Parasitic draw – security system?

@shmn How long have you had the car? Do you know it’s full maintenance/service record?

This is a 2006. As such it should have the immobilizer as standard equipment. This is what the Owners Manual says about the light flashing as part of the immobilizer function (page 2-4):

“The security indicator light deters potential
thieves by indicating that the vehicle is
equipped with an immobilizer system. It
begins flashing approximately 60 seconds
after the ignition switch is turned from the
“ON” position to the “ACC” or “LOCK” position
or immediately after the key is pulled

“If the security indicator light does not
flash, the immobilizer system may be
faulty. If this occurs, contact your
SUBARU dealer as soon as possible.” [underline added]

Note that it does not say the doors have to be locked in order for the security indicator to start flashing.

I park my car in my garage. No need to lock the doors. I set the brake, turn off the engine, take out the key, step out of the car and close the door. The security light is flashing.

On page 2-15 of the Owners Manual there’s a description of what happens when the doors are locked and the alarm is armed:

“6. Briefly press the “[lock]” button (for less
than two seconds). All doors (and the rear
gate on the Station wagon) will lock, an
electronic chirp will sound once, the turn
signal lights will flash once, and the indicator
lights will start flashing rapidly. After
rapid flashing for 30 seconds (standby
time), the indicator lights will then flash
slowly (twice approximately every two
, indicating that the system has
been armed for surveillance.” [underline added]

Note that in this case the doors have to be locked for the light to double flash every two seconds. So there’s a distinct difference between the flashing with the doors not locked and when they are locked.

If the security light does not flash in your Outback when the key is out but the doors are not locked, that might be a clue to a fault in the security/immobilizer/keyless entry system. That fault might be drawing excessive current. . . .

I locked the door and did the same amp draw test and once current dropped to 0.009 it started to rise every couple of seconds to some higher number which was hard to read because it was changing quickly. Using the MIN/MAX feature, it read max draw of 0.156 amps and average draw (after a couple of minutes of this) of 0.074 amps.

If the base level is 0.009 A, and there is a peak 0.156 A pulse of very short duration every few seconds, how does the “average” work out to be 0.074 A (roughly half the “peak”)? Perhaps when the light is momentarily on the peak current is far more than 0.156 A. If the light is on for roughly 0.2 seconds, and flashes every 2 seconds, how high would the peak current have to be for the “average” to be around 0.074 A?

In your first photo of post #1 (“doors unlocked – const draw”), how is the meter negative (black) probe connected to the battery negative post? There appears to be something red around one part of the post.

Also, there’s a red wire attached to the positive cable clamp bolt and a black-with-red-stripe wire at the negative cable clamp bolt. What is that for?

I realize that the meter is between the post and the negative cable clamp, but just want to identify any other wiring that is involved in the area. When the meter is not being used to monitor the current, and the negative cable is attached to the battery, could these wires be adding some sort of load, perhaps periodically?

Be interesting to see what a scope might reveal . . .

Following up on other comments . .

The security light is a surface-mount LED on the instrument cluster circuit board, and not readily removable.

The 2006 does not have any evap tests running after the car is parked — they’re done while driving. It also does not have push-button start or “proximity” door lock/unlock features, as in the later generations. The keyless entry/security system is running (within the 0.009 A plus the light flash pulses), but other than some memory savers (radio, ECM, TCM) there’s no other dark current loads that would tend to drain the battery.

Incidentally, the typical battery in these cars typically has a 52 Amp-Hour rating, or something close to this. At a drain of 1 Amp continuous, the battery should last some 50 hours. At 0.1 A, ten times that. As others have noted, and as I too have experienced, parking the car for several weeks does not drain the battery.

I began by asking about the car background. Any chance there’s some modified wiring, an aftermarket addition,

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