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2013 Legacy Battery Issue

jimt2jimt2 Posts: 7
edited December 2013 in Subaru
I have had to jump start a new Legacy 2.5i With NAV 3 times and the car is 2 months old. Each time I was waiting to pick up my kids with the key in accessory mode the headlights off and the car off. After 10-15 mins the battery dies and the car won't start. I took it back to the dealer. Said nothing tested wrong with the battery or alternator. I had him put the key in and turn on the radio and wait 15 mins. The car did start but he definitely hear the motor barely crank. He could not replace my battery however, because no fault code existed. After talking some more to him he called Subaru tech line- they told him 'there is only a 490 amp battery in that car and if you put a new battery in the same thing will happen- it will die again. Subaru recommends you keep the car running if you want to listen to the radio. The NAV dashboard takes too much power and can kill the battery very quickly." wow ! what a brilliant design ! I measured with an amp meter myself at home- it DOES take 8.66 amps when the engine is off and the radio (and dash) are on. OK- so why don't they put in a battery that is bigger than a lawn mower battery ! Come on Subaru ! So I went to Sears and bought a new $135 battery with more reserve power for my new car from Subaru with 1300 miles on it. I guess "Love is what makes a Subaru" and not "Brains" to design one that any normal person would use. Very disappointing. Anyone else have this problem ? Should be a recall- and they should put bigger batteries in them.


  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,148
    The cold-cranking amps available on Subaru's batteries have left a lot to be desired for a long, long time. They are excellent batteries (in terms of life).... they just aren't up to the task of extreme cold weather or heavy draw.

    Keep in mind, though, that car batteries are generally starting batteries. They aren't designed for a lot of draw while the car is off. If you will frequently use the car in applications where the battery is being used without the engine running, you might consider getting a deep cycle battery for it. Optima makes their "yellow top" line for automotive deep cycle applications. They'll run you ~$200, but that's small change over the life of the unit, especially for peace of mind.

    Another option is to get a trickle charger and apply it on a full charge cycle weekly. There is no way that the battery in your car is being fully charged by the engine running alone unless you are driving for hours at a time, so your battery is operating in a continually weakened state. That will not only shorten its lifespan, but also make it more prone to letting you down when you stress it as you noted above.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • jimt2jimt2 Posts: 7
    Thank you. Your response if very helpful and informative. I just never had a car where the accessory draw is so much that it can kill a battery so quickly. Not a great design for the real world, but it's clear what is happening. thx
  • My husband has a 2013 Subaru Legacy, and we have noticed that on days where the temperature is below 35 degrees Fahrenheit or so, it is having trouble starting. It cranks for about 7-10 seconds prior to starting, or will not start until after a few attempts. We have owned the car for about a year, and did not notice this problem last winter.

    So far, we have taken it back to the Subaru Dealer twice. The first time, they told us they found nothing wrong with the car. The second time, they tried draining and recharging the battery. Our car is still having issues starting, and we are not sure where to turn to next. Is this a known issue with Subaru Legacy? Our car is still under warranty, so any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,148
    Do you pause between turning the car to the "on" position and your attempts to start? Particularly went it is cold (like 20F or colder), this can sometimes be a problem with our Subarus. If you put it to "on" and give the car's fuel pump a chance to prime and pressurize, it may start easier. You don't have to give it a lot of time. I tend to put the car to "on," then fasten my seatbelt, then start. With this technique, they never miss a beat even on the coldest days, and our days will sometimes be as cold as -55F.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085

    I agree with the last appender. Our last car was a VW Diesel that REQUIRED one to wait for the pre-heater sequence to complete before cranking the engine. When we got our new Subie, we continued the same process of pausing before actually cranking the engine. (Just wait for the gauges to do their thing and return to 'zero') Subie starts on the very coldest Vermont mornings within 2 seconds of cranking.

  • The original post has more to do with the reserve capacity on the battery instead of the cold cranking amps or CCA's. The reserve capacity is the number of minutes a battery fully charged at 80° F will discharge 25 amps until it drops below 10.5 volts. That's why your battery was needing jumped after sitting in accessory, as the dealer had said. The alternator wasn't putting any charge back into the battery because the engine wasn't running. I'd suggest going to Auto Zone or somewhere and getting the battery with the highest reserve capacity while still staying in your battery group size. 
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