Every car brand has problems with their new cars, and there are some unique to each automaker. Here is a complete list of some recent Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Ascent, and other new model problems, recalls, and lawsuits owners should know about. Subaru Report has covered each issue, and you can click on the red links below to get more information on the issue.
Denso Fuel Pump Failure
In April, Subaru announced a defective fuel pump recall for the 2019 Subaru Outback, 2019 Ascent, 2019 Impreza, and 2019 Legacy models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced an additional 1.5 million cars were affected, and more Subaru vehicles were involved that used Denso fuel pumps.
Denso used the defective "low pressure" fuel pump before July 2019 and began using the fuel pump with a higher density impeller filter after that date. Before this latest announcement, Subaru estimated about 4 percent of the models were affected. Subaru issued a recall for this problem.
What is the safety risk? The four Subaru vehicles equipped with a low-pressure fuel pump could fail, including an impeller manufactured with a lower density. Subaru says, "If the surface of the lower density impeller is exposed to solvent drying for longer periods, it may develop fine cracks. Those cracks may lead to excessive fuel absorption, resulting in impeller deformation.”
Battery system drain
Subaru of America was hit with a class-action lawsuit concerning the Subaru Outback wagon and Ascent 3-Row SUV last year. The class-action lawsuit filed in April 2020 alleged 2016-2019 Subaru Outback and the 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent SUVs had problems with the batteries draining prematurely. According to the filing, the alleged defect may also be present in the 2020 Outback.
Another defective battery lawsuit was filed against Subaru of America and Subaru Canada. The more recent case covered more models, including the 2015-2019 Subaru Forester, 2015-2019 Subaru Outback, 2019 Subaru Ascent, 2015-2019 Subaru Legacy, and 2015-2019 Subaru WRX.
A class-action lawsuit against Subaru claimed certain Forester, Outback, and Legacy models suddenly accelerated without warning. The class-action claimed Subaru hid the defect and had known about the problem in these models since 2011. The lawsuit was filed in New Jersey federal court against Subaru of America. The Subaru Forester and Outback are the brand's top-selling models in North America.
The lawsuit said 2012-2018 Subaru Forester, 2015-2019 Subaru Outback, and 2015-2019 Subaru Legacy model vehicles could accelerate without warning when the driver uses the brake pedal.
Subaru of America agreed to a settlement of the cracked windshield lawsuit brought against the Camden, N.J. automaker. The recent windshield settlement only included 2015 Subaru Outback and Legacy models and 2016 Subaru Outback and Legacy models.
The lawsuit was initially filed in June 2017 when a California woman who claimed her 2015 Subaru Outback developed a crack that had "spontaneously appeared" at the windshield base.
New information in the Subaru defective windshield lawsuit covered the 2017-2020 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Impreza, Legacy, and 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent models. In November, Torque News reported the defective windshield class-action lawsuit against Subaru of America included 2.5 million vehicles in the U.S. covering the Subaru models listed above.
Subaru Starlink problems
The class-action lawsuit that claimed Subaru's Starlink infotainment systems are defective reached a final settlement. A New Jersey Judge signed the order valued at $6.25 million and could benefit 785,000 Subaru owners and lessees. The agreement covered the 2018 Subaru Forester, 2018 Subaru Outback, 2018 Crosstrek, 2018 Legacy, 2017-2018 Impreza, and 2018 BRZ.
The Starlink systems consist of Harman Gen 3 audio and navigation head units, and the lawsuit alleged the head units created safety concerns for Subaru drivers.
Some owners experienced several problems that include backup camera freezing/or shutdowns, loss of audio functions, complete system lockup, display shutoff, inability to shut radio/audio off or turn high volume level down when backing up, radio comes on at high volume when the car is turned on, smartphone favorites aren't saved, audio/radio functioning is erratic, touchscreen controls are unresponsive, and Bluetooth connectivity issues.
Subaru Ascent CVT
Subaru Ascent owners have reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that they have had shifting problems. Drivers report feeling the vehicle hesitates, jerking or about to stall, and slipping of the continuous variable transmission (CVT) automatic gearbox.
Subaru of America recalled 76,842 2019 model year Ascent SUVs over a faulty sensor in the transmission. The hydraulic transmission sensor may inaccurately measure the hydraulic fluid pressure, and the Continually Variable Transmission (CVT) chain may slip in Ascent 3-Row vehicles.
Light switch defect
Subaru was hit with their largest recall ever and recalled around 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S. over a brake light switch malfunction. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says Subaru of America's recall covered certain 2014-2016 Forester, 2013-2017 Crosstrek 2008-2016 2008-2014 WRX sedans and WRX STI, 2008-2016 Impreza sedans, and 2012-2016 Impreza station wagons. This was part of a massive global recall where 2.3 million vehicles were affected. A total of 1,303,530 cars in the U.S. were affected by this recall.
What is the problem? Exposure to specific contaminants may cause the brake light switch to malfunction, preventing the brake lights from illuminating and preventing keyless ignition vehicles from starting and CVT/automatic transmissions from being shifted out of Park.
Electrical system issue
Subaru issued another massive recall affecting new 2017-2019 Crosstrek and Impreza models. Subaru of America recalled the next-generation Crosstrek and Impreza vehicles for an electrical system issue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the recall affected 466,205 vehicles in the U.S. alone.
The NHTSA said the Engine Control Module (ECM) in both Crosstrek and Impreza may continue to power the ignition coil after the engine is shut off, which could result in a short circuit and a blown fuse. If a short circuit occurs while driving, the vehicle could stall, increasing the crash risk.
Owners could face these eight Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Ascent, and other new model problems. Owners can check Subaru's VIN lookup tool here to check for any recent recalls affecting their vehicle.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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