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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 2019 0utback Premium and I love it except...well, that battery drain issue. It happened a year ago suddenly requiring a jump start every day so took it to the closest dealer (3.5 hours away). Service tech said nothing was wrong with it and to not leave any electronics on when I wasn't driving it, inc, dome lights etc. No problems for a year through the pandemic, when I put less than a thousand miles on the car other than a 1200 mile road trip.

A couple of weeks after the road trip the car wouldn't start again. A friend jumped it with his new battery and it wouldn't start. I called the service tech I had worked with before and he recommended I get a new battery locally. Nkte; A tow to the dealer would mean I would be stranded 160 miles away with no means of retrieving the car and I wanted to avoid that.

We put in a new wet cell NAPA battery. Car still wouldn't start. The dash lights and the headlights would come on but the engine wouldn't turn over and nothing electrical - the central panel, wipers, interior lights, electic door lock, windows, etc.- would work.

Had the tow truck take it to a local ASE certified shop that fixes a lot of local Subarus. The fuses tested good but the CAN tested showed no no communication between the computer modules. They couldn't get it running so it was towed to the dealer, 3 and a half hours away.

I filed a claim with Subaru Customer Service to have the vehicle replaced. I need to be able to have safe, reliable transportation as everything is for away and I am sole caretaker to my 36 year old special needs child. This is a horrid situation for me.

The dealer service tech calls me and says he was able to get my car started in 10 minutes by replacing the master fuse, saying it was blown because of the initial jump start attempt and that the battery drain was because I had left dome lights on and that I wasn't driving it enough to keep the battery charged.

1. That initial jump was done correctly
2. I hadn't had the dome lights on for months per his prior recommendation. I had switched them on only while exploring to see what was working and what was not when the dash lights came on but nothing else would work
3. The car started fine during the 12 pandemic months where I drove it essentially 5 miles a week or least the grocery store and back.. It wasn't until after I started driving it more that it wouldn't start.
4. The fuses all tested good at the local shop. If they hadn't, the local shop would have alerted me to the issue. I did check back with them on this.

And now my car is 3 and a half hours away, ready for me to pick it up, and it is a logistical and scary nightmare for me to go pick it up. Plus I don't trust the car to be safe and reliable, and I don’t know what Subaru customer service will do after they talk to the service rep and he tells them what he told me. I'm scared and stressed.

Looking for feedback and advice, please. TiA
 

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What does Nkte mean?

Someone else blew a main fuse so it does happen - I don't think the dealer is lying about the fuse, but as for the cause of the master fuse blowing, they're only assuming that it was the jump start, but if I were in their position that's what I would suspect as well, unless there were some other major short circuit that went unmentioned.

However, there have been instances where there was no known short and the main fuse somehow blew, so it might not have been the jump start.


Different people have said things that contradict, but ultimately if the dealership indeed fixed the car their explanation seems to be the most credible regarding the fuse being bad, even if the jump wasn't the cause of the fuse blowing - but I must confess that I'm not exactly sure if the pattern of which things in your car worked (headlights and dash lights) while nothing else did.


Driving 5 miles a week normally would not fully charge a battery and over time it could fail prematurely, even if it kept working for a year, it would eventually fail. During the pandemic many people have had battery problems because of this - it's not your fault at all, but it's the nature of cars and their charging systems.

Going forward if I were in your position I would get a trickle charger, either a Deltran Battery Tender, or a smart charger like a CTEK MXS 5.0 if you have access to power in a garage. If you park on the street or in a parking garage then it's very difficult.

The last time I bought a battery from NAPA it wasn't fully charged - this is common these days that when you buy a battery they don't top off the charge before giving it to you, so it's a good idea to get your own charger so that you can at least top off a brand new battery otherwise it will fail prematurely especially if you continue to make only short trips.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nkte = note, with fat finger typing.

Thank you for your reply. The fuse was tested and was good before the car was loaded onto the tow truck for the 3.5 hour trip to the dealer. The NAPA battery was checked and registered at 12.5 volts once it was in my car. The failure (which didn't occur until after I started putting decent miles on the car again) of whatever it was occured before the first jump but the dealer service pinned it on the fuse that tested good before it ever got to the dealer. So, impossible really to get any sort of verification of what the problem was other than knowing the dealer explanation was wrong and it's their word against mine. I do want to say Suburu Roadside Assistance and Subaru Consumer Advocacy were very helpful and the car will be delivered to me in a few days at no charge to me. I'm pretty soured on Subarus now, though, and plan to trade it in on something else soon. And I love this car - my 6th Subie since 1985 - for everything other than this unreliability issue. I'm sad.
 

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Sorry that you felt let down by your car especially considering the other challenges you're facing in life and I hope that your next vehicle serves you faithfully as your older Subarus did.

Even toyotas have problems sometimes but they're still considered the most reliable vehicles out there. Honda is in a similar situation - still very reliable but as things get more fancy there are more problems. You bought a 2019 which was a wise choice because it was the last of a generation vehicle with presumably the bugs worked out but in your case something went wrong anyways.

The reputation of a dealer's service department (and being closer to you) will be very important for having a good experience - all dealerships whether it's Subaru or Kia or any other brand are independently owned and operated and some are very good and some not so good. Independent dealerships are often part of a larger automotive group, which isn't necessarily a good thing.

Mazda has been getting better in reliability and reviews are very positive for them.

Hyundai/Kia vehicles currently have a lot of problems catching on fire so despite their positive qualities I would avoid them for now.

Even if you're not considering a Subaru if you want to talk about what might be a good vehicle for you, I'd be glad to discuss this further - I was a sole caregiver for a while and although it's no longer the case, I still remember how difficult it can be - you have my support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry that you felt let down by your car especially considering the other challenges you're facing in life and I hope that your next vehicle serves you faithfully as your older Subarus did.

Even toyotas have problems sometimes but they're still considered the most reliable vehicles out there. Honda is in a similar situation - still very reliable but as things get more fancy there are more problems. You bought a 2019 which was a wise choice because it was the last of a generation vehicle with presumably the bugs worked out but in your case something went wrong anyways.

The reputation of a dealer's service department (and being closer to you) will be very important for having a good experience - all dealerships whether it's Subaru or Kia or any other brand are independently owned and operated and some are very good and some not so good. Independent dealerships are often part of a larger automotive group, which isn't necessarily a good thing.

Mazda has been getting better in reliability and reviews are very positive for them.

Hyundai/Kia vehicles currently have a lot of problems catching on fire so despite their positive qualities I would avoid them for now.

Even if you're not considering a Subaru if you want to talk about what might be a good vehicle for you, I'd be glad to discuss this further - I was a sole caregiver for a while and although it's no longer the case, I still remember how difficult it can be - you have my support.
I'd love to talk to you about vehicle options. I am also hoping putting the aftermarket battery helps in this one but it's nerve wracking. I don't want to have to plug the car in when I'm not using it. I'm considering Escape, Crv, or even a newer OB or Forester. But the reason I traded my Tacoma in in this one is because this one hits all the marks for me for comfort and utility. I also need reliable and this hasn't been.
 

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I used to be a Ford guy but I no longer trust the brand, if you want the most reliable Subaru I think the Forester is more reliable than the Gen 6 Outback because it's simpler with less to go wrong, and for short trips it's probably a better all-round vehicle. The Outback is softer riding for long journeys with the longer wheelbase and all. But if the only dealer is very far away and you don't trust them, then it's understandable that you'd want a change - but if it's the same dealer that served you well for your other Subarus then maybe?

If you live in the boonies where you need the extra ground clearance and top notch AWD that a Subaru has, then I don't think an Escape or CRV would be the ideal choices.

If I were considering a Ford I'd look at the Bronco Sport. For Honda it would be the Honda Passport or Honda Ridgeline.

I understand that don't want to plug in your car when you're not driving, but no matter what brand you choose, short battery life can be expected from only weekly short trip drives. It's a situation where you have to decide which is more of an inconvenience - plugging it in (at least once a month), or have premature battery failure. It doesn't need to be plugged in daily.

If you want to try to see if your 2019 will recover from this situation and maybe keep it, an Odyssey AGM battery would be my #1 choice, but even then I'd say get a charger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Subaru dealer I've liked for both sales and service is in Boise, 10 hours away. I can't say the same about either of the two that are "close", meaning 3.5 hours away. Thanks for your feed back! That long trip comfort is one of my favorite things about the outback. I've had two Foresters, and while I liked them well enough, the comfort difference is noticeable. The other brand options I'm not real crazy about for various reasons.
 

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I have a 6th generation Outback and the only problem I've had is a leak in the spare tire compartment and low voltage on the battery which I charge once a month. If you buy a new one it will be the 2022 with some improvements already implemented.
 
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