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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a 2020 Limited 5 months ago (3500 miles) and started experiencing the same battery drain/dead battery problems as many others. It started about 2 weeks ago when I went to start the Ascent and it was dead to the point that the rear lift-gate wouldn't open and the lights/radio didn't come on. No obvious reason why (lights off/ hatch closed/ fob far away) so I jumped it and went on with my day... fast forward 2 weeks and I've had to jump it 4 separate times. I contacted the dealership to get it in, but also emailed SOA about the issue and asked under what circumstances SOA would reimburse me for an upgraded third party battery like an odyssey if it was indeed the battery that was faulty. Their response was that since the car was under warranty, that SOA would only replace the battery with Genuine Subaru Parts and would under no circumstances reimburse for "after market parts."

Interesting response from the Customer Service rep since so many in this group have made it seem like getting SOA to cough up upwards of $300 for a new third party battery was fairly simple and as straight forward as asking nicely.

My question is for those that have been able to get SOA to pay for the better battery, what did you have to do/say to get SOA to pay?
 

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This is not good if true and I am not implying that what you are saying is not true. Hopefully the customer service rep is wrong.
 

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From what I have read on these threads, it appears that there needs to be at least some service record of this issue. I wonder if their tone changes once you have had it for service, they determine the battery is faulty, replace it with OEM and it happens again. Instead of writing a check for nearly $300 (Odyssey AGM) to all Subaru Ascent owners just by asking ... I think they may be more willing after diagnosis and proof and on a case-by-case basis. I may be wrong though.
 

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The trick is to not ask for permission. The trick is to be reimbursed. You have to buy the battery first under circumstances that precluded exercising the warranty. Such as; you were out of town, on a weekend and/or remote. Perhaps even got stranded in a campground, hitched a ride into to town and picked up a battery. This will need to be backed up with a receipt that confirms the timeline between your emergency and your request. It had been months since I had bought my battery and then asking. Since I didn't have the original receipt, I used my credit card monthly statement to prove the purchase. Each line of my on-line statement allows a 'MEMO' field, which I filled in the size, model and part number of the battery compatible for a Subaru Ascent. Then downloaded and printed the credit card statement with the account number blacked out.

7182


However, you may have already screwed the pooch if you have a case number already on the books. You can tell by looking at the signature on the email like this;

Sincerely,

John J. Mergen
Subaru of America, Inc.
Customer Advocacy Department
1-800-SUBARU3 (1-800-782-2783)
Service Request Number: 1-640062XXXXX (replaced numbers with X's to preserve privacy)

But then maybe not. Follow through with buying the battery, then contact them again and say it happened again before you were able to make an appointment on the weekend and out of town.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Yea... I've already opened a service request with a reference number. It looks like I'm stuck taking it in for a few days of diagnostics and a loaner car with no guarantee that the battery will be replaced at all. The definitiveness of the Rep's response is concerning. If I have to replace after I get the car back and there's still problems.... I may take the "weekend getaway emergency breakdown" path and gear up for a fight after the fact (though I'll have a service record to back me up at that point)

Some folks have had luck asking upfront or getting "pre-approval", I sure hope its not a luck of the draw with Customer Service Reps situation.
 

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Yea... I've already opened a service request with a reference number. It looks like I'm stuck taking it in for a few days of diagnostics and a loaner car with no guarantee that the battery will be replaced at all. The definitiveness of the Rep's response is concerning. If I have to replace after I get the car back and there's still problems.... I may take the "weekend getaway emergency breakdown" path and gear up for a fight after the fact (though I'll have a service record to back me up at that point)
I was never going to even apply for a reimburse, figured the cost of the battery was chump change compared to the hassles I've read here with multi-trips to the dealer and being frustrated. I only mentioned it when contacting SOA about another problem and added an 'oh-by-the-way' about my expense over a replaced battery. The rep said send him proof of purchase, so I didn't even need to ask. When you take your car in, ask your service department about an aftermarket battery. I think I've read of some folks getting one that way.
 

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I recently purchased a 2020 Limited 5 months ago (3500 miles) and started experiencing the same battery drain/dead battery problems as many others. It started about 2 weeks ago when I went to start the Ascent and it was dead to the point that the rear lift-gate wouldn't open and the lights/radio didn't come on. No obvious reason why (lights off/ hatch closed/ fob far away) so I jumped it and went on with my day... fast forward 2 weeks and I've had to jump it 4 separate times. I contacted the dealership to get it in, but also emailed SOA about the issue and asked under what circumstances SOA would reimburse me for an upgraded third party battery like an odyssey if it was indeed the battery that was faulty. Their response was that since the car was under warranty, that SOA would only replace the battery with Genuine Subaru Parts and would under no circumstances reimburse for "after market parts."

Interesting response from the Customer Service rep since so many in this group have made it seem like getting SOA to cough up upwards of $300 for a new third party battery was fairly simple and as straight forward as asking nicely.

My question is for those that have been able to get SOA to pay for the better battery, what did you have to do/say to get SOA to pay?
That rep was not properly trained. Let them know that many owners on the forum had full reimbursements and you expect the same. I of course assume that you also need the updated control module and the existing battery has failed the test per dealer.
 

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Folks, I've said this before. One must get approval for reimbursement, and do so with a clearly stated case, or one cannot and should not expect that their particular battery purchase will be reimbursed. Subaru handles these on a case by case basis.
 

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After reading of all the reimbursements on this site I think Subaru has acted incredibly in good faith on that case-by-case basis. It's one thing to get stranded on a weekend or on vacation etc. then to later get reimbursed after stating your case to SOA. It's another to expect a full reimbursement for buying the most expensive battery available. That's taking adavantage of a helpful situation.

If anything I think SOA should:
1. Upgrade the specs on the OEM battery first and foremost.
2. Provide case-by-case reimbursement for the retail cost of a new OEM battery (with upgraded specs). If you want to spend above and beyond that then it should be out of pocket, to be fair.

I had no case to replace my battery early. Well, maybe I had a weak case... I ordered a new AGM battery - paid out of pocket and did not get involved with SOA. The battery has been great without any signs of weakness like the OEM battery had. I got an Optima Red Top and found no need to go overboard with something as pricey as the Odyssey. But I do understand that certain activities would be best served with the battery with the highest specs. That's completely valid, but Subaru shouldn't have to pay for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree that it should be a case-by-case situation. But what "clearly stated case" has SOA warranted reimbursing what is objectively a superior battery to the OEM one rather than just giving someone another OEM replacement? At some point, someone at SOA agreed that they should be on the hook for providing a top of the line battery if the one they provide fails. Where is that line? is it number or failed replacements, breakdowns, etc...? it seems like an inconsistent application of a policy (if there even is one).
 

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I doubt things at Subaru are that cut and dry. Subaru does vastly more good faith things than any three other car manufacturers I've owned (and the Ascent is my 30th car - nearly 60th if you count work cars - out of well over a dozen brands).
 

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Subaru absolutely needs to improve the battery they put in their vehicles initially. We have owned (2) WRX's and (1) Outback and they have all had battery issues at around 24 months. The batteries Toyota put in their vehicles (Camry, Highlander, 4Runner) usually lasted around 7 years, as least in our experience. They were Panasonic branded batteries.
 

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Subaru absolutely needs to improve the battery they put in their vehicles initially. We have owned (2) WRX's and (1) Outback and they have all had battery issues at around 24 months. The batteries Toyota put in their vehicles (Camry, Highlander, 4Runner) usually lasted around 7 years, as least in our experience. They were Panasonic branded batteries.
I won't disagree with wishing for a bit more robust batteries, as the CCA specified seems to be marginal in very cold / end of battery service life conditions. Also, it's likely that your OEM WRX batteries were also Panasonic branded batteries (being manufactured in Japan). My 2016 STI battery was a made in Japan Panansonic battery and lasted 5 years. Battery life depends on many factors.
 
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I think it likely depends on the individual circumstances as well. I just had mine in for a dead battery and had emailed SOA to make them aware that this was my second battery issue since I bought it last September. The dealer ended up replacing the battery again under warranty (dropped off and picked up same day with an appointment) and SOA in their response stated that if needed they would look into battery upgrade options. I plan to take them up on that if (when) the issue occurs again.
So it likely helped that I had a prior documented issue. I also didn’t request a new battery upfront but rather asked about potential solutions as I had hear it was an issue. Will see what happens to this battery - and may not know until next winter (seems to be when I have issues).
 

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After reading of all the reimbursements on this site I think Subaru has acted incredibly in good faith on that case-by-case basis. It's one thing to get stranded on a weekend or on vacation etc. then to later get reimbursed after stating your case to SOA. It's another to expect a full reimbursement for buying the most expensive battery available. That's taking adavantage of a helpful situation.

If anything I think SOA should:
1. Upgrade the specs on the OEM battery first and foremost.
2. Provide case-by-case reimbursement for the retail cost of a new OEM battery (with upgraded specs). If you want to spend above and beyond that then it should be out of pocket, to be fair.

I had no case to replace my battery early. Well, maybe I had a weak case... I ordered a new AGM battery - paid out of pocket and did not get involved with SOA. The battery has been great without any signs of weakness like the OEM battery had. I got an Optima Red Top and found no need to go overboard with something as pricey as the Odyssey. But I do understand that certain activities would be best served with the battery with the highest specs. That's completely valid, but Subaru shouldn't have to pay for it.
except Subaru has not upgraded the OEM battery spec, so if it is replaced with same then we are receiving the same garbage. Granted the issue was made significantly worse since the lift module was bad causing the already less than robust battery to be depleted early. Those owners with a depleted battery AND in need of a updated module should be getting a new battery. I think there is a good case to be made that owners should expect the OEM battery operating under normal conditions (as marketed such as an active lifestyle) should not loose its charge. I agree with you they should simply update the specs.
 

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Provide case-by-case reimbursement for the retail cost of a new OEM battery (with upgraded specs). If you want to spend above and beyond that then it should be out of pocket, to be fair.
This would be a very sensible approach. Unless you're preemptively replacing your battery, a battery failure is going to be unexpected and definitely not scheduled or conveniently near a Subaru dealer. AAA or whoever comes will bring you to the nearest open repair shop or auto supply store. Odds are, you're going to buy your own battery at whatever price and whatever type is available. No harm in asking SOA to foot the cost equivalent to whatever they would have spent under warranty coverage.
 

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This would be a very sensible approach. Unless you're preemptively replacing your battery, a battery failure is going to be unexpected and definitely not scheduled or conveniently near a Subaru dealer. AAA or whoever comes will bring you to the nearest open repair shop or auto supply store. Odds are, you're going to buy your own battery at whatever price and whatever type is available. No harm in asking SOA to foot the cost equivalent to whatever they would have spent under warranty coverage.
getting stuck on the road or worse in the wilderness without being able to jump your car (even with a lithium battery jumper) is such an inconvenience, I would never advise to wait to the end of life of a existing battery.
 

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This would be a very sensible approach. Unless you're preemptively replacing your battery, a battery failure is going to be unexpected and definitely not scheduled or conveniently near a Subaru dealer. AAA or whoever comes will bring you to the nearest open repair shop or auto supply store. Odds are, you're going to buy your own battery at whatever price and whatever type is available. No harm in asking SOA to foot the cost equivalent to whatever they would have spent under warranty coverage.
I've definitely been preemtively replacing batteries for the last two I bought. I will continue to do so (as long as we're still driving ICE cars). Unexpected battery failure can really mess up your day, so I replace a little early. It also gives you the benefit of choosing a battery you want versus whatever is conveniently available.
 
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