The Subaru Forester is one of Subaru’s top sellers despite its windshield issues. The problem intensified with more complaints logged for the 2019 model year. According to a class-action lawsuit pending in New Jersey’s U.S. District Court, there have been several instances of the Forester’s windshield unexpectedly cracking, causing an “imminent and significant safety hazard” to owners.
The Subaru Forester’s cracked windshields
Complaints that the windshield suddenly cracks, chips, or breaks for no apparent reason have been spread out over the 2017 to 2019 model years of the Subaru Forester. More 2019 Forester owners have complained of the issue, including visibility problems that seem to happen at lower mileages –mostly around the 10,000- to 15,000-mile mark, although it’s reportedly happened with mileages below 5,000 miles.
The lawsuit alleges that Subaru refuses to fix the windshields, causing owners to shell out the money to fix not only the cracks but also the extra expense of recalibrating the Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology.
The J.D. Power rankings
Even with the lawsuit looming, Subaru’s gotten some good press over its J.D. Power rankings. Overall, the 2020 Subaru Forester ranks No. 7 in compact SUVs. The 2019 Forester won Best Compact SUV for Families.
Despite the win, Subaru has logged hundreds of complaints about its windshield problems. Still, consumers are eyeing the brand for its sought-after features that may make the Subaru Forester the go-to choice for Compact SUVs.
What say you, Subaru Forester owners?
The greatest complaint about the windshield is that there is no reason that the windshield should chip, crack, or break without any undue stress like getting hit with debris. The plaintiff in the case, Christine Powell, charges that her windshield broke twice.
The first time was in late December 2017. She alleges that Subaru took no responsibility for the windshield and that she had to pay to get it replaced. According to Top Class Actions, that windshield broke again in May 2019. She hasn’t gotten it fixed yet because she would have to incur more cost to do so as the windshield must be OEM glass, not an aftermarket windshield replacement, which is much more expensive.
Other owners have complained about the windshield cracking without warning. The class-action lawsuit against Subaru alleges several hundred complaints about the windshield and visibility issues. The question that may come to mind is that why doesn’t a faulty windshield fall under the factory warranty?
The basic warranty quandary
The Subaru Forester’s factory warranty covers 3 years/36,000 miles. That basic warranty covers faulty parts and not normal wear and tear. Since the EyeSight Driver Assist Technology comes standard in the 2019 and 2020 models but not in the prior model years, it could be contestable in the class action lawsuit which encompasses multiple years.
However, with the EyeSight Driver Assist Technology comes some caveats. If your windshield is cracked, the technology may not operate correctly or may stop operating altogether. According to Subaru’s own warranty, if the windshield (a part) is faulty, it’s a manufacturing defect, and it should be covered.
Today, several class-action lawsuits are pending over not just the 2019 Forester windshield issues, but for these models as well:
- 2017–2020 Subaru Outback
- 2018 Crosstrek
- 2018 Forester
- 2018 Impreza
Powell’s class-action lawsuit outcome may come down to how the courts define a faulty part.
Where does the lawsuit stand now?
Subaru has asked the court to dismiss the class-action suit on the grounds that the plaintiffs should not be filing lawsuits collectively as they do not all own those cars. They also claim that their warranty doesn’t cover design defects. Isn’t a design defect in a car part considered a faulty part should it break for no reason? Right now, the POWELL v. SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. case might be a matter of semantics – faulty part or design defect.