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A Third Faulty Windshield Lawsuit Is Now Filed Against Subaru

Subaru is under fire again for faulty windshields in some of their vehicles. Does Subaru have a problem with 2017-2019 Forester, Outback and Legacy models?


Subaru has been under fire for faulty windshields and Subaru of America is hit with another cracked windshield class-action lawsuit. The first was filed last year in California claiming 2015-2016 Subaru Outback and Legacy model’s windshields were spontaneously breaking. The second was filed in October by a Wisconsin woman seeking damages against Subaru for the drivers of 2017-2019 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek models alleged to have defective windshields.

The third and latest class-action lawsuit against Subaru of America (SOA) has been filed in California filed on behalf of consumers who purchased or leased 2017-2019 Subaru Forester, 2017-2019 Subaru Outback and 2017-2019 Subaru Legacy models. The plaintiff in the case is represented by attorneys Capstone Law and Berger Montague in San Diego.

There is a third 2017-2019 Subaru Outback, Forester, Legacy cracked windshield lawsuit2019 Subaru Outback

Does Subaru have a windshield cracking problem?

Subaru sent technical service bulletin (TSB) 12-192-15R in October 2016 concerning cracked windshields in 2015-2016 Legacy and Outback models and determined “Many of these failures to be the ceramic materials used for the black-colored printed perimeter combined with the silver-colored material used for the wiper deicer portion of the windshield glass.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, SOA extended the original warranty on applicable factory-installed windshields in 2015-2016 Outback and Legacy models to 5 years / unlimited miles covering windshield replacement a maximum of “one time.”

New 2017-2019 Subaru Outback, Forester, Legacy cracked windshield class-action lawsuit2019 Subaru Forester

The latest California lawsuit alleges Subaru Forester, Outback and Legacy windshields are dangerous because they spontaneously crack, chip and break whether tiny objects strike the windshields or not. According to the lawsuit, Subaru dealers often refuse to replace the windshields even when the vehicles are still under warranty, leaving owners with the bill.

A report from Car Complaints says having a dealer replace the windshield allegedly only leads to one defective windshield replaced with another defective windshield, at the owner's expense.

The lawsuit also contends Subaru dealers “routinely tell owners that rocks or other objects struck the windshields even when there is no evidence,” allowing Subaru to “skip out” on paying for windshield repairs and replacements when the 2017-2019 Forester, Outback, and Legacy models are still under warranty.

What should Forester, Outback, and Legacy owners do?

If you own a 2017-2019 Subaru Outback, Forester, or Legacy and have experienced a cracked windshield for no apparent reason, you can file a complaint with the NHTSA by going to this website link, or call 1-888-327-4236. Or you can submit your contact information here and an attorney from Capstone Law and Berger Montague will be in touch to review your case further.

You Might Also Like: Why IIHS Says You Will Now Be Less Safe In The New Subaru Outback

Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on FacebookTwitterInstagramSubaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates!

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Digitaldoc (not verified)    December 23, 2019 - 12:36PM

Obvious problem here, and windshield replacement has gotten more expensive as the safety cameras need to be recalibrated, which too often is a dealer only activity. I had heard elsewhere that the windshields needed so many replacements that Subaru was short on the parts, and there were delays in getting the new windshields in. Subaru needs to step up, and give a 10 yr warranty on the windshield, with an unlimited number of replacements. Other cars do not have this problem, so clearly another example of "Subaru-ness."

David Platt (not verified)    January 8, 2020 - 8:05PM

In reply to by Digitaldoc (not verified)

The noise reducing laminated glass, AKA rock catching glass is a night mare. This stuff is s@$t.
I had a small stone fly up and get trapped in the hollow layer.
I immediately went to an epoxy repair place and even though the “ chip “ was filled it started cracking and the only recourse was to change the window.
Subaru charges an iSight recalibration fee which is why it costs so much.
I have heard that the replacement windows slight refractive difference will trigger and shut down iSight. All Subaru does is activate a software “ button “ and then go for a drive around the block.
When enabled “by Subaru” the system is actually self calibrating.
Corning is making windows for f150s out of gorilla glass. Hopefully the next replacement I buy won’t be from Subaru.

Kazoo86 (not verified)    December 23, 2019 - 6:10PM

Mr. HotAir here, I say that as many people believe I am full of that. I don’t care, and I think they may be jealous. Having been in the automotive related business, since 1989, I have some experience. My thought the cause of cracked windshield may not only be stone chips, I thing it may be due to vehicle body flex, being a uni-body construction. Drivers may be taking them off-road and pushing them beyond their physical limit without knowing it. A body on frame flexes the frame and not the body. Certain competitor vehicles are better suited for rough off-roading. If you go off-road don’t go over big boulders, but people like to blame the manufacturers instead of themselves. Next will be the huge monetary lawsuits.

David (not verified)    December 25, 2019 - 7:42PM

In reply to by Kazoo86 (not verified)

I have a 2019 Crosstrek in Japan. Was worried after seeing the news and have searched Japanese sites and even contacted the dealer, but no similar issues seem to be happening here.

Levon Sargsyan (not verified)    May 4, 2020 - 9:38PM

In reply to by Kazoo86 (not verified)

I am having the same issue on my 2019 impreza hatch in Canada. A crack formed from the bottom edge and spread sideways. The dealership claimed that a rock hit it, even though there is no rock chip. Subaru Canada refused to help as well.

Yvonne McClain (not verified)    December 24, 2019 - 12:48AM

Financed a 2017 Subaru Forester in 2019
They added on $600 for Windshied coverage. Asked why, they said good to have as windshields get damaged all the time..
I promptly have removed after 30 days.
So this is the reason. Wow! wish I knew info about the windshield before I financed this car.
Now will have anxiety driving this car.
So now that I am aware, what are my options?

George (not verified)    December 24, 2019 - 1:31AM

My 2015 legacy windshield cracked, and my insurance advised me it was under warranty and to go to the dealer. Sure enough, dealership refused to replace for free, until I showed them the service bullitin. In warranty replacemnt was performed, but o still can't believe the service manager initially denied my initial request.

Menachem Mallinger (not verified)    December 25, 2019 - 1:35PM

In reply to by George (not verified)

Your windshield is covered under the comprehensive part of your policy.
If your insurance company refuses to cover your windshield under this part of your policy, they may be in violation of your policy as well as the law. You will however be required to pay whatever deductible that applies to your policy. However, you may adjust your deductible (before you have an issue). The difference in cost if you reduce your deductible on the comprehensive part is not as great as you may think. You are NOT required to have the same deductible on both your collision as well as your comprehensive.

Danielle (not verified)    December 24, 2019 - 11:24PM

In reply to by William Mangual (not verified)

Kind of wondering if it is though. I have a 2020 Outback that I purchased in October 2019. Last week, a very tiny rock hit my windshield on my way to work. It immediately dispersed into a very long crack going two different directions. The Subaru dealership I called (and purchased this vehicle from) says the windshield replacement is on backorder and no idea when it will come in....

Lisa biesele (not verified)    October 22, 2020 - 5:17PM

In reply to by Danielle (not verified)

That just happened to us this am in our 2019 Legacy...a tiny ping that didn’t even make a dent in the glass but the crack jumped up and across the front before our eyes in a matter of seconds.

Lynn (not verified)    February 20, 2020 - 4:42PM

In reply to by William Mangual (not verified)

I purchased a new 2020 Legacy on 12/29. On 01/21 a tiny rock (barely audible) hit my windshield and it cracked immediately. This morning, 02/20, another barely-audible tiny rock hit my windshield and it immediately cracked again. Windshields crack; I get that. Mostly they least in every other car I've driven, and I've been driving for 50 years. This is my first Subaru. Trying to replace with non-Subaru windshield this time. Dealer said it is a bad-luck coincidence and doesn't have anything to do with the class action suits.

Lynn (not verified)    April 29, 2020 - 12:43PM

In reply to by Lynn (not verified)

F/U to my 02/20 original comment. Installed my second replacement windshield in late February. Two days later another crack. This time I waited to get it replaced. Too much to get them replaced every few days or weeks, if they are just going to crack again. The heat in AZ caused the crack to eventually take over the entire windshield, so I finally had my third replacement completed yesterday. This time an aftermarket (non-Subaru) windshield was available. My finger were crossed. I have full insurance coverage, so I am not out of pocket. It is only a slight inconvenience for me. However, I can't believe my insurance company isn't pitching a fit. FYI, I've lived and worked in the same locations for over 20 years and driven the same route to/from work all that time. There is nothing about my driving that is causing the cracks. Dealer says it is a "coincidence".

Danny (not verified)    February 20, 2020 - 9:31PM

In reply to by William Mangual (not verified)

This is still a problem on 2020 model Outbacks. I have a 2020, purchased 4 months ago with not many miles and mine just cracked while in a parking lot mid day with mild constant temperature. I don't recall any rock strikes and the car was purchased with 5 miles on the Odo. It has spent no time off road yet, only maybe two miles on a gravel road. I'm going to email the attorneys linked in the article as well as the NHTSA, hopefully enough people who have had the issue will do the same so the lawsuit (or another) can include 2020+ models as Subaru seems to not be interested in fixing this issue.

Amy (not verified)    December 24, 2019 - 10:29AM

Just purchased a 2017 outback. Was wondering why they were pushing the windshield warranty, now I know why. Yes, this is definitely a huge issue. This should be covered by Subaru as they know it is a default on their part. Will bring this up to them ASAP!!!!!

GINGER DAVIS (not verified)    December 24, 2019 - 3:27PM

Hmmm... my windshield unexpectedly cracked in my 2016 Outback shortly after I purchased it used earlier this year. This is interesting... I assumed the heat split it since there were no signs of stress from damage. Maybe actually an issue with the windshield itself.?.?. ~No off roading just highway and city driving in KS

Ken Brown (not verified)    December 30, 2019 - 2:11PM

I've been doing lots of research on the 2020 Forester Sport & Touring models, and was thinking on purchasing one. However, after reading about the windshield issues, is it even worth my time having to deal with all the chaos involved?

Scott (not verified)    January 7, 2020 - 10:09AM

I wonder if the issue also affects condensation. I have a 2018 that constantly has condensation on the inside of the window that requires a scraper in the winter. Dealer says it is because my "after market" (molded to fit, made in america) floor mats hold water. Maybe the seal is the issue, or there is a crack where I cannot see it.

Donald G. Dalrymple (not verified)    February 28, 2020 - 8:32AM

I had my 2020 Outback exactly 7 days when driving on I-55 I got a barely audible hit on my windshield. A very small chip that extended to a 10" crack before the day was over. I'm out of town so when I get back today I will see what the dealership has to say. I have windshield replacement on my insurance, but $100 deducible. I will post again when this is resolved.

Bernadette M (not verified)    March 4, 2020 - 5:07PM

In 2015 I bought a new 2015 Subaru Outback. I had a small rock hit the windshield and made a small chip. Within a matter of minutes the chip extended into a decent size crack. I called a glass repair company and thankfully they mentioned the issues Subaru was having and suggested I contact my dealer. The dealer had me contact Subaru. They agreed to have the windshield fixed at no cost to me and sent me back to my dealer for the new windshield. Everything has been fine until last night (March 3 2020). My car was parked in the driveway and when I was leaving for work this morning (March 4 2020) I noticed a crack about 8-10" long in my windshield, I realize it has been a little over 4 years since the first windshield issue so I am not sure if this is another Subaru problem. It just seems very strange that the windshield cracked while the car was sitting in my driveway overnight. I've read that Subaru will replace a faulty windshield once, so I am certain I will be stuck paying for this one. UGH

Kathy (not verified)    March 12, 2020 - 2:17PM

I have a 2019 Subaru ascent and I have multiple chips in my windshield from tiny little pepples. I also have a 6 inch crack in my sunroof and nothing touched it. My first Subaru and it will be my last not a happy person

J James (not verified)    April 28, 2020 - 7:08PM

We have a 2020 Subaru Outback, fully loaded all bells and whistles. Had it four

months, not driven much as it is our spare car. We have never off roaded it,only

city driving. I noticed a small crack in the windshield as I was driving on the high-

way, by the time I got home 2 large cracks coming from the black rectangle on the

top of the windshield in the middle. Nothing hit the windshield while I was driving.

I have been driving for 42 years and have had plenty of rocks and debris hit

and pit windshields. Nothing hit this one and it just spontaneously cracked. I have

an appointment with the dealership tomorrow and I am sure they are going to tell

me to pound sand. That will not be the end of it!

Frank White III DDS (not verified)    May 11, 2020 - 12:41PM

In reply to by J James (not verified)

My 2020 Limited OB did the same thing: I complained to Subaru and they agreed to replace the windshield on a one time basis. There is a flaw in the manufacture of this windshield in my opinion. I am now on my 3rd windshield and only have 8000 miles on it. Good luck

Frank White III DDS (not verified)    May 11, 2020 - 12:30PM

I have a 2020 Outback Limited and I am shortly to be on my 3rd windshield. Subaru did agree on a one time basis to replace my second cracked windshield. But these windshields are prone to crack with just the slightest insult. If my 3rd one cracks, I may consider replacing an otherwise very nice vehicle for there is a lot of hassle with getting these replaced, and calibrated. My second windshield cost ms $1085 in Tennessee.

Jen (not verified)    June 19, 2020 - 11:47AM

I have a 2019 Outback and have had multiple issues, beginning with a dead battery and cracked windshield (without event). I bought my car in Seattle and the dealership (Carter) replaced both at no cost. This all occurred before I even had the plates on my car/w/in the first 30 days of having the vehicle.

Since that time, I have had my new battery die 3 times which seems to be a result of having the light switch on the auto setting. The Apple CarPlay doesn't work half of the time - intermittent issues, the passengers front window would not go down and the switch had to be replaced, there was a recall on it for a fuel pump issue and last weekend, the transmission went out.
I'm looking at my options and so far, the dealership has been wonderful. I wanted to share in the event anyone else is having similar issues.

Mary (not verified)    June 27, 2020 - 9:46PM

In October 2018 I purchased a new 2019 Outback. In October 2019 I had to replace the triangular window behind the power window on the left passenger side.
I now have an appointment on July 3, 2020, to replace a cracked driver side power widow. This second cracking ocurred in a totally safe driving situation with no trucks and few cars. It was a total surprise.
At about the same time my sister had a crack emerge across her windshield while driving her 2019 Outback. She said she was watching it grow while she was driving. Again, no flying gravel. This cost $1156.00.
Claims have been submitted for the repairs done and will do so again for the upcoming repair. What a shame insurance companies have to spend money on something Subaru should take care of.