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Don’t know if this is just me, but I purchased a 2017 Subaru Legacy in Aug. 2016. I don’t drive it much, maybe 1 – 2 short trips a
week with longer trips around the holidays.  In the last 7 days I had to call Subaru Roadside assistance twice to have it jumpstarted.  Took it to the dealer and they politely told me that it wasn’t the battery, it was me, I wasn’t starting it enough.  Never saw that in the manual!

I insisted they test the battery and it did fail the 2nd test, so they replaced it (with the exact same model of battery). 

I’ve owned cars for over 40 years, my driving pattern hasn’t changed, I traded in a 3 year old Toyota to purchase the Subaru, never needed a jump on that one.  So, is it me or is Subaru using cheap rump roast batteries? 

 

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You didn't mention what Toyota you traded in, but I'm guessing that it probably didn't have all the power-hungry luxury auxiliary options that the new Forester might have that will drain a battery. Most new cars often normally don't come with other than a smaller battery that is just enough to get the car started and to run a few extras...so, you are definitely not driving this vehicle enough and are therefore draining the battery too often and never allowing it to charge fully, all of which will destroy a battery in short time. Gel/AGM batteries also do not tolerate being boosted often before seeing some damage, and I call them the 2 boost batteries. If you drive as you say, you will need to keep your car on a battery charger when not in use to bring it up to full charge, which is crucial for battery life, or be forever replacing batteries...I also used to lose batteries frequently from infrequent driving, but no problems now for 6 years since using a smart charger. You could also purchase a better battery, but that would be at your own expense and they're not cheap.

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Thanks for the information, I guess I figured that when you spend +30,000 on a car they would put a battery in it that was capable of holding a charge.  Just another thing to remember when I get the next car.  The funny thing is that I did not want all the bells and whistles, but wanted a car that was on the lot and had heated seats.  Got to set my expectations lower in the future.  I'm sure this new battery will die within the next 18 - 24 months (within warranty) and then I will insist they put a better battery in (at their expense)

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Please understand that any new car you get now is going to have the same issues and car price won't matter much. If you drive infrequently, any car you buy will have the same battery issues.

Buy a SMART battery charger with "quick connect" connections...takes 10 secs to disconnect or reconnect and your battery will last a long time.

Edited by coryl

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Toyota uses the same Panasonic batteries FWIW. Even use group 35 depending on models. Yeah there cheap.

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Get a better battery. It is a silly market artifact. manufacturers are also trying to save every pound they can while maintaining high safety to meet strict environmental laws as well. I’ve never compared battery weights but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s a lower weight option.

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It's not uncommon for an original battery to fail in the first year of owning a new vehicle. Batteries get a rough life between the time they go in the car at the factory and the 3-5 months they spend parked in a storage lot or on the dealers lot before being purchased.

 

New vehicles are repeatedly started ,moved, and shut off, in such short time that the battery is never sufficiently re-charged. This eventually damages the battery and leads to a very short life span.

 

How short are your weekly drives? Less than 10 minutes?

Longer drives (20 minutes or more) are better for the battery as it allows time for it to recharge. Twice a week, drives of more than 30 minutes, the battery should last years with no problem.

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Get a better battery. It is a silly market artifact. manufacturers are also trying to save every pound they can while maintaining high safety to meet strict environmental laws as well. I’ve never compared battery weights but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s a lower weight option.

A "better" battery than what the dealer sells is hard to find. I've tested charged and replaced enough batteries to have a pretty good idea of which ones last and which ones don't. You won't find a better battery at a regular parts store. And any retailer that specializes in batteries is a ripoff price-wise compared to a dealer battery.

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I'd go somewhere else other than the dealer to have the charging system looked at even if you have to pay for the system check.. 

 

Even with short trips and a lot of starting the battery should be good enough to start your vehicle.  If there would be a problem it should be the first start of the morning after the vehicle has sat all night and not when you are out on the road. 

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A "better" battery than what the dealer sells is hard to find.

since 2010 or so there are more battery issues across multiple forums. there is a lot of chatter about brand/size/reserve capacity or something along those lines, and "better" choices are mentioned. i don't know the data nor the sources so maybe it's just subaru's volume increase or more demanding customer base that can't handle simple battery issues, and not to do with batteries themselves?

Edited by idosubaru

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another consideration - if a typical car battery has been completely discharged, it reduces it's lifespan - and every time that happens, damage is cumulative.

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Also don't depend on the alternator to put the battery back to a full charge. 

 

I use a battery maintainer on my vehicles and even after a 400 mile drive it takes a little time on the maintainer to get the battery up to full charge.

 

Get a battery charger and use that to charge the battery

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so they replaced it (with the exact same model of battery).

 

I bet they didn't. New Subaru Imprezas/Foresters were delivered with a 390CCA Panasonic battery (This changed for 2018MY, all models have considerably higher capacity, Impreza/Forester up to 470CCA). These batteries are not available to the dealerships for purchase. The replacement batteries are provided by Interstate, and have 550CCA.

 

 

IMO, there are 2 things happening here.

 

Cars are getting more and more electronically complex. Computers, modules, actuators, sensors, etc. They draw so much more electricity.

 

Batteries are getting worse. In my experience, it doesn't matter what label, manufacturer, or country, they're just not holding up like they used to.

 

 

Combine that with the fact that your usage is about as demanding on a battery as it is possible to be, you're pretty much doomed.

 

The higher capacity replacement battery should help, but it's still just a band-aid. You're not driving long enough to replace the energy used to start and operate the car.

 

 

I know it sucks to have to plug in a new car all the time, but the best and cheapest option is a battery maintainer. You can buy small ones that are designed to be hard-wired to the battery and installed in the car, so you just have a small plug hanging out of the grill somewhere like a block heater, and plug it in when you're not using it.

 

You could also get a deep-cycle and/or dry cell battery, this would hold up better to your usage, but that's a $200+ band-aid.

 

I take very good care of my batteries, I drive about 50 miles a day, 5 days a week, and park in a garage overnight (not heated, but still won't see the -20* mornings we frequently see up here). And when I switch from summer to winter car (or vice versa), the battery comes out of the stored car and gets hooked up to a maintainer for the off season. As such, I buy and use used/warrantied batteries with great luck.

Edited by Numbchux

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