Subaru Lawsuit Alleges Oil Problems May Cause Sudden Engine Failure

Subaru faces a proposed class action status lawsuit, which alleges that the auto maker knew about a defect that could lead to engine failure in some vehicles, but refused to initiate a recall. 

According to a complaint (PDF) filed late last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the piston rings tend to wear out quickly on some Subaru Forester, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Subaru Impreza and Subaru Crosstek vehicles. This may cause them to burn an excessive amount of engine oil, potentially leading to sudden engine failure.

As a result of the defect, vehicle owners may incur higher than expected maintenance costs and could face an increase risk of being involved in a serious automobile accident, as the engine may fail at any time, under any driving conditions or speed.

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The lawsuit was brought by Keith Yaeger of Escondido, California, and Michael Schuler, of Lakeland, Florida, seeking class action status to include all owners of vehicles with the alleged defect, including 2011-2014 model year Forester 2.5L, 2013 model year Legacy 2.5L, 2013 model year Outback 2.5L, 2012 through 2013 model year Impreza 2.0L, and the 2013 model year XV Crosstrek 2.0L vehicles.

While the class action does not indicate the number of accidents or injuries that may have occurred due to the over consumption of oil, plaintiffs have cited instances where consumers have paid upward of $8,000 to Subaru dealers to repair the oil problem. One plaintiff claims that he would have paid substantially less for the vehicle had he known of the engine defect and pricey maintenance.

Plaintiffs allege the company violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and breached the warranty on its vehicles. The suit also points out a December 2013 incident, when the company sent out technical service bulletins that suggested replacing the piston rings, but the recommendations would have led to costly repairs.

The suit suggests that based on the timing of the bulletins, “Subaru both acknowledged the oil consumption defect and suggested a repair” but no action was taken.

The case comes just a month after Subaru recalled over 660,000 cars and SUVs for possible brake line corrosion issues that may result in brake fluid leakage. The recall was initiated due to salt water forming from the mix of road salt and rain or snow and possibly splashing on brake lines through a gap in the fuel tank protector. This could cause excessive corrosion of the brake lines which would require longer stopping distances required than normal, posing a crash hazard.

Photo Courtesy of kappadueinnovazione via Flickr CC2.0

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6 Comments

  • JadaJune 12, 2022 at 5:49 am

    I have a Subaru legacy 2013 I have to constantly get oil and even after the oil change 3 days later the oil light comes on recently I just got a oil change 4 day later car start shaking all the lights comes on check engine,brake,etc and then cut off.I buy oil every week even after oil change.

  • janeJune 3, 2017 at 11:27 am

    my 2009 Subaru forester burns oil and I have to check often. No warning lights. The car has had numerous problems after catalytic converter was replaced due to recall. Needed new head gasket, muffler and complete new cooling system. Very disappointed in Subaru. Was a loyal Subaru owner until I purchased this car. NEVER BUY A SUBARU AGAIN

  • JofeMay 30, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Had my 2009 Subaru legacy engine just die on my. No warning lights came on. I wonder if this issue is actually for more than just what the yr and models they mentioned in the law suit.

  • LindaJanuary 20, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    The engine of our 2009 Suburu Forester PZEV needs to be replaced. The oil light never went on. Has this been a problem with anyone else?

  • RandyAugust 1, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I have a 2009 Impeza outback, and I hadn't heard about any of these issues toll last night when I had my car towed because of this. I checked my oil about two weeks ago and it was good, yet last night on the way home from work my engine started clanking horribly (still no oil or any engine lights or warning lights). Fortunately I was at a rest area and quickly pulled off just before the engine[Show More]I have a 2009 Impeza outback, and I hadn't heard about any of these issues toll last night when I had my car towed because of this. I checked my oil about two weeks ago and it was good, yet last night on the way home from work my engine started clanking horribly (still no oil or any engine lights or warning lights). Fortunately I was at a rest area and quickly pulled off just before the engine quit. I coasted in the rest of the way, and when I checked the oil stick it didn't have any oil. My wife brought me all of the tolls I needed with oil and a filter, and I did a whole oil/filter change right there. When I drained it, only about one quart came out and it was very metalic. After finishing, I started it and though much quieter it still was horrible. Had it towed to a local garage where it is being evaluated now, but the towing mechanic already said it sounds really bad as though somethings about to let go and fly apart, and he wasn't optimistic about it being a simple and cheap fix. Until now, I've been happy with subaru, but now with all I'm seeing online about this issue and the current condition of my car, I've lost my confidence in Subaru. I know my car is not within the specified years of the law suite, but the issue fits the mould exactly. And why didn't any warning lights come on to gives me a heads up?!?

  • EubernMarch 20, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Took my 2013 Subaru forester to dealership this morning for engine rapping,needs new motor.Had a little blowout, they acted like it's my fault. It was down 3 quarts of oil. I had my winter tires put on,inspection and service check done in October. Why didn't they notice that the oil was low then? Why didn't the oil light come on? What other problems are there that they aren't telling me about??? L[Show More]Took my 2013 Subaru forester to dealership this morning for engine rapping,needs new motor.Had a little blowout, they acted like it's my fault. It was down 3 quarts of oil. I had my winter tires put on,inspection and service check done in October. Why didn't they notice that the oil was low then? Why didn't the oil light come on? What other problems are there that they aren't telling me about??? Losing faith in Subaru. Got a call from the dealership and they are fixing the problem at no charge...? but will it really be fixed?

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