fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
23,550 miles
Total Complaints:
55 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (32 reports)
  2. replace battery (18 reports)
  3. charge battery (1 reports)
  4. failed "brake light switch." (1 reports)
  5. replace trunk (or boot) light switch (1 reports)
  6. replaced faulty dcm control module (1 reports)
2018 Subaru Outback electrical problems

electrical problem

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2018 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #55

Feb 082023

Outback LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


This is the next time I had to have the battery addressed. I took it to the Subaru dealership and they charged me 444.00 for a "software update." But that did not prevent it from happening again at the end of 2023.

- kariestes, Festus, US

problem #54

May 202022

Outback LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

This was the first time that I had to replace the battery.

- kariestes, Festus, US

problem #53

Dec 312023

Outback LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

The last time I had this fixed at the dealership was February of 2023. Now I have another dead battery 11 months later. I am going to take it to my local mechanic tomorrow because they are in town. I will have to travel 50 miles to take it back to the dealership to address the repetitive nature of this issue.

- kariestes, Festus, US

problem #52

Sep 012019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles


2018 Subaru Outback with Dead Battery repeat, repeat, repeat issue. I had to buy 2 batteries in the last 4 years, just to finally find out it ain't the battery. It is the car. PARASITIC BATTERY DRAIN There is now a pathetic class action lawsuit to pay for the expense of purchasing new batteries, towing, buying equipment to regularly jump your battery. I filed. Haven't heard anything back. The really fun part is every time it happens the hatch won't open. Therefore, my 90 year old father cannot get his walker out until I either take it to the dealer or crawl through to the back of the car and pry a plastic cover off and dig around with a screwdriver until I can locate what to pry on to get the hatch to open. I am 60 with a fused spine... it ain't fun.

I have gotten a total run around by the dealer's service staff, management, customer advocacy and now apparently I have to email the class action lawsuit administrator. In the meantime, summer is approaching in Arizona with up to 115 degree weather which means I cannot carry around my lithium battery powered charger without risk of it setting the car on fire, and I live with the possibility of getting stranded out on a country ride, with a dead battery, no air conditioning and a 90 year old man with poor health stuck in the car. Hmmmm... perhaps a wrongful death lawsuit is what it will take for Subaru to fix their massive 2015-2020 engineering electrical system design problem. DON'T BUY SUBARU

- Joy A., Tucson, AZ, US

problem #51

Nov 162021

Outback Limited 3.6L

  • CVT transmission
  • 30,776 miles

The battery was dead missed a doctor appointment had to call Springfield MO. Reliable Subaru no help from them, installed a new correct battery later verified ok by dealership. I bitched about there lack of acuity on the electrical issues we were experiencing and I stated this car is still under warranty and you all say can't find anything wrong.

I later found out there were issues galore lots of problems so they failed me as a dealership. We are still having issues, we had our radio and gps replaced they stopped working, so far the biggest headache I've had with a vehicle and I've had many new ones other brands. Road indicator one lane location stops working than we go out the following day or hours later it's working, fearful to take a trip from home. The tail gate opened up, a cat or wild animal tore up the front passenger seat claw rips put seat cover over it what a damn mess.

- Ronald L., Branson, US

problem #50

Jan 012023

Outback Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,950 miles

Subaru has replaced the 2018 battery twice already because it was completely dead. This last few months the battery has been dead several times but is still considered viable. Since Subaru won’t admit it needs a stronger battery or revising the electrical system, I have purchased a portable charge to keep in the car for when the battery again goes dead without warning. Although the Outback has numerous warning lights, there is no light indicating that the battery needs charging or replacement.

This is particularly difficult and annoying for my wife and me since we are elderly and afraid of being marooned when the battery suddenly goes completely dead.

- Yoel M., Scarsdale, NY, US

problem #49

Nov 032022

Outback 2.5I LTD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,200 miles


Subaru is aware that the CAN in the 2018 Outback causes the battery to drain when the engine is not running but chooses not to fix it

- Teresa P., Raleigh, US

problem #48

Nov 192022

Outback Premium 2.1L

  • CVT transmission
  • 81,000 miles

This has happened before. The car sat for 4 days and the battery was dead, 0 charge. After I had this several times in the past few years I replaced the battery 6 months ago. New battery dead after the car sat for 4 days.

- Chuck C., Norcross, US

problem #47

Feb 022018

Outback V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles

Four weeks after I bought my new 2018 Outback my car died at a red light, then it started back up. Then 6 weeks later in my garage I find my new car with a dead battery. You could not even unlock the doors. Dealer came and picked it up and gave me a loaner, said it needed a computer update and installed a new battery. Then 2 months late the same exact issues, go to start my car in my garage and it is dead again. Dealer comes out again picks up car and brings me a loaner but this time they keep it a week and say the car is fine after recharging the battery.

It's now at 3 weeks and I am waiting to see if in a couple of weeks the car is dead again. No doors were left open or lights left on. This car went from starting at midnight to no start at all at 7:00 am the next morning. And when I say dead there are no lights coming on no horn and the doors won't even open... it is dead as dead can be. I bought a new car so that I could have a reliable vehicle and now I feel like I bought a Lemon.

- Jacqueline B., New Braunfels, US

problem #46

Aug 092022


  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

I bought the battery in Sams Club and I changed it myself, I just want the money I paid for the Battery - $150.

- Hilda C., FL - Miami, US

problem #45

Sep 192022


  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,700 miles


The Subaru Outback and other Subaru models all share this problem of battery drainage. Subaru should offer a fix so that the OEM (original Equipment Manufacturer) provides a more robust battery to cover the obvious battery drainage issue with these vehicles. A new battery supplied by SUBARU should be required fix by the NHTSA.

I have replaced the original battery at my own cost with a more robust battery (60 month battery 26 520CCA) (The original Subaru battery was a 330.) I may have to get an even more robust battery if this doesn't help. I will also drive with the headlights in the ON position as this is supposed to kick in my charging system on the Subaru. I will also get a battery pack with cables to jump my car if this happens in the boonies somewhere.

- Barbara S., Glastonbury, CT, US

problem #44

Apr 012021

Outback 3.6R V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles

Battery ran down quickly, and it was slow to start. Car would not start a few times; had to jump start it. I complained to dealer and the said they checked the battery and there was no problem. I had to jump it a couple more time and finally replaced the battery - 2 years before the dealer recommended period of every 5 years. As you said - a pain in the ass. I don't go anywhere with this car without jumper cables, and the cars 4 years old!

- Anthony P., Bloomington, US

problem #43

Mar 312022

Outback Touring 2.5L Boxer 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,800 miles

Great car, but unexpected problem. The battery drained overnight, and I charged it up in the AM, dealer checked battery, said it was fine. But it discharged twice. Nothing left on. Replaced the battery.

I just became aware that this is a continuing problem in these particular cars. Wish Subaru would come up with a solution.

- radgram, Bonney Lake, US

problem #42

Jun 002019

Outback Limited 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 5,000 miles

My 2018 Outback was a Dealer used courtesy car that I purchased as a CPO in 2019 with 3,900 miles. The battery went dead the first time 3 months later. The battery needed to be jump-started 2 or 3 more times in 2019. The battery died 4 times in 2020. The Dealer replaced the battery in March 2021. The battery drained again 6 months later (in Sept); and again in November when AAA tested it and stated the "battery needed to be replaced". Dealer refused to replace the 9 month old battery in December 2021; saying "it checked-out okay", and that "they did a computer updates to both the radio (it would not retain saved stations) and the recharging system". So far the radio has retained saved stations, but not solved the dead battery issue.

After battery went dead again in March 2022. The Dealer retested the battery saying "it tested as being good". After challenging the Dealer's diagnosis based upon my learning from the internet about the multitude of Subaru owners having the same problem and the class-action lawsuits. The Dealer offered to do and just completed a 24 hour draw test on the battery. The result being "nothing found"; "no electrical draws identified". I asked the Service Mgr. "what's going to happen to the time it goes dead?" His response was "I don't know?" .. "I guess we'll test it again". I told the Mgr that was unsatisfactory. The time I've lost and aggravation experienced because of this ongoing problem... waiting for a jump-starts; having to buy a battery pack; worry and unreliability of vehicle; three times in diagnosis service!! All because Subaru built a vehicle with intermittent, parasitic electrical draws, and, powered it with an insufficient, under-sized battery - which Subaru has known about since 2014-15, in several models, and has/will not correct?!

I then asked the Service Manager for a written statement from the Dealer and/or Subaru acknowledging that this ongoing issue first began while my vehicle was under warranty, and is therefore still covered under the warranty; and that Subaru takes responsibility for the problem with their electrical system that is causing the battery to be drained and causing premature battery life. I will not be hold my breath until that written statement arrives. But if I cannot join a lawsuit; what else can one do?

It should be noted that I have spoken with three Hansel Subaru Service Advisors and the Service Manager several times regards this electric draws/dead battery issue. Initially I questioning myself when the battery went dead. What was I possibly not doing (operating) correctly? Did I leave a light or the radio on? This more modern (computer controlled) 2018 vehicle replaced a less complicated 1994 Ford Explorer. And the voluminous owner's manual speaks a different language. A language even the Subaru Service Advisors and Service Mgr. have candidly stated is difficult to comprehend and confusing to them .. "don't bother reading it" ... "just ask us".

I have had to purchase a battery pack to jump-start my $36,000 vehicle. And the Dealer has stated/recommended I purchase a trickle charger to solve my problem!! I have told the Dealer that is ridiculous!! That even if they/Subaru provided the charger; that would be unacceptable. Subaru needs to fix the problem that they created; passing their problem on to me is not acceptable!!

This parasitic, intermittent, electrical drain issue has been known since 2014-15. And, my electrical circuit, dead battery problems began when my CPO vehicle was under warranty; has continued to exist; and it is Subaru's responsibility to fix it!!

I have filed a compliant with Subaru's "Consumer Advocacy Department" in NJ Headquarters. And I am attempting to contact the two law firms listed on the internet as being involved in the class action lawsuits against Subaru. Although one of the law firms is only handling a legal action against Subaru of Canada.

I would very much appreciate any suggestions and/or legal information that CarComplaints or its readers might be able to provide towards getting Subaru to be responsible for this ongoing problem effecting their customers.

Thank you very much, Dennis

- dennis amato, Santa Rosa, US

problem #41

Aug 132021

Outback Limited 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles

After repeated dead batteries and 2 replacements, I took my 2018 Subaru Outback to the dealer and asked that they keep it until they found the cause of the battery drain. It took them several days, but they finally discovered a faulty DCM Control Module, which has some sort of communications function that I didn't subscribe to. There was a recall on the module, but apparently the notice only went to Subaru owners who subscribed to the service that I declined. The faulty module was causing a battery drain. The recall had expired, but the dealer convinced Subaru to cover the cost of replacing it as a courtesy. If Subaru hadn't agreed, I'd have asked the dealer to simply disconnect the module.

- Larry G., Silver Spring, MD, US

problem #40

May 252022

Outback 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 44,000 miles

When the hatchback is left open, the battery continues to drain at a high rate. This is, apparently, due to lights being activated until the hatch is closed. The dealer has updated the electronics to turn off interior and mirror lights after TWENTY MINUTES. There is no reason that the de-activation should wait that long. Even after the update is installed, the battery dies after 2 hours and the car won't start. This causes me to have to:

1. Cancel appointments

2. Call and wait for a jump start

3. Miss out on events

This should not be occurring. I should be able to leave my hatch open as long as I want. Since I frequently unload when I arrive at home and reload when I leave home, it makes sense for me to leave the hatchback open.

This is a problem that is introduced by the way the system is designed. It should be fixed by the manufacturer.

- John W., Livermore, US

problem #39

Mar 182022

Outback Touring 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 43,000 miles

I have just seen that a class action lawsuit for battery issues for the 2015-2022 models. Funny that this comes up, the dealership said that I too need a new battery… The Outback is only 3 years old - why would I need one yet.

I hope that I also get a letter for a new battery. We will wait and see…

- Kevin M., Seaford, US

problem #38

Mar 092022

Outback Touring

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,800 miles

It seems like there is a parasitic draw on the battery - it has died numerous times. I have to keep jumping it. The car is only 4 years old, the battery is from less than 2-1/2 years old.

When the battery is dead, I can't open the rear hatch to get at the jumper battery I've taken to carry around with me - as the battery has died so many times - and I've been unable to start car.

- kguarnotta, North Woodstock, US

problem #37

Mar 142022

Outback 4-Dr Touring 3.6L R

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles

Experienced dead battery first time on 11/19 when the car would not start after continuous cranking. It finally started after 3rd attempt at continuous cranking. Dealer could not replicate problem.

Battery replaced with stronger battery from Costco (550 cold cranking amps) after car would not start on a Sat morning 12/19/20.

Next experience on 1/27/21, windows would not operate or open individually but did so only with master switch from drivers door. Dealer performed reset to all window auto function. Battery parasitic draw test was ok at .03AMP. Dealer wanted to replace the battery but I refused. On 1/30/21, I took battery back to Costco & replaced it under their warranty claim.

This was 3rd new battery put in this car, as original battery was replaced on 12/19/20 with new battery from Costco with more cold cranking amps. And that battery was replaced on 1/30/21 also with 550 cold cranking amps.

On 3/14/22, car would not start using remote auto start. Also would not start using start button in vehicle. Vehicle cranked rapidly but would not turn over until 6th attempt using start button. On 3/15/22 dealer could not replicate problem but found bad battery during rest. It had no parasitic draws, which dealer stated was due to low mileage of 1,000 mikes in last 2 months. Dealer recommended installing a battery tender to keep battery charged while not driving. I had dealer install a battery tender. Dealer also charged battery.

- Kathy B., Oakdale , MN, US

problem #36

Jan 272021

Outback 4-Dr Touring 3.6L R

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,032 miles

1/27/21 Replaced Costco battery under their warranty after dealer made that recommendation.

- Kathy B., Oakdale , MN, US

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