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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went to drive my Limited this weekend and got a pinball-tilt light show and clicking, which I assumed was a dead battery. I jumped it from my wife's car and while it started right up, had a bunch of lights on indicating everything was "off" (Eyesight, RAB, etc). I drove it about 30 minutes, about half on the freeway, came home and shut it off. I let it sit about 5 minutes, and restarted it no problem. I let it idle about 5 minutes and then shut it off. Went out a couple of hours later, and it was showing the same dead battery symptoms and would not start.

Since the car has ~ 2,000 miles on it, I figure this battery was bad from the beginning or was so badly discharged in its life between manufacturing and me taking delivery that it was effectively failed. My Subaru roadside options were either a tow to the dealer or a jump start. Since I could jump it myself and towing to the dealer for a battery on a weekend seemed like a nightmare, I just opted to buy a new battery at the local Autozone. I'm a big believer in AGM batteries in modern, electricity sucking cars, and they are also what I use in my boat (and what most marine manufacturers for larger boats specify), so that's what I bought.

Everything I did seems entirely reasonable, but what are the chances I get reimbursed for this? I'd wager batteries are a consumable not really covered by warranty, but no new car should have a battery fail at 2000 miles. Since it was on the weekend and there were no reasonable options to have the dealership deal with it without days without a car, I think what I did was reasonable, especially since even with the core charge it was only about $200 -- my guess is that if I bought a new OEM at the dealer, they would charge at least this.

Had roadside assistance towed my car to the dealer, the tow charge (which SOMEBODY has to pay) would have probably exceeded the cost of the battery alone, if you factor in the dealership's labor in processing this as a warranty item (ie, jump the car to move it to service, test the existing battery, possibly replace it, paperwork, etc), I'm sure the incurred costs would have doubled or tripled what I actually spent on the replacement battery.

I ate the core charge to keep the old battery so that the dealer could examine it. I suspect this will result in a "we tested it and its fine, no reimbursement" type argument, but at least this demonstrates I'm not trying to rip them off and it was a good faith replacement.

If an OEM replacement is less, I'd be happy with the difference since I know an AGM battery is more expensive and I'm happy to have an upgraded battery I know will handle discharging better.

For what it's worth, the Autozone parts computer didn't show any batteries for the Ascent -- this one came up as a replacement for a 2018 Forester, and the physical dimensions matched the Ascent battery, so I figured it was a suitable replacement.
 

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Interesting and good to know. We stopped trusting OEM batteries after what we went through with Ford, Chevy and then the absolute worst with Nissan. Sure they were covered under warranty but only after leaving the vehicles for thorough testing. We started just buying batteries at Autozone that have worked much better (knock on wood). So, not too surprising that Subaru batteries are not the greatest either.
 

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So it turns out the dealer wouldn't reimburse me, they told me to call Subaru of America.

I haven't received a check yet, but they did say they would reimburse me once they got the receipt.
The Ascent OE batteries are not defective per se, but they have a relatively poor reserve capacity. This means that they are not well suited to situations where there is a repeated heavy drain on the battery when the engine is off. The Ascent's circuitry is known to put a heavy load on the battery when the doors are open for extended periods of time, especially the rear liftgate, which can lead to repeated discharge/charge scenarios for which car batteries are not well designed. Deep discharging and then recharging typical automotive batteries will eventually weaken and even ruin them.

Matching a car that demands heavy discharge loads with a cheap battery that has a poor reserve capacity was a very poor design choice on the part of Subaru. The Ascent should use a premium, heavy duty deep discharge battery designed to handle such loads. Using such a battery should resolve this problem. People who have done this report no further issues.

However, whether Subaru will step up and replace the battery is a matter of interpretation. They made a very bad design choice to use a battery with a poor reserve capacity on a vehicle with heavy load demands, but the battery itself is not defective. So it'll be a factor of whether or not you can convince them that they are responsible for this situation and should replace the battery under warranty.

Also, keep in mind that if they give you another ordinary battery, the problem will not be resolved. However, at least in one case it was reported that they replaced the OE battery with a premium Optima Yellow Top deep discharge battery, so there is some hope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Ascent OE batteries are not defective per se, but they have a relatively poor reserve capacity. This means that they are not well suited to situations where there is a repeated heavy drain on the battery when the engine is off. The Ascent's circuitry is known to put a heavy load on the battery when the doors are open for extended periods of time, especially the rear liftgate, which can lead to repeated discharge/charge scenarios for which car batteries are not well designed. Deep discharging and then recharging typical automotive batteries will eventually weaken and even ruin them.

Matching a car that demands heavy discharge loads with a cheap battery that has a poor reserve capacity was a very poor design choice on the part of Subaru. The Ascent should use a premium, heavy duty deep discharge battery designed to handle such loads. Using such a battery should resolve this problem. People who have done this report no further issues.

However, whether Subaru will step up and replace the battery is a matter of interpretation. They made a very bad design choice to use a battery with a poor reserve capacity on a vehicle with heavy load demands, but the battery itself is not defective. So it'll be a factor of whether or not you can convince them that they are responsible for this situation and should replace the battery under warranty.

Also, keep in mind that if they give you another ordinary battery, the problem will not be resolved. However, at least in one case it was reported that they replaced the OE battery with a premium Optima Yellow Top deep discharge battery, so there is some hope.
I haven't left the doors, hood or hatch open overnight or for any other extended time, so I'd call a battery that fails at 2k miles defective. That being said, if this battery had been brand new the day I picked up the car, I think it would still be fine. My suspicion is that the vampire drain of the electrical system combined with a relatively long period inactivity between manufacturing and delivery resulted in a destructive over-discharge of the battery. "Starter" batteries are the easiest to sulfate from charge starvation and excessive depth of discharge.

Part of my reasoning in replacing it myself even though there was risk of not being reimbursed for it was that it would allow me to replace it with an AGM battery which has superior reserve capacity and is resistant to damage from deep discharge. I didn't really *want* another OEM battery and at the end of the day would have preferred to pay out of pocket for an AGM (at worst) or the differential between an AGM and an OEM.

Electronics-heavy cars like the Ascent, IMHO, need more than just a better quality Group 35 battery, I'd argue they should provide a larger capacity and better battery, possibly relocating it out of the engine compartment as well to reduce environmental exposure and heat. There may even be some question as to whether vampire electronics should be powered by a secondary battery, leaving the starter battery for starting.

Interesting and good to know. We stopped trusting OEM batteries after what we went through with Ford, Chevy and then the absolute worst with Nissan. Sure they were covered under warranty but only after leaving the vehicles for thorough testing. We started just buying batteries at Autozone that have worked much better (knock on wood). So, not too surprising that Subaru batteries are not the greatest either.
Autozone wasn't my ideal choice to buy a battery, but being Easter my options were limited. I was pleasantly surprised to find their house brand AGM battery is highly rated by Consumer Reports. I had one in my last car, a Volvo S80. Last summer, the alternator went on the fritz (131k miles) and I put off fixing it until it failed completely and the battery died. I didn't replace the battery after, and it kept working fine, including starting the car in -25F weather this January.
 

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I haven't left the doors, hood or hatch open overnight or for any other extended time, so I'd call a battery that fails at 2k miles defective. That being said, if this battery had been brand new the day I picked up the car, I think it would still be fine. My suspicion is that the vampire drain of the electrical system combined with a relatively long period inactivity between manufacturing and delivery resulted in a destructive over-discharge of the battery. "Starter" batteries are the easiest to sulfate from charge starvation and excessive depth of discharge.

Part of my reasoning in replacing it myself even though there was risk of not being reimbursed for it was that it would allow me to replace it with an AGM battery which has superior reserve capacity and is resistant to damage from deep discharge. I didn't really *want* another OEM battery and at the end of the day would have preferred to pay out of pocket for an AGM (at worst) or the differential between an AGM and an OEM.

Electronics-heavy cars like the Ascent, IMHO, need more than just a better quality Group 35 battery, I'd argue they should provide a larger capacity and better battery, possibly relocating it out of the engine compartment as well to reduce environmental exposure and heat. There may even be some question as to whether vampire electronics should be powered by a secondary battery, leaving the starter battery for starting.



Autozone wasn't my ideal choice to buy a battery, but being Easter my options were limited. I was pleasantly surprised to find their house brand AGM battery is highly rated by Consumer Reports. I had one in my last car, a Volvo S80. Last summer, the alternator went on the fritz (131k miles) and I put off fixing it until it failed completely and the battery died. I didn't replace the battery after, and it kept working fine, including starting the car in -25F weather this January.
If you had kept your OE battery, there are simple load tests that could have been done on it to prove it was bad, and then you would have had proof for a warranty claim to Subaru. But to buy your own battery and then get Subaru to pay for it will be difficult.

Again, most Subaru OE batteries are not defective, they're just cheap batteries with a poor reserve capacity and not well suited to a car with such heavy battery loads. I don't deny yours was defective, anyone can get a truly defective battery. But for most people here complaining about battery problems (including me) the battery is not defective per se, just ill-suited to the Ascent, and that's why they are having problems. I did load test my OE Ascent battery because I own a tester. It tested very poorly but still within the acceptable range for not being bad. This proved to me it has a very poor reserve capacity. And yes, repeated deep discharging will eventually ruin it, so it may fail within the warranty period.

I think that you did the right thing by purchasing a better battery, and that should resolve your problems. Like you, I recommend others do the same. If anyone can get Subaru to cover it under warranty, all the better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you had kept your OE battery, there are simple load tests that could have been done on it to prove it was bad, and then you would have had proof for a warranty claim to Subaru. But to buy your own battery and then get Subaru to pay for it will be difficult.

Again, most Subaru OE batteries are not defective, they're just cheap batteries with a poor reserve capacity and not well suited to a car with such heavy battery loads. I don't deny yours was defective, anyone can get a truly defective battery. But for most people here complaining about battery problems (including me) the battery is not defective per se, just ill-suited to the Ascent, and that's why they are having problems. I did load test my OE Ascent battery because I own a tester. It tested very poorly but still within the acceptable range for not being bad. This proved to me it has a very poor reserve capacity. And yes, repeated deep discharging will eventually ruin it, so it may fail within the warranty period.

I think that you did the right thing by purchasing a better battery, and that should resolve your problems. Like you, I recommend others do the same. If anyone can get Subaru to cover it under warranty, all the better.
Subaru was awesome. I just described what happened and they were fine with it, it was the dealer who just told me to "call Subaru". And really, me replacing the battery was literally the cheapest outcome from everyone. I *could* have had it towed via roadside assistance, and now everybody has a bunch of other expenses associated with this -- the tow costs money, the dealer has to fart around with a car with a dead battery, and I'm out my car.
 

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I replaced my OEM battery. I noticed the battery wasn't holding a charge well overnight with my multimeter. Plus, it was leaking some vapor I'm guessing because my whole engine bay was covered with white crude - that type of white corrison crude on the battery terminals but instead was all over the engine bay. When I removed the original battery from the holder, there were some wet liquids underneath the battery in the tray. My replacement was an Autozone Platinum Duralast AGM battery. They only had one battery for the Ascent. I had good experience with the Duralast Gold in my previous SUV so hoping it's at least the same quality.
 

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I had to replace my OEM battery a couple weeks ago. Our Limited is only 9 months old, & the battery died twice over 2 days. I went with the Odyssey 35-PC1400T AGM. I reached out to SOA, & they reimbursed me the whole purchase price.

I found the following at my doorstep today when I came home:
Text Beige Cardboard Packaging and labeling Text Font Label Number Signage Font Paper
 

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Our Ascent has 10k miles and the battery was replaced by the dealer about a month ago. The new battery seems to have completely failed. Went to start the car and the door would not open. Used the key to open the door. Put a battery charger on the battery and it judged the battery to be 6 volts with a 5 percent charge. Tried to start with a fully charged spare battery with no luck. Hooked up for a jump start and it took 10 minutes of jumping to get it to start. Ran the car for 15 minutes and shut off. Was heading to vacation for 5 days so had to jump it to be able to look the car. Came home to find it completely dead, hooked up the charger and it read 6 volts 2 percent charge. Could not leave the charger on the battery because the alarm was trying to go off, it did not have enough power to run the horn just clicked and I got repeated texts that the alarm was going off. Will disconnect the battery and see if I have any luck charging the battery back up. No idea how the battery depleted itself. Just now disconnected the battery for charging and the charger read the battery as 0 percent charged.
 

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Our Ascent has 10k miles and the battery was replaced by the dealer about a month ago. The new battery seems to have completely failed. Went to start the car and the door would not open. Used the key to open the door. Put a battery charger on the battery and it judged the battery to be 6 volts with a 5 percent charge. Tried to start with a fully charged spare battery with no luck. Hooked up for a jump start and it took 10 minutes of jumping to get it to start. Ran the car for 15 minutes and shut off. Was heading to vacation for 5 days so had to jump it to be able to look the car. Came home to find it completely dead, hooked up the charger and it read 6 volts 2 percent charge. Could not leave the charger on the battery because the alarm was trying to go off, it did not have enough power to run the horn just clicked and I got repeated texts that the alarm was going off. Will disconnect the battery and see if I have any luck charging the battery back up. No idea how the battery depleted itself. Just now disconnected the battery for charging and the charger read the battery as 0 percent charged.
I would have your charging system checked at the dealer and ask them to cover the new battery and any repairs to the charging system. It sounds like the batteries were not charging. I am surprised to not hear that the warning lights were not notifying you of a low battery charge.
 

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Going through this right now. Car is dead.

Took it in for the safety recall, drive it home. Parked it, nothing left on. Came downstairs 3 hours later, dead with dash lights going crazy. Called my dealer who told me they had never heard of this.
Called roadside (after Subaru told me to drive it there)? They came and jumped it, worked fine last evening.

Went down this morning and dead as a door nail again. Waiting on tow truck to take it back to the dealer.

The ironic part is that I have never had problem with my Ascent until after taking it in for the safety recall. Coincidence, probably.
 

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Going through this right now. Car is dead.

Took it in for the safety recall, drive it home. Parked it, nothing left on. Came downstairs 3 hours later, dead with dash lights going crazy. Called my dealer who told me they had never heard of this.
Called roadside (after Subaru told me to drive it there)? They came and jumped it, worked fine last evening.

Went down this morning and dead as a door nail again. Waiting on tow truck to take it back to the dealer.

The ironic part is that I have never had problem with my Ascent until after taking it in for the safety recall. Coincidence, probably.
I wonder if any changes were made in the 2020 to address this issue. I have not read that they are specifically addressing it despite the growing concerns of owners who have experienced this issue.
 

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That’s a great question. I don’t have an answer.
All I know now is my car is sitting at the Subaru dealer (I think) and no one has contacted me, even though I have called them several times as of last night.
The lack of communication from them really bears addressing. I don’t care how busy you are, return calls! Really disappointed in how this is going.
 
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