Subaru Thermo Control Valve Lawsuit: Key Facts and Driver Impact

Subaru Thermo Control Valve Lawsuit: Key Facts and Driver Impact

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 this 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.

Warranty Concerns

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.

Vehicle reliability research tool.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Inconsistent Engine Temperatures: You may notice fluctuations in engine temperature readings, indicating that the TCV isn’t regulating the temperature effectively.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Status of the Subaru Thermo Control Valve Class Action Litigation

Class Action Currently Active

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? 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.

Please considering subscribing to this post for critical updates.

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.

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46 thoughts on “Subaru Thermo Control Valve Lawsuit: Key Facts and Driver Impact

  1. Avatar
    Mike Harris
    June 18, 2024 at 2:26 am

    I have a forester and an outback. I bought a Subaru because they have always been a dependable car. Now I worry ever time I get in my car.

    1. Avatar
      July 4, 2024 at 12:51 pm

      Dropping my 2019 Subaru Forester off this weekend for a thermo valve control replacement, same issues: check engine light came on deactivated RAB and other. Test came back thermo valve control estimated repair at $1300. Not happy at all with this, bought the car going by Subaru’s past reputation of “quality built vehicles”, very sad.

  2. Avatar
    June 12, 2024 at 1:02 pm

    My 2021 Subaru forester came up flashing all kind of lights on my dash. With OBD readerII it says the spark plug was at fault and after replacing spark plug still the same. And soon I came to notice that my ingine oil is heating up to 216 f which I only notice when I am going up hill and ingine is working hard. And I Just got the warranty letter from Subaru about the TCV fault which is weird. So am gonna take it to diagnose and see if they are still dying “ oh it’s the spark plug” I can’t trust Subaru anymore. I thought Subarus are reliable. I have my Hyundai Sonata bought at 38k used and now it’s 130k running smooth like butter.

  3. Avatar
    June 4, 2024 at 12:23 pm

    My 2020 Forester @4.5 years with only 21,000 miles failed. Even low mileage didn’t save me from this TCV fiasco. Why on Earth Subaru replaced a metal TCV with the convoluted plastic contraption is anyone’s guess. I’m sitting in the dealership now having just been told the TCV faulted and noticed a ton of exhaust coming out where the car normally runs clean, so I suspect further engine damage. Luckily I bought the extended warranty because the standard warranty wouldn’t cover this.

    1. Avatar
      Bill Bellerjeau
      June 8, 2024 at 5:59 pm

      I received a letter today from Subaru extending the tcv warranty 15 years from the date of purchase. Mine is a 2021 crosstrek. I had the tcv replaced at the end of April 2024. About 8k miles, as I don’t drive it much. So it seems like this is the only fix they are going to do. Just keep replacing a defective part with another defective part.

  4. Avatar
    E H Combs
    May 23, 2024 at 9:22 am

    Subaru SHOULD recall all cars with the subpar control & install one designed to last even tho the 2025 models are back to thermostat as 2018’s. The engineer that pushed this change should be fired.
    An owner plays Russian roulette when driving away from home. Subaru owners will NOT forget.

    1. Avatar
      June 4, 2024 at 12:25 pm

      I hear you: however, a recall wouldn’t fix the design failure since even the upgraded/redesigned TCV on newer models is STILL plastic. 🤦🏻‍♂️

    2. Avatar
      June 4, 2024 at 12:27 pm

      This being said, Subaru should be offering lifetime replacement for free at a minimum.

  5. Avatar
    May 22, 2024 at 12:06 pm

    This has just happened to us, A 2020 Forrester we bought used last year. Have an appointment with the dealer on Friday. We will see what happens

    1. Avatar
      Jim L.
      May 30, 2024 at 11:24 am

      Bought my 2020 Forester certified used last June (2023). Got the letter from Subaru about extending the TCV warranty first week of May, and then of course a few days later (5/10/24), it failed driving home from work. Luckily I had just left and was able to pull over into a parking lot right away. Dash lit up like a Christmas tree, car wouldn’t go over 10 MPH, and engine revving up and down non-stop. Dealer confirmed that the TCV failed, and also found a faulty intake manifold. Both replaced under warranty at no cost to me. When I got it back, the car ran great, although it seemed to run a bit rough when starting cold, and smoothed out when warmed up. Had the car back for 14 days, and again, leaving work had the same issue, minus the engine revving high and low. Dealer says there was some carbon buildup, and they are doing a “deep decarbonization” of the engine, and also caught a misfire on cylinder 3. Not sure if these are related to the TCV, but the car ran absolutely perfect until the TCV failed. Hopefully I’ll get it back in the next day or so…yikes.

  6. Avatar
    Mike White
    May 14, 2024 at 4:33 pm

    Any TCV issues reported with 2022-2024 Subarus? I have a 2022 Legacy Limited.

  7. Avatar
    May 13, 2024 at 8:40 am

    I have a 2019 Outback and I haven’t seen this happen yet, but I was wondering if the vehicle could be repaired proactively by simply retrofitting with the traditional thermostat?

  8. Avatar
    May 7, 2024 at 9:58 pm

    Our 2019 Forester is having this issue. Local Autozone read the code as P2682 defective thermo control valve. We are going to take the car to the dealer tomorrow.

  9. Avatar
    May 7, 2024 at 9:52 pm

    My 2020 Forester had its TCV fail mid March with milage 90k, Got lucky that it failed cold vs hot but wasn’t covered under warranty, due to it disabling all other safety related items eyesight etc. I filed safety report with NHTSA the day the dealer told me it was nearly 2k after taxes to repair, Today 5/7 received the extended warranty letter and have submitted for reimbursement.

  10. Avatar
    John Donaldson
    May 5, 2024 at 8:19 pm

    I had this problem with my 2020 Outback in January. Car crapped out while my wife was being discharged from the hospital after suffering a bout of RSV. Fortunately, I was able to get her home without it dying completely and I got a phone call from Subaru the following morning telling me they saw the codes and asked me to get the car to the dealer ASAP. Other than the inconvenience of being without transportation for a day, it was covered by the warranty.

  11. Avatar
    May 4, 2024 at 8:33 am

    2020 Crosstrek. Same thing a week ago. Check engine light on, strange noises from engine. Took to dealership yesterday and was quoted $1,300 for them valve replacement. After agreeing to the repair but researching cost online while in waiting room I pushed back. 20 minutes later was told no charge and that they would extend the warranty. No explanation why. Well thanks to this page I now know! Sad that I would have been charged $1,300 for a known issue and the dealer clearly caved once they realized I may take things further. Feels to me like the dealers are well aware of the issue but since there is no formal recall they can still try to squeeze the customer for the full bill. Repairing a defective part with the another defective part does not solve anything. Will watch closely for the class action resolution.

  12. Avatar
    Tony E.
    May 2, 2024 at 2:15 pm

    I just had this issue happen to me yesterday. All the lights on dash were turned on and vehicles kept stalling. Had to keep it under 20mph to get home. Luckily we were only about .25 miles away from the house. Almost would have had to call a tow. Took it into dealership and luckily they said it’s under warranty. Will see how it goes once I get the vehicle back.

  13. Avatar
    Shannon Maldonado
    April 21, 2024 at 4:28 pm

    This just happened to my 2020 Legacy. Stranded on the side of the road 10.5 hours into a 12.5 hour trip. Had to get towed over 100 miles to a dealership near where we were staying. Thank God for AAA! The part and labor were covered under my warranty but I still had to pay for the coolant flush.

  14. Avatar
    April 16, 2024 at 8:00 am

    I just had this happen to my 2020 Outback

  15. Avatar
    April 11, 2024 at 9:12 pm

    I just had this problem fixed on my 2021 Subaru crosstrek today. I’m concerned now though as my 3 year warranty expires in august. The dealership told me Subaru knows about the issue, wether or not the new tcv holds up is anyone’s guess. Was thinking of extending my warranty. Funny thing, 2 weeks ago I took it in for a recall for an inhibitor switch that they replaced. 10 days later I had this tcv issue.

    1. Avatar
      Bill Bellerjeau
      April 23, 2024 at 12:35 pm

      Supposedly they fixed it. Not even 12 days later it happened again.

      1. Christopher Rossen
        Christopher Rossen
        April 23, 2024 at 12:44 pm

        Replacing failed part with defective part won’t solve the issue unfortunately.

  16. Avatar
    Chelsea Hernandez
    March 5, 2024 at 3:35 pm

    2020 Subaru Forester with 112K, got this same problem yesterday (3/4/2024). Check Engine Light with its other triggers turned on at the same time, deactivating EyeSight and ABS system. I brought it into the Dealer yesterday and it was the TCV. $1200 including labor. Picking it up in a week since they are busy and I live 2 hours away.

    1. Christopher Rossen
      Christopher Rossen
      March 5, 2024 at 3:59 pm

      Keep us posted Chelsea.

  17. Avatar
    Eduardo Cuevas
    February 28, 2024 at 10:35 pm

    02-28-2024 I just started with this same problem, I have an appointment for tomorrow in Subaru Evergreen Park IL. I will post a comment once I have an update

    1. Christopher Rossen
      Christopher Rossen
      February 29, 2024 at 11:14 am

      Keep us posted Eduardo.

  18. Avatar
    J w Gerrard
    February 27, 2024 at 10:32 am

    All the same symptoms on my 2019 Forrester, so far promptly handled by my dealer, near the end of warranty. My concern is the replacement an improved version or do we jump thru a new set hoopes when the next one fails?

  19. Avatar
    February 19, 2024 at 9:46 am

    Sitting in Subaru Service shop at this moment with the identical issues for a 2019 Subaru Forrester. First tech said there was no remedy. After reading this feedback (and many other sites) and making a lot of inquiries, another tech chimed in and said ” hey, I know Subaru is issuing some form of resolution very soon. Either a recall or warranty extension”. Final resolution–Subaru of America is taking care of it. Nearly $1600 estimate! Yeah, to one of my favorite service techs–she has been awesome in the past and just saved me a crap-load of $$$. Thanks and keep up the good fight.

    1. Christopher Rossen
      Christopher Rossen
      February 19, 2024 at 9:52 am

      Thanks Joe for the feedback! This is why we spend time writing these articles – to help bring awareness to the problem car owners are having, and also put public pressure on the auto manufacturers to do the right thing.

  20. Avatar
    Megan Gersbach
    February 15, 2024 at 11:01 pm

    95K miles 2021 Subaru Forester. Mechanic says engine control valve failure. $1,400 repair cost.

  21. Avatar
    February 12, 2024 at 7:53 pm

    2019 Forester: Check Engine Light, car malfunctioning, inconsistent heat issue, loud noises etc. Still under full warranty with less than 20,000 miles. Supposedly “Repaired ” by Subaru approximately 2 weeks ago. Same problem re-occured today. Service appointment scheduled. I want to be part of the class action suit. I can not afford to pay for repairs and am fearful to drive my car. This is my only means of transportation.

    1. Avatar
      E H Combs
      May 23, 2024 at 9:23 am

      Subaru SHOULD recall all cars with the subpar control & install one designed to last even tho the 2025 models are back to thermostat as 2018’s. The engineer that pushed this change should be fired.
      An owner plays Russian roulette when driving away from home. Subaru owners will NOT forget.

  22. Avatar
    Bob Eicholz
    February 7, 2024 at 2:56 am

    My 2020 Outback has all of these symptoms. I’d like to follow all actions against Subaru.

    1. Christopher Rossen
      Christopher Rossen
      February 7, 2024 at 12:44 pm

      Hi Bob. This is a class action so all effective parties will benefit if an agreement is reached. Please subscribe to this post to be notified of when news breaks.

  23. Avatar
    February 2, 2024 at 6:44 pm

    2020 Subaru Forrester sport here and well maintained. TCV valve failed at 61,000 miles just past the 60k powertrain warranty. Out of pocket expense 1300 after replaced with a new one by dealership. It’s a shame for something to happen like this for many owners for such a reliable brand. I will save my receipt in hopes of getting reimbursement in the future; in the meantime I won’t be buying another Subaru.

  24. Avatar
    Ron Rubin
    January 23, 2024 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks for the information. I have 2019 Forester with approximately 33000 miles. All noted symptoms appeared, ie. check engine light, disabled eyesight, collision icons. Diagnosed at Subaru dealer as defective TCV. $1600 repair cost out of my pocket. Service dept. stated not aware of class action. Emphasized no warranty claim and…”good luck with suit…”.

  25. Avatar
    January 19, 2024 at 8:01 am

    having same problem with y 2020 outback

  26. Avatar
    James Taylor
    January 18, 2024 at 8:42 am

    Daughter’s 2020 Forester valve failed at 71,000. $2000+ to replace at Subaru dealer. Picking up today but will be following Class action suit as well. Hopefully will recover some if not all of repair cost. Seems if backup cameras were a recall item, something like a valve that could destroy engine would certainly be. Question I have is why isn’t this covered by Emissions warranty as the EGR valve is affected as well?

    1. Christopher Rossen
      Christopher Rossen
      January 18, 2024 at 9:52 am

      Thanks for sharing your voice to this case. Yes, I suspect we will hear something from Subaru soon about this problem.

  27. Avatar
    January 17, 2024 at 8:41 am

    Yep. Hit me last night.

  28. Avatar
    Keith Sparzak
    January 7, 2024 at 11:58 am

    Also, I had the codes read by Auto Zone—Likely cause is Heater Control Valve Malfunction

  29. Avatar
    Keith Sparzak
    January 7, 2024 at 11:56 am

    I’m having this issue now: Check Engine Light Illuminated; Eyesight feature disabled; X-Mode disabled; Temperature gauge not functioning; Cabin heat under-performing.

    Please keep me posted!

  30. Avatar
    Keith Sparzak
    January 7, 2024 at 11:43 am

    I am having this very issue with my 2020 Outback: Engine light illuminated, Eyesight function has been disabled; Even traction control feature; Testing by code reader reveals that the likely problem is “Heater Control Valve Malfunction”.

  31. Avatar
    Sandra Thomas
    January 2, 2024 at 10:33 pm

    I am having issue with engine temp in my 2020 Forrester. Eye sight, lane change disabled, low cabin heat, checkbl engine light and engine temp light. What do I need to do to join the claim. I can’t afford to get it repaired.

    1. Christopher
      January 3, 2024 at 7:29 am

      Hi Sandra, nothing you need to do to join the class action. But keep all receipts of any work performed for this issue, and would recommend subscribing to this post for news announcements.

  32. Avatar
    Brian Albano
    December 28, 2023 at 7:28 am

    I have a 2020 Outback 65k miles. I’m having this issue now

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