Dead Battery

2018 Subaru Outback (Page 1 of 3)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Subaru dealer. Seal Of Pretty Good


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
17,600 miles
Total Complaints:
47 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (30 reports)
  2. replace battery (13 reports)
  3. failed "brake light switch." (1 reports)
  4. replace trunk (or boot) light switch (1 reports)
  5. replaced faulty dcm control module (1 reports)
  6. 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 3)

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

problem #35

Mar 162022

Outback 4-Dr Touring 3.6L R

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,500 miles

12/12/20 Replaced original battery with battery from Costco with more amps. (550 CCA).

- Kathy B., Oakdale , MN, US

problem #34

Nov 202019

Outback 4-Dr Touring 3.6L R

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,005 miles

First experience, dealer said battery was okay, they couldn’t replicate.

- Kathy B., Oakdale , MN, US

problem #33

Dec 052019

Outback Touring 2.5L Dohc 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles

This car, a 2018 Subaru Outback, has had a dead battery for the third time in a month. The first time the car was left in an airport parking lot for ten days. A service call got us a jump start and when we drove to the dealer, they were too busy to help us and told us to return after the weekend. The car was dead again a day later, and we purchased and used a portable jump starter. The dealer gave us a full charge and recommended that we never leave the car undriven for more than 2 days! WHAT craziness is this?! This morning the car was dead again... silly us, we haven’t driven it for three days.

We are a couple in our 80’s and though not infirm, we must have a car we can depend on. This car is unreliable and has the potential to leave people in life threatening situations. We are so very disappointed in what seemed a carefully chosen vehicle for our senior years.

- James H., Placitas, NM, Canada

problem #32

Nov 132019

Outback Limited 3.2L V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 3,000 miles

After multiple (10+) boosts and the battery that kept going dead, I made time to take it to the dealer to replace.

- brogonni, New York, US

problem #31

Dec 182019

Outback 3.6R Touring 3.6r

  • CVT transmission
  • 12,035 miles

Had to buy a new battery for my car. The dealer is not being fair. I've had to take the car in many times, they test the battery and say they don't know what's draining the battery, but after 24 hours my battery always dies. It died while they were working on it and still they never offered a solution or anything. This has happened about 8 times over the course of a the first year of owning a brand new car. They replaced the battery in the first 6 months which did absolutely nothing.

I was told to get a bigger battery with more CCA which I did today and hopefully that fixes it. If not, I will be contacting Corporate once again. I shouldn't have to buy a new battery when my car is still under warranty. Everything will be turned off in the car and it still dies. Sometimes when I try to start it when it's dead, I hear my rear hatch open itself. This isn't only due to cold weather, I drove 35 minutes to work, parked in a temp controlled garage, 8 hours later it was completely dead.

I had to buy jumper cables ($12) which I leave in my car, and since I am sometimes alone and not near other vehicles I also had to get a jump starter for $80 so I don't get stranded. So far this issue has cost me a total of nearly $250 and the dealers continue to be stumped. When will the matter get looked into? I am not going to let this slide.. I didn't spend nearly 50k on a fully loaded Subaru Outback just to be yanked around by clueless dealer personnel.

- bakerchopz, Heber, US

problem #30

Nov 012019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

My 2018 Subaru Outback began to have electrical/battery problems in November. If the tailgate remained open more than 20 minutes, the car needed a jump start. This also occurred with varying times with the doors, interior lights, etc. After my dealer couldn't replace the battery even though the car is under warranty (30,000 miles) because after jumping it, it showed okay, and could offer no other solution, I purchased a jump starter as a necessary accessory for this car. I also found Subaru Roadside Assistance was good.

After the last refusal to replace the battery, which shows it cures the problem by others on here, I kept notes and after the latest "dead" battery I again called SRA, this time to my home. The tech said it's just a crappy battery, so Subaru had a bunch of them go through, and he had jump started 18 of them in November. In no case would Subaru replace the battery. I had left the tailgate open, but this time I had him check the battery BEFORE he jumped it. It showed "low" and as usual started after the jump.

This time I made an appointment with my dealer, who again said as long as it showed a good battery on the test, he could do nothing, but if not he would gladly replace it. This time I got there a half-hour early and raised the tailgate. I told the tech it wouldn't start and to check the battery, which failed the test. I got a new battery with everything re-set on the car and happily drove off. If he had refused to give me a battery I planned to either get a loaner or rent something, leave the car and tell them to call me when they had solved the problem. That wasn't necessary, thankfully.

I hope this helps someone else get this fixed the way it should have been taken care of long ago. I'm really disappointed that Subaru is not doing the right thing by replacing these batteries - the car has electrical problems and they know it. I think it actually is a safety issue along with being very annoying and inconvenient.

- Michael W F., Clearville, US

problem #29

Jan 232020

Outback 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles

Here I am in the UK with the same sort of battery problem. Parked outside for 2 days, definitely no lights or anything else left on, and battery went absolutely flat. Unable to open the door with fob or by keyless - just nothing - so I had to use the key. The car is often left for longer than that and never had a problem before. It is only a little over 1 year old. I have now looked at lots of postings about this problem and it must be a Subaru fault - not the battery. Funny thing was that a few days ago, just after we locked the doors, we heard a short buzzing from what seemed to be the rear of the car. Never heard it before!

I have a rescue starter battery, similar to the ones that the AA have, and used it successfully to start the car. I will be carrying it with me from now on!!!!

Update from Jan 25, 2020: Boot (trunk for you all in the USA) light switch faulty and therefore sometimes is permanently ON. It seems to use about 1 amp when measured (seems high), but explains flat battery after a couple of days!

- Nick D., York, Yorkshire, UK

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

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