There are few problems more frustrating than cranking your car, only to discover the battery is dead. It seems to happen at the worst possible moment, like when you’re late for work or have an important event to go to. For some Subaru owners, it happens all the time, no matter what the event is.
Turns out there’s an issue with the batteries, and many owners think that Subaru knew about it when it sent its vehicles to the car lots. But did Subaru really know, and were its efforts to replace the batteries good enough? Car Complaints doesn’t think so.
Where’s the juice?
Subaru isn’t known for having a bad reputation when it comes to reliability, but that’s changed in recent years. Consumer Reports has dropped Subaru’s reliability score for 2020, and J.D. Power can’t seem to cut the Japanese automaker any slack. While there are plenty of Subaru lovers who bristle at the thought that Subaru can do any wrong, some owners are in complete agreement.
Several Subaru models are having issues with battery problems. The 2016-2020 Subaru Outback and 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent have batteries that just can’t hold a charge. According to Car Complaints, the affected vehicles “don’t have enough capacity to power the electrical systems when the vehicles are turned off.”
This is a major issue because owners are forced to jump their vehicles off. It’s a frustrating problem that Subaru has yet to fix. It offered to replace the faulty batteries with new ones and did so. Many owners claim that the new batteries are just as faulty as the original, however, and didn’t fix the problem.
Aren’t problems like this supposed to happen on older models?
Batteries aren’t designed to last forever, so it’s not exactly a surprise that they’ll begin to fail. This isn’t supposed to happen to new vehicles, however. That’s what owners expect from older vehicles that have run their miles and are ready for retirement.
For this to be such a huge issue on newer models is unacceptable for many consumers. Subaru doesn’t have extravagant prices like some automakers, but when you buy a new vehicle, you expect it to be reliable. Having a battery that can’t hold a charge overnight is beyond frustrating, and many fed-up owners are suing.
Bring in the lawyers
Lawsuits aren’t that uncommon in the auto industry, and Subaru is no stranger to facing off against its customers in court. This situation is no different.
There were originally several lawsuits, according to Car Complaints, but they have been consolidated into one that is called In re Subaru Battery Drain Products Liability Litigation.
Car Complaints stated, “The plaintiffs say Subaru owners must jump-start their drained batteries and continue to charge the batteries to keep the vehicles going. The lawsuit also alleges Subaru drivers can become stranded, forced to find alternative transportation, purchase battery jumper cables and pay for battery chargers.”
Naturally, Subaru isn’t going down without a fight. The Japanese automaker has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Its argument is that the lawsuit is too vague. Subaru lawyers are also arguing that the plaintiffs of the original, separate lawsuits voluntarily dismissed the claim when they decided to combine their lawsuits into one.
Unfortunately for Subaru, the judge didn’t agree. According to Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP (CSK&DS), the lawsuit has not been dismissed. Subaru will have to face its customers and argue its case before the court. Whether it is able to prove that there are no real battery issues remains to be seen, but it’s not looking good so far.