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2009 Forester
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Discussion Starter #1
Battery went completely dead on my 2009 Forester after sitting one week--only thing left on was passenger seat heater. Recharged successfully. Any similar experience?
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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I see that this is your first post, so welcome! We're glad to have you here. Wander over to the New Member Introductions Forum and tell us about yourself.

A seat heater would present a pretty heavy drain. Even something much less current-hungry could do in a battery in a week.

But I'd be surprised if the seat heater would stay on if the key were off. Is this really the way the 2009s are supposed to work?
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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In newer vehicles, there is always a power drain for electronics, like the security system/keyless entry, radio, clock & even the ECM. If you're battery is fully charged, it should hold a charge more than a week, but that's assuming it was fully charged. :confused:

I don't think the seat heater operates when the ignition key is removed, so I doubt if that caused your problem.

Keep in mind, a battery may never fully recharge after it's allowed to flat line. :frown:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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Is this really the way the 2009s are supposed to work?
No; see page 1-6 of the '09's owner manual.

Was a dome light, cargo area light, and/or map light left on? See OM pages 6-2 and -3.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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2009 Forester
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Discussion Starter #5
thank you for all the quick replys-----nothing left on that I could tell--seat heaters should go off with the ignition off. Had not done this before. Is there a way for the dealer to detect an abnormal battery drain with the ignition off?
 

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Put an ammeter in between one of the battery terminals and its cable. The current should be down in the low milliamp range.

If you don't own a meter, you can buy one at Harbor Freight for as low as $2.99. Everybody should have one. Or many!
 

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2001 Forester S
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106 Posts
Do you have an aftermarket amplifier, car stereo, video player, alarm system or anything else electronic? These are often wired directly to the battery, or through a fuse/circuit that gets constant power. Even a small drain can become an issue over a week.

If you don't have time to deal with it, you could just unplug the ground terminal when not in use (a pain) or connect a trickle charger.
 

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2009 Forester
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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for all the replys. I may have found an answer. On Page 1-6 in the OM there is a statement re: seat heaters---"before you leave the vehicle, be sure to turn the switch off". They don't actually say it but this would imply that there is a battery drain with a switch left on. Not very clear. Why would they engineer it this way? And not be more specific about it?
 

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Wow, that sure sounds like a sly way of saying it's not controlled by the ignition.

If you're concerned about this continuing to happen, it wouldn't be at all hard to wire a relay into the circuit.
 

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2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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Thank you for all the replys. I may have found an answer. On Page 1-6 in the OM there is a statement re: seat heaters---"before you leave the vehicle, be sure to turn the switch off". They don't actually say it but this would imply that there is a battery drain with a switch left on. Not very clear. Why would they engineer it this way? And not be more specific about it?
I don't think this implies the seat heater(s) would be left on when the engine is turned off and you leave the car.

Instead, I believe there are two other concerns about leaving the seat heater switch(es) left in an "ON" position. One concern is to not have the heater on underneath something else (i.e., a blanket or coat) placed on the passenger seat (also on page 1-6).

Another concern is to not have the seat heater(s) turned on when trying to start the car, especially in the winter, when battery capacity is reduced. The seat heaters load is not trivial; their fuse is 15 A. Other heat loads that should be off when starting the car in cold weather include the rear window- and side mirror deicers (25 A fuse), and the windshield wiper deicer (15 A).

This issue is easy to resolve. Get in the car, start the engine, turn on the driver's seat heater, let the seat warm up a bit, turn off the engine, and then see if the seat stays warm or cools off.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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SG9 Forester XT Stick Shift
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I would not sweat it. Its common to have defective battery. Its covered by 36K-36Months bumper to bumper coverage. Most dealer have special tool to check battery condition. They should be able to check it for your while you wait and might even decide to give you new battery.

The one week drain are not normal at all. Most car sat between factory until sold between 2-6 months. Dealer/shipping company did not disconnect the battery during transport.
 

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2009 Forester (MT)
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226 Posts
Well, the battery should not have died unless the key would have been left in the ignition switch powering one of numerous circuits. The same for the dome lights, or even leaving one of the doors ajar. The 2009 Forester prevents battery drain by shutting the interior lights circuits at approximately 15 minutes (if I well remember), and the head and driving lights immediately off as the ignition switch is turned off and the key is pulled out.
 

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2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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...The same for the dome lights, or even leaving one of the doors ajar. The 2009 Forester prevents battery drain by shutting the interior lights circuits at approximately 15 minutes (if I well remember)...
Yes and no. For example, if the dome light switch is set to the "Door" position (between "On" and "Off") and, say, a door is opened and then not closed properly, the "Battery drainage prevention function" (OM pg 2-5) will turn off the light(s) after ~10 minutes.

But, if a map light is turned on via its own switch, or if the dome light switch is set to "On", or if the cargo area light switch is set to "On", then any of those lights will stay on continuously (OM pgs 6-2 and -3).

I've verified both of these operating conditions on my '09 Forester.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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2009 Forester
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Discussion Starter #14
Wow--never expected so many responses. How bout if I get an ammeter(as BBottemley suggested), turn on a seat heater with the key out of the ignition and see of there is a current drain from one of the battery terminals? Thank you all for your replys
 

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2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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You'll need to disconnect a battery cable and then place the ammeter in series between the battery and the cable. Disconnecting/reconnecting the battery cable will likely cause the ECU to reset, and you'll also lose all stored radio and clock settings.

Another problem with handheld ammeters is that they have fairly low current limits. For example, even my Fluke 189 has a 10 A limit (with a built-in fuse), the same limit as Harbor Freight's $10 multimeter.

The seat heaters' 15 A fuse suggests the two heaters together draw 15 A x 80% = ~12 A on the high settings, so I'd estimate a single seat's low setting would be ~2 A. This would be in addition to the seat heater relay load and all other loads on the battery if you were to try this experiment. Accordingly, a meter's milliamp setting won't work.

Trying to remain objective and minimize any unwanted side effects, I still like this approach:

This issue is easy to resolve. Get in the car, start the engine, turn on the driver's seat heater, let the seat warm up a bit, turn off the engine, and then see if the seat stays warm or cools off.

Or, you can just sit in a front seat, leave the keys out of the ignition, turn on the seat heater, and see if it warms up. I'll be very surprised if it does, but, although they don't happen often, there are still times when I'm very surprised. :icon_wink:

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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Yes, don't try a meter when you know that the seats or any other major current drain are turned on, and use the high current scale on the meter. Jim's suggestion is certainly the easier of the two, but it would also be nice just to see what the real number might be. If you're really nimble you could pull this off without ever actually breaking the current flow to the ECU. It would take planning and a bit of luck. Set up the proper scale on the meter, loosen the battery connector but don't remove it, touch one probe to the connector and the other to the battery post, slide the connector off of the post, read the meter, and stuff the connector back onto the post.

All logic says that that heated seats would be on a key-controlled circuit, but that passage from the manual is certainly a strange one.
 

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2010 Forester XT
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Hi,
I think my situation is similar. We came home from a weekend vacation and tried to start our new Forester XT 2010 (only 4000 Km's) at the airport park-and-ride, but the battery was dead. The weather was not very cold, nothing was left on, and the keyless entry still worked, but the engine wouldn’t turn over. Needed to call AMA to get a boost.

Today we took the car to the dealer to have it tested for a slow battery drain.

First of all we were told that even though all head lights turn off automatically when the key is removed, you still have to turn the headlight switches off because they will slowly drain the battery. Supposedly, at ding will warn you when the lights are in the “on” position and the door is open. However, this does not work on our vehicle. The ding does work if I remove the key, turn off the lights and turn them back on. When I do this the lights go on and the ding sound is made with the door open.

This all sounds insane to me and would like to know if this is maybe what happened to you, or if anyone else has heard this. If so, I think Subaru should be pressured to do something about this issue.

Thanks,

Alan
 
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