pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
10,950 miles
Total Complaints:
28 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (21 reports)
  2. replace battery (5 reports)
  3. failed "brake light switch." (1 reports)
  4. spider on sensors - check your sensors! removal fixed (1 reports)
2018 Subaru Outback electrical problems

electrical problem

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2018 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #28

Oct 032019

Outback Lmited 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 25,733 miles


If the car sits unused for four days, the battery is drained so car will not start. I replaced the battery on my own dime. I put in an Interstate battery. The problem still exists. The problem will never happen if the vehicle is run every 1 or 2 days. I have disconnected the new battery and let the car sit for a month. I reconnected the battery after the month and the car started with no trouble. Therefore the battery is good but is being drained rather rapidly when the car is not being used. This has happened numerous times since the first time it happened in Oct, 2019.

I am aware of a class action lawsuit against Subaru regarding this problem. However when I called the dealer I WAS TOLD THEY WERE NOT AWARE OF ANY PROBLEMS WITH THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM THAT WOULD CAUSE A SERIOUS DRRAIN ON THE BATTERY WHEN THE CAR WAS OFF.

- Gene Y., Cave Creek, US

problem #27

Oct 252020


  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,300 miles

Battery dead! I went to storage unit, and was only there 5-10 minutes before my finger and toes got too cold. I got in car. Dead Battery. Snow and ice from day before and damn cold outside temp. I was the only soul around, had to walk on snow and ice to get address and to open gate, for tow truck driver. I regret not doing research before purchase. I also regret selling my reliable 2003 Acura a week before.

- rjonesing, Idaho, US

problem #26

May 142020

Outback Limited H6 3.6L

  • CVT transmission
  • 15,000 miles

We have 2017 Outback 3.6 CVT ETC.

GREAT CARS, BUT MT WIFE HAD HER Battery replaced today on the 2017 right at 3 years into it and repeated episodes of dead battery including the first year. I’ve had several instances in my 18 month old of the dead battery problem, most recently after not driving for 3 weeks thanks to the pandemic.

Subaru has a battery problem. I will eventually replace it with a better battery with more reserve Amos, etc.

I don’t want to have more of the same problem, one which seems to be very common.

- Joseph C., Stamford, US

problem #25

Apr 062020

Outback Touring 3.6r

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,773 miles


I have a 2018 Subaru Outback 3.6R Touring with 17,773 miles on it. On 6 Apr 2020, I attempted to start the car but could't because the battery was dead, luckily this happen in my garage. I jump started it and took it for a +/- 70 mile ride to recharge the battery. For the next several weeks it started fine. However, on May 4th it happened again, at home (lucky me), it didn't start/dead battery. I could go back to the dealer but I would get another sub-par battery, in my opinion not worth it.

My conclusion, I strongly believe the battery in my car is simply a sub-par battery to get new owners like me going just for a little while, in my case, 19 months. Not cool!

- Edgardo M., Layton, UT, US

problem #24

Mar 162020

Outback Touring 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,800 miles

This is the third time I have had to deal with a dead battery for the car. I don't drive it often, and the car runs absolutely fine when the battery is actually working, but the battery dies on its own which leads me to believe that it's somehow draining on its own. There has got to be a recall about this soon.

- Anon O., Brooklyn, NY, US

problem #23

Nov 132019

Outback Limited 3.2L V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 3,500 miles

I went to my Subaru Outback to unlock and the battery was dead again. This is the second time my battery was dead and I had to get a replacement that cost me $180.

Thanks Subaru.

- brogonni, New York, US

problem #22

Sep 092019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles


I have now experienced a dead battery 6 times in my 2018 Outback. Each time nothing was left on in the vehicle and it is parked inside a temperature controlled garage. The first time, the hatch opened during the night by itself (keys were nowhere near the vehicle as I live on the top floor of a high rise). Subsequent times it has occurred when the car hasn’t been driven between 2-7 days. Dealer replaced the battery after the 4th time with the same size battery. It has happened twice since then. I’ve complained to the service department repeatedly that this is an issue and a simple Google search will pull up multiple complaints about it. I have been told repeatedly that the battery may die if it isn’t driven enough. This is a ridiculous response. You should be able to go for 2-7 days without worrying that your battery will be dead! There is even a class action investigation now about it. https://chimicles.com/2018-subaru-outback-dead-battery-class-action-investigation/

- Xan P., Denver, US

problem #21

Jun 202019

Outback Limited 2.5L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

Wife returned to car after lunch to find rear hatch open and battery dead. This is incident #6 like this (but the first time the hatch has opened itself. After the second time I bought a TackLife jump start battery for $80 and have used it to "save myself" four times and counting. Dealership says our days of short runs don't keep the battery charged. I make a point of making a 20 minute run each day so that's not it. This car, and judging from the many similar complaints...this model in general has some electrical problem. They should come with a jump battery kit

My plan for this car.... 1. ALWAYS carry a fully charged jump battery. The TackLife I got is easy to use and works great! 2. Keep the jump battery in the front or 2nd row...with battery dead the hatch won't open 3. Start keeping a log...where, when, what driving conditions preceded event, etc., etc. 4. Call the dealer and complain every time this happens. 5. Another forum mentioned how to start a case with Subaru.....do that. 6. At every service visit, demand that Subaru reimburse me for the Jump Batt which is now part of the car. 7. Warn potential buyers....Great Car....except for this one completely random GOTCHA!

- Steve D., Boise, US

problem #20

Apr 242019

Outback Limited 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 4,100 miles

Liftgate randomly opens overnight, draining battery. Has occurred 6 times since purchasing vehicle June 2018. Had to purchase portable battery jumper (cost around 200.00 to ensure not being stranded somewhere.) Dealer refused to install higher capacity battery.

- Mark E., Chapel Hill, NC, US

problem #19

Feb 152019

Outback Limited 3.6r

  • CVT transmission
  • 8,046 miles

Was left for 3 - 4 days. Went to start, battery low and car goes nuts, relays clicking and clacking but won't crank. Takes a few presses of the start/stop button to shut off this racket. Obviously battery low and won't start car. Got a jump from a kind friend and car starts. Placed on charger overnight and is fine. Subaru dealer consulted and "if it happens again bring it in and we will test battery".

- Les J., Ladysmith, BC, Canada

problem #18

May 032019

Outback Limited 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 4,200 miles


The car has less than 5,000 miles on it and the battery has failed 6 times!. Mainly it seems to happen when the liftgate opens in the middle of the night. The dealer "can find nothing wrong" with the system and suggest that it has something to do with how I'm carrying my key fob. . So far I have tried 1. Not carrying key fob in pockets after coming in the house 2. Buying a rubber key fob "surround" 3. Purchasing a $120.00 Battery Charger from Amazon, which has saved me the last 5 times from having to get towed or waiting for roadside assistance. 4. Bought an RFID signal blocking pouch to put the key fob in. Last time failed was 2 weeks ago. Keeping fingers crossed that this last time will take care of it, but man, a lot of hassle to go through for a brand new $36,000 car!.

Also, the radio/GPS/Phone unit has failed on this car, currently waiting for replacement head unit. These two issues have apparently been going on for years with Outbacks and if I had researched them first, may never have purchased this car!.

I traded in a problem free 5 year old Nissan Pathfinder and am having regrets!

- Mark E., Chapel Hill, NC, US

problem #17

Apr 102019

Outback Limited 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles

Battery has died twice. Last time down to one volt. Dealership (Camelback Subaru) would not replace battery because it still showed that it was charged.

Was told by "battery expert" if the charge is "1" or less, the battery will not take a full charge again. They WILL NOT replace it because it took a half charge.

Was told by dealership that these new cars need to be driven 18 miles often in order to keep the battery charged.

My car is dead. There is no solution.

There is obviously some electrical system that is draining the battery when the car is turned off.

The 1st time when the Subaru tech came out to recharge the battery, I was his 12th customer that morning. I drove it to dealership over 18 miles and it got a partial charge.

I purchased a trickle charger to give it a little boost.

I AM SCARED to drive it because it could die at anytime!

- 2018outback, Phoenix, US

problem #16

Mar 242019

Outback Limited 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 10,000 miles

Had 3 separate occasions where we had to have the Subaru jump started. Took it in to the dealership where they cannot find anything wrong with the battery or electrical system. They replaced battery just for good measure. Had to get it jumped again at an airport lot where we were gone for 4 days. But hey, nothing wrong with the car right?

- Henry S., Beaverton, US

problem #15

Mar 302019

Outback 3.6R V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,038 miles

Drove to hardware store approximately 6km away, the car started with no problem. Came out of store 1 hour later and battery was dead. Had to call Subaru for tow truck. Vehicle started after a boost. This is the second time I have had problems with the battery going dead. Subaru replaced the first battery. So will be going back to the dealer for them to figure out the problem again. Weather at the time was wet snow and rain and no lights or other electric parts left on. Maybe I should have stayed with Volkswagen!

- Barry K., Orillia.Ontario, ON, Canada

problem #14

Mar 262019

Outback Touring 4 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 8,000 miles

2nd Dead battery March 26, 2019. Car parked in garage for most of day. Needed to go out in early evening. Battery Dead, Called Triple A who jumped started car, checked charging system, battery voltage way down. suggested I should drive car for 30 - 45 min to recharge battery. Drove car around for 45min to an hour but afraid to stop to do the errand I originally had to do because I didn't want to turn off engine. 5 days later repeat incident.

Update from Apr 8, 2019: Need to correct mileage: approx 9400miles

- Susan H., Santa Fe, NM, United States

problem #13

Mar 312019

Outback Touring 4 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 9,658 miles

3rd Dead Battery March 31, 2019 Car parked in garage most of day. Needed to go out in early evening Sunday. Battery Dead. Called Triple A who jumped started car but this time before he jump started he showed me how the battery was leaking a little bit of acid, the battery showed 9.5 volts when he started charging and moved to 11.5 then 12.5 volts and the Alternator was "fluctuating". He said I should take the car into the Dealer have them check both the Battery and the Alternator - tell them that the Alternator "fluctuated" even tho his tester machine showed that the charging system was OK. He found that suspect. He also commented he had seen these problems before in 2018 Subarus and that the 490 Cold Cranking rated battery was underpowered for all the electrical demands of these Subarus.

Next morning Monday called Subaru service - bec they are overwhelmed with replacing airbags was told 1st appt would be in the following week. However I asked for and got same day while-you-wait-appointment to have battery and charging system checked. Service rep had someone - not dressed in sevice uniform take car away to test, test results report showed "Normal" just as Triple A guy's test had shown, but I asked service rep to take into account that there had been leaking battery acid and "fluctuating Alternator" And because there had been 2 episodes in 5 days could they please consider replacing the battery. Athough he was courteous he absolutely refused to consider replacing battery let alone replacing with a higher rated Cold Cranking battery.

Told him that I rely on my car starting and have to know that I can get to work and appointments on time and because of the unpredictability of the battery-electrical system I will have to try starting my car way in advance of when I would normally leave - to be able to call Triple A to jumpstart car and then having to drive around wasting time and gas; and when I have passengers in car being afraid that car won't start and will inconvenience more people than just myself. And that this is a safety and security issue.

What could he say to that? Was told there was nothing they could do, I would just have to put up with these incidents. I asked for his direct # to report/record these incidents as they occurred and he agreed to give me his tel# at work.

- Susan H., Santa Fe, NM, United States

problem #12

Jan 112019

Outback Touring 3.6r

  • CVT transmission
  • 45,000 miles

About two weeks ago, I accidentally opened the rear hatch from inside the house with the fob. It was open all night. Next morning, dead battery. I fussed around trying to recharge it with a Battery Tender, no go. By the time I purchased a good battery charger from NAPA, the battery was totally stone dead, beyond saving. This was the OEM battery. I purchased a high quality NAPA AGM battery with much higher Cold Cranking Amps, 625 CCA.After installing it, I found that the audio/nav head unit had failed. Nothing on the screen at all.

Took it to my dealership, they verified I had a failed head unit. They offered me a good-will replacement, for which I am grateful, as they are quite expensive and it was out of warranty. However, they take awhile to get. So I drove around for the next two weeks or so with no stereo, phone connection, or navigation. Two days ago, I noticed when I started the car, it seemed to turn over a little sluggish. Mental note made. Later that day, I had the hatch open for a few hours, loading the back with camping gear. Next morning, got up to finish loading and the battery had discharged itself to 7 volts. I am certain no lights were left on, no key fobs were close to the car. I put the charger on the battery and let it run for around 24 hours until the green light indicating fully charged came on. Then low and behold, when I started the car, the head unit came back to life.

I was going to do some car camping in Arizona over the next two weeks, but now I don't trust the car not to discharge the battery on me overnight, leaving me stranded in the boondocks. Vacation is on hold until the dealership tracks down the problem. I will post the resolution when I get it.

- Dusty R., Silverlake, WA, US

problem #11

Feb 032019

Outback Touring 4 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 30,000 miles

First instance of dead battery- Feb 3, 2019 at night on side of road. Was able to start car at airport parking after being away 5 days. Did several errands, stopping and restarting car. Then headed home for home an hour away - had phone call and pulled off the road to speak on my cell phone (plugged in but car turned off). Talked for approx 20min. Could not restart car. Battery dead. Called Triple A. Waited for 30 min for service in cold Feb temperatures. Annoying! Then there were more incidents occurring in March, 2019.

Update from Apr 8, 2019: Not "30,000" miles - Correct mileage "approx 8000miles" for first of 3 repeat incidents with Dead Battery - Battery goes DEAD unpredictably

- Susan H., Santa Fe, NM, United States

problem #10

Jul 192018

Outback LX 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 3,120 miles

Overnight the battery was dead for no apparent reason. The dealer reprogrammed the passenger window operator motor.

- Don W., Sanborn Ny, US

problem #9

Dec 262018

Outback Premium 2.5i

  • CVT transmission
  • 4,000 miles

I have a 2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium still under warranty. I did experience the same problem, car not starting 3 days in a row. Either it needed recharge or jump start. Recently couple of days ago even after recharge after a stop to pickup coffee needed a Jump Start from a good Samaritan. A check at dealership, it revealed the battery fails the test, so they replaced it with a new battery. So get it checked and replaced. I heard from dealership service staff that some of 2018 Outback have battery problems, probably bad supplier of batteries to Subaru. Also the battery in Subaru doesn't have enough CCAs, it is only 400 CCA capacity. I am planning to replace this battery with a battery that has more CCAs that will stay alive for cold winters.

- Jag P., Herndon, US

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