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New Subaru Drained Battery Lawsuit Settlement - What Owners Should Know 

There is a new settlement in the Subaru drained battery lawsuit. Here is what customers need to know.

Subaru of America (SOA) has been battling an issue with drained batteries on the Outback and Ascent SUVs. The original lawsuit from 2020 against SOA alleged the SUVs had defective electrical systems causing premature battery failure. A second lawsuit in 2021 against Subaru claimed defective electrical components in the Subaru Forester, Outback, Ascent, Legacy, and WRX vehicles.

According to a new report from Bloomberg Law (by subscription), Subaru of America may be close to settling the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged 2016-2019 Subaru Outback and the 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent SUVs have electrical problems. According to the original filing, the alleged defect may also be present in the 2020 Outback.

2020 Subaru Outback, Ascent drained battery lawsuit

The initial court approval in the June hearing will compensate owners for “frequent battery replacement because of an electronics problem.” Subaru Corporation’s lawsuit settlement merits preliminary approval; consumers told a federal court in New Jersey.

The lawsuit contends Subaru has known about the problem since 2017 and issued a technical service bulletin addressing potential battery discharging after repeated periods of short-trip-driving resulting in a dead battery. The lawsuit says if owners of Outback and Ascent models take their vehicle in for diagnosis of the problem, dealers replace the old battery with the same OEM battery “and is thus a temporary fix only.”

2020 Subaru Outback, Ascent drained battery lawsuit

The class action against Subaru of America claims the Camden, N.J. automaker issued multiple TSB service bulletins filed with the NHTSA over drained battery issues since 2015. The class actions say Subaru has failed to recall the vehicles and fix the problem under its warranty obligations.

What are the terms of the settlement?

The Bloomberg report says the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit will receive cash, warranty extensions, and a software fix to remedy the problem. The parties are set to argue in favor of the deal at a hearing in June, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey said in a notice last week.

The terms of the settlement include payments for out-of-pocket repair costs up to 165 percent of the expenditure, warranty extensions, and a software update that improves the on-board computer’s “charging logic,” the consumers told Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

What should 2016-2020 Subaru Outback and 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent owners do if they have experienced the same battery issues? You should first report a problem to the NHTSA, and you can contact attorneys Ahdoot and Wolfson or Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP.

Stay tuned to Torque News via Subaru Report for the latest Subaru drained battery lawsuit updates.

You Might Also Like: Don't Forget To Do This Critical Maintenance On Your Subaru Before Summer

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Tom McWilliams (not verified)    July 17, 2022 - 12:18PM

I am experiencing the same problem with my 2018 Subaru Impreza. Why isn't my model included in this lawsuit? My car is sitting 'dead' in my garage right now. Dealership wanted $664 to have car towed 50 miles to dealership who informed me that they needed to see both car and battery before they would do anything. Good trick since car will not start in spite of being 'jumped'.

Lyle Sweeney (not verified)    July 26, 2022 - 8:23PM

I just got a new 2022 Outback Wilderness and it almost left me stranded in the middle of nowhere! I was 5 miles from the nearest phone signal and on a 4WD road. Luckily there was another vehicle with me. This has not been resolved in newer models, but it sounds like they are only addressing the older models. Again, this is very dangerous for a vehicle designed to go into the back country.

Shawn (not verified)    September 25, 2022 - 12:55AM

In reply to by Lyle Sweeney (not verified)

MY OUTBACK wilderness had left me stranded twice now with a dead battery. Took to dealer and they try to say it’s my fault. Received a call from Subaru corporate offering to pay for a new battery up to $350 . I have under 7000 miles and now afraid to take it too far from civilization.

Bec215 (not verified)    August 29, 2022 - 12:55PM

We have a 2012 Impreza, mostly local short trip driving, and the battery seemed fine for the first ~5 years, but over the last few years it’s been replaced multiple times - like once a year - and I wonder if this is related.

Consumer reports owner feedback shows much higher than average electrical system repairs reported on older models, from at least 2011.

We’re at the 10 year mark in 1 week, and everything from the control arm and bushings to the clutch and seat airbag sensor have broken in the last six months - after almost zero non-standard maintenance for ten years. Seriously makes me wonder about planned obsolescence, too.

SW (not verified)    September 6, 2022 - 10:13PM

Camping trips: packing and unpacking drained my battery in the wilderness two times. Maita Subaru person said batteries don't work the same anymore. Driving does not charge the battery!? Yesterday I made it home barely. 3A will need to take it to Subaru because I am nearly out of gas. Every time I drove slow or stopped, a ticking started and kept up until I was at a higher speed. Possibly an alternator problem as well. This is tricky stuff on such an expensive, highly rated car made for the outback and could be life-threatening. Check out the radio that won't turn off. The salesperson said I just tell people to turn down the volume = battery drain! Why isn't this a recall item?

Susan green (not verified)    September 29, 2022 - 10:54AM

In reply to by Norma McFarland (not verified)

I had a lot of leakage and had ti take it to summer set ma to have it cleaned with my full maintenance done at the same time . I’d like a new one because it’s a 2919 outback and very low Milage in my car .

Gordon Comfort (not verified)    October 8, 2022 - 1:16AM

In reply to by Toshio Ozawa (not verified)

We have experienced two battery drains leaving us stranded. We’ve paid for three new batteries on our 2017. Little to no help from Subaru. They want to blame a hatch door they said was open at latest episode but it just isn’t true.

Daniela Aviles (not verified)    August 14, 2023 - 3:58PM

In reply to by Toshio Ozawa (not verified)

I have 2023 Subaru Forester. Only have had it 3 months. Batter died two days ago. Took to dealership and they recharged battery. Next day dead. Bought a new battery at Auto Zone. Ran for one day. Dead. Waiting for tow truck noe

William B Jennings (not verified)    September 23, 2022 - 6:58PM

Had battery trouble complete dead nothing showing when we charged it the electrical reading was all messed up had to take it in. After fixed and they said nothing was wrong I started car put it in reverse it died nothing worked and Iwas rolling into traffic. So many people came to my rescue and then AAA came had to by a new battery for 178.00 and it’s been o k since than.

Christine Pincket (not verified)    September 24, 2022 - 11:15PM

Had the car 3 years and the battery died and was told batteries only last that long so had to have my car jumped by AAA and bought a membership and purchased a new battery from Auto Zone for 180.00.

Charles Whitaker (not verified)    September 25, 2022 - 4:14PM

I own a 2019 Outback which I purchased January 31, 2019. On December 8, 2021 I had to replace my battery. Being a AAA member, I called AAA and they dispatched Champion Auto Care and Tow, located in Maple Heights. The tow operator said that the battery was shot and had to be replaced. I purchased one from him costing me $151.19.

Rosalie K Evans (not verified)    September 25, 2022 - 7:28PM

I know have a quick start battery charger since I have had to charge the Subaru battery so many times. And I have bought new batteries for the Outback, also. I thought this was because I had done something wrong, i.e. left a door open too long or some light I didn't turn off. Nice to finally know it was not something I was doing wrong.

Alan Honermann (not verified)    September 26, 2022 - 12:14AM

My battery continues to run down if it is not driven for 5 or 6 days on my 2016 Subaru Outback with the 4 cylinder engine,

Pat Murray (not verified)    September 26, 2022 - 2:35PM

I have a 2017 Outback and have had to replace the original battery plus three more in the last three and a half years. Never have we had to do this on any other car we ever had.. How do I get a claim form?