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2005 Forester X
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Auto repair shop ran a battery test on my 2005 2.5x and said they highly recommend changing the battery.

I am no auto buff. I'm also leaving on March 26 for 20 days. Meanwhile, should I get the battery changed before I leave, or risk coming back to a dead battery?

I'll be having someone come over to run the car once a week while I'm gone. But I also don't want to have it die suddenly either as I need it for work before I leave.

What to do? How long did your battery last?

Thank you in advance.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,380 Posts
Crap shoot. A battery should last at least 5 years or so. If you have now kept the level of the water up to the top of the battery cells (distilled water). It might go sooner. It it would be a big inconvenience for you to come home to a dead battery I would go replace it.
 

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02 Forester L (sold) Manual
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1,220 Posts
+1. Batteries are mystical creatures and can fail at random. What they should have done was put a 'load test' on it to see how quickly it recovers from a heavy draw, such as when you start the engine. If it has a weak 'return' then it's on the way towards death. For a second opinion, most any auto parts chain store (Autozone, etc) can do this simple test for you.
 

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03X MT
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846 Posts
Living in Maui you wouldn't face the dreaded "it was 20 below last night and my car won't crank this morning"

When a battery gets 5+ years on the clock cold weather can affect the chemical reaction going on between the plates.

If your budget is open to spend $ for a new battery I would get one soon.
 

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2015 Forester X 6MT 6-Gear Manual
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1,373 Posts
I would not have someone run the car. I would just disconnect the battery and connect a black and decker (or similar) "battery maintainer" available at most home depot stores for 20 bucks. These will trickle charge the battery and stop charging when the battery is fully charged. I just set this up for my elderly mother in FL on her Cadillac Coupe Deville where the car gets driven once or twice a year (when I'm down there).
 

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2005 Forester X
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks!

Thank you each one of you who took the time to reply. Your input is informative and useful. I read somewhere that taking the battery out can be tricky because it may mess up the computerized system when you reinstall it.

I'll just get a new battery. Do you think I can just leave it with a new battery? Or should I let someone run it once a week? I'm gone for 3 weeks. I know a friend with a Subaru Outback who was gone for 3 weeks and her battery died when she got back. But when I ran it for her every week, it didn't die.

Mahalo again and look forward to the answer.
 

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2005 Impreza RS Wagon Auto
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3,658 Posts
Thank you each one of you who took the time to reply. Your input is informative and useful. I read somewhere that taking the battery out can be tricky because it may mess up the computerized system when you reinstall it.

I'll just get a new battery. Do you think I can just leave it with a new battery? Or should I let someone run it once a week? I'm gone for 3 weeks. I know a friend with a Subaru Outback who was gone for 3 weeks and her battery died when she got back. But when I ran it for her every week, it didn't die.

Mahalo again and look forward to the answer.
If you let a car sit more than 2 weeks I would recommend a float charger which trickle charges the battery and turns off automatically. A decent one runs 30$
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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I wouldn't be concerned about leaving a well charged, new battery for 3 weeks. Think about how long it probably sat on the shelf in the store.

As for messing up the computer, yes, if you disconnect the battery (like when you change it) or let it get down way, way low, it will reset things in the computer. You will probably encounter some roughness for the first few starts till it re-educates itself. (And you'll lose your radio settings and your trip odometer.) If you really want to avoid this, you could use a set of jumper cables to keep the old battery in the circuit till you get the new one connected.
 

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2005 Forester X
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I wouldn't be concerned about leaving a well charged, new battery for 3 weeks. Think about how long it probably sat on the shelf in the store.

As for messing up the computer, yes, if you disconnect the battery (like when you change it) or let it get down way, way low, it will reset things in the computer. You will probably encounter some roughness for the first few starts till it re-educates itself. (And you'll lose your radio settings and your trip odometer.) If you really want to avoid this, you could use a set of jumper cables to keep the old battery in the circuit till you get the new one connected.


Thanks!

I see there are different options. I called the Napa store to get a battery charger and they said it needs to be hooked up to an electrical outlet, and because I don't have a garage, and the car is sitting outside the whole time, it wouldn't be a good idea due to rain.

Looks like I'll either change the battery before I go or do it when I come back and jumpstart it if necessary. Worse case scenario, I have free towing with my car insurance so I can have them haul it to the auto shop.
 

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2006 V50 T5 6spd Manual
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2,510 Posts
Crap shoot. A battery should last at least 5 years or so. If you have now kept the level of the water up to the top of the battery cells (distilled water). It might go sooner. It it would be a big inconvenience for you to come home to a dead battery I would go replace it.
Yeah, we replaced the OEM Panasonic one on our '05 XS a month ago. 153k miles on it, and it was starting to have trouble turning the engine over on cold mornings. Much better now that it's been replaced!
 

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2008 Forester 2.5X
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175 Posts
Thanks!

I see there are different options. I called the Napa store to get a battery charger and they said it needs to be hooked up to an electrical outlet, and because I don't have a garage, and the car is sitting outside the whole time, it wouldn't be a good idea due to rain.
Shouldn't be a big deal, unless you're concerned with folks unplugging it. Just run the extension cord from your outlet to under your hood, and plug the trickle charger in there. Just make sure the cord dangles down a little near the wall socket so the water can't run down the cord into your socket.
 

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2004 Forester X
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68 Posts
I'm wandering the same thing. It is starting to get colder here and I am taking a 2k mile road trip up to vermont starting on friday, it is even colder up there. I parked in a cool parking garage today and when I went to crank the ole foz up it seemed like a split second into the crank it shorted out and reset the trip odometer? Not sure if this is a deeper intermittent electrical problem but my money is on the battery... it is the original from 04 after all. Any suggestions on battery brands?
 

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2009 Forester (MT)
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226 Posts
I would not have someone run the car. I would just disconnect the battery and connect a black and decker (or similar) "battery maintainer" available at most home depot stores for 20 bucks. These will trickle charge the battery and stop charging when the battery is fully charged. I just set this up for my elderly mother in FL on her Cadillac Coupe Deville where the car gets driven once or twice a year (when I'm down there).
That's what I would do. If the car is parked outside the garage, then I would remove the battery and store it in the garage, while being "maintained" by the special charger.

To the OP: make sure that you use a battery "maintainer," not just a regular charger. I use these kinds of chargers (maintainers) to keep the loan tractor and ATV's batteries charged in the garage during the long winter months in Alaska. Before connecting the charger to the battery, make sure that you check the water/acid level, and don't overfill (just enough water over the top-edge of each cell). Use distilled water only. If you see some water over the top of the cell, that's all you will need. What you don't want is the top of the cell to be dry. Some batteries have a water-lever mark on the outside. WARNING: don't charge the battery near a source of ignition (an electric motor, refrigerator or freezer, furnace or boiler, etc.), nor when connected to the car via the cables. The charger/maintainer will damage the car's electronics or the remote starter if you have one of these installed on your car.
 
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