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2021 Forester
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My 2021 Forester battery was dead two mornings in a row this week when I tried to leave for work. My VIN begins with a “J” which I am told means that it was manufactured in Japan. I bought the car new exactly 6 months ago and only have 11,000 miles on it. I’ve been made aware of battery drain lawsuits on older models but is it an issue for anyone with a 2021 model? I’ve also been told that only the models made in America are problematic and the Japanese ones don’t have the same battery issue. Is that true? I never leave the back hatch open. I only drive back and forth to work or run errands with it. Suggestions?
 

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G'day & Welcome @HCK If you are doing just short trips you will need to recharge / trickle charge the battery. The OEM batteries do not have a good reputation and many folks just replace them with a battery that has more capacity.
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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3,358 Posts
Hello @HCK the trips you take how many miles? Anything less than 5 miles eachway is hard on any petro/gasoline powered vehicle.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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There really is no basis for a battery drain lawsuit It's frivolous (at best) and another example of how "sue happy" we are in the US...

EDIT - I'm going to guess he's really not doing too many really short trips if he's got 11,000 miles in just 6 months. I'm guessing his work commute is going to be longer than just a few miles.

As mentioned by Kevin, the OEM batteries are junk. That's not just Subaru, that's many OEM batteries. I replaced my OEM on my 2014 Forester at just about 12 months, got a new one under warranty from Subaru. That lasted about 18 months. Then I got a battery from AAA, got about 3 years out of that one and it died. Now on battery #4.

Remember also that weather changes (drastic heat, drastic cold) can cause batteries to die quicker than more moderate temp swings.

If you want to get a "free" battery, go to your local Subaru dealer and have them check it and replace it if faulty. It would be covered under the original basic 12/12,000 warranty. When it dies again, get somebody else's battery.

Also, make sure you have ALL the interior lights off (including in the cargo area) and that the liftgate is closed completely and no door is left a bit open. In many (most?) Foresters, there may be an electrical draw from the rear liftgate if not closed completely.
 

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2021 Forester Sport
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62 Posts
As mentioned by Kevin, the OEM batteries are junk. That's not just Subaru, that's many OEM batteries.
@FozzieBalou is right about OEM batteries. Check out the Honda CRV forum. I had a '17 CRV and Honda replaced a lot of batteries under warranty for many regardless of low or high mileage. I replaced my battery after the first year on my own dime because of the limited miles I drove only to find out later it wasn't just me. I know that's not helpful to you but I would take it back to the dealer for a battery check. I put my Forester on a trickle charger once or twice per week depending on how many miles I drove just to make sure it's charged. Before I bought my Forester I scoured this site and learned about all the quirks and complaints so I knew what to expect and one of them was the OEM battery.
 

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2019 Forester Sport Lineartronic® CVT
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401 Posts
I keep a 1.5 amp max "maintainer" (not a "charger") plugged in so she's always ready, I just unplg at driver's side cowling area.
 

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2021 Forester Limited
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321 Posts
Plus one on the rear cargo light, or the light above the rear seats. Both have a switch that can leave them on whether the doors are open or closed.

The stock bulbs are not extremely bright, and with the window tint (if applicable) they might not be noticed.

I would think at least the forward of the two would be noticeable when driving though.

I do a lot of short trips with my '21, and have not had any battery issues. (about 1600 miles in 2.5 months) I even had the rear cargo light left on all night, but I had switched it to LED, so it made no (noticeable) impact on cranking power.

Given you have 11,000 miles in 6 months, this is probably a new issue. It took a bit over two years of being seldom driven for my wife's '17 Forester to have a battery issue. I really couldn't fully blame the battery, as it doesn't get driven a lot. But it was still a crappy battery, with half the height being lead plates/acid, and the other half just acid. I replaced it with an Optima, and she has not had any issues since.

I used a decent battery charger/repair and got the original battery back in shape, and put it in my Impreza when I traded it in, as I had a decent newer battery in that. I used it for other miscellaneous tasks in the meantime.

But I'm not sure if 6 months and that many miles that the battery is the root issue. Unless it is a crap load of city driving constantly using the start stop. I would make use of the warranty if you are not comfortable with tacking down and components that might be draining the battery overnight.
 

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2019 Subaru Forester Limited CVT
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337 Posts
I'm with @CrystalPistol on this one. I have a 2019 with a bit over 4000 miles on it. I only drive it a few times a week and it's usually for short distances. I have a noco genius float charger that I plug into and have never had a problem with the stock battery not being ready. There are tons of float charger / battery maintainer brands out there with all different price points to choose from. With all the electronics that drain from the battery while switched off plus the auto stop start system restarting the motor frequently unless you drive a lot your battery will need a top up from time to time.

I am looking forward to when my stock battery finally does die so I can put in a real battery but until then my float charger keeps me topped up and always ready to start.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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My 2021 Forester battery was dead two mornings in a row this week when I tried to leave for work. My VIN begins with a “J” which I am told means that it was manufactured in Japan... I’ve also been told that only the models made in America are problematic and the Japanese ones don’t have the same battery issue...
Regardless of manufacturer, your battery is too new to lose a full charge twice in a week. There is a drain on it somewhere.
Our Forester and Impreza are driven on short errands (each does only 2,000 miles per year), and that does not run down the batteries.

Foresters have always only been made in Japan.
Yajima Plant (Crosstrek and Forester), Ota City, Gunma Prefecture, Japan.
http://www.fhi.co.jp/english/outline/inoutline/domestic/
vs
Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) plant in Lafayette, Indiana:, Impreza , Outback, Legacy and Ascent.

Our Impreza's VIN begins with a J and it was made in Indiana.
 

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2021 Forester
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618 Posts
I had a 2017, work from home, even before pandemic. Car would sit for weeks at a time. Always started. Most of it's miles were racked up in road trips. At 4.5 years, 60kmiles was still starting like a champ.
 

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2021 Subaru Forester
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104 Posts
2021 with 5,000km, owned it since June, a month ago our toddler figured out how to turn the passenger dome light on. It sat like that for ~2-3 days and the battery was very dead. Neighbours Nissan Micra couldn't boost it, so I called Subaru Road side, guy boosted it, we drove for about an hour at highway speeds (going to in-laws), and it has been fine since. Weather is still warm here.
 

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2021 Forester Premium
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I do not know this for a fact, but I suspect Subaru utilizes a dual mode charging system. That appears to be the case anyway on my 2021 Forester as I watch the readouts on my voltage meter as I drive. When the car is under a heavy electrical load (such as when the headlights are turned on) the variable voltage alternator produces around 14.4 volts. Otherwise under normal driving conditions the charging system will throttle down to around 12.4 volts. This works great to reduce the alternator load on the engine and help fuel economy, but unfortunately also tends to keep the battery at a more subsistence level charge over time instead of fully charged. Batteries that are maintained at less than full charge will degrade quicker over time from normal plate sulfation . Add to that a high electrical draw when the engine is shut off, such as when lights are accidentally left on, rear door hatch left open for an extended period of time, or even normal computer control module requirements when shut off, and that battery failure can happen sooner. :( Unfortunately, batteries are one of those car parts that need an abnormal amount of care and attention, like verifying water level, state of charge and periodic use of a smart charger/maintainer. And ... I have learned now to drive with my headlights on ALL THE TIME. Every little bit helps. :)

I don't know if this is what afflicted HCK 's car, or if he has a different issue like a parasitic draw. Nonetheless I'd be back at the dealer's door steps asap if I were in his shoes.
 

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2018 Forester Auto
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@HCK,
Had the same experience on my 2014 ………..finally had it towed to the dealership and they replaced it with a new SUBARU battery, said old one wouldn’t hold a charge. No charge but it really fried my bacon that they had put a battery in a new vehicle that wasn’t badged SUBARU! Good luck
 

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15 Toyota Avalon hybrid; 02 Honda Odyssey
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I bought the car new exactly 6 months ago and only have 11,000 miles on it.
I don't know how the OP "talks", but If I typed 11,000 after using the word "only" here, it would be a typo for 1,100.

But only one of us knows the facts.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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Actually, it wouldn't be impossible to get 11,000 miles in 6 months. I had 40,000 miles in about 2 years - commuting 60 miles each way, 5 days per week...
 

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Well, in "only" two years of ownership, I've put 39,000 miles on my FXT. :unsure: And my commute is "only" 12 miles each way. The rest is vacation travel.

On my 2011 Outback, I had a couple of years of commuting 65 or 75 miles each way.
 

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Who said it would be impossible? I don't see any post suggesting it's even extremely high.

I guess some people might write, jokingly, that they are only 6'6" tall. Like I said, only one of us knows, and remains silent since the first post.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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being too literal....

And while HCK has liked one message reponse on here and not commented, we don't know for sure if it was a typo or if it is a correct supposition of 11,000 miles in 6 months.
 

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You need to do a draw test. It can be easily done with a basic tester over each fuse in the boxes both under the hood and inside the car. Once you know which circuit the draw is on, fix it. My bet is on the cargo light. I've had two dead batteries in the 6 and a half years I've had my Forester and both were due to that light getting turned on by stuff moving around in the back. Also, it might not be a bad idea to change as many bulbs as you can to LEDs. Even if you leave them on they use so little energy it will take days to drain the battery. Plus they put out more light, so a win-win
 
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