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I have a 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid and have had issues with the 12V engine battery discharging when the car is not used for a few days. Twice the battery has died when it was in the garage and had not been driven for a few days. Each time a simple jump start worked to get started. It seems that the battery can be discharged by the on board electronics web communication ?) if the car is not driven for a while. Due to the pandemic we may only drive 2-3 days a week and then mostly on full EV. I'm not sure if that charges the engine battery or not. I have taken it to the dealer after the first failure thinking that the battery was faulty. Both the battery and the charging system check out OK. The next time it died in the garage, the tech from Subaru Roadside Assistance said they had seen this same problem before as well. Other Subaru forums report the same problem with Crosstrek and Outback models. When it would not start I checked the 12V battery voltage - it read 4 V ! This is also not good for the battery to be discharged so low.

I just spoke with Subaru Customer Support and explained the problem, my theory that it is there is a small but constant drain on the battery that pulls it down too far. They set up a case for me and said they would follow up on it when I have and appointment to leave it at the dealer for testing. We'll see what happens. I did get a small rechargeable jump start battery pack to keep in the car nonetheless.

Stay tuned
 

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When driving in EV, it is not charging the 12V battery. If I'm not driving for awhile, I hook the car up to a trickle charger to keep the battery at full charge. I got into the habit of checking the 12V battery monthly because my 2015 Legacy had an issue brand new with a bad cell, so it forced me to check the battery often to make sure I never have that issue again.

The only way the battery is charged is by the alternator and the only way that happens is with the engine running. It's definitely ideal to run the engine every so often to ensure the seals and all stay lubricated by the engine oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When driving in EV, it is not charging the 12V battery. If I'm not driving for awhile, I hook the car up to a trickle charger to keep the battery at full charge. I got into the habit of checking the 12V battery monthly because my 2015 Legacy had an issue brand new with a bad cell, so it forced me to check the battery often to make sure I never have that issue again.

The only way the battery is charged is by the alternator and the only way that happens is with the engine running. It's definitely ideal to run the engine every so often to ensure the seals and all stay lubricated by the engine oil.
Thanks for the confirmation. I didn't think it would charge while EV. And I do drive with the engine periodically just for those reasons. Running EV does kind of throw off the oil change interval needs, doesn't it ? We'll see what the diagnostic tests show next week after the dealer has it for a while. So far Subaru USA has been very helpful. Maybe trickle charging is just going to be necessary for vehicles with so much electronics. Stay tuned.
 

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Thanks for the confirmation. I didn't think it would charge while EV. And I do drive with the engine periodically just for those reasons. Running EV does kind of throw off the oil change interval needs, doesn't it ? We'll see what the diagnostic tests show next week after the dealer has it for a while. So far Subaru USA has been very helpful. Maybe trickle charging is just going to be necessary for vehicles with so much electronics. Stay tuned.
I noticed the one time I hadn't driven in 3 weeks that the battery was around 12.4V so I knew at that rate I needed a trickle charger due to lack of driving. Otherwise I would need to take the car out every 2 weeks to run in SAVE mode to run the engine. Still good to run the engine every month to keep the oil circulating through the system.

Oil changes are definitely thrown off a bit, so I do my changes every 6 months per Subaru's requirement just so I abide by the warranty (I do the changes myself). My last change was around 1,500mi on the ODO but it was probably closer to 800mi or so due to EV driving.

I got a trickle charger that has leads on the battery full-time so I simply open the hood, plug the charger to the leads, then close the hood. I ran it so the line come up to the windshield so I'm able to close the hood completely without pinching wires.
 

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We don't have a PHEV but had battery problems from day one, as we weren't driving much even before the pandemic. Especially up in the mountains when it was very cold. OAK's commute was 5 miles in L.A. traffic, now she's working from home. I replaced the OEM battery with an Odyssey AGM after a year and we haven't had any issues since.
 

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If you're parking outside or have a source of natural sunlight, we use a solar trinkle charger for the diesel. If you park outside your place of work, just connect it and let it capture natural light during the work day.

Eco-Worthy Trinkle Chargers
 

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Thanks for the confirmation. I didn't think it would charge while EV. And I do drive with the engine periodically just for those reasons. Running EV does kind of throw off the oil change interval needs, doesn't it ? We'll see what the diagnostic tests show next week after the dealer has it for a while. So far Subaru USA has been very helpful. Maybe trickle charging is just going to be necessary for vehicles with so much electronics. Stay tuned.
What came of the dealer having it for a while and doing diagnostic tests?

Your "few days" and the battery drains problem must be because of a parasitic drain on the 12V. We have the same problem with our 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid and with the car as "off" as possible, the drainage on the 12V is over 2 Amps. Modern cars with all the electronics do have more stuff to maintain when the car is just sitting than the old days, but it is said that drainage should be 50 milliamps or possibly as high as 70 milliamps for modern cars. (Our 2.3 Amp drain is about 32 times that acceptable 70 milliamps number.)

Hopefully your dealer found your problem and fixed it rather than just recommend a trickle charger... (Staying tuned!)
 

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What came of the dealer having it for a while and doing diagnostic tests?

Your "few days" and the battery drains problem must be because of a parasitic drain on the 12V. We have the same problem with our 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid and with the car as "off" as possible, the drainage on the 12V is over 2 Amps. Modern cars with all the electronics do have more stuff to maintain when the car is just sitting than the old days, but it is said that drainage should be 50 milliamps or possibly as high as 70 milliamps for modern cars. (Our 2.3 Amp drain is about 32 times that acceptable 70 milliamps number.)

Hopefully your dealer found your problem and fixed it rather than just recommend a trickle charger... (Staying tuned!)
What is the test you are doing to see the drainage of over 2 Amps? I'm curious to try this out on my 2019.

I haven't had much of an issue with my car. I just know that if I'm not driving it and using the engine for a solid 4 weeks, I'll hook up my trickle charger because when the engine doesn't run, it doesn't charge the battery. I do routine checks of the car for tire pressure, fluids, and battery charge and it got down to 12.2V in May 2020 when I was driving a lot less, but all EV (that's when I started using the trickle charger). I also keep my key more than 15' away from the car (because closer than 10' they can communication and cause more drain) and I immediately unplug the car after charging overnight because it's not good to keep the car plugged in for an extended period of time.

I was reading last night about Tesla having to replace 12V batteries after 2 years! Now that is just ridiculous and at least we still have an alternator to keep our battery charged.
 

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What is the test you are doing to see the drainage of over 2 Amps? I'm curious to try this out on my 2019.

I haven't had much of an issue with my car. I just know that if I'm not driving it and using the engine for a solid 4 weeks, I'll hook up my trickle charger because when the engine doesn't run, it doesn't charge the battery. I do routine checks of the car for tire pressure, fluids, and battery charge and it got down to 12.2V in May 2020 when I was driving a lot less, but all EV (that's when I started using the trickle charger). I also keep my key more than 15' away from the car (because closer than 10' they can communication and cause more drain) and I immediately unplug the car after charging overnight because it's not good to keep the car plugged in for an extended period of time.

I was reading last night about Tesla having to replace 12V batteries after 2 years! Now that is just ridiculous and at least we still have an alternator to keep our battery charged.
I'm testing the amperage drainage as they describe in this WikiHow: WikiHow Find Parasitic... I watched a few YouTubes and this seems to be how everybody does this testing.

Where they (WikiHow) disconnect the battery ground cable, our car has the complication of the cable also being attached via the clamp that holds the battery in place around its middle, so I do use a wood shim (about 2 inches wide, 7 inches long, .25 inch thick) to keep the battery connector a small bit away from the ground terminal on the battery. I situate that wood piece so the cable is propped up enough to have both the wood and a bit of air separating it from the ground terminal, but I can still lower the hood to just before it latches so the opening is small enough so squirrels can't hop into the engine area. THAT is only for charging the battery, which I do disconnect the ground cable for even though possibly there's no need. I'm doing the 10 Amp charging, not trickle charging. BUT for just testing the drainage I only use the wood to prop the ground cable connector up for convenience and of course no need to lower the hood...

What doesn't make sense to me is that I think the "battery math" is that at a 2+ Amp draw, all the juice should be drawn out of a typical 12V battery (and the factory battery - Panasonic - that came with the car is not "typical" - it actually is somewhat crappy according to AstroKats postings in this forum about battery stuff) in just 24 hours. (48 amp-hour battery draining at 2 amps). Our 12V seems to drop from about 12.45 down to 12.14 volts in 24 hours. Are the rechargeable lithium batteries helping it supply the 2+ Amps?

The key fob you mention is interesting because I guess there are cars being stolen because while the fob is is beyond the 10 feet for the car to be reading it, a fob somewhat beyond the 10 feet can be subject to a "relay" of some sort that thrives are using so the car can be unlocked. And I guess even started? What I've been doing to make sure the key fob isn't in play and having the car use whatever dribble of average drainage due to the key fob being in range: You hold the Lock button on the key fob down and press the unlock button twice. The little orange light will flash a few times, but then the fob is turned off. The manual (Crosstrek 2019 Hybrid, anyway) offers this trick for preserving the battery in the key fob. Press any button on the key fob wakes it up. (Another thing the manual offers is how to turn off the "listening" for the key fob that the car is always doing.)

The multimeter I'm using is this one, and hopefully it's accurate. It seems to be for everything else it does where the results are expected. My arrows/text markups on the image are for how it is set for reading the amperage draw.

306208


TMI? 🙃
 

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There are also clamp type ammeters that you clamp around the cable, so you don't have to disconnect it. Someone here posted a link in one of my battery threads. @Cutlass perhaps?

They're pricey, though. I just did what you're doing. I used a jumper as a backup though, so the car never completely lost power. Same as when I changed the battery.

Again, there's something very wrong if there's a 2A draw when the car is completely off and locked up and the fob far away.
 

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Yeah, it's interesting indeed. I'm certainly not having any issues with my 12V battery other than if I'm driving in EV mode for a few weeks without cycling on the engine, then the battery loses juice, but not to the point of a dead battery. It's gotten down to 12.2V after about 4 weeks, but then if I know I'm not driving for awhile, it goes on the trickle charger.

EDIT: I did have an issue with the 12V battery in my 2015 Legacy when it was brand new. It died on me after 800 miles so I took it up to my in-law's battery store and we load tested it. Turned out one of the cells had died in the battery. It's probably not your situation, but curious if maybe there's an issue with the 12V battery itself?
 

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Yeah, it's interesting indeed. I'm certainly not having any issues with my 12V battery other than if I'm driving in EV mode for a few weeks without cycling on the engine, then the battery loses juice, but not to the point of a dead battery. It's gotten down to 12.2V after about 4 weeks, but then if I know I'm not driving for awhile, it goes on the trickle charger.

EDIT: I did have an issue with the 12V battery in my 2015 Legacy when it was brand new. It died on me after 800 miles so I took it up to my in-law's battery store and we load tested it. Turned out one of the cells had died in the battery. It's probably not your situation, but curious if maybe there's an issue with the 12V battery itself?
What I've been doing with the battery (charging it lots) means that the battery is probably even sadder than it was, and yes, getting a good battery (hopefully with the dealer giving a voucher) is what we'll do after getting the 2+ Amp huge draw problem fixed. The foreman mechanic at the dealer told the service guy (whom I emailed) that he's seen where just pulling the fuse for the DCM doesn't stop the draw, and one actually has to remove the radio to disconnect the DCM to stop it's runaway draw. My response is: Glad we got the extended warranty. (The DCM had been dead for more than a year and it was after they replaced it that the high parasitic drain seemed to start.)

All the stuff you say about overall time not driving or driving only short hops and staying mostly EV are all true, and those will be "normal" problems once all is fixed for us. My 2006 Prius sits weeks and has the battery go dead and you have to crawl through the car to physically/manually release the hatchback latch 'cuz the normal lever needs power. And then you have to dig to get to the battery... (Figured out that there are connectors under the engine cover to jump that battery so can get the Prius started and then get to that ailing 12V battery easier, but still: Geeeesh!)

Thanks...
 

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What I've been doing with the battery (charging it lots) means that the battery is probably even sadder than it was, and yes, getting a good battery (hopefully with the dealer giving a voucher) is what we'll do after getting the 2+ Amp huge draw problem fixed. The foreman mechanic at the dealer told the service guy (whom I emailed) that he's seen where just pulling the fuse for the DCM doesn't stop the draw, and one actually has to remove the radio to disconnect the DCM to stop it's runaway draw. My response is: Glad we got the extended warranty. (The DCM had been dead for more than a year and it was after they replaced it that the high parasitic drain seemed to start.)

All the stuff you say about overall time not driving or driving only short hops and staying mostly EV are all true, and those will be "normal" problems once all is fixed for us. My 2006 Prius sits weeks and has the battery go dead and you have to crawl through the car to physically/manually release the hatchback latch 'cuz the normal lever needs power. And then you have to dig to get to the battery... (Figured out that there are connectors under the engine cover to jump that battery so can get the Prius started and then get to that ailing 12V battery easier, but still: Geeeesh!)

Thanks...
That was entertaining! Reminds me of when I volunteered to change a headlight on sis-in-law's Prius. I recall there was a law suit about it...
 
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What I've been doing with the battery (charging it lots) means that the battery is probably even sadder than it was, and yes, getting a good battery (hopefully with the dealer giving a voucher) is what we'll do after getting the 2+ Amp huge draw problem fixed. The foreman mechanic at the dealer told the service guy (whom I emailed) that he's seen where just pulling the fuse for the DCM doesn't stop the draw, and one actually has to remove the radio to disconnect the DCM to stop it's runaway draw. My response is: Glad we got the extended warranty. (The DCM had been dead for more than a year and it was after they replaced it that the high parasitic drain seemed to start.)

All the stuff you say about overall time not driving or driving only short hops and staying mostly EV are all true, and those will be "normal" problems once all is fixed for us. My 2006 Prius sits weeks and has the battery go dead and you have to crawl through the car to physically/manually release the hatchback latch 'cuz the normal lever needs power. And then you have to dig to get to the battery... (Figured out that there are connectors under the engine cover to jump that battery so can get the Prius started and then get to that ailing 12V battery easier, but still: Geeeesh!)

Thanks...
I was just thinking about that for my wife's Rav4 hybrid. The battery is in the back with the spare tire (and the power lift gate). I'm sure you can manually open the lift gate, but didn't think to look under the hood for the jump connectors while we were cleaning under the hood yesterday.
 

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Well, back to the Crosstrek and it being close to the time for me to get fitted with a straight jacket...

The most perplexing to me is how the draw/drainage can measure to be 2.3 Amps (2.15 when the car is locked), and yet the 12V battery only loses maybe .5 volts at the most over a number of days, and usually a little less (2 days at 2+ Amps drainage, and it most recently went from 12.45V to 12.07 or so).

My genius theory (or so I was thinking) figured that every time I test the draw the car has been "awake" with unlocking of the doors/lifting of the engine cover hood, etc. Maybe my undisclosed variable (I don't think I mentioned it yet) comes into play, and that is that there is zero AT&T cell reception here at the cabin or anywhere nearby. The Starlink stuff is AT&T, and the DCM does a bunch of stuff via Starlink/AT&T.

So perhaps the 2+ Amps draw is at a time when the DCM (even with the fuse for the DCM pulled - which a tech at the dealer says the pulling of which doesn't always stop the DCM from drawing power) is searching for cell reception. And just maybe it gives up trying after a half hour or so, hence the 2+ Amp draw stops, but only a while after I've tested.

Hmmmm... How to test that theory? (spoiler alert, both tests or the theory failed) Anyway, with the car left unlocked for a a few hours, the hood not all the way closed (so opening via the latch, which does register as open or closed to the car's brains, then lowering the hood but leaving a gap so lifting the hood triggers nothing) and the key fob nowhere near the car, the draw still measured at 2+ Amps. One test done with the battery's ground disconnected during the couple hours wait, then the second test done with the ground connected (and only disconnected to do the draw measurement) in case the 12V battery power was needed for the DMC to figure out no cell reception is being found and that it's time to stop searching.

Further research will be in "civilization" in a few days where AT&T does have cell coverage. And yes, probably more dealer involvement, though the "car battery dead after a few days" incident happened in our garage and the dealer did have the car after that and reported the "draw" to be 35 milliamps, with up to 70 milliamps being in spec. I'll be scoping things out in town too since I'll have my multimeter that had been here at the cabin.

That is unless I'm institutionalized by then!

Apple
 

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Well, back to the Crosstrek and it being close to the time for me to get fitted with a straight jacket...

The most perplexing to me is how the draw/drainage can measure to be 2.3 Amps (2.15 when the car is locked), and yet the 12V battery only loses maybe .5 volts at the most over a number of days, and usually a little less (2 days at 2+ Amps drainage, and it most recently went from 12.45V to 12.07 or so).

My genius theory (or so I was thinking) figured that every time I test the draw the car has been "awake" with unlocking of the doors/lifting of the engine cover hood, etc. Maybe my undisclosed variable (I don't think I mentioned it yet) comes into play, and that is that there is zero AT&T cell reception here at the cabin or anywhere nearby. The Starlink stuff is AT&T, and the DCM does a bunch of stuff via Starlink/AT&T.

So perhaps the 2+ Amps draw is at a time when the DCM (even with the fuse for the DCM pulled - which a tech at the dealer says the pulling of which doesn't always stop the DCM from drawing power) is searching for cell reception. And just maybe it gives up trying after a half hour or so, hence the 2+ Amp draw stops, but only a while after I've tested.

Hmmmm... How to test that theory? (spoiler alert, both tests or the theory failed) Anyway, with the car left unlocked for a a few hours, the hood not all the way closed (so opening via the latch, which does register as open or closed to the car's brains, then lowering the hood but leaving a gap so lifting the hood triggers nothing) and the key fob nowhere near the car, the draw still measured at 2+ Amps. One test done with the battery's ground disconnected during the couple hours wait, then the second test done with the ground connected (and only disconnected to do the draw measurement) in case the 12V battery power was needed for the DMC to figure out no cell reception is being found and that it's time to stop searching.

Further research will be in "civilization" in a few days where AT&T does have cell coverage. And yes, probably more dealer involvement, though the "car battery dead after a few days" incident happened in our garage and the dealer did have the car after that and reported the "draw" to be 35 milliamps, with up to 70 milliamps being in spec. I'll be scoping things out in town too since I'll have my multimeter that had been here at the cabin.

That is unless I'm institutionalized by then!

Apple
You do seem to be at the end of your rope. Sorry about that...

The parasitic drain was frustrating but it became clearer when I got the BT monitor. I'd recommend an Odyssey!

I can send charts if that would help? 😸
 

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You do seem to be at the end of your rope. Sorry about that...

The parasitic drain was frustrating but it became clearer when I got the BT monitor. I'd recommend an Odyssey!

I can send charts if that would help? 😸
For the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid the Odyssey site says model ODP-AGM35 (ELT-AGM35), and wow - that battery manufacturer does get sterling reviews. Thanks! Though I've seen some criticize the BT monitor because it needs to use power, it looks like it's barely using a milliamp. Once I get down to a normal parasitic drain (70 milliamps tops) I'd say the extra silly milliamp would be nuthin' compared to the Bluetooth convenience. (Did you know that the long gone actress Hedy Lamarr was in on developing some WW2 radio jamming technology and the spread-spectrum stuff she and others developed morphed into Bluetooth?)
Thanks!
 

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No, I didn't! That's interesting...
 
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