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Subaru Forester, Legacy, Outback Class Action Lawsuit: Unintended Acceleration

A class-action lawsuit was filed last week in California alleging unintended acceleration issues with Subaru Forester, Legacy, and Outback models. Numerous plaintiffs give accounts of what happened in their Subaru which are all similar incidents. 

The unintended acceleration problems involve the 2015-2019 Subaru Legacy, 2012-2018 Subaru Forester, and 2015-2019 Subaru Outback. It is being attributed to allegedly have software problems causing the issue. The lawsuit claims that Subaru hasn’t issued a recall or even as much as a technical service bulletin. 

The lawsuit accuses Subaru of ignoring the problem and blaming it on the drivers

2018 Subaru Legacy is on display at the 109th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place
The 2018 Subaru Legacy | Getty

The service bulletins are usually issued to dealers from the factory when it becomes aware of a problem. It defines the issues and gives an authorized fix for the problem. It is usually the first indication that something is wrong.

Besides not issuing technical service bulletins the lawsuit accuses Subaru of ignoring the problem and blaming it on the drivers. The lawsuit says that the problem is from a disturbance with the electric current inside of the throttle body. It continues that because the problems are electrical in nature it is hard for technicians to trace. It says this gives Subaru the opportunity to blame the drivers. 

Instead of slowing down to a stop it suddenly accelerated when she tried to put it into Park

2015 3.6 R Limited Subaru Outback
2015 Subaru Outback | Denver Post

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One plaintiff purchased a certified pre-owned 2016 Legacy with an extended warranty. The warranty gives coverage for up to 84 months or 100,000 miles. With about 33,000 miles on it she stopped with her foot on the brake but instead of slowing down to a stop it suddenly accelerated when she tried to put it into Park. 

With her foot firmly putting pressure on the brake the Legacy lurched forward and hit a fence. After the 500 deductible, the cost paid by the insurance company was $1,100. Technicians at the dealership said there were no problems with the Legacy and that it was “operating as designed.” Now the plaintiff rarely drives the Legacy because she doesn’t feel safe in it.

The plaintiff says it has had several unintended acceleration incidents

2019 Subaru Forester on display
2018 Subaru Forester | Getty

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Another plaintiff bought a used 2014 Forester Limited 2.5 from a private party. Since purchasing it late last year the plaintiff says it has had several unintended acceleration incidents. With his foot on the brake it “will suddenly go into gear and lunge forward for a couple of seconds.” He says he has been able to keep the car stopped during the acceleration but he “remains concerned that the car is unsafe.”

The class-action lawsuit attributes the problem to the controller area network known as a CAN bus. It says the CAN bus has software issues. It also says that the brake override system doesn’t work properly and doesn’t prevent unintended acceleration. Some owners say they have pushed the brake pedal to the floor without stopping the acceleration.