— Subaru battery problems allegedly leave drivers stranded if those drivers are behind the wheels of 2016-2019 Subaru Outbacks or 2019-2020 Subaru Ascents.
According to a class action lawsuit, the Ascent and Outback SUVs have lost their values because the batteries lack enough capacity.
"The Defect arises from Subaru’s decision to install batteries with insufficient capacity to power the Class Vehicles’ electrical components when the vehicle is turned off." - Ascent and Outback lawsuit
Oregon plaintiff Dustin Dalen filed the lawsuit after purchasing a new 2017 Subaru Outback. The battery in Dalen’s SUV allegedly failed in April 2018 when the vehicle had about 12,000 miles on the odometer. The Outback had to be jump-started, causing the plaintiff to take the vehicle to the Subaru dealership where the technician allegedly couldn't determine the problem.
Mr. Dalen says from then on he had to regularly charge the Outback battery at home to keep it from failing. However, the battery allegedly did fail and the plaintiff had to take an Uber at 10 p.m. to the supermarket to purchase a battery charger and extension cables.
The plaintiff says during his regular oil change in February 2020 the battery was replaced under warranty after technicians determined the battery's voltage was low.
Mr. Dalen says his Outback has lost its resale value and the drained battery caused him stress, money and time.
"Defendant attempts to remedy the Defect by simply replacing the battery. But Defendant does so with batteries that have the same Defect, and thus, fails to fix the problem. This makes it substantially certain that the Defect will occur again, and many Class Members have in fact had their batteries replaced multiple times." - Subaru lawsuit
According to the plaintiff, Subaru should have told him about the battery problems before he purchased the Outback because the automaker allegedly knew about the battery problems since at least 2017.
Subaru issued a technical service bulletin (TSB) in June 2017 and revised in October 2017 that "involved a reprogramming to attempt to address customer concerns that included '[p]otential battery discharge (dead battery) after repeated periods of short-trip driving.'”
The bulletin (TSB 11-174-17R) was issued for owners of 2015-2017 Subaru Legacy, Outback and WRX vehicles and 2017-2018 Foresters. The TSB includes the subject line: Reprogramming File Availability for: DTC P05A0- Battery Discharge after Repeated Short-Trip Driving High Engine Idle RPM After Depressing Clutch Pedal.
According to Subaru, the "bulletin announces the availability of reprogramming files to optimize the ECM and address the following customer concerns."
- "Check Engine light coming on (with DTC P05A0 stored in memory)."
- "Potential battery discharge (dead battery) after repeated periods of short-trip driving."
- "A high (or “hanging”) engine RPM after depressing the clutch pedal (Forester only)."
When an Ascent or Outback customer takes their SUV to a dealer concerning battery problems, the lawsuit says a dealer, at the most, replaces the battery.
"But because Subaru replaces the batteries with the same batteries, the battery-drain problem recurs. Replacing the battery is thus a temporary fix only."
The plaintiff claims the battery problems started in the 2016 Subaru Outback and even though customers were complaining about battery problems, Subaru continued to sell Outbacks for four more years. However, Subaru introduced the 2019 Ascent SUV to its vehicle lineup, and the 2019-2020 Subaru Ascents allegedly suffer from the same battery problems.
The class action says an internal report dated April 26, 2019, from Subaru’s Quality Improvement Committee allegedly said Subaru was already concerned with battery failure problems in the 2020 Outback which was set to enter production in the summer.
Based on court documents, Subaru battery problems render the Ascents and Outbacks "unfit to provide safe and reliable transportation."
The Subaru battery problem lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey: Dalen, et al., v. Subaru of America, Inc., et al.
The plaintiff is represented by Ahdoot & Wolfson, PC.