Subaru of America, Inc., was hit with a class action lawsuit last week over vehicles allegedly sold with a defect that causes them to burn excessive amounts of oil. Two drivers filed the lawsuit in New Jersey and allege that the company knew about the problem, but hid it from consumers, costing drivers money and increasing the vehicles’ risks of engine failure.
The problem is said to stem from the piston rings in certain Forester, Legacy, Outback, Impreza and Crosstek models, and prevents the engine from keeping the proper power level, which, in turn, causes the vehicles to burn more oil than necessary. According to the suit:
“Not only did Subaru actively conceal the material fact that particular components within the class vehicles’ engines are defective, they did not reveal that the existence of the defect would diminish the intrinsic and resale value of the class vehicles and lead to the safety concerns described herein.”
Plaintiffs Keith Yaeger and Michael Schuler filed the lawsuit after repeated dealership repairs failed to prevent their 2012 Subarus from using excessive amounts of oil, which often required the drivers to top off the oil themselves. The suit specifically asserts that 2011-2014 Subaru Forester 2.5L, 2013 Legacy 2.5L, 2013 Outback 2.5L, 2012-2013 Impreza 2.0L and 2013 XV Crosstek 2.0L vehicles are affected by the defect, and that the company has received numerous complaints via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the issue. The lawsuit also claims that Subaru refused to pay for repairs, requiring owners to cover the cost themselves.
It’s not hard to find consumer complaints online about Subaru vehicles burning oil. Edmunds.com, for example, published several drivers’ complaints, including these complaints from this month alone:
“I purchased a 2013 Outback, manual 6 speed, and after just 3,000 miles, also saw my oil light pop on. During 2013, I also went through the 'engine oil consumption test' over a 6-month period, which resulted in a determination by the dealer that they needed to replace the engine oil piston rings. Done. And as I drove out of the dealership after the 'fix' was completed, they warned me that I may see the oil light come on until the new rings were properly seated. As expected, continued issues with the oil, down a 1/2 quart to a quart every couple thousand miles.”
“My wife [has a] 2014 Forester - low a quart every 2K miles. Yes, using the right oil. All Subaru wants me to do is to keep bringing the car in for another oil test, and I'm tired of their lack of support. I've had cars with 200K miles that burn little to no oil”
“New 2014 Outback with 2,900 miles ALSO coupled with a six-speed manual - down a qt”
The oil problem certainly seems to be a common and talked about issue. The new lawsuit alleges violations of New Jersey and California consumer protection laws, and seeks to represent a nationwide class of current and former Subaru owners and lessees. Attorneys have also asked the court to create subclasses for New Jersey, California and Florida Subaru drivers.
So far, the company’s comments, according to Carscoops, “go along the lines of ‘We have also worked with customers on this issue,’ or ‘We believe the oil consumption of our vehicles to be within acceptable levels.’” Subaru may have to do better than that, though. The problem seems to be an issue a lot of people know about, care about, and are understandably upset about.
The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, where it will now be up to a judge to decide whether the case should proceed as a class action.