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Can Your Subaru Windshield Shatter On Its Own? New Forester And Outback Owners Say Yes

A class-action lawsuit against Subaru alleges windshields in the new 2017-2020 Forester, Outback, 2020 Crosstrek, and 2020 Ascent vehicles are defective and can crack unexpectedly. Can your Subaru windshield crack on its own?


Torque News reported in October 2019, a class-action lawsuit alleged windshields in the 2017-2019 Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek models are “defective and dangerous” and that Subaru of America is doing nothing to remedy the problem. Another class-action lawsuit was filed in California claiming 2017-2019 Subaru Forester, 2017-2019 Subaru Outback, and 2017-2019 Subaru Legacy models also had defective windshields.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also received numerous complaints from Subaru owners who experienced issues with their windshields, according to the consolidated class action.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback

In February 2020, fifteen new plaintiffs added 2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Subaru Outback, 2020 Subaru Crosstrek, 2017-2020 Subaru Legacy, and 2017-2020 Subaru Impreza models to the lawsuit. It brought the total number of Subaru vehicles to 2.5 million cars potentially impacted.

Can your Subaru windshield crack or shatter on its own?

According to a report from Top Class Actions, there is always a reason why your windshield cracks or shatters even if it seems there is no logical explanation. The apparent reasons are when a rock hits your windshield. But a windshield can break due to unseen stress, cracks, or even glass defects in certain vehicles.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback

Can a Subaru windshield break or crack unexpectedly due to manufacturing error?

Top Class Actions says, “In some cases, windshields may break due to manufacturing errors. For example, if the glass is nicked or chipped during installation, those cracks can grow and cause the glass to shatter. Additionally, failure to properly engineer the glass can also lead to damage and eventual breakage.”

Subaru recalled some 2010-2014 model year Outback wagon and Legacy sedan models with the affected windshields, “noting that a heated windshield wiper system caused the breakage. The compound which adheres the heater to the glass allegedly caused damage, which can result in larger cracks and eventual windshield shattering.”

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback

They say, “Although Subaru has extended the windshield warranty for the vehicles, consumers argue that this is not enough.”

What’s going on with the Subaru defective windshield lawsuit?

In June 2020, Subaru of America’s lawyers asked the judge to dismiss the case because drivers can’t sue over models they didn’t drive. According to court documents obtained by GlassBytes, Subaru stated no plaintiff has ever purchased, leased, or owned a: Subaru Legacy of any model year; any 2017 Crosstrek, Forester, or Impreza; any 2019 Impreza; or any 2020 Subaru Crosstrek, Forester, or Impreza.

Is there a Subaru windshield recall?

There has been no recall issued over the Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Ascent, or Legacy windshield problem. However, the lawsuit against Subaru alleges the automaker knew about the issue due to the “tremendous volume of complaints” lodged by consumers but continues to hide its information from the public and deny that any defect exists.

What should Subaru customers do?

Subaru owners will have to pay for a broken or cracked windshield unless you have purchased a Subaru Equity Shield Windshield Protection plan. The plan only covers repairing chips and small cracks but not a total windshield replacement.

How much does a Subaru windshield cost?

Owners are responsible for replacing a windshield. With labor costs and recalibrating the vehicles’ EyeSight driver assist technology, replacing a Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, or Ascent windshield could be $1,000 or more.

Stay tuned as we bring more information on the Subaru class-action windshield lawsuit. We will also report on the hidden costs of repairing your vehicle with advanced safety features and replacing a 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, or Ascent windshield with EyeSight.

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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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Photo credit: Subaru, Competition Subaru


Sam (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 2:15AM

Just 3 months after buying my Outback 2020 the windshield cracked for no apparent reason and it has spread all over the windshield now. I have heard that Subaru windshields are weak due to eyesight technology. If this is true then Subaru should be held accountable for cheating us.

william horn (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 10:51AM

In reply to by Sam (not verified)

Eye sight technology has nothing to do with the possibility of.a windshield breaking.
I have been in the auto glass business for almost 40 years.
We must understand that automobile manufacturers are looking to shave weight wherever they can. With that being said a lot of the new windshields are thinner than they ever used to be ,and they can no longer stand up even to the slightest chips on the glass.the Subaru eyesight system is mounted at the top of the windshield but it's attached to the roof at the headliner there is no physical contact between the eyesight system and the windshield itself.
as far as I am concerned Subaru was smarter to design it this way. With that being said if you purchase an aftermarket glass you have the risk of it not being formed correctly and the eyesight system not working correctly which is why it is imperative to have the system recalibrated after every windshield installation

Greg (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 4:42AM

2004 Outback
My windshield cracked in 2 places the length of the windshield heater. Apparently Subaru has been having this problem for decades! Maybe they should invest in better windshields and avoid these class actions... I'm still a die hard fan of Subaru but some of the decisions being made upstairs have been very foolish in recent years.

Sc0rch3d (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 5:23AM

I've had 3 windshields on my 2015 outback (which was the first year of a design change). Moved into a developing neighborhood with lots of construction. The first two windshields cracked like fragile candy, small nic ran across the glass. However I got the third windshield maybe in year 3 and it's been totally solid since then. 1 or 2 nics that didn't run and were filled with no issue.

My advice, if you can afford it, get a high level of glass insurance separate from collision and comprehensive. For an extra 10-20 per month, progressive will not charge to get nics repaired and only 99 for an entire windshield.

Martin (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 7:57PM

In reply to by Sc0rch3d (not verified)

Why should a Subara owner have to pay one dime to have their defective windshield repaired or replaced? I would fight this and the complaints should continued to come in. One paid top dollar for their Subaru and should not have to be responsible for a defective windshield.

Randy (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 6:22AM

What a strange article this is. I've sold Subaru and Toyota for a long time now. I've never had one of my thousands of Subaru customers ever have a cracked windshield. I've seen blown head gaskets but never an unexplained cracked windshield.

Mishelle (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 1:37PM

In reply to by Randy (not verified)

I have worked for (Subaru) for 3+ years. I now currently on a 2019 Forrester and the first three months of owning it I had to replace the windshield because it did crack! And I also have seen a few more cars come in with no chips no nothing and the windows have come in cracked!

Lori Moriarty (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 11:54AM

I have a 2019 Crosstrek, my windshield cracked I have never had a car that this happens. I replaced with a aftermarket Subaru windshield which is this is bad it's all scratched up already. What is wrong with this glass in this car?

Michael Welch (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 1:04PM

I have replaced my 2019 windshield 3 times, in five months. The 3rd, the installation company replaced it with a heavier windshield that was constructed by a non Subaru company. This one is holding up fine. On the 3rd windshield, I made Subaru reprogram it at no cost to me.

Josh (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 2:49PM

The windshield on my 2017 Outback had massive cracks that spread in many directions after a small impact from a road rock. I've never seen a windshield crack so easily in my 23 years of driving many different vehicles.
My car insurance company offers full glass coverage. It cost them $984 to replace my windshield. A different brand windshield was put in. Maybe it will hold up better.

Jimmy (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 3:14PM

The windshield on my 2018 Outback 3.6R is intact. Not so with the rear wheel bearing that just went out at 22K miles, or all the rodent damage to the fuel sensor line (Caused car to shut off fuel pump in traffic), tasty windshield washer lines and the serpentine belt of all things. New Subaru’s are overrated in my opinion.

Nancy Richard (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 3:27PM

2017 Subaru crosstrek with 2 new windshields and recalibration at 1300. Each. First car ever to have this happen to in my forty+ years driving.

Brenda Van De Veer (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 6:49PM

My 2016 Crosstrek had a hole popped thru the windshield when my windshield protector brushed the rearview mirror and it popped off. I called the main Subaru office as advised by my service manager and they payed for another company to fix it.

J lann (not verified)    September 26, 2020 - 8:39PM

I was driving my Subaru on a beautiful sunny day with no others cars on the road when suddenly I heard a very large noise. we stopped the car to see if someone might have taken a shot with a BB gun but it was a wide open road and no place to hide. Replacement windshield was over $1,000.

Mary (not verified)    November 13, 2020 - 1:26AM

In reply to by J lann (not verified)

The exact same thing happened to me in Sydney, Australia. I was in the passenger seat with my mum driving and we heard a bang that sounded like a gun shot. We immediately stopped the car and looked around to see what had happened when I noticed a crack on the windshield. We drove the car onto someone's driveway to inspect the damage made noticing that the crack was internal and not external. Our XV is brand new - a 2020 model. You would not expect something like this to happen to a brand new vehicle. We are making a claim against Subaru Australia

Mary (not verified)    November 13, 2020 - 1:30AM

In reply to by J lann (not verified)

The exact same thing happened to me in Sydney, Australia. I was in the passenger seat with my mum driving and we heard a bang that sounded like a gun shot. We immediately stopped the car and looked around to see what had happened when I noticed a crack on the windshield. We drove the car onto someone's driveway to inspect the damage made noticing that the crack was internal and not external. Our XV is brand new - a 2020 model. You would not expect something like this to happen to a brand new vehicle. We are making a claim against Subaru Australia

Valerie L Kaune (not verified)    February 25, 2021 - 5:23PM

In reply to by J lann (not verified)

The exact same thing just happened to my 2021 Outback!!

All alone, by myself and pop!! Looked around, didn't see a thing on my windshield or nothing. At that time my windshield was fine. It was fine that night when I parked it. Next morning, got in my car and look at the very LONG crack that went from the bottom of my windshield to half way up. No hole or chip was found by me or my husband. Both of us throughly looked for a rock chip and didn't find one. And we both came to the same conclusion, that it HAD to be caused by a defective windshield or a stress fracture!! Took it to the dealership and showed them. I sat there for over 3 hours waiting on an answer from them on what was going to be done about replacing the windshield. ONLY AFTER I allowed them to take it in the back to do my "oil change" did they decide to give me an answer. And then they showed me the supper tiny little hole that was up UNDER my wiper blade, saying then that it was caused by a rock and it was a road hazard issue, therefore I was responsible for paying for a new windshield!! My mistake was NOT taking a picture of that crack from top to bottom!! Because I swear on MY life and my children's life, that hole was NOT there before they took my car in the back (where I couldn't watch them PUT that tiny hole there!) And then suddenly this hole appears after they brought my car back out of the service area!! So Austin Subaru refused to replace my windshield!!
Anyone know of the attorneys handling this case??
Contact me please, Valerie Kaune

John (not verified)    December 14, 2020 - 5:29PM

Just bought a brand new Impreza 2020 - windshield cracked near bottom while sitting in driveway - DO NOT BUY SUBARU CARS - THESE WINDSHIELDS ARE LEMONS.

Tamara (not verified)    December 15, 2020 - 7:50PM

I have had 5 windshields replaced in less than one year in my 2019 Outback from 1/2020 thru 11/2020! I haven't had but maybe 2 windshields replaced in my 44 years of driving. My insurance has covered the cost of replacing them so far. This last time, I requested that they not use Subaru glass to see if that is the problem. If this one cracks then maybe it is a framing issue. I now have an off brand windshield. I did allow Subaru to callabrat the eyesight cameras. Time will tell. Regretting that I chose the Subaru due to the windshield. Love the "rest of the vehicle". Hopefully, they will correct the issue for everyone and regain their reputation.

Kris (not verified)    February 2, 2021 - 6:42PM

We have Subaru Outback 2020. Month ago the windshield cracked. We went to Subaru Dealer and paid for replacement over $1000. The new windshield was all over scratched so we went back again. About two weeks later we got the call that they installed the new one which was scratched as well so they ordered another one. The another one was again..... scratched. We went back again. At this time they were adamant to admit that there is something wrong with the Subaru's windshields. They took pictures and reassured us that they will call. They never did not. Yesterday I got another crack out of nowhere. So disappointing! Do I need to pay another $1000 just for a little while until another crack happens????

Kelly Clay (not verified)    March 25, 2021 - 10:36AM

I am leasing a 2020 Subaru Ascent Touring. I've had 3 dings in my windshield in the first year. I had the first 2 repaired on my own dime. the 3rd one was a ding for about a day then moved to a full on crack and I had to have the windshield replaced.
A couple days ago I found that my moon roof has a crack in it? there wasn't a ding or any damage, just a long crack. The car had been sitting a week while we were gone.
What is going on Subaru, this isn't my first time with them and never had these issues before? We have a 2018 Impreza and have owned 3 other wagons over the years). I owned a suburban for 10+years and had one ding in the windshield that I had filled. I'm not driving off road or in heavy construction areas.

Aimee W (not verified)    June 15, 2021 - 5:10PM

I own a 2017 subaru outback. we were driving home for the holidays and heard a pop but that was all - no rocks flying. By the time we arrived we had a crack halfway across the windshield that continued until we replaced it in August the following summer. I used Safellite Auto Glass and got the non-subaru branded glass. Knock on wood but it's basically find. I did get a little chip and immediately called to get it fixed - the guy looked at me like I was a freak because it was so small. I don't care - fix that cause I am not paying $500 again for this (my insurance covered half). So very sad and disappointed. Love my little car but the customer service and financing at subaru is pure garbage. Total scammers.

Michael B (not verified)    November 15, 2021 - 8:36AM

20 months into my lease on a 2020 Forester the window cracked on it's own while I was sitting in the driveway. There was minor chip by the driver side wiper but nothing significant to make it split like it did. 1hr at Safelite and $500 insurance deductible to get it replaced

Gracie (not verified)    November 20, 2021 - 7:48PM

Last month we bought 2020 Subaru Forester . The car has already 20k miles, however, only in very short time our car was hit by a road rock. It made the windshield crack. That has to be repaired. We have more than 20 years driving experience and never happened like this. :-(

we drive. We are surprised.:-(

Frank kresge (not verified)    September 19, 2022 - 6:55PM

I just replaced my 2017 Forester windshield today . I replaced another one back in February. The car has 45,000 miles on it . The first windshield, I know was struck by a small stone that had been thrown up by a truck. The other crack? I have no idea. While driving, I happened to notice a small crack in the windshield very near to the edge of the windshield. It wasn’t there when I started driving and I know a stone was not thrown up against it. Of course my insurance company wanted a cause…
Amazing, two windshields in six months. Drove Chevies for forty years and never had a cracked windshield.