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Subaru Hit With 3rd WRX/STI Engine Failure Lawsuit

Subaru faces a third lawsuit over alleged WRX and WRX STI 2.5-liter engine failure. See why the 2.5-L boxer is under attack again.


Subaru of America is facing another lawsuit over alleged engine defects in the 2009-2014 WRX and WRX STI performance models. Both models are powered by a 2.5-liter turbo boxer engine in which the newest lawsuit contends a flaw in the pistons causes premature engine failure.

This is the third lawsuit against Subaru’s WRX and WRX STI performance cars in the last six months. In October of last year, Torque News reported Subaru of America (SOA) had a lawsuit filed against them claiming "an insufficient supply" of oil to connecting rod bearings caused engine failure from metal shavings in the oil in 2013-2014 WRX and WRX STI models. In December, a second lawsuit was filed claiming a crankshaft defect can cause “premature catastrophic engine failure” in 2009-2014 Subaru WRX and WRX STI powered by a 2.5-liter turbo boxer engine.

The Courier Post reports a third lawsuit has been filed again Subaru of America. The article says, 2009-2014 WRX and WRX STI performance models have “improperly designed and manufactured pistons.” The lawsuit contends cracks in the piston ring lands, (separations between the piston rings) can cause complete engine failure and subject owners to costly repairs.

This third lawsuit was filed last week on March 18, by Christopher Thompson, a Subaru WRX STI owner from California, who is seeking more than $5 million in damages. Thompson’s attorney, Gary Graifman with the law firm Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. of Chestnut Ridge, New York, declined to comment in the Courier Post story.

The third lawsuit says Subaru Corporation used modified 2.5-liter engines from Forester XT and some Outback turbo models and pumped up performance to provide nearly twice as much horsepower for the WRX and WRX STI models. The lawsuit contends the changes in the high-performance cars were made in a way that was cheaper for Subaru but “did not include necessary internal engine modifications to prevent damage to the piston ring lands and left the piston “more brittle” leading to engine failure. The suit also alleges Federal clean air standards led the Japanese automaker to make adjustments “that further strained the already overstressed internal engine components.”

All three of the lawsuits assert Subaru of America and Japanese parent company, Subaru Corp., concealed the alleged problems from customers. With thousands of 2009-2014 Subaru WRX and WRX STI sedan and hatch models on the road, there’s the potential to cost Subaru millions. Michael McHale, Director of Corporate Communication for Subaru, told the Courier Post, "We deny the claims and point to the long history of WRX sales" he said Wednesday. Stay tuned.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


JIM (not verified)    April 2, 2018 - 11:47AM


Marcin Ziolko (not verified)    April 2, 2018 - 1:02PM

In reply to by JIM (not verified)

I have 2012 and 2013 Sti. Both engine failed at around 60K miles. Subaru rebuilded first with resulting in hudge oil consumptions. I am lucky enough to have enough $$ and I took care of them elswhere. Subaru lost its quality after 2008. Be aware!

Katie (not verified)    June 5, 2018 - 10:17PM

In reply to by Marcin Ziolko (not verified)

I have a ‘13 and at 67K the engine blew in mine. No modifications done, I emailed Subaru about what happened after hearing this and it’s been over a year and no response yet

Joseph Logsdon (not verified)    November 26, 2019 - 8:13PM

In reply to by Marcin Ziolko (not verified)

I have a 2014 WRX Hatch and with only 70,XXX miles it to suffered motor failure! This car was properly maintained and not raced or abused in anyway...well, maybe a but nothing crazy! Anyway, a new timing chain was put on which is actually allowing the car to run again, but idles horribly and needs tuner. So many problems for a car under 100,000 miles! Wish I would have read up on these POS's prior to buying!

Mark Day (not verified)    April 2, 2018 - 5:06PM

From Subaru: "Michael McHale, Director of Corporate Communication for Subaru, told the Courier Post, "We deny the claims and point to the long history of WRX sales". Typical Subaru response - deny, deny, deny, - and accept zero responsibility for their defective products.

Cody (not verified)    April 2, 2018 - 5:38PM

Lost my 2013 WRX to catastrophic engine failure at 67,000 miles. Got a ton of backlash from, and was highly disrespected by the company from which I bought it from and will likely never purchase another Subaru product.

Ernest (not verified)    September 28, 2018 - 9:56PM

In reply to by Cody (not verified)

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Subaru Ambassador Headquarters <[email protected]>
Date: September 24, 2018 at 10:00:28 AM PDT
To: Marlene Shibayama <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: 2013 WRX

Hello Marlene,

Thank you for reaching out to us. For any issues or concerns relating to your Subaru vehicle, please reach out to Subaru Customer Service at 800-782-2783 or you can email them at [email protected]. They should be able to direct you to the appropriate dept. to address your vehicle concerns below.

Best Regards,

Marlene S
Subaru Ambassador HQ
Client Relations

-----Original Message-----
From: Marlene Shibayama <[email protected]>
Sent: Saturday, September 22, 2018 1:03 PM
To: Subaru Ambassador Headquarters <[email protected]>
Cc: Ernie <[email protected]>
Subject: 2013 WRX


I am a second owner of a 2013 WRX 2.5, liter turbo charged, EJ engine that has 38k before having engine failure. The engine failure was due to rod, bearing and oil contamination. With only having 38k on the engine (breaking in period), this has been a very unbelievable experience until seeing other Subaru owners going through the same issues, I have gone through. After more investigation I am now reading about countless numbers of complaints against Subaru and a settlement from Subaru due to engine failure with the same engine problems I have had. This is only the beginning of a long troublesome experience of events, from car rentals to overtime work in order to accumulate money ($6000 plus), for engine repairs to be more precise a new short block. I could easily continue on about loss of value on our car and the undependability we have of driving our car due to the chances of engine failure again.

Nicholas (not verified)    April 2, 2018 - 10:05PM

Nearly everyone that I know who has/had a 2008-2014 wrx/2008-2016 sti have engine failure. SOA needs to provide free warranty repair. And don’t just put another faulty engine in. Fix the ringland issue before putting another junk motor in the cars.

Paul (not verified)    April 2, 2018 - 10:16PM

So what changed in 2008 with the EJ25 that was different than previous turbo EJ25s? Also curious if the cars involved in the lawsuits were stock or modified in any way? Hate to hear the EJ25s have given some people issues, especially when there are so many stories of the EJ20s running faithfully past 200k for people.

John (not verified)    April 2, 2018 - 10:43PM

2010 wrx @90k rod bearing knock due to oiling issue. Typical Subaru denying fault. Even after purchasing extended bumper to bumper warrantee they deny any fault within a week after driving off the lot.

Raymond Dyrcz (not verified)    April 2, 2018 - 11:43PM

Bought a 2009 STI brand new.. Started knocking at 40,000 miles. I own a truck repair shop. Do my own oil changes. Local dealer broke my balls. No oil change receipts. After a month, they replaced the short block. At 10,000 miles, I did intake, exhaust and tune by a great shop. Drove that motor for 140,000 miles. started to miss due to one cyl, low compression. Installed a new short block, did the heads, all by the same shop. added a header, car about to hit 200,000 miles. Best car I ever owned. plenty of power to have fun, but I'm not abusive. Original clutch!!! love this car

roderick clark (not verified)    April 3, 2018 - 8:18PM

In reply to by Atlee Gray (not verified)

Im hopin so. Bought one with a new short block from subaru. My logic is that reduced oil in the intake will prevent dillution of the fuel and reduce detonation.

Jp (not verified)    April 3, 2018 - 4:48PM

Put almost 80k on my stock 09 sti and sold it after buying a ‘12. Guy that bought it had ringland failure and blew it up 2 days later. Lucky me I guess

Nicolas R (not verified)    April 6, 2018 - 9:25PM

I must be one of the lucky ones. At 96,000 miles on my 2011 STI and don’t have any issues. Constantly beat the hell out of it and it’s still running smooth and strong. I usually use Royal Purple and once in a blue moon Castrol full synthetic 5w-30. Oil changes on time and proper maintenance is very important, timing belt change coming up very soon..

Stephen "The Money" (not verified)    April 17, 2018 - 12:28AM

My 2010 WRX at 34k miles was consuming 1-1.5 quarts of oil per week. My power steering rack started leaking like crazy. Then my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear syncros all died. Once my turbo started blowing more smoke than Snoop Dogg, I had enough! At first they tried giving me crap for not having receipts for one oil change... But once I raised my voice and started fighting them about it they quickly folded. They replaced my entire long block, transmission, turbo, power steering rack, radiator, pretty much everything under the hood except for the intercooler. Didn't charge me anything for it. I was very happy, and drove the car another 90k miles with 0 problems before selling it!

Mat (not verified)    April 19, 2018 - 7:39PM

My 2014 WRX hatch spun a rod bearing @ 23,000 miles. Subaru denied warranty stating “lack of lubrication”. They quoted me $10,000 to replace the engine. It took me almost 2 years to save the money and had to fix it myself. It was the biggest nightmare. I drove a $500 car while it sat in the backyard of a friend. I spent $6500 out of my own pocket and countless hours rebuilding and locating where each bolt went. Literally all bolts were in one box, thanks Subaru. I had the car for 4 months when it happened. I did buy it used with 12k miles.

Sharon Walker (not verified)    June 8, 2019 - 10:33PM

In reply to by Mat (not verified)

They took care of my sons and since they made me owner at the signing instead of co-signer I moved the loan that cost 64 dollars less a month than their loan. It is a WRX STI 2015 and was taken to the dealer for a cold running issue....stalled until it warned up. The dealer blew the engine. Will be picking it up this week. We have been told it will cost less than 300 dollars. I am going to tell them it will be at the cost of their insurance since they are the ones who blew it up.

Stephen LaBounty (not verified)    June 10, 2019 - 8:12PM

In reply to by Sharon Walker (not verified)

Yes, most definitely fight that $300! Tell them the car wouldn't have even been in the shop had it not been for their screw up. Or that the $300 can be applied to the many hours of hassle, and how much they have inconvenienced your lives. Both you and your sons time is extremely valuable. The last time I checked neither car dealerships or Subaru of America are operating under a not for profit status. So why the hell do they think you are just going to donate all of your time to them for free??

Jack (not verified)    January 8, 2020 - 2:16PM

In reply to by Sharon Walker (not verified)

Hi...what does 'blew the engine' actually mean? Did they replace the engine of 'fix' it? I would be asking for a complete story on what happened, what was the damage, and what was done to fix it. As far as the <$300...that may be justified on some part of the repair for which the car was sent to them, however it would be pathetic to charge a person who's car you apparently damaged. If they want to take a stand, they can hold your car until you pay, your course of action then may have to be the fairly toothless 'Fair Trading' type offices or the local media. Be careful what you say but be firm and rational (I realise this is advise-after-the-event)

Jacqueline Faett (not verified)    March 21, 2020 - 10:26AM

In reply to by Mat (not verified)

My son purchased a 2014 Subaru WRX his engine started knocking really loud and now it’s not drivable. It will start but due out if you put in gear. We bought this vehicle used on 3/30/219 and still paying on it not even a year. Each quote is is over $7000!

Frederick Holmes (not verified)    April 29, 2018 - 7:53PM

I have a 2012 wrx. Had my motor replaced at 65k by Warranty due to insufficient oil causing a thrown rod. I had the oil changed the week before. They decided to put a used motor in with 15k and it hasn't ran the same since, and the warranty company won't work with me any more. I love these cars and this is my first one that I have owned, to be honest I get frustrated every time I drive it.

Buddy Thorn (not verified)    May 2, 2018 - 6:23AM

I have a 2013 sti which blew up the first time at 47,000 mile which they replaced the block heads turbo that they down graded to a wrx turbo just to have it blow up the second time at 67000 miles on a road trip now my car sits at the Reno dealer ship where they are denying my claim

WrxLuvver (not verified)    June 29, 2018 - 1:38AM

In reply to by Buddy Thorn (not verified)

Didn't they swap the wrx to the larger sti turbo in 2009 and it's just turned down? P.s. 2009 wrx here with 111k miles, JUST replaced timing belt and all 4 idler pullies for $1100. Engine pulls strong but I have injector Rick or something and had my throw out bearing blow apart and destroy my clutch and wear the nose of my transmission right off, that all cost me $2200 just this past December. $3500 spent and the only performance mods I have are my license plate relocator and my rally armor mud flaps and my DBA rotors and hawk pads. But yea....