— Subaru has agreed to settle a cracked windshield lawsuit for 2015-2016 Subaru Outback and Legacy vehicle owners and lessees.
The plaintiffs allege Subaru "fraudulently misrepresented the nature and scope" of the windshield problem in 2015 when the automaker extended the warranty from three years to five years for the windshields, based on technical service bulletin (TSB) 12-192-15.
According to the Subaru windshield TSB:
"Further investigation has determined the root cause for many of these failures to be the ceramic materials used for the black-colored printed perimeter combined with the silver-colored material used for the wiper deicer portion of the windshield glass."
The warranty extension was limited to windshield deicer areas and damage to the lower deicer areas. The lawsuit alleges this allowed Subaru to deny warranty claims for damage to other areas of the windshields.
In addition, Subaru allegedly replaced the defective windshields with equally defective "enhanced" windshields.
The plaintiffs contend Subaru works with dealerships to deny valid windshield warranty claims, "orchestrated by Subaru to minimize the cost of warranty claims."
Subaru has always denied it did anything wrong other than use a windshield that had problems in the deicer area.
In 2015, the automaker began using an enhanced windshield manufactured with new black perimeter border and wiper deicer materials.
Subaru Windshield Lawsuit Settlement Terms
Based on the settlement, which still must be approved by a judge, the same alleged "defects" the plaintiffs sued over are the same things listed as "benefits" of the settlement.
The class action argues the previous Subaru extended warranty was faulty because Subaru said in 2015 the warranty was good only for cracks in the deicer area. According to the lawsuit, the warranty extension is inadequate because the entire windshield is defective, not just a small area of the deicer.
Additionally, the Subaru lawsuit alleges the “enhanced” windshield used to replace the original windshield is also defective.
But according to the windshield class action settlement, a Subaru owner is included in the class action only if the crack is in the deicer area of the windshield, or travels through the deicer area. In addition, chipped glass is not included in the reimbursement program.
According to the Subaru windshield settlement:
"If the crack originates or passes through the de-icer (lower) area of the windshield, then this Condition may be the cause. It is Subaru’s position that damage to other areas of the windshield, regardless of the cause, does not result from a manufacturing defect and consequently is not eligible for coverage either under the original limited warranty or under the extended warranty described later in this Notice."
The settlement also says only genuine Subaru original or replacement windshields are eligible for warranty coverage.
Subaru Windshield Chip Repairs
The Subaru windshield lawsuit settlement includes an extended warranty, but the lawsuit says chipped windshields do not qualify.
"Chip repairs are not eligible for reimbursement under the terms of this warranty extension. It is Subaru’s position that damage resulting in a chip (only) does not result from a manufacturing defect and consequently these are not eligible for coverage either under the original limited warranty or under the extended warranty described in this Notice."
The Subaru class action includes all former and current owners and lessees of 2015 Subaru Outback or Legacy with the All-Weather Package and still equipped with the original windshields, or customers who have paid for replacements of the original windshields.
The same applies for 2016 Subaru Outback and Legacy vehicles, but only if specific vehicle identification numbers (VINs) are involved.
A 2016 Legacy or Outback must have a VIN lower than the following VINs, and it matters if the vehicle is equipped with Eyesight technology.
- 2016 Legacy / Eyesight: Yes / VIN lower than G3011247
- 2016 Legacy / Eyesight: No / VIN lower than G3006359
- 2016 Outback / Eyesight: Yes / VIN lower than G3222455
- 2016 Outback / Eyesight: No / VIN lower than G3210476
The vehicles were already subject to an extended warranty, but the settlement terms say the warranty will again be extended related to the windshields.
The previous windshield warranty extension of 5 years/unlimited miles will be extended to 8 years/unlimited miles for one windshield replacement of the original windshield that is cracked in the deicer area.
If your Subaru windshield was repaired by a shop other than a Subaru dealership, the repair must have occurred after the prior warranty extension expired but before the new warranty extension began, or before the prior warranty extension expired provided you presented your vehicle to and was denied coverage by an authorized Subaru dealer.
If you have been previously reimbursed by Subaru or your insurance provider for partial coverage of this repair, only the portion that you have paid out-of-pocket is eligible for reimbursement.
It is important to take your vehicle to an authorized Subaru dealer for windshield repairs going forward.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs are expected to receive $515,000.
The Court will hold a fairness hearing on June 11, 2021.
The Subaru cracked windshield lawsuit was filed in the District Court for the District of New Jersey: Khona, et al., v. Subaru of America, Inc.
The plaintiffs are represented by Greenstone Law APC, and Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP.