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What should we do?

  • Keep the car and the battery as is

  • Return the car and request a refund

  • Buy our own upgraded battery and have it installed

  • Buy our own upgraded battery plus a bunch of battery-related gear


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Discussion Starter #1
A few hours ago my husband and I purchased a used Subaru 2018 Outback Limited 2.5i through shift.com. 16k miles. We were in love! White with cream interior and wood paneling. Yes. We’ve both lived in dense urban environments and it’s been a decade since we’ve had our own car.

Test driving, jumping through insurance, financing, and signing took hours. Right before the shift.com folks were about to leave, meaning the car was in essence still on the lot, they couldn’t get the car to start. Everyone here will be shocked to hear that the battery had died.

Especially with COVID, we aren’t going to use the car every day. We’re moving upstate and then eventually may do 20mi days a few days a week plus the occasional haul and outdoor adventure.

We still have time to return the car and get a refund. Curious what this group thinks we should do:
1) Keep it and hope this was a one-off (and buy jumpers)?
2) Return the 2018 Outback for a refund and get a different Subaru? (i.e., not Outback so we don’t have to deal with this battery issue)
3) Upgrade the battery (But with what specifically? I see a 60+ page thread on batteries, but ... can someone give me their strong POV about a strategy to prevent getting stranded for the next ~3 years?)
4) Upgrade battery and buy all the battery-related gadgets I’m reading about on this forum?

Excited to be new Subaru owners but hadn’t heard there’s this whole hazing ritual that comes along with it! 😜
 

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Discussion Starter #2
We also just found a 2015 Forester available on the same site. Not quite as safe per ihhs.org (and safety was one of our key decision points) but >10k cheaper. Quick google search suggests it might have the same issue?
 

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2018 Outback 3.6 R Limited
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35 Posts
Without knowing the history on your new Outback (congrats!), or how long it was sitting before you picked it up, it's hard to tell what the story or the cause is. You said they couldn’t get it started… did they try a jumper box? Was it something other than the battery?

*IF it is just the battery, I wouldn't worry as it's easy to solve. Ask them to install a quality new one. This one from NAPA would fit nicely: https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/NBP7525, but look for something with more than 600 CCA (cold cranking amps) and a good warranty.

And, if the car (any car these days) is going to sit more than it’s driven, a small investment in a trickle charger like this Battery Tender will do the trick. https://amazon.com/Battery-Tender-021-0128-Maintain-Damaging/dp/B00068XCQU/ref=psdc_15707061_t1_B00DJ5KEEA

All things being equal, it’s just a dead battery. If you’re really concerned, AAA isn’t a bad asset considering all the discounts that comes with a membership – and the peace of mind.

You’re going to get advice here that runs the spectrum, but my advice sight unseen is go for it! Having a local mechanic or dealership give it a once over might be a wise move, too.

Good luck!
 

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2016 OB Limited 3.6R
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198 Posts
Have the dealer put a new battery in it as the OEM batteries are terrible in the 5th gen OB. If it starts up first try enjoy your new car. If it doesn't maybe that used 2018 is there for a reason...

Likely just needs a new battery.
 

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2015 Outback 2.5i Limited, Ice Silver/Black
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1,852 Posts
I'd ask them for credit toward buying your own battery, on threat of returning the car. Whether you're actually willing to do that is moot. Tell them you won't be back. Can always get service somewhere else.
 

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2015 Outback 2.5i Limited, Ice Silver/Black
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Can't we delete posts anymore?
 

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2019 Subaru Outback Touring 3.6R
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191 Posts

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2018 Touring 3.6R
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877 Posts
I'm not aware of any persistent battery issues...just an alleged mediocre OEM battery which isn't uncommon for many cars today. Upgrade it and move on. FWIW our OEM battery in our '18 has performed just fine through 40k miles and it sits for weeks at a time in between trips.
 

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There are MANY battery complaints about the OEM battery for Gen5 Outbacks - look at the threads. After my OEM battery crapped out in Oklahoma on a long trip from Texas to Nebraska (on a Saturday) I luckily happened to be near a Walmart that happened to have one battery of the right size. My Outback was still under warranty so Subaru sent me a check for the replacement. The Walmart battery, I found out later, was manufactured by the same company that makes the OEM batteries. Then the replacement crapped out a few months ago. When I say crapped out, I mean it wouldn't take a charge. I bought an Odyssey AGM this time and so far, so good. There is a class action lawsuit that has been filed for this problem and it's not really the battery, rather it's a battery draining issue in the design of the Outback.
 

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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited, No Eyesight, No Navigation
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If you were like me, you would upgrade the battery. But then again, returning the car would never even cross my mind. So, you are not like me at all.

Look, the Outback is not really for people who don’t like to fiddle. It is a fiddly car. For example, there are like 10 different tricks to help squelch dark current drain. I enjoy the fiddling. Lots of people don’t. Subaru should realize this and tighten their sh*t up. Some people will read this post and get mad, before they remember they implemented their own steps to help squelch dark current drain. However, many Outback owners today just want to press the Go button without having to learn the secret handshakes to get a car to be boringly reliable.
 

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2017 2.5i Outback Limited w/ Eyesight, Wilderness Green
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44 Posts
As stated previously, I would replace the battery and move on. Yes, Subaru has a weak battery. No one will argue against that. But batteries are consumable and will have to be replaced anyway. I would require the seller to replace the battery FOC or I'm not buying. With as little as you expect to drive, a trickle charger/battery maintainer is HIGHLY recommended. Batteries don't like to just sit - they have to be exercised. Driving the car for short periods and then not touching it for a while will be hard on any battery. I've replaced far too many motorcycle batteries before I learned this lesson. If you like the outback, keep the car and get a new battery. Invest in a half-decent battery maintainer. Move on to bigger and better problems, like convincing your Jeep friends that Outbacks are cool too :ROFLMAO:
 

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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited, No Eyesight, No Navigation
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Move on to bigger and better problems, like convincing your Jeep friends that Outbacks are cool too :ROFLMAO:
Hey, I just bought a twin size bed pad that fits perfectly in the back of my Outback. I can stretch out and have a good night's sleep back there. That makes my Outback way cool.
 

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2015 3.6R Limited w/ES
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...There is a class action lawsuit that has been filed for this problem and it's not really the battery, rather it's a battery draining issue in the design of the Outback.
Apart from a possible isolated and rare defect (which I don't believe exists, but some insist), there's really zero evidence of that for Gen 5s. Unless you can argue that leaving a door open shouldn't drain the battery. ROFL. There are all sorts of active lawsuits against car manufacturers - doesn't mean they have any merit.
 

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18 Outback 3.6R - Touring
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A few hours ago my husband and I purchased a used Subaru 2018 Outback Limited 2.5i through shift.com. 16k miles. We were in love! White with cream interior and wood paneling. Yes. We’ve both lived in dense urban environments and it’s been a decade since we’ve had our own car.

Test driving, jumping through insurance, financing, and signing took hours. Right before the shift.com folks were about to leave, meaning the car was in essence still on the lot, they couldn’t get the car to start. Everyone here will be shocked to hear that the battery had died.

Especially with COVID, we aren’t going to use the car every day. We’re moving upstate and then eventually may do 20mi days a few days a week plus the occasional haul and outdoor adventure.

We still have time to return the car and get a refund. Curious what this group thinks we should do:
1) Keep it and hope this was a one-off (and buy jumpers)?
2) Return the 2018 Outback for a refund and get a different Subaru? (i.e., not Outback so we don’t have to deal with this battery issue)
3) Upgrade the battery (But with what specifically? I see a 60+ page thread on batteries, but ... can someone give me their strong POV about a strategy to prevent getting stranded for the next ~3 years?)
4) Upgrade battery and buy all the battery-related gadgets I’m reading about on this forum?

Excited to be new Subaru owners but hadn’t heard there’s this whole hazing ritual that comes along with it! 😜
I have a 2018 OB and the battery failed with in 6 months. It a weakness of Subu. Went to Sams club and got one with 3 yr warranty for around $100. Should not be a deal breaker
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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When buying a used car I just automatically assume it is going to need a new battery. It wouldn't even occur to me to be bothered by having to replace it right away. Heck, I wasn't even bothered that much about buying a new battery for the Outback I was leasing. I want a battery I can trust and I can't trust one that is simply too small or one that I don't know the full history of.
 

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2017 Outback Premium 2nd Subaru owned
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212 Posts
I replaced my OB battery after six months. Subaru and many buyers know the stock battery is junk. I was not going to "wait and see" I need the car to start when I need it. No tow truck is going to get up my driveway when there is a foot or more of snow on the ground and 0 degrees. Forget being under warranty too. Replacing junk for junk just isn't right. I bought the best battery I could find. At the time it was at Advance Auto Parts. Last month it quit. Died, under warranty. I was given a new battery of the same quality. If I get 3 years out of it, I am happy. The industry doesn't make good batteries anymore.
I have two Motorcraft batteries I bought from a Ford dealership. Still going strong after 9 years. I know I am am on borrowed time with those. Those are on my classics, not daily drivers.
 
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