Cold Weather Starting - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-29-2006, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Question Cold Weather Starting

Lately I've noticed that my car seems to be having "difficulty" starting on cold mornings. It still starts ok, but it seems to have to work just a little bit. It chugs around four or five times and kicks in, always on the first turn of the key. I could see if I was talking REALLY cold temperatures like -20C, but a cold morning her so far has been about -9. My question is, is this normal for a boxer style engine and I'm just not used to it in cooler temperatures, or is there possibly something that should be looked at?

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-29-2006, 01:20 PM
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I would say that is pretty normal on most cars in such cold weather. Also make sure your battery is up to snuff remembering with your Forester there is a lot being asked of the poor battery like all the lights inside & outside, the other parts that light up, radio, clock, electric windows, alarm switch probably more, plus the computer parts.

I have lived in cold Western Canada in the winter months & been driving cars since '46 so that means 60+ yrs of driving in said winter conditions.

We use to have a block heater installed in our cars & tucks right up to my truck/car till my purchase of my Forester in Feb of '06. What I do is about once a week I put a Battery Tender, basically made for small batteries like on my m/cs, with only 1.25amp & within 1.5 ro 3 hrs the battery would be brought up to snuff.

Some people put a light under the block to heat up the engine a bit, but have not given it thought on my Forester. To be honest I think I will ask the local Subaru dealer if a block heater can be installed.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-29-2006, 04:31 PM
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+1 for battery. I had to replace the oem battery in both my Subies (MY'97 Outback and MY'03 Forester) prematurely because they couldn't start the car and then provide sufficient power to drive the fuel pump properly. And this was in our Sydney winters - rarely below 5C

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-29-2006, 04:36 PM
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I'm running full synthetic and getting that "Is it going to start" thought. At my end its normal. Its -10C here lately as well.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-30-2006, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all.........my initial thought was that it seemed like a battery issue, but I've never had a battery problem in a car so young. Maybe I'll check out getting a new one before it gets too cold........

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-30-2006, 09:08 AM
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Batteries are becoming more and more of a problem for most cars now-a-days. With smaller engine compartments being filled with more equipment, wiring, piping, etc. and with the push to shave off a few pounds to eek out a little better mileage or save a bew dollars, manufacturers are putting smaller, lighter weight batteries in cars today. At the same time, the electrical load on new cars increases every couple of years. Generally, it's a good idea to replace your oem battery with a better battery after only one or two years, especially if you live in an area with very cold weather.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-30-2006, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treehugger View Post
but I've never had a battery problem in a car so young.

If your oem battery has lasted 4 years, then you've done well.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-30-2006, 02:40 PM
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OEM batterries are made to last just long enough to go when the 3 year warranty runs out. Don't try to 'milk' a battery that is going bad either, by jumping or recharging it. Very hard on the electrical system, especially the starter contacts. A battery with a dead or nearly dead cell will put the system on a low voltage/high current situation, shortening the life of some components.

Just pony up for a new battery

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-30-2006, 10:00 PM
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My 93 Legacy died after 11 yrs--subie batt. are made by Interstate. If I need a battery Interstate for me. Dave in Tahoe.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-31-2006, 12:23 PM
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When I got my car it had the original factory battery. I thought the car seemed to be starting a bit slow but once I had a new battery in there it was almost the same. The car had spent its previous 8 years in Ontario, Calgary, and some town up north, all of which have pretty bad winters.

So not too long ago Subaru was still giving people nice batteries.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-31-2006, 05:15 PM
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The oem in both my '97 Outback and '03 Forester were Panasonic.

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 09:00 AM
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Subaru does not start easily

I keep my 2009 Subaru (16000 miles) in the garage with hubby's 2000 Honda. Every morning Subaru won't start. Lights come on sometimes, other times they don't. I try 4-5 times. Occasionally I am in luck. I took it to the dealer. They ran tests on the battery and the starter and they checked out.
What else could be wrong?
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubameister View Post
I keep my 2009 Subaru (16000 miles) in the garage with hubby's 2000 Honda. Every morning Subaru won't start. Lights come on sometimes, other times they don't. I try 4-5 times. Occasionally I am in luck. I took it to the dealer. They ran tests on the battery and the starter and they checked out.
What else could be wrong?
first, whats the temperature where you are?

Second, sometimes a battery can have bad cells that will cause intermittent failure. Sometimes these batteries will test just fine after being driven to the place that they get tested at (when the battery is warm). But when the battery is cold, it will not be able to produce enough current.

Third, there could be a loose cable somewhere that vibrates loose preventing the car from starting, and sometimes it will make contact enough to start the car, and once started, the car can run on the alternator alone.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 01:11 PM
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Our 2004 model still has its original battery. The car has been parked outside every night of its life including 4 years of Scandinavian winters down to -27 degrees C. plus Greek summers of 40+ deg C.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubameister View Post
I keep my 2009 Subaru (16000 miles) in the garage with hubby's 2000 Honda. Every morning Subaru won't start. Lights come on sometimes, other times they don't. I try 4-5 times. Occasionally I am in luck. I took it to the dealer. They ran tests on the battery and the starter and they checked out.
What else could be wrong?
I'll bet you have a Panasonic battery and it sucks. Let them preventively replace it with a real battery and see if you still have the same problems... If not, they pay, if so your car is still under warranty and they have to solve the problem...

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Edward

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