Why Does My Subaru Ascent Battery Keep Dying?

OPTIMA Batteries
Lake County, Florida

Some Subaru Ascent (and some Outback) owners seem to be having issues with their batteries getting discharged. Some even confuse a battery issue with an electrical issue. So what is the difference? A bad battery can cause all kinds of electrical issues with a vehicle, while a good battery can be negatively-impacted by electrical issues from a vehicle. In short, a bad battery is always an electrical issue, but an electrical issue doesn't always mean you have a bad battery.

In the case of Subaru Ascent (and some Subaru Outback) owners, they may have liftgate latch or other issues, that may be causing their Subaru to draw current from the battery, resulting in the battery becoming deeply-discharged. The problem we see with many of these vehicles is that once the battery has been deeply-discharged, the owners don't take proper steps to fully recharge their batteries, while they try to track down the source of their electrical issues.

Many folks carry jump packs or jumper cables around, which can provide enough current to get a vehicle started, but neither one will fully-recharge their battery. Some may believe that by driving their vehicle, the vehicle's charging system will fully-recharge their battery, but that is often not the case. Meanwhile, the stress placed on the vehicle's charging system to fully-recharge a deeply-discharged battery generates excessive heat and shortens the lifespan of the vehicle charging system.

So what is the answer?

Certainly tracking down and fixing the source of the electrical drain on the battery should be a top priority, but until that happens, the battery still needs to get fully-recharged and maintained near a full state of charge whenever possible. The best way to fully recharge a battery is with a quality battery charger or maintainer and OPTIMA sells two different chargers.

So what is considered fully-charged on a car battery? At least 12.6 volts and we recommend measuring battery voltage directly at the battery terminals, as dashboard voltmeters may have a voltage drop that may not show an accurate reading. If this is sounding like a foreign language to you, relax. The OPTIMA Digital 400 and Digital 1200 battery chargers and maintainers have a "Battery Pre-Charge Status" button, that will indicate what the voltage is for your battery when you connect the charger to your battery. You press the button and it will show you the number.

They also have an equally easy-to-use, one-touch charging function. You just find the button with the picture of a battery that looks like the battery in your car (either OPTIMA REDTOP or YELLOWTOP batteries or a regular "black box" battery) and the charger will take care of everything else. It will then fully-charge your battery and automatically go into maintenance mode, once the battery is fully-charged. 

Do you need to be a mechanic to learn how to operate an OPTIMA Charger? Absolutely not! They are very easy to use and have spark-free technology, so there is no danger of accidentally hooking up the charger the wrong way. It will simply make a beeping noise and the screen will instruct you to check your connection.

So Should You Avoid Using Jumper Cables or Jump Boxes?

Absolutely not. We carry either jumper cables or a jump box in every vehicle we own, because they are great for helping other people in emergencies. However, we treat them like the electrical equivalent of a one-gallon can of gas. If your car ran out of gas and you put one gallon in, it might get you off the side of the road, but your next stop will probably be a gas station, right? The same should be true if you need to jump-start your vehicle. 

If you come out to drive your car to work in the morning and it needs a jump to start, you should take your battery charger to work with you and park somewhere, that you can charge your battery while you are at work. If you don't do that, there's a good chance you'll need to get another jump-start to get home at the end of the day...and meanwhile you are cooking your vehicle's charging system as it tries to recharge your deeply-discharged battery while you drive your car.

What About Using an OPTIMA Battery?

An OPTIMA battery is a definite upgrade over the factory battery and our fitment guide will show a Group 35 REDTOP or YELLOWTOP will work in a Subaru Ascent, but we would advise you to purchase a YELLOWTOP for your Subaru. The reason is that if you are replacing a battery in a relatively-new vehicle, you're probably trying to track down a parasitic draw that has been deeply-discharging the battery. While our REDTOP batteries will offer slightly more cranking amps than our YELLOWTOP batteries, either one will have no trouble starting any Subaru and our YELLOWTOP batteries are designed and warrantied for deep-cycle use, which would include having your battery get deeply-discharged by a parasitic drain. 

You'll still want to track down that parasitic drain and get it fixed, but if it happens to deeply-discharge your battery again before you get the drain fixed, a YELLOWTOP can handle that deep-discharge and recharge easier and more often than a REDTOP.