Subaru Ascent Forum banner
1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all-

I am in negotiation with some dealerships on a 2020 Limited Ascent. I just came across some recent news about a lawsuit against Subaru for issues with the batteries in the Ascent and some older models of the Outback. I also see several complaints on both these forums and the NHTSA site related to batteries frequently dying, but it looks like most of the complaints are older (Ie. a year ago).

My question is: Is this still an issue for the 2020 model, and is anyone aware of a solution? Is the issue with the actual battery, or another issue (some component continuously drawing power or something). It seems that some people were taking their cars to the dealership, only to have them swap out the battery for the same OEM battery, and the problems continued.
 

·
Registered
2020 Ascent Limited
Joined
·
101 Posts
You seem to hit on a lot of the areas of concern when it comes to the battery/liftgate issue. I have a 2020 Limited that I purchased in May and accidentally left the tailgate open for over 12 hours in my driveway 3 nights ago. I feared for the worst. I went out to look and the interior lights in the trunk area (and rest of the car) were off and I thought the battery was dead. Nope. Pressed the close button on the tailgate and it shut with zero struggle and the car started right up like normal. Mine has an OEM battery, but only 2300 miles so maybe not enough wear on the battery to begin to demonstrate any weakness, I don't know yet.

The 2019's had a TSB/Recall for a component in the liftgate area but no one will really knows if that fixed the problem or not (maybe I am wrong on this one). What many people say is the most effective fix is installing a much higher-quality battery as the OEM battery doesn't handle the potentially-high draw from the liftgate being open (~4 amps). MANY people have worked with Subaru of America (SOA) after having a few issues and SOA has either replaced the batteries for them, or reimbursed the cost (even for more expensive batteries). Many people haven't had another issue after the battery is replaced. I haven't seen any issues with mine yet, but I carry around a portable jumper pack in the trunk (always have). If I ever begin to see any of battery issues, I'll simply go to my dealer/SOA and start the process to replace the OEM battery.

There are also a number of people who use the "carbiner" method that includes using a carbiner on the latch "hook" and then closing the liftgate really close to the hook, then they can open it up and the battery draw is gone (for the most part). You can look up the "hack" on this forum. Just search for "carbiner". Most of these instances are for extended use of the tailgate being open (e.g. camping), but not everyone has the problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You seem to hit on a lot of the areas of concern when it comes to the battery/liftgate issue. I have a 2020 Limited that I purchased in May and accidentally left the tailgate open for over 12 hours in my driveway 3 nights ago. I feared for the worst. I went out to look and the interior lights in the trunk area (and rest of the car) were off and I thought the battery was dead. Nope. Pressed the close button on the tailgate and it shut with zero struggle and the car started right up like normal. Mine has an OEM battery, but only 2300 miles so maybe not enough wear on the battery to begin to demonstrate any weakness, I don't know yet.

The 2019's had a TSB/Recall for a component in the liftgate area but no one will really knows if that fixed the problem or not (maybe I am wrong on this one). What many people say is the most effective fix is installing a much higher-quality battery as the OEM battery doesn't handle the potentially-high draw from the liftgate being open (~4 amps). MANY people have worked with Subaru of America (SOA) after having a few issues and SOA has either replaced the batteries for them, or reimbursed the cost (even for more expensive batteries). Many people haven't had another issue after the battery is replaced. I haven't seen any issues with mine yet, but I carry around a portable jumper pack in the trunk (always have). If I ever begin to see any of battery issues, I'll simply go to my dealer/SOA and start the process to replace the OEM battery.

There are also a number of people who use the "carbiner" method that includes using a carbiner on the latch "hook" and then closing the liftgate really close to the hook, then they can open it up and the battery draw is gone (for the most part). You can look up the "hack" on this forum. Just search for "carbiner". Most of these instances are for extended use of the tailgate being open (e.g. camping), but not everyone has the problem.
This is excellent information, thank you! I'm glad to hear that SOA has been responsive and willing to replace the battery if need be. We want to use this vehicle to camp/boondock in some remote places, and battery issues would certainly be a concern!

I'll research the carbiner thing and file it away for future reference. I also wondered if the switch to LED lights helped - it seems that most of the vehicles available in my area comes with a "Popular Package 2A" which includes LED lights; I wondered if that was related to the earlier battery issues too.
 

·
Registered
2020 Ascent Limited
Joined
·
101 Posts
Well, the LED conversion will reduce the draw on the battery ... but it's not related to this problem. The liftgate "problem" occurred because the car wouldn't fully shutdown until the liftgate was shut. Instead, the vehicle stayed in an "awakened" state (can't think of a better term) while the liftgate was open and it draws about 4 amps (that's a LOT for a car not in use). The carbiner method simply tricks the car into thinking the liftgate is closed.

What I would do is simply keep a portable jump starter in the back storage. I bought this one on Amazon and have another of the same brand in my wife's Sienna. Not only will it help you if you encounter an issue with the liftgate (which you might not) and then you aren't stuck and know how to deal with it ... but if you have kids who touch buttons and leave lights on and doors open and the such, it will help with that too.

BTW, if you haven't owned a Subaru before, one thing you need to understand is that the company really does go above and beyond to try and make things right. Now, don't confuse that with your local dealer who simply is an authorized seller as there are plenty of stories about dealers across all brands. There are good dealers and less-than-good dealers, but SOA will make a genuine effort to make every situation "right" when given the opportunity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Easier to use than the carbiner.....https://www.etsy.com/listing/836897425/hatch-catch-subaru-rear-lift-gate?gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_c-electronics_and_accessories-car_parts_and_accessories-car_accessories&utm_custom1=dc4f75ee-7099-4fc5-a648-4ad5f45fb5f3&utm_content=go_2063581590_76452867775_367965825567_pla-354955384985_c__836897425&utm_custom2=2063581590&gclid=CjwKCAjwjqT5BRAPEiwAJlBuBTHOKMmFuiczBK621ZX88P6TBWTug7wteciXyYpr5elhqnLvsRduIBoC5NkQAvD_BwE
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
10,948 Posts
I second the Etsy latch catch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Easier to use than the carbiner.....https://www.etsy.com/listing/836897425/hatch-catch-subaru-rear-lift-gate?gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_c-electronics_and_accessories-car_parts_and_accessories-car_accessories&utm_custom1=dc4f75ee-7099-4fc5-a648-4ad5f45fb5f3&utm_content=go_2063581590_76452867775_367965825567_pla-354955384985_c__836897425&utm_custom2=2063581590&gclid=CjwKCAjwjqT5BRAPEiwAJlBuBTHOKMmFuiczBK621ZX88P6TBWTug7wteciXyYpr5elhqnLvsRduIBoC5NkQAvD_BwE
That looks potentially useful - but one would hope a 45k car would work as expected without having to "trick" it with aftermarket dongles!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
10,948 Posts
That looks potentially useful - but one would hope a 45k car would work as expected without having to "trick" it with aftermarket dongles!
Work as designed isn't the same thing as work as expected. 😉

Regardless, people have made Subaru aware of their expectations, and hopefully, they can address it in the design, assuming the new liftgate controller revision hasn't already resolved it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Work as designed isn't the same thing as work as expected. 😉

Regardless, people have made Subaru aware of their expectations, and hopefully, they can address it in the design, assuming the new liftgate controller revision hasn't already resolved it.
Robert, do you know when the liftgate controller revision was rolled out?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
10,948 Posts
Robert, do you know when the liftgate controller revision was rolled out?
Sadly, no, I don't. There've been a few of them (five, I think), and I did not catch the release dates. So, the good news is, Subaru is working to make it meet expectations. Personally, I think no one ever anticipated the need to leave a lift gate open for a day. Now, with Subaru Ascent specific/compatible gate tents available, and of course, an apparently large contingent of dog owners/pet businesses using the Ascent, there's obviously a big need.

I ordered the liftgate catch, but, may one day get the new control module and test. I just don't have the time right now to deal with it, especially with the COVID situation on Long Island, limiting business interactions a little bit. My work hours don't work well for this - and it's a $100 deductible on my extended warranty (I've LONG blown past the 36,000 mile original warranty, lol!).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
680 Posts
TSB is not showing VIN change # and just say start of MY2020 for Accent and they do have VIN # for Forester ... in 2020

so far i only recall 1 user with MY2020 claiming they still have problem
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,136 Posts
The head unit in my 2018 Outback died when I attempted an update. Then for the next three days, the battery was dead each day after sitting for 10 hours. I took it to the dealer and the service writer said he should be able to solve both problems with software updates. We will see. Something about the infotainment unit draining the battery even though it is totally dark and unresponsive.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
10,948 Posts
The head unit in my 2018 Outback died when I attempted an update. Then for the next three days, the battery was dead each day after sitting for 10 hours. I took it to the dealer and the service writer said he should be able to solve both problems with software updates. We will see. Something about the infotainment unit draining the battery even though it is totally dark and unresponsive.
That's a bug in the original Outback head unit firmware. We never had the version with the black screen issue. Did you have a head unit recall?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Sadly, no, I don't. There've been a few of them (five, I think), and I did not catch the release dates. So, the good news is, Subaru is working to make it meet expectations. Personally, I think no one ever anticipated the need to leave a lift gate open for a day. Now, with Subaru Ascent specific/compatible gate tents available, and of course, an apparently large contingent of dog owners/pet businesses using the Ascent, there's obviously a big need.

I ordered the liftgate catch, but, may one day get the new control module and test. I just don't have the time right now to deal with it, especially with the COVID situation on Long Island, limiting business interactions a little bit. My work hours don't work well for this - and it's a $100 deductible on my extended warranty (I've LONG blown past the 36,000 mile original warranty, lol!).
I have not had any battery issues with my 2019 Ascent Limited (18 months, 14,200 miles), but through ascentforums I became aware of the problem of battery drain when leaving the powered lift-gate open for extended periods of time. Thus I ordered the HatchCatch carabiner/dongle device (from Etsy) which I carry in the Ascent just to insure I won’t drain the battery should I need to leave the lift-gate open for a long period.

I wanted to check to be sure the HatchCatch works as claimed, so I placed my AC/DC Clamp Meter around the cable that runs from the negative terminal of the battery to the ground on the frame of my Ascent. Below are the readings (all readings are in amps D.C.):

Starting (all doors and rear lift-gate closed) 0.00
Open rear lift-gate (LED rear cargo light on) 2.10
Close lift-gate (after 2 or 3 min) 0.32
Opened rear lift-gate again 2.02
Turned off rear cargo light (reading after 30 min.) 1.88
Rear lift-gate open using HatchCatch dongle 0.35

Thus using the HatchCatch dongle with the rear lift-gate open cuts the drain on the battery over 80%. I also carry a lithium ion jump starter in case the Ascent battery should ever fail.
 

·
Registered
2020 Ascent, 2011 WRX, 2009 Outback
Joined
·
628 Posts
Personally, I think no one ever anticipated the need to leave a lift gate open for a day. Now, with Subaru Ascent specific/compatible gate tents available, and of course, an apparently large contingent of dog owners/pet businesses using the Ascent, there's obviously a big need.
Seriously? No, seriously?

Subaru or not. Dogs or not. It's inexcusable to drain the battery dead by leaving the rear gate open (after turning off the lights, etc).
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
10,948 Posts
Seriously? No, seriously?

Subaru or not. Dogs or not. It's inexcusable to drain the battery dead by leaving the rear gate open (after turning off the lights, etc).
For four hours.
 

·
Registered
2020 Ascent, 2011 WRX, 2009 Outback
Joined
·
628 Posts
Four hours is nothing. I have left the hatch open on my WRX all day without thinking about it. Extremely common and no different than truck owners (previously owned 3) leaving their tale gate down or rear window open.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
I have not had any battery issues with my 2019 Ascent Limited (18 months, 14,200 miles), but through ascentforums I became aware of the problem of battery drain when leaving the powered lift-gate open for extended periods of time. Thus I ordered the HatchCatch carabiner/dongle device (from Etsy) which I carry in the Ascent just to insure I won’t drain the battery should I need to leave the lift-gate open for a long period.

I wanted to check to be sure the HatchCatch works as claimed, so I placed my AC/DC Clamp Meter around the cable that runs from the negative terminal of the battery to the ground on the frame of my Ascent. Below are the readings (all readings are in amps D.C.):

Starting (all doors and rear lift-gate closed) 0.00
Open rear lift-gate (LED rear cargo light on) 2.10
Close lift-gate (after 2 or 3 min) 0.32
Opened rear lift-gate again 2.02
Turned off rear cargo light (reading after 30 min.) 1.88
Rear lift-gate open using HatchCatch dongle 0.35

Thus using the HatchCatch dongle with the rear lift-gate open cuts the drain on the battery over 80%. I also carry a lithium ion jump starter in case the Ascent battery should ever fail.
What Jump Starter or Battery Pack do you use?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
What Jump Starter or Battery Pack do you use?
I purchased a TopVision 2200A from Amazon ($79.99). I've had it less than a year, and have not used it yet to jump start a car, It seems to hold its charge for months (shows 99% charged) after sitting in my Ascent for 4 or 5 months. I have used it for charging my phone, I figure it makes for peace of mind if a door is accidentally left ajar and my battery would be drained. Also it will be useful to provide a jump start to another stranded motorist. There are many other good jump starters out there besides the TopVision -- the TopVision has high ratings and it was offered for $30 off last November on Black Friday, so I made the purchase.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cactus99 and i2p
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top