. I took my car into the dealership the day after my car had failed to start and after keeping it for a day to trouble shoot the problem I was informed that they found the battery fully charged and that they could not find anything wrong with the electrical system. Since then I have not experienced a similar problem with not being able to start the vehicle but this remains a spooky problem because I do not have confidence that I won't experience this non-starting problem again - especially now that I am aware that it has happened to someone else who also purchased a 2016 outback. I am curious to learn if other owners of a 2016 Subaru Outback have experienced a similar problem. When 2 of 3 people I know experienced the same problem it doesn't seem like a coincidence. How widespread is this problem and is Subaru aware of it??

- John A., Bend, US

problem #9

Jan 232017

Outback LI

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,600 miles


Mine is 7 months old and this 2nd time I have starting problem. First time when it occurred , I called Subaru road side assistance and got jump start. As per dealer there was a back light was on and it drained the battery. Not sure why it was on. Now again today it is not starting and it is a pain in ass. Waiting for my friend to give a jump start.

- Ravi Shankar G., Redmond, WA, US

problem #8

Oct 312016

Outback 3.5i V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 899 miles

I researched various reports before settling on the 2016 Subaru Outback. This was supposed to be the last car I would ever buy and I hoped to hand it over to a young friend after my driving days come to an end. This was highly rated by Consumer Reports. Okay, now for the rest of the story. Even before the cold weather set in, we came out to the car one Fall morning and it wouldn't start. I had to call for service and they sent a tow truck to take it in to the dealer. The service person told me that by putting on an auto start, I had so burdened the electrical system that I needed to add a trickle charge to keep the battery from being continually exhausted. The man explained that the battery that came with the new car is not the best quality, and that it should be replaced. While replacing the battery was done under warranty, I was charged for the trickle charger. Since the car is plugged in whenever it is not in use, I thought that would be all it needed. Boy, was I wrong.

Update from Jan 12, 2017: On January 7, 2017, the car wouldn't start again. I called Roadside Assistance (again) and they sent out a truck to take it back to the dealer (again) and I followed it in. This time, there was a poster on the wall at the service desk that is titled "Electronic accessories and your new vehicle." It warns that "most vehicles have a significant draw even when parked" due to the fact that so many of their systems are computer controlled. At any time, it warns, the draw is significant enough to require installation of a "battery maintainer" and in the winter, at low temperatures, the car must be plugged in with a battery maintainer AND driven at least 30 minutes per day simply to keep the charge.Even in the summer, it says, if the car is "parked for 5+ days, . . ., sooner or later you will have to jump the vehicle to start it." This sounds absurd to the people I have spoken with. At least two have suggested a "dead fault" in the system. The car is going back for repair or replacement.

Update from Jan 31, 2017: After consulting with several people who are knowledgeable about cars and electrical systems, and finding them completely baffled by the company's explanations, I asked the folks who had installed the remote start to check their work and to go over the electrical components on the car. They did agree that the load of electronic equipment on all new cars can create problems with the small and light-weight batteries that are standard equipment. They also recommended that a "battery maintainer" be installed to offset that load. In the course of their examination, they found that the auto company had improperly installed and failed to check the trickle charger which was reading "ERROR" and was not working. They suggest that may be the problem and so I returned to the dealer and had the trickle charger installation fixed. That was yesterday, and it is warm here until next week. So, I will check back in here with any news next week.I continue to think that Subaru should put in a heavier battery as standard equipment.

- andreaak, Fairbanks, AK, US

problem #7

Nov 242016

Outback Limited 3.6r

  • CVT transmission
  • 8,200 miles

We have had our Subaru for about 5 months. Love the car but had a problem starting it 5 or 6 times already. For instance, trying to use accessory position seems to kill the battery in about 5 minutes. And now that weather is cold I have had two cases where it just won't start. I bought a jump start battery and that has always started it right up. I have to get to the bottom of what is killing the battery!

- Fred R., Portsmouth, RI, US

problem #6

Sep 232016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,704 miles


We keep the Subaru in the garage and sometimes don't drive it for a week, so initially I thought that somehow I left the light on and didn't notice as the car was completely dead. I had it jump-started and it started up right away. The AAA guy told me to drive it around for 30 minutes, which I did. While driving I noticed that the driver-side window controls for the passenger-side window was not working, but the three other windows were operable just fine from the driver's side. The passenger-side window did work if using passenger-side switch. I took it to dealer but the service center was closed already. I parked it for 10 minutes and it started up fine. Drove it home and next morning decided to test it again and it was dead. I'm waiting to see which dealer/service center can take me. I have a 7-year warranty which looks like it should be covered, other than paying $100 deductible and cost of diagnosis (guessing about $200). It's still a S__T as we hardly use (have it for a year) and it's just a few tons of metal and plastic sitting dead in the garage right now.

Update from Sep 30, 2016: Fixed! Simple and no cost (except stress and time). I had it jumpstarted again and took it to our Subaru dealer's service center myself. The service guy there, Jared, very nice, heard my complaints and asked to check one thing. He opened the backhatch and spotted a backgate light on the ceiling, very dim, that was left on. It's hard to spot as it is, and if you are more that 6 feet tall you will probably never notice it unless you are specifically looking for it. This killed the battery he explained, as newer cars are extremely sensitive to slightest drop in voltage. He also said that when the battery dies the computer system can exhibit erratic behavior in some ways, and in my case it was the window symptom I mentioned above. He did a hard reset by holding the window in fully open stage for 5 secs and then fully closed for 5 secs and now all windows working as they should. I figured that saved me at least $300 ($200 for diagnostic and $100 deductible). One more tip to pass on: Originally my wife had called a few Subaru service centers to make appt. -- and that would have been 10-20 days out. As I considered it an emergency ("2 tons of unusable steel and plastic sitting in my garage) I called them and they told me as it was emergency to just bring it by to see what they could do. (My "final" tip: don't let other people empty your car if it's full of junk -- that was how the light got accidentally switched on)!Thank you Jared of Serramonte!

- sosubarume, San Francicso, CA, US

problem #5

Jun 242016

Outback Limited 6 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 490 miles

Decided to drive my new car, tried to start it, battery appeared dead. Was able to jump start it with portable starter.

Drove 15 minutes to first business, car restarted. Drove 5 minutes to 2nd business, car wouldn't start. Called AAA Roadside Assistance, Let car sit a few minutes, then it started. Cancelled AAA RA.

- Sandra F., Hemet, CA, US

problem #4

Jul 032016

Outback Limited 6 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 623 miles

So, new car got a new battery 2 days ago and now it won't start AGAIN! Called Subaru Roadside Assistance for a jump start. Drove around to charge the battery, stopped for my errand and car started and got me home.

But, I've Never Ever had a car that killed the battery so often, I'm not even reporting the times it wouldn't start and I was able to restart it with my own portable starter. Did I get a Lemon? Taking the car to the dealer again after the 4th of July holiday. I shouldda bought a Toyota or a Nissan or a Honda!! They've been reliable for me!

- Sandra F., Hemet, CA, US

problem #3

Jul 012016

Outback Limited 6 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 612 miles

After battery service from dealer 4 days ago, car won't start again and this time the portable starter won't start it. Called Subaru Roadside Assistance got a jump and drove directly to dealer. This time, battery tested BAD and was replaced with a new battery.

Update from Jul 8, 2016: Well, upon the third visit to the dealer, someone noticed the hatch light inside was on. I didn't ever notice the light and hadn't touched it, so no idea how it went from "door" to "on"; but if you have issues with car not starting and battery dying, you might want to double check the map lights, dome light and the hatch light. Subaru needs to add in a ding and a warning light upon open door when insides lights are switched on as they go off gradually and who sticks around for that?

- Sandra F., Hemet, CA, US

problem #2

Nov 102015

Outback Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,300 miles

car is barely 2 months old, it wouldn't start. i was told that i left my backdoor light on but I don't believe it. I took it to the dealer/service and that is what they told me. Two weeks later same problem.

- mmva, Richmond, VA, US

problem #1

Nov 192015

Outback Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,500 miles

engine turns over but car won't start

i have to say, i am not surprised. after it happened once, before i even had the car for two months, i just knew something was very wrong. so when it didn't start this evening -- all i could say, was oh well, what a horrible situation to be in. my 16 year old son is now driving me around with my 13 year old Honda CRV. Never had a problem with my Honda - my mistake.

- mmva, Richmond, VA, US

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