Imagine setting off on a routine drive in your trusty Subaru, only to be stranded roadside due to sudden engine failure. This scenario, unfortunately, isn’t just hypothetical for many Subaru owners. At the heart of this issue is the Subaru Thermo Control Valve Class Action Lawsuit. A legal battle stirring up concern amongst Subaru drivers nationwide.
The core of the problem lies in the thermo control valve (TCV) of certain Subaru models. This small but crucial component, designed to regulate engine temperature, has been failing unexpectedly in the 2019-2021 Crosstrek, Forester, Legacy, and Outback models. The result? Engine overheating, premature failure, and a raft of safety issues that no driver should ever have to face.
For Subaru owners, this lawsuit isn’t just a matter of legal proceedings. It’s a wake-up call to potential risks lurking under their hoods.
Understanding the implications of this lawsuit is crucial for every Subaru owner. It’s not just about the inconvenience of unplanned repairs and costs. But also the safety risks posed by a failing TCV during operation.
In article, we delve into the intricacies of this legal showdown. We’ll uncover what every Subaru owner should know about the defect, the lawsuit, and the broader implications for vehicle safety and consumer rights.
What’s the Issue With the Thermo Control Valve?
At the heart of the lawsuit is a defect in the thermo control valve. The TCV in the affected Subaru vehicles is made from plastic and other materials inadequate for the high heat and vibration environment of the engine.
As such, this leads to premature failure and cracking. The defect allegedly leads to engine overheating, premature engine failure, and unexpected engine or cooling system failures.
This defect may pose a significant safety hazard, as it can leave drivers and passengers stranded.
Subaru’s Awareness and Response
According to the complaint, Subaru has been aware of this defect since at least 2021. This is evidenced by their attempt to update the design of the thermo control valves.
However, this update has been ineffective, leaving many vehicle owners to shoulder the cost of repairs themselves.
Despite offering a three-year/36000 mile Limited Warranty and a five-year/60000 Powertrain Limited Warranty, Subaru reportedly avoids honoring these warranties for repairs related to the TCV defect.
As one can imagine, this avoidance has led to financial burdens on vehicle owners.
What Does the Thermo Control Valve do?
The TCV is a crucial component for maintaining the engine’s optimal temperature and preventing overheating. It’s an electronically-operated fluid control valve that responds faster to engine temperature changes than traditional thermostats, theoretically contributing to better fuel economy.
The TCV Defect’s Consequences
It has be alleged, that when the TCV fails, it cannot sense the engine’s temperature correctly, failing to circulate adequate coolant. This leads to several issues, including engine overheating, inconsistent engine temperatures, and catastrophic engine failure.
Moreover, safety features like Brake Assist and Eyesight Driver Assist Technology are disabled, posing further risks.
Should Subaru Owners be Concerned?
Yes, Subaru owners with the affected models (2019-2021 Crosstrek, Forester, Legacy, and Outback), should be concerned about the issues raised in the Thermo Control Valve Class Action Lawsuit. Here’s why:
- Safety Risks: The primary concern is safety. The defect in the thermo control valve can lead to engine overheating, which may cause unexpected engine failure. This not only increases the risk of being stranded but also poses significant safety hazards, especially if the vehicle fails while in motion.
- Vehicle Reliability: Owners of the affected models might face reliability issues. A failing TCV can lead to inconsistent engine temperatures and potential damage to engine components, compromising the overall reliability of the vehicle.
- Financial Implications: Many owners have reported that Subaru has not covered the repairs under warranty. This means owners might have to bear the cost of repairs, which can be substantial.
- Resale Value: The publicity surrounding the lawsuit and the defect might affect the resale value of the affected models, as potential buyers might be wary of purchasing these vehicles.
- Legal Rights: Owners should be aware of their rights in this situation. The class action lawsuit represents a collective legal response by affected owners, and understanding its progress and outcomes is important for anyone who might be impacted.
For these reasons, it’s advisable for owners of the affected Subaru models to stay informed about the lawsuit’s developments, check their vehicles for symptoms of the TCV defect, and consider seeking professional advice if they suspect their vehicle is affected.
What Are The Symptoms of a Defective Thermo Control Valve?
If your Subaru is equipped with a potentially defective thermo control valve, there are several symptoms to watch out for. Being aware of these signs can help in early detection and possibly prevent more serious issues:
- Engine Overheating: The most prominent symptom of a failing TCV is engine overheating. The temperature gauge on your dashboard may show higher than normal readings.
- Illuminated Check Engine Light: A defective TCV often triggers the check engine light. This is usually one of the first indicators that something is wrong.
- Inconsistent Engine Temperatures: You may notice fluctuations in engine temperature readings, indicating that the TCV isn’t regulating the temperature effectively.
- Disabled Safety Features: In some Subaru models, a failing TCV can lead to the disabling of critical safety features like Brake Assist, Eyesight Driver Assist Technology, Lane Keep Assist, and others.
- Poor Cabin Heating: If the TCV fails, the heating system inside the car may not work properly, resulting in cold air blowing from the heaters even when the engine is warm.
- Unusual Noises from Engine: In some cases, a failing TCV can cause unusual noises from the engine area due to the strain on the engine components.
- Coolant Leaks: A defective TCV might lead to coolant leaks, which can be detected by a sweet-smelling liquid under the vehicle or a decrease in coolant levels.
- Vehicle Stalling or Reduced Performance: In severe cases, the car might stall or exhibit reduced performance, especially if the engine has overheated significantly.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your Subaru, especially if it’s a model mentioned in the lawsuit, it’s important to have it checked by a professional mechanic as soon as possible. Early detection and repair can prevent more extensive damage to your vehicle.
Subaru Models Affected
The following models are affected by the TCV defect.
- 2019 Crosstrek
- 2020 Crosstrek
- 2021 Crosstrek
- 2019 Forester
- 2020 Forester
- 2021 Forester
- 2019 Legacy
- 2020 Legacy
- 2021 Legacy
- 2019 Outback
- 2020 Outback
- 2021 Outback
Status of the Subaru Thermo Control Valve Class Action Litigation
Austerman v. Subaru of America, Case No. 1:23-cv-22626, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Filed by the law firm of: SauderSchelkopf.
The lawsuit contends that Subaru had prior knowledge of this defect, supported by internal testing, consumer complaints, and warranty claims. Despite this knowledge, the company has not provided a successful remedy.
A Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) was issued in February 2022, indicating Subaru’s awareness of the issue well before this date.
Questions About This Lawsuit?
MyCarVoice.com is not counsel or the settlement administrator in this class action lawsuit. Our goal is to inform owners of these vehicles of the recent lawsuit. This post will be updated when/if new suit information is released.
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Are you driving a Subaru and experienced overheating problems? If so, add your voice to this post in the comments below, or add your car complaint for review.