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Subaru Battery Lawsuit - New Information Outback And Ascent Owners Should Know

There is an update in the Subaru drained battery lawsuit. See what it means for 2015-2020 Subaru Outback and 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent owners.

Torque News covered the Subaru drained battery lawsuit one year ago when the news first broke. The class-action lawsuit alleges 2016-2020 Subaru Outback and 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent SUVs have electrical problems causing the battery to drain. Torque News reported recently, multiple lawsuits were filed, and they have been consolidated into a new class-action titled, In regard Subaru Battery Drain Products Liability Litigation.

Attorneys Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP told Torque News a new ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey largely denied Subaru's motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' consolidated class action complaint.

Subaru Outback, Subaru Ascent battery lawsuit
photo credit: Competition Subaru

Subaru made the motion to dismiss the case recently, saying the battery drain lawsuit "is a classic vague and inconsistent 'shotgun' pleading that 'asserts multiple claims against multiple defendants without specifying which of the defendants are responsible for which acts or omissions, or which of the defendants the claim is brought against."

The attorney's report says the court dismissed some claims and found plaintiffs "stated numerous viable claims under state consumer protection statutes, common law, and for breaches of warranty." The court's new ruling allows the Subaru case to proceed into discovery.

Subaru Outback, Subaru Ascent battery lawsuit
photo credit: Competition Subaru

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."

What should 2016-2020 Subaru Outback and 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent owners do if you have experienced the same battery issues? You should first report a problem to the NHTSA.

If you are a 2015-2020 Subaru Outback or 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent owner or lessee who has experienced battery drain problems and would like more information, you can contact lawyers Benjamin F. Johns and Alex M. Kashurba here.

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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: main image Competition Subaru


Rosemary Finoc… (not verified)    April 16, 2021 - 3:01PM

I have a 2014 Subaru Outback and I to had issues with my battery constantly discharging after it was replaced by a dealer here in California, claiming the terminals were corroded, but it didn’t seem like the right size it too kept discharging, had to borrow a charger all the time and afraid to go anywhere because the car may not start. Finally I charged battery all day and no problems again. But I won’t go back to that dealer again Kearny Mesa!

Rod Painter (not verified)    April 16, 2021 - 4:14PM

I own a 2015 and 2016 Subaru Outback and never had issues with the batteries or anything else for that matter

Ryan (not verified)    April 16, 2021 - 7:00PM

Made a lot of money off this flaw from Subaru, it’s all models not just two. The Panasonic battery factory is garbage they should be sued also. Took them long enough to notice this now Subaru is using lithium, lets see if it helps

Dan Bolton (not verified)    April 16, 2021 - 11:19PM

I had 2 batteries drain. One in 2019, then a second in 2020, but was unaware until now of the issue. I've owned Subaru for 30 years, but the garbage they produce now will have me look elsewhere for future vehicles.

Barbara Finnigan (not verified)    April 17, 2021 - 7:32AM

My car is 2 years old, 2019 Outback and this has happened three times. The second time they replaced my battery with an upgraded one they say. And the last time they said they found that there was a little green light was not shutting off in my on star. They replaced the switch.

Russell Casey (not verified)    April 17, 2021 - 9:21AM

Wead several episodes of battery drain on our 2017 OB Limited. Dealer said multiple times the battery was fine. Dealer performed charging update. No help. We drive a lot of short trips. Finally, I purchased a Duralast battery and SOA paid me for it after my request. Nine months later the Duralast failed and was replaced under warranty. Current Duralast has been fine for about 18 months. The only significant issue we have had with vehicle.

Linda Moore (not verified)    April 17, 2021 - 10:54AM

I have a 2015 Outback and have had to replace a drained battery 3 times! But I got all three from AAA. So I'd say it's not only the batteries Sunday dealers used.

Maurice Singer (not verified)    April 17, 2021 - 11:57AM

Battery problems :
2019 Subaru Outback
The battery died, l had to call the tow service for a jump start. Eventually got it started and l drove to the dealership. They checked the battery and said that it was still under Warranty...however it still has a reading level that would prohibit it from being replaced.
If l would like to replace the battery ,they could , but this would be on me.
The following service, they replaced the battery, because of the low reading.
I have not experienced any issues with battery, to date.
I did purchase a portable battery pack jumper for longer trips, just for back up.
Sometimes it is most inconvenient waiting for tow assistance.
I must say that the dealership was very
willing to sell a new battery.

David Hajicek (not verified)    April 17, 2021 - 2:56PM

The only problem I had was when I left a door open and the light drained the battery. I charged the battery and have had no problems since. One problem is that the car turns on things like headlights and who knows what else, when you are starting the car. This puts a large drain on the battery. So I turn off the headlights when I am done driving.

Jens Zorn (not verified)    April 17, 2021 - 11:44PM

I'm retired. and my 2017 Outback now (April 2021) has only 10,750 miles ---- I have had the battery replaced twice. -=- both times by AAA's mobile service. The AAA person was not surprised by the battery failure. I'd guess that there is some sort of continual drain on the battery from the vehicle's electronics. Is there an aftermarket battery condition meter available?

Dean Covey (not verified)    April 19, 2021 - 12:35AM

We have had battery drain problems with our 2019 Ascent due to battery drain caused by the tail gate being left up for extended periods even when the vehicle is shut off. For people who need to have the tailgate open for extended periods like campers or show dog owners this is a known problem that Subaru has failed to correct!

David Hajicek (not verified)    April 19, 2021 - 2:48PM

In reply to by Dean Covey (not verified)

There is an overhead light that goes on when the rear hatch is left open. Switch off the light manually. Don't know if there is something else that is powered then the hatch is left open. I think Subaru needs a bigger battery. If I ever have to replace mine, I will get a bigger one.

Fred Morgan (not verified)    April 19, 2021 - 6:13AM

I have a 2021 Outback XT. AAA was out three times in the first four months to jump start the car. The fourth time I had it towed to the dealership and they acknowledged the battery was defective.

John Geffel (not verified)    April 23, 2021 - 11:53AM

Have a 2019 Subaru Outback and the battery went dead at 33K miles. Took it in to local Subaru dealer and they replaced it under warranty with a larger battery. They told me that the batteries up to 2020 models were undersized. The windows stopped working, but the reset is very easy. We’ll see how this one lasts, hopefully for 5 years...

Kathy Allan (not verified)    April 23, 2021 - 1:59PM

I have a 2018 outback limited and I haven’t had any battery problems but I ado keep having key fob problems. Have changed batteries a number of times. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn’t. Unlocking back gate and doors.
Any help out there the dealership says there isn’t any problems.

Frank Lee (not verified)    April 23, 2021 - 11:05PM

I have a 2017 Outback 3.6R. OEM battery started to become less reliable early 2020 and needed multiple jump starts. Even after a long drive, just a few days without driving was enough to make the battery too weak to start the car. I got an aftermarket battery since I don't trust the OEM now. However, I'm concerned by the offline fuel pump test. I've caught it running way more often than should be needed. Daily tests? Multiple days in a row when I haven't driven? Why? Could this be part of the phantom drain?

Mitchell Firestein (not verified)    April 29, 2021 - 2:18PM

In reply to by Frank Lee (not verified)

Have the dealer test the telematics unit inside dashboard for the source of battery draining. They replaced my defective telematics unit in September 2020- and my 2016 has had no problems starting since that time. Also ask about a possible defect with the green light StarLink —on the top above drivers side.

Mitchell Firestein (not verified)    April 29, 2021 - 1:58PM

Have a 2016 Outback 3.6 and had several episodes of battery draining as the car did not start -during a 15 month period -(Jan 2019 thru March 2020) and had to replace battery twice. AAA told me there was a battery drain coming from somewhere.The dealer tested the car each time and found nothing wrong with the alternator and rest of the entire electrical system —which was extremely frustrating. However in September of 2020, after battery failed again—the dealer once again tested the electrical system and determined that a faulty telematics unit (the size of small TV cable box) inside the dashboard was causing a battery drain. A new unit was ordered from Indiana and I had wait a week for delivery. The dealer gave me a new loaner car till the replacement part arrived. Since the part replacement, my Outback has started with no problem—during the snowy winter of 2020/21 and even when the car wasn’t used for 2 or 3 days.
Bottom line, I was lucky with having a good Subaru technician to determine the cause of my vehicle’s battery drain. I was told that a defective telematics unit is not a common issue. But since that replacement (about 9 months ago), the car is running fine and most important- there are quick and reliable startups. Just hope it stays that way

vincent casano (not verified)    April 30, 2021 - 6:31PM

2015 outback is a lemon. I have had so many problems with the cut corners, to many to list here, but I am on my 5th battery and the cables need to be replaced too along with the battery about once a year. The boulder, CO dealerships have been dishonest and lazy when it comes to addressing repairs.

Annette Gangi (not verified)    May 15, 2021 - 10:14AM

I have a 2013 forester which I have owned for almost 4 years and have replaced the battery 3 times due to battery drainage. All three time it was replaced by the dealer which I had to pay for the first one.

Rob M (not verified)    December 16, 2021 - 7:34PM

Driving 2021 Ascent since August. Battery 'died' in a parking lot after short trip from home. Kicked myself thinking I left lights on. For months since I have had weak starts and terrible performance - RPMs jumping all over the place. Been thinking something is wrong with the transmission. Thanks to these posts, now I think I have an electrical problem. Headed to dealer tomorrow.

Rob M (not verified)    December 18, 2021 - 10:05AM

In reply to by Rob M (not verified)

Update: Yesterday Dealer Service charged the existing battery then replaced it. I asked if I could turn all of the electricity consuming features back on. Service Manager said yes I should be good to go.

Beth (not verified)    January 24, 2022 - 9:31PM

2016 Subaru Outback at one year battery died and was replaced by AAA with a larger battery (he said Subaru batteries are poor quality and too small)- no problems with that vehicle since (daughter has it). Now 2019 Subaru Outback 24,000 miles battery just died after not using the car for 3 days. Currently on the charger and will discuss at the dealer Thursday. No obvious lights etc. were on with either vehicles.

Jo Ann B (not verified)    January 26, 2022 - 6:14PM

I have a Subaru Ascent. Use it mainly for travel. Purchased in June 2019. Drove it FL several times between 2019 - January 2021. January 2021 the battery went dead. Called the road service number & they brought a new battery & charged me $199.99. I did get reimbursed after calling & complaining. I had another trip planned in December 2021 & a the day before I would be leaving again a dead battery. I called the dealership & explained that I would be leaving the next morning for FL & was asked to bring the car to the dealership. They said that thought the battery in the fobs were bad & changed them out. While on this trip again - problems but I did have there seemed to be power. I was given what he called a work around & that was to hold the fob next to the starter button & this did work. Stopping at the hotel on the way home (you guessed it) problems & this time I had to use the key to get in but the rest of the way there were no problems. After returning home we were on our way to the store & the sound in the radio just stopped. BTW - this wasn’t our first rodeo with the radio. In between all of this we took it back to the dealership & the reloaded the radio. So by now we have problems with the radio AGAIN, the dead battery, & various other things happening. It is now getting towed tomorrow & they better figure out what is wrong with it or I will be checking into the Lemon law.

JackieLee Erickson (not verified)    May 18, 2023 - 3:01PM

2020 Outback . 2 bd battery jumped to many times to mention. Towed twice ! Voted the most dependable car my ass ! It’s a lemon

Mitchell Firestein (not verified)    May 24, 2023 - 1:34PM

In reply to by JackieLee Erickson (not verified)

Have a 2016 Outback and the Subaru technician check the telematics unit—a part which is the size of a TV cable box-and located inside the dashboard. Had the telematics unit replaced since it was draining power from the battery-especially when car was parked.They gave me a loaner car for a couple of days-till the part arrived from the Subaru plant in Tennessee, Since then-haven’t had any problems with battery-since the end of summer of 2020,