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Fuel Pump Failure Leads to Another Subaru Lawsuit

Subaru automobiles rank among the most dependable on the road, recognized for longevity, low cost to own, and maintaining their resale value. With Subaru models like the Forester and Crosstrek securing places among the top SUVs in 2020, it is rather inconvenient that the automaker has to endure another recall issue – this time a lawsuit related to fuel-pump failures. Failure by Subaru to measure up to the expectations of their customers regarding this issue is cause for wondering how this might impact Subaru’s track-record of dependability and high resale values.

What issues are addressed in the Subaru lawsuit?

Though the court recently dismissed a different lawsuit related to engine problems on various 2014-2016 SUVs, another suit is pending in relation to an April recall of 2019 Subaru’s due to a failure of its Denso fuel pumps, according to Car Complaints. The main cause of the class-action lawsuit cites negligence by the automaker because they had knowledge of the faulty fuel-pumps and the potential issues when they sold the vehicles.

In addition, the plaintiffs claim that the recall of more than 188,000 autos did not include all models with the faulty fuel pumps, which should have included all models with the defective part from 2013 to 2019, and not just the 2019 models.

Associated with the suit are reports of the fuel pumps causing engine failure while automobiles were traveling at highway speeds, posing a potential danger. After stalling, owners were unable to restart the engine, leaving them stranded on the highway with the added inconvenience of having to call a tow truck.

The majority of complaints included (245) are about issues related to warranty claims. The plaintiffs also allege that their vehicles have suffered a loss of resale value due to the issues.

What’s wrong with the Denso fuel pump?

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Subaru’s recall was part of a much larger recall of more than two million defective Denso fuel pumps responsible for motivating several lawsuits against Toyota, Lexus, and Honda as well.

In its April recall notice, Subaru reported, “the low-pressure pumps could fail because the impellers could absorb fuel and crack. A deformed impeller could strike the body of the fuel pump and cause the pump to fail, causing a vehicle to stall.”

Is there evidence to support the primary claim of the plaintiffs?

The automaker claims that the offending fuel-pumps were part of a specific lot produced between April and July of 2018 due to extended exposure of the low-density impellers to a specific solvent during the drying process within that manufacturing timeframe. However, the class-action suit filed against Toyota/Lexus calls failure of the pumps in 2018 and 2019 model automobiles into question, which might help to establish credibility to the argument posed by the plaintiffs in the Subaru case.

The Toyota/Lexus case claims that vehicles manufactured between August 2, 2018 and January 31, 2019, have defective Denso fuel pumps that can cause the vehicles to unexpectedly stall and cause the engine to shut down, which tracks with Subaru’s argument that only 2019 models were affected.

However, adding substance to the argument of the plaintiffs is a 2016 admission by Denso – according to Car Complaints – that the plastic impellers “may be swelled due to the fuel and water contained in the fuel, [and] therefore a rotation of the impeller may be stopped when the impeller is swelled and comes in contact with the [fuel pump] housing.”

Questions about the fuel pumps could damage Subaru’s resale record

The court will decide where Subaru was negligent in not including all the models with the faulty fuel pump installed. The damaged fuel pumps, if faulty only during the April to July 2018 manufacturing window as specified by Subaru, are sure to have a negative effect on the resale values of 2019 Subaru models.

However, wider spread knowledge of the possibility that all Subaru models from 2013 to 2019 could include these faulty fuel pumps has the potential to damage Subaru’s stellar resale record.