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With The Wrong Wiper Blades Or Tires New Subaru Outback EyeSight Could Fail

All new 2020 Subaru Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, and Ascent models come standard with EyeSight, but even having the wrong wiper blades, or tires could keep it from working properly.

It sounds strange, but something as simple as a windshield wiper blade can cause issues with the new Subaru EyeSight driver-assist system. If you have the new-generation safety technology on your new Subaru, you will need to change your windshield wiper blades more often and use OEM blades. Many new 2020 Subaru models like the 2020 Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, and Ascent SUVs now come standard with EyeSight.

We found out from a technical Brake and Front End service bulletin that the safety system may not work if you have the wrong wiper blades or even the wrong sized tires. EyeSight is one of the best driver-assist systems of any automaker and performs a number of functions including forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and lead vehicle start alert.

2020 Subaru Outback with EyeSight2020 Subaru Outback comes standard with EyeSight driver assist safety technology

Even older models like the 2015 Outback and Legacy, 2015 Crosstrek and Impreza and 2017 Forester use the new-generation system. The system uses two stereo cameras mounted inside the vehicle near the top of the windshield. The Japanese automaker placed the system there to keep the camera eyes free of road debris, but the windshield must be kept clean.

The improved new-generation Eyesight has longer and wider detection ranges and other improvements, but is sensitive and even using the wrong wiper blades having the wrong sized tires, or even a bad wheel bearing can negatively affect the safety technology.

2020 Subaru Outback EyeSight Having the wrong wiper blades can cause issues with EyeSight on the 2020 Subaru Outback

How can something as simple as a wiper blade cause issues with EyeSight? The owner’s manual says only to use Subaru wiper blades because using the wrong size (too small) or less than high-quality wiper blades that do not match the correct OEM size, won’t keep the area clean on the top edge of the windshield where the two stereo cameras are mounted. The report says wiper blades that are worn out and leave streaks can also impair the cameras.  

Having the wrong sized tires can affect EyeSight

The Brake and Front End Report says even tires that are the wrong size or one side has excessive wear will cause a data mismatch for the wheel speeds. It says “A tire issue can also cause a steering pull. If the pull is extreme enough, the lane departure function can read the situation wrong. Since the system can’t measure tire tread depth, it sees the pull in the steering angle, yaw and camera sensors. It might interpret it as the driver is drifting into the next lane and falsely warn the driver.”

What if I need to replace my cracked or broken windshield?

A report from I-CAR says a notice placed on windshields of new Subaru models equipped with EyeSight, says a new Subaru genuine OEM windshield must be installed. Why does Subaru require this? Installing an aftermarket windshield may prevent the EyeSight from working properly.

If windshield glass other than glass specifically designed for EyeSight is used, the visibility of the camera can be blocked or the distortion of the glass can prevent the correct measurement of an object resulting in abnormal EyeSight operation.

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To keep your new 2020 and some older Subaru Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, or Ascent with EyeSight safety technology working properly, use either OEM wiper blades or high-quality blades that are the right size, run the recommended size tires for your vehicle, and use a genuine OEM Subaru windshield if you replace the glass.

You Might Also Like: How Subaru Knows When Your EyeSight Is Failing

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

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Duke Woolworth (not verified)    January 31, 2020 - 2:07PM

I always get the biggest wipers that can fit, cuurently 28 and 19, as I recall. They do not affect the Eyesight on my '17 Outback negatively one bit. What does is fog or so much rain the cameras can't focus, and just when they're needed the most. This is why some makers use radar instead.

Alex Buller (not verified)    January 31, 2020 - 7:01PM

In reply to by Duke Woolworth (not verified)

I noticed that issue too on my outback where very bright direct sun, fog , etc would cause the system to not work. I am surprised that they are using apparently visible light cameras instead of IR cameras as MW or LR or combined with MW and LWIR camera as that would take care of any issue with fog, rain, etc.

Alex Buller (not verified)    February 3, 2020 - 6:44PM

In reply to by Brian (not verified)

I've found that the radar stops working in the rain only when eyesight shuts itself off due to the cameras not being able to see properly or the lens is fogged up. Resolved by turning the defrost on and running the wipers.

Frumpy Jones (not verified)    January 31, 2020 - 4:05PM

I officially declare Shenanigans!

I'm sorry but with the wiper blade issue, that just sounds like Subaru trying to get more money.

I have a 2015 Subaru Forester XT with eyesight and have used RAIN-X blades for years (Definitely NOT OEM) with no issue at all,

Alex (not verified)    February 3, 2020 - 6:50PM

In reply to by Frumpy Jones (not verified)

I have used both oem and Piaa with great success. I like the Piaa super silicone wipers best. This is lame reporting in regards to this article as whenever a vehicle is equiped with advanced driver assistance aids it important to keep brakes, tire size and wiper size to oem spec for it to work properly. BTW...another bone to pick is the oem Bridgestone tires that my car shipped with. They were terrible and are really expensive.

William Kulbida (not verified)    January 31, 2020 - 6:32PM

The Subaru windshield design for eyesight must be the reason that Subaru windshields are failing and cracking so easily on modes with eyesight. I LOVE my subaru but I can't afford $1100 every time a pebble bounces off my windshield.

Fred Spivey (not verified)    February 1, 2020 - 12:47AM

In reply to by William Kulbida (not verified)

Yep, same here. Both my Ascent and Forester windshields cracked within the first 6 months. The Forester has now cracked a 2nd time. I paid out of pocket for a Pilkington windshield for the Ascent. $375 including installation and haven't had the first issue with it. I have never in my life seen such fragile windshields. I have owned Dodges, Fords, VWs and a Chevy. Never had a problem until the Subarus.

Peixe (not verified)    January 31, 2020 - 7:09PM

About the windshield, interesting enough the Subaru dealerships in Memphis do not replace them. You need to use a 3rd party. Thus, I do not understand how Subaru recommends windshields to be replaced with genuine OEM.

Jason (not verified)    January 31, 2020 - 9:10PM

I run bfg ko2 a bigger tire with no issues. Yes heavy rain and fog and snow will make the eye sight go out. Radar would be ideal. But it not even a big deal to me at least.

Jim Hertsch (not verified)    January 31, 2020 - 10:53PM

Makes sense. On frosty mornings my Eyesight (2017 Forester) does not work until my windshield clears. I've also driven in heavy enough rain that Eyesight shuts down. I do remember hearing another customer at my dealer service center saying he had to get his Eyesight recalibrated because he had replaced his windshield. I don't know how that worked out.

Namaah (not verified)    January 31, 2020 - 11:22PM

So if you park under a tree, would you would have to wipe the bird poo off the windshield before your morning commute or get an error message?

John (not verified)    February 1, 2020 - 11:02AM

In reply to by Namaah (not verified)

If you visually separate the windshield into 3rd’s. The center third is what Eyesight utilizes. If there is any obstructions, it may cause a fault to appear or it may not. As a safety precaution it would be a good idea to keep the windshield clear of obstructions.

Douglas Wilson (not verified)    February 1, 2020 - 12:29AM

Use a little rainx on the area of the eye sight it helps out with extreme weather conditions .

Ed Mclaughlin (not verified)    February 1, 2020 - 8:49AM

Looking to add a 2” frame-hitch receiver on my 2019 Outback. Would appreciate any advice as to best product and best installation practices to help me avoid pitfalls. Thanks in advance.

Rajan (not verified)    February 1, 2020 - 9:26AM

What’s with Torquenews hate on Subaru! You don’t need OEM of anything! As long as you use OEM equivalents. I work in sales at a Subaru dealership, I have asked our trainers these questions because I supply my customers with all the info, you DON’T NEED TO PUT OEM TIRES OR WIPERS ON THESE CARS!

TonyF (not verified)    February 23, 2020 - 10:27AM

In reply to by Rajan (not verified)

correct, smart people read past the legalese and see the engineer intent, not rocket science and people who don't know how to save money on vehicle maintenance are destined for brokeness ;)

Fritz (not verified)    February 1, 2020 - 9:47AM

Replaced my windshield on my 16 Outback with a good old American PPG glass and the Eyesight never new the difference. It got a rock chip in it the other day but the glass did not spider crack like the OEM version. Sealed the chip and you can't even tell. This article must have been written by Subaru, sorry common sense says baloney on the glass and wiper issue. And why would anyone keep running on mismatched tires especially with all wheel drive.

John G. (not verified)    February 1, 2020 - 10:57AM

Sorry folks, but this is false news. There are no active TSB’s to address this within Subaru’s Technical Information System. If owners do in fact have concerns and questions regarding this, they should contact Subaru of America, Inc. directly.

Daniel (not verified)    February 1, 2020 - 8:58PM

Yes this is not secret info. I asked my dealer about a lift kit and bigger tires and they were quite clear that the eyesight would need to be recalibrated. It's dialed in quite specifically with good reason. I happen to be very impressed with the lane centering technology, it drives better than I can. Especially when it's windy, it is incredible how effortless it is to drive.

Buffy (not verified)    February 2, 2020 - 4:54AM

In reply to by Daniel (not verified)

@Matt, our dealership in ND installed 2" LP Adventure lifts on our 2019s (we bought 2 of them last Jan) and both my husband and I run BFG KO2s 245/65/17 and the only time our EyeSight turns off is dense fog or very poorly lit areas with blowing snow.
No issues with eyesight even with a tiny strip across the top of the windshield. Idk how closely I would listen to the naysaying of the comments on what not to do bc we havent followed any of it and all has been just fine with Eyesight.

Matt (not verified)    February 1, 2020 - 10:11PM

This is a bit of sensationalism. I don't get the Subaru attack.

The info is true to some degree but definitely not unique to the 2020 model year or even the Subaru brand. Any camera based system will have the same issues, so a lot of car makers over the last half decade. Any camera based system requires good visibility. The Subaru system is good in that it tells you exactly when it is and is not working due to poor visibility or obstruction. There is no guess work. The Subaru system is also excellent and for some time has been one of the better systems on the market. I've very much trusted my eyesight system. I have a Honda now and it's never warned me about when it is active or not. The system is also less safe than Subaru in serval ways like general sensitivity, identification at distance, processing speed, blind spot detection, and crash avoidance.

The tire thing is the same for any and based vehicle. Subaru does state that ride height is a concern though as the system is calibrated perceptibly to a "known" distance to the road. Raising our lowering the car can affect this calibration slightly. Again, this isn't unique to Subaru.

The brand wiper thing is silly.