Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I know that there are numerous small drains on the battery while sitting, but is it normal for the battery to be dead after 5 weeks of non-use of the car? When I bought my Outback, March 2017, the car would not start on the dealers lot when he wanted to show it to me. At that time, he blamed it on a mat that did not allow the rear hatch to close all the way and drain the battery. I have had other events that lead me to not trust the dealership. Otherwise, I love this car and if anything happened to it I would buy the exact same thing today. Thanks.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,271 Posts
Not uncommon for an OB to be dead after sitting 3 days. Just check out some of the dead battery threads.
 
  • Like
Reactions: r3ds4nd

·
Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
Joined
·
16,151 Posts
I remember when My dad was looking for a new car, 2008 model year. The was 1 SpecB in all of NE Pennsylvania. Of course it was buried in the back of the dealer lot. On (3) separate occasions my Dad had appointments to drive this car. All (3) times it would not start.

He was replacing a 2000 A4 and he just got fed up and went and purchased an A6 instead.
 

·
I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
Joined
·
12,305 Posts
Another battery thread!
 

·
Registered
2017 OutBack Premier, 2019 Forester Ltd, 2016 370z Rdstr
Joined
·
724 Posts
fixitfox,

With all of the battery killers on modern cars, if you don't run them a reasonable amount at least once a week, the battery voltage will drop sufficiently that the car will not start without a boost.

My wife's 2011 Lexus ES350 does this when it sits for two weeks or more while we're travelling or RVing. The charging system is up to spec as is the battery, being just two years old. We never had this issue before she retired and was driving the car every day. (car has less than 45 000 miles) Now, if we are away for any time or her cars sits longer than two weeks, I just pop the battery charger on it and trickle charge it over night. No more issues since I've adopted this pattern.
 

·
Registered
2017 Outback 2.5i Limited
Joined
·
1,107 Posts
These battery draining circuits are there to prepare you all for the day when you plug in your car each night to charge it for the next days use.

Once we're all driving electric cars, what will happen to oil discussions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Suggestion - consider a basic trickle charger or something a bit more

Not too many fans of the Subaru batteries on the forum, and as noted yet "another battery thread..." Hope below is helpful info for you, and other forum readers.

Here's a suggestion to consider - if you park your Outback indoors/under a covered area and have easy access to a 120 vAC power outlet, you may want to consider adding a basic trickle charging device or something a bit more such as a "Battery Tender" to your vehicle/garage (search on Battery Tender 021-0123 Battery Tender Junior 12V, 0.75A Battery Charge). These devices will keep your battery charged/topped off, but not overcharge it. You can find the Battery Tender on Amazon ~$24 each, and even cheaper on eBay ~$18. It has generally good reviews.

These devices are specifically popular with motorcycle owners who often have bikes that only get intermittent use weekends/monthly, and it desn't take much to degrade a small motorcycle battery.

The Battery Tenders (Florida) have a 5-year Warranty* (*return fee $8-$12) - which is good because they are electronic devices, and as such, they can fail. We had one of six new units that would not shift from bulk charging mode (solid red LED) to solid green LED when the battery was fully charged. The tenders are supposed to alternate between float charge and off when connected to a healthy, fully charged battery for extended periods, then when the battery voltage drops from sitting unused, it shifts briefly to the float mode to trickle charge the battery back to full charge, then ends that trickle charge cycle. This process is necessary and desirable, to avoid "cooking" the battery, or the charger, from continuous charging. Note: If your battery is bad or heavily sulfated, the LEDs flash alternating green/red and the device will not attempt to charge the bad battery.

If you don't want to mess with the hassle of opening the hood and clipping the battery clips to the battery terminals each time you park the vehicle for extended periods, you can use/install the included fused, quick disconnect harness option. We have several vehicles that see light use, so we find these devices are valuable to prevent "dead" batteries. The Battery Tender has informative red and green LEDs. When charging it's solid red, then at 85% flashing green, then solid green when fully charged. You do not have to detach the device until before you drive off (<-- of course) it won't over-charge your battery.

If you have a bad battery/bad battery cell, these trickle chargers won't fix that problem. They are intended to overcome the myriad of small loads present on (all) modern-day cars including alarms, and in the case of the newer Outbacks, things like the emission system powering up the fuel pump at odd hours (read about that elsewhere on the forum) I'll spare you the details here.

Based upon your brief description of your battery's past history, it's probably degraded from being in a discharged state for so many times/so long, including the initial dealership days. Also if your battery is exposed to very low and/or very high temperatures, it will have a shorter useful/service life than in more moderate climates.

From the manufacturer (Note: I have no personal or financial interests with this company):

"The Battery Tender® Junior offers much more than a trickle charger could offer. It has a brain. It's lightweight, compact, and fully automatic; very easy to use, especially in small spaces. It will keep your battery fully charged so that it is ready to go when you are!

  • Perfect for all lead-acid, flooded or sealed maintenance free batteries (AGM and gel cell).
  • Complete 4-step charging program (Initialization, Bulk Charge, Absorption Mode, Float Mode).
  • Automatically switches to float / maintenance voltage after fully charging the battery.
  • If the battery voltage drops too far under load, full charger output power resumes.
  • Solid state two color LED indicates stage of charger.
  • Spark proof.
  • Safety timer: 80 Hrs.
  • Reverse polarity protected.
  • 12' output cord.
  • Agency Approvals: UL / CSA / BC / FCC
  • 5 year warranty"
Manual PDF is here - http://products.batterytender.com/021-0123-man.pdf

I know that there are numerous small drains on the battery while sitting, but is it normal for the battery to be dead after 5 weeks of non-use of the car? When I bought my Outback, March 2017, the car would not start on the dealers lot when he wanted to show it to me. At that time, he blamed it on a mat that did not allow the rear hatch to close all the way and drain the battery. I have had other events that lead me to not trust the dealership. Otherwise, I love this car and if anything happened to it I would buy the exact same thing today. Thanks.
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: r3ds4nd

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
5 weeks in the winter with zero charging will just about kill a battery stored with zero car attached. I have 4 cars 2 drivers. My Sequoia needs to get at minimum 40 min of driving every 3 weeks or it’s a jump start. Even 13yrs ago with my manual 5spd Subaru 4 weeks in the winter was nearly a no start every time.

If you need to leave the car parked that long toss a small battery tender solar panel on the dash even just a few days here and there of solar will keep the battery fresh. That’s how my tent trailer lives yr around zero issues. I’d do the same for my cars but I drive them at least every 3 weeks so it’s a non issue. Usually.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,271 Posts
5 weeks in the winter with zero charging will just about kill a battery stored with zero car attached. I have 4 cars 2 drivers. My Sequoia needs to get at minimum 40 min of driving every 3 weeks or it’s a jump start. Even 13yrs ago with my manual 5spd Subaru 4 weeks in the winter was nearly a no start every time.

If you need to leave the car parked that long toss a small battery tender solar panel on the dash even just a few days here and there of solar will keep the battery fresh. That’s how my tent trailer lives yr around zero issues. I’d do the same for my cars but I drive them at least every 3 weeks so it’s a non issue. Usually.
What brand solar panel are you using? Keep thinking about one of those for my Corvette.
 

·
Registered
Lawn ornament XT
Joined
·
14,368 Posts
I know that there are numerous small drains on the battery while sitting, but is it normal for the battery to be dead after 5 weeks of non-use of the car? When I bought my Outback, March 2017, the car would not start on the dealers lot when he wanted to show it to me. At that time, he blamed it on a mat that did not allow the rear hatch to close all the way and drain the battery. I have had other events that lead me to not trust the dealership. Otherwise, I love this car and if anything happened to it I would buy the exact same thing today. Thanks.
That's the new normal.

My 2006 recently sat 5 weeks. It struggled to start afterwards. It has a larger battery and a lower dark draw than your car.

Today they are heavily engineered to support daily commuting. You can use yours for anything you want, but at a certain point when you diverge from expected use you need to make certain accommodations to ensure performance.
 

·
Registered
2018 Outback 2.5i Limited Eyesight - Remote Start - Auto Dimming In/Outside Mirrors
Joined
·
247 Posts
The problem stems from cars are not "off" anymore.

We expect them to light up when we walk by, push a button and unlock (or open doors or start) from hundreds of yards away at times.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,271 Posts
The problem stems from cars are not "off" anymore.

We expect them to light up when we walk by, push a button and unlock (or open doors or start) from hundreds of yards away at times.
Which leaves one scratching their head wondering why Subaru doesn't install a better battery at the factory.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Danver

·
Registered
2018 Outback 2.5i Limited Eyesight - Remote Start - Auto Dimming In/Outside Mirrors
Joined
·
247 Posts
Which leaves one scratching their head wondering why Subaru doesn't install a better battery at the factory.
This is just not a Subaru problem though. I have had SUVs that have eaten a few batteries ... DVD players ... navigation ... screens ... these batteries just can't keep up.
 

·
Registered
'18 Outback Touring Dark Blue Pearl 3.6r
Joined
·
1,671 Posts
Besides being able to start my Outback from anywhere with my Viper MySmartStart, it will also send me a message when the battery is getting low. I then can start it remotely to get it charged.
 

·
Registered
2010 2.5 CVT Limited
Joined
·
1,529 Posts
...
Here's a suggestion to consider - if you park your Outback indoors/under a covered area and have easy access to a 120 vAC power outlet, you may want to consider adding a basic trickle charging device or something a bit more...
All of us that also play in the powersports realm (motorcycles, ATVs, UTV, snowmobiles, boats, etc) are very familiar with trickle chargers.
The case for needing to use one typically follows a similar pattern:
-extended periods of dormancy
-limited battery capacity
-limited charging capacity

Even though many powersports vehicles do not have dark-current drain, lead-acid batteries have a fairly lousy self-discharge rate (and it just gets worse as the battery ages). So while the chemistry and technology are great for regularly operated vehicles, they are not the best for recreational vehicles that get parked for long periods and run for short periods.

btw, 5 weeks is long enough for 10% ethanol fuel to go bad so be careful about parking anything for that long. I don't ride my motorcycle as often as I used to so I will drop in some fuel stabilizer after filling it up.
 

·
Registered
2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
Joined
·
4,352 Posts
All of us that also play in the powersports realm (motorcycles, ATVs, UTV, snowmobiles, boats, etc) are very familiar with trickle chargers.
The case for needing to use one typically follows a similar pattern:
-extended periods of dormancy
-limited battery capacity
-limited charging capacity

Even though many powersports vehicles do not have dark-current drain, lead-acid batteries have a fairly lousy self-discharge rate (and it just gets worse as the battery ages). So while the chemistry and technology are great for regularly operated vehicles, they are not the best for recreational vehicles that get parked for long periods and run for short periods.

btw, 5 weeks is long enough for 10% ethanol fuel to go bad so be careful about parking anything for that long. I don't ride my motorcycle as often as I used to so I will drop in some fuel stabilizer after filling it up.
Pretty much all I use my atv for these days is plowing snow. This means fairly low-speed back and forth driving and frequent use of the electric winch for raising and lowering the plow. Extremely tough on the battery and it doesn't allow much of a chance for the battery to get charged. After replacing the battery a couple of times I finally wised up and now I plug in a battery maintainer after every time I plow snow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Solar panel is an excellent idea - if parked outside and you have a "hot" 12v outlet

Small dash solar panels (e.g. 3 watt) are an excellent idea - if parked outside (or indoors near sun-exposed windows) and your vehicle has a "hot" 12v accessory outlet, or you use battery clips or lug connectors often (not always) included with solar charger panel.

If the vehicle 12 vDC accessory outlet is off when the vehicle is off, and you try to use it to charge your vehicle - with the 12 vDC plug, that won't work - you'll need to an alternate means to connect/direct wire the solar panel to the battery circuit. Some panels come with both terminal lug connectors, and battery clip adapters like this example $25 panel on Amazon (link)

Typical schematic thumbnail is below.

If you need to leave the car parked that long toss a small battery tender solar panel on the dash even just a few days here and there of solar will keep the battery fresh.
 

Attachments

1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top