— A Subaru Impreza WRX and WRX STI engine class-action lawsuit settlement has been given preliminary approval by both parties.
Both sides have agreed to the terms that include 2012-2017 Subaru Impreza WRX and STI cars with EJ-series 2.5-liter turbocharged engines.
The proposed settlement includes any U.S. consumer who currently owns or leases, or previously owned or leased, an affected car originally purchased or leased in the U.S. and Alaska.
The crux of the class-action is the argument that premature engine connecting rod and main bearing failures cause the engines to fail prematurely.
The EJ engines use four pistons to convert pressure into a rotating motion while gasoline is mixed with air in the combustion chambers of the engine. The pistons are connected to the crankshaft via the connecting rods and as the connecting rods move up and down, this causes the crankshaft to rotate and send power to the wheels.
The plaintiffs allege Subaru knew about defects in the rotating assemblies but failed to tell customers about the problems. According to the engine lawsuit, the rotating assembly includes the connecting rod bearings, main bearings and the channels of engine lubrication.
The lawsuit alleges metal debris within the engine oil will cause the oil to lose its ability to protect the engine components, something that causes excessive contact between the engine bearings.
The original lawsuit was filed by Vincente Salcedo against Subaru and the automaker responded by filing a motion to dismiss the complaint. A separate lawsuit was also filed in December 2017 with the same court as the Salcedo action.
More plaintiffs were quickly added and the two lawsuits were consolidated and refiled in March 2018 and about a month later Subaru decided to settle the lawsuit.
Subaru has agreed to cover repairs to correct the alleged defect during an extended warranty period of 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say the extended warranty will cover "qualifying repairs" performed by Subaru dealerships.
Subaru WRX and WRX STI customers who sold or traded in their cars with "qualifying failures" prior to obtaining repairs are also eligible for payments. A customer will need to show proof of the repairs and proof they got rid of the car.
They will need to do this within the extended warranty period and show they received less than fair market value by comparing the Kelly Blue Book value at the time of the transaction, up to a maximum of $4,000.
Subaru has also agreed to reimburse affected customers for 100 percent of out-of-pocket expenses they incurred for parts and labor paid to dealers for repairs performed during the extended warranty period. The same is true for independent repair shops as long as the car was first presented to a Subaru dealership.
However, there are caps for repairs during an extended warranty if performed at an independent repair shop:
- Shortblock replacement with no additional component replacements - $3,500
- Shortblock replacement with turbocharger replacement or turbocharger rebuild - $4,500
- Shortblock replacement with cylinder head and camshaft replacement (No turbocharger replacement or rebuild) - $5,500
- Shortblock replacement with cylinder head, camshaft and turbocharger replacement or turbocharger rebuild - $6,500
The proposed settlement says for any repairs performed by independent repair shops, Subaru does not warrant or guarantee those repairs and should any such repairs fail after a customer has made a claim under the settlement, the customer will not be entitled to submit an additional claim.
Based on customers supplying reasonable proof and meeting certain conditions, Subaru has agreed to reimburse all affected Impreza WRX and WRX STI customers for towing and rental car expenses (up to $45 per day for a maximum of two days) incurred as a result of having repairs, if the repairs required more than two full days in a single repair period.
Attorneys say there are certain conditions and modifications made to the cars that will exclude customers from receiving repairs under the terms of the extended warranties.
Modifications that will cause exclusions include changes made to the engine control units and any "piggyback" devices created to intercept and alter engine control unit signals.
As part of the proposed settlement, Subaru has agreed not to oppose attorneys' fees and expenses up to $625,000.
Affected Subaru WRX and WRX STI customers will be notified if the judge gives final approvement to the settlement, something that could occur in 2019.
The Subaru WRX and WRX STI spun bearing lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey - Vicente Salcedo v. Subaru of America Inc., et. al.