Subaru of America (SOA) has been battling an issue with drained batteries on the Outback midsize SUV, Forester compact SUV, and Ascent SUVs. The original lawsuit from 2020 against SOA alleged the three SUVs had defective electrical systems causing premature battery failure. A second lawsuit in 2021 against Subaru claimed defective electrical components in the Subaru Forester, Outback, Ascent, Legacy, and WRX vehicles.
Which models are affected?
According to the Subaru battery settlement website, the Subaru vehicles in the lawsuit settlement include the 2015-2020 Subaru Outback, 2015-2020 Subaru Forester, 2015-2020 Subaru Legacy sedan, 2015-2020 Subaru WRX, and 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent 3-Row SUVs.
The lawsuit said Subaru has known about the problem since 2017 and issued a technical service bulletin addressing potential battery discharging after repeated periods of short-trip-driving resulting in a dead battery. The lawsuit says if owners of Outback, Forester, Legacy, WRX, and Ascent models take their vehicle in for diagnosis of the problem, dealers replace the old battery with the same OEM battery “and is thus a temporary fix only.”
The class action against Subaru of America claims the Camden, N.J. automaker issued multiple TSB service bulletins filed with the NHTSA over drained battery issues since 2015. The class actions say Subaru has failed to recall the vehicles and fix the problem under its warranty obligations.
Who is included in the Settlement?
The report says to qualify for settlement benefits, “you must have bought or leased the model year 2015–2020 Outback, the model year 2015–2020 Forester, the model year 2015–2020 Legacy, the model year 2015–2020 WRX, or model year 2019–2020 Ascent.”
What does the Settlement provide?
1. Extended warranty service for qualifying battery failures experienced on or after the date of the Notice. The Settlement also provides, where applicable, cash reimbursement for:
2. Battery replacements and related battery testing and diagnosis performed by an Authorized Subaru Retailer, or in some situations, an independent third party, for qualifying conditions on a Settlement Class Vehicle before the date of Notice (“Pre-Notice”);
3. Towing services in connection with a Pre-Notice Qualifying Battery Failure.
4. Reasonably Reimbursable Costs related to a Settlement Class Member being stranded due to a Pre-Notice Qualifying Battery Failure.
What should Outback, Forester, Legacy, WRX, and Ascent do now?
The report says 2015-2020 Subaru Outback, 2015-2020 Subaru Forester, 2015-2020 Subaru Legacy, 2015-2020 Subaru WRX, and 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent owners should review the notice materials on the Important Document page here.
This is the only way to get a reimbursement. The deadline to submit Claim Forms and supporting documentation is 60 days after the Effective Date, which could be as early as March 9, 2023. Stay tuned to Torque News via Subaru Report for updates on the latest Subaru drained battery lawsuit.
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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 USA
Story credit: Thanks to the tip from Torque News reporter John Goreham