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Subaru Forester, Outback, Legacy Cracking Windshield Class Action

2019 Subaru Forester

When auto companies know about a dangerous defect in their vehicles, they are supposed to recall the vehicles and fix the problem. The complaint for this class action alleges that certain Subaru vehicles have defective windshields that spontaneously crack, chip, or break, and that when customers bring their vehicles in, the windshields are replaced with the same type of defective windshields. 

The class for this action is all individuals in the US who bought or leased a 2017-2019 Subaru Forester, Outback, or Legacy.

The vehicles are made by Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. with sales and marketing in the US done by Subaru of America, Inc.

The complaint is brought by four plaintiffs who have had difficulties with their Subaru windshields. For example, plaintiff Stephen Merman bought a 2018 Subaru Forester. In October 2019, his life partner’s daughter was driving the vehicle when a crack appeared in the top left corner of the windshield. Neither his life partner nor her daughter heard or saw anything hit the windshield, but within a day or two, the crack had spread to the rearview mirror area. At the time, the vehicle had only around 23, 000 miles on it. 

Merman took the vehicle in to the dealership and was told that his maintenance agreement did not cover the windshield, nor did the dealership do replacements. He took the vehicle to a place who did the glass repair for $772, of which he paid $500, the amount of his insurance deductible. 

But the problem didn’t end there. Subaru equips the vehicle with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, and cracks in the windshield can affect its operation. Merman had to have the feature recalibrated with the new windshield. He spent $220 on this. Also, the complaint says, “[u]pon information and belief, the replacement windshield supplied by Subaru suffered from the same defect as the original windshield…”

The complaint alleges that Subaru and Fuji have known about the windshield defect but have continued to sell the vehicles without warning customers. 

A Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) issued in October 2016 and revised the following month discusses the defect in previous model years for 2015-2016 Legacy and Outback models. The TSB says that the “root cause for many of these failures” is “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.”

The complaint also quotes postings at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website that describe the same windshield problem.

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