2019 Subaru WRX Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Powertrain and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

All-wheel-drive vehicles saturate the market, but Subaru seems to outperform many other brands. The 2019 Subaru WRX is known as the “best-handling, best-performing WRX. Ever.” However, many of the customers seem to disagree. In fact, they complain about the engine, visibility and powertrain.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2019 Subaru WRX

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
11
Engine
6
Unknown Or Other
5
Power Train
2
Fuel/propulsion System
1
Fuel System, Gasoline
1
Visibility:windshield
1
Visibility/wiper
1

Problems with the Engine

The Subaru engine is designed to provide plenty of power for an adventurous ride. However, customers aren’t pleased with the motor under the hood of the WRX.

One NHTSA complaint states, “Very similar issues described in previous engine failures reported. New car, off the showroom floor, serviced on frequent. There was a sudden loud clunky noise and complete loss of power. 7 weeks later still at Subaru and dealership not able to identify the issue but started to say it was driver fault?”

Subaru needed to redesign some of the engine components due to failure, further proving how unreliable this part is. Service Bulletin #02-170-17R says that a new Active Valve Control System (AVCS) oil control solenoid valves (OCV) with a redesigned internal oil seal was released. The automaker needed to do this to eliminate oil seepage occurring in the wire harness connector portion. Basically, this Subaru simply wasn’t the “best,” or it wouldn’t have required such a significant upgrade.

Problems with the Windshield Cracking

Auto glass is located around every vehicle and provides the visibility desired to see clearly. However, the auto glass installed in the WRX is providing many problems.

One NHTSA complaint says, “Small glass chip defect occurred in the center of the passenger side windshield. This occurred while the vehicle was stationary and sitting in a parking lot. This vehicle was isolated in the parking lot and did not have any other vehicles near it. It is unknown whether the windshield temper or composition may be defective and easily propagated a defect on the way to the parking lot. The way the windshield chipped/developed the small crack would have had to occur with ease because the vehicle was brand new (350 miles) and had no interactions with flying debris especially with the shorter drive. The chip/small crack was small enough to be repaired but still is visible inside the vehicle. The insurance company epoxied the small chip to mitigate more potential cracking. Due the aforementioned circumstances, this appears to have the same occurring incidents happening across all affected Subaru models.”

Aside from the windshield, Subaru also had to redesign the power window switch assemblies. According to Service Bulletin #07-152-19R, the new design addressed concerns, such as power windows not operating from the switch and the one-touch feature not working either. Again, it’s clear that to claim a vehicle is the “best ever,” the automaker shouldn’t need to supply redesigned parts to combat defects.

Problems with the Transmission

Because Subaru is known for its AWD system, it’s imperative that customers evaluate how well the equipment works. According to reviews, it’s just a disappointment.

One Edmunds customer states, “If you are considering the WRX you should really weigh the need for AWD. If it isn’t necessary, a Ford Focus RS or VW GTI will be a much more enjoyable driving experience. The rev hang is bad and you will inevitably get good at slipping the clutch into gear. The shifter on the base model is clunky and imprecise (sometimes I have to apply 10 pounds of pressure just to get it in gear!). I’ll be selling this car once the insurance policy expires… I’m very excited to do so.”

Of course, there’s no way that the powertrain could require updated parts, right? Not true! In fact, Service Bulletin #03-83-20R announced the production of new shift forks and the corresponding parts to address concerns of vibration and rattling from the shift knob. At this point, it’s clear that the WRX is two vehicles in one – the car that was initially built and the one filled with all of the replacement parts to correct defects. Which one exactly is the “best ever?”

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Subaru pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Complaint Data

CategoryElectrical System, Engine
DateNov 10, 2022
StateTX
Description
At random, the vehicle will shut down for a second and start back up without pressing the start button. Usually occurs while using carplay but has occurred without using the stereo. Will happen back to back and cause the steering wheel to lock up at highway speeds, taking control of the vehicle away from me (driver). Steering wheel has locked up several times when the car shuts off while driving. Vehicle was taken to dealership for diagnostics and they were unable to pinpoint an issue.
CategoryElectrical System, Unknown Or Other
DateNov 03, 2022
StateTX
Description
The battery in my 2019 subaru wrx failed after buying it brand new from the dealer, after less than 2 years of owning the vehicle. Almost one year later, my car now won't start if I leave it off for more than 24 hrs. In 2019 I left the car powered off for over a week and it started right up no hesitation. This is a huge problem now as I work remotely and don't need to drive my car every day however I do need my brand new car to reliably start even if I haven't driven it for a day or so! I took it to the dealership and they state their battery diagnostics and the alternator both pass, and no software updates pertaining to an issue of this nature was available. I'm going back tomorrow for a tech to run "extended electrical diags" on it but I've read about this issue affecting so many others that there is now a lawsuit about it! Wanted y'all to know I'm experiencing this as well. Https://www. Torquenews. Com/1084/subaru-battery-drain-lawsuit-new-claims-now-include-forester-wrx-and-legacy/amp
CategoryElectrical System
DateSep 24, 2022
StateMN
Description
This vehicle has less than 20,000 miles on it and I've had the battery drain on me 3 different times from just leaving a door open with the car off while doing general maintenance things. The car lacks a feature to shut off the dome lights and I thought that was what the problem stemmed from. Each time the car died on me the door was open for no more than 20 minutes or so. Once I saw there's a class action lawsuit against them for issues related to this I knew this issue is the same one. No battery should be going dead from a light being on for 20 minutes with nothing else running.
CategoryElectrical System
DateSep 18, 2022
StateWA
Description
Battery cannot hold a charge even after jumping the car. Once jumped, the car will drive but when the engine is turned off, it cannot turn back on without a jump.
CategoryElectrical System, Unknown Or Other
DateAug 22, 2022
StateFL
Description
The starlink 7-inch multimedia plus unit gets locked-up, sometime not responsive to touch, skips around to different songs, in a phantom way scans different radio stations, disconnects phone calls.
CategoryElectrical System
DateAug 02, 2022
StateCT
Description
The contact owns a 2019 subaru wrx. The contact stated that she was unable to start the vehicle. The contact stated that the battery warning light was illuminated. The contact stated that her father was able to jumpstart the vehicle. The contact stated the following morning she experienced the failure for a second time. The contact called the local dealer and made them aware of the failure. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer had been informed of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 25,000.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateJul 19, 2022
StateOR
Description
I've had two fuel pumps replaced under warranty after the 2nd fuel pump failed hours after the subaru dealership installed it. They installed the 3rd which worked until a week ago when my car stalled at a red light. The car would not start back up and it has since been diagnosed as a fuel issue.
CategoryEngine
DateJun 04, 2022
StateNC
Description
Rod bearing broke on engine at 9k miles, car shuts down. Replaced engine and turbo under warranty. Rod bearing broke again on engine at 38k, car shut down. Both times will traveling on highway posing major safety risk.
CategoryElectrical System
DateApr 24, 2022
StateCA
Description
Parasitic battery drain, the vehicle dies and will not start after 1 day of not being driven.
CategoryEngine, Fuel System, Gasoline
DateOct 18, 2021
StateMO
Description
The contact stated owns a 2019 subaru wrx. The contact stated that while her spouse was driving approximately 60 mph, the vehicle started making an abnormal sound as if the engine was sputtering. The driver was concerned that fuel was not running through the engine correctly. The vehicle began to fail to accelerate forward then lose motive power. There were no warning lights illuminated. The contact stated the driver was able to pull to the side of the road. The vehicle made a large popping sound and white smoke was coming from the tailpipe. The contact cooled off the timing belt to cool off the vehicle. There was no fire reported. No injuries or medical attention is needed. The vehicle was towed. The contact stated that earlier that day while starting the vehicle it had backfired. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the engine was blown due to the failure related to nhtsa campaign number: 21v587000 (fuel system, gasoline). The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure however, there was no response yet. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000.
CategoryElectrical System, Unknown Or Other
DateJul 30, 2021
StateVA
Description
Without warning, my brand new car at 1000 miles was found battery dead in my garage. Towed to dealership, I was told that "I got a bad battery". Again, at 7000 miles, car found dead in my garage.
CategoryElectrical System
DateJul 12, 2021
StateOR
Description
I was an hour into a 5-hour trip. I stopped the vehicle at a interstate rest area. I then went to start the car again after 5 minutes or so, and it would not start. After getting a jump start, I drove back to my dealership, and they informed me I needed to replace my battery. This vehicle is only 2 years old. I paid for a new battery.
CategoryPower Train
DateJun 22, 2021
StateIL
Description
Unknown - car will occasionally not shift into 2nd gear, and will be able to engage every other gear other than second.
CategoryElectrical System
DateMay 15, 2021
StateOR
Description
The batterey drains within a week if the vehicle isnÂ’t driven
CategoryVisibility:windshield
DateJan 07, 2021
StateKS
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2019 subaru wrx. The contact stated while the vehicle was parked, the front windshield cracked at the top without impact. The vehicle was taken to subaru of wichita (11610 e kellogg dr n, wichita, ks 67207; (316) 264-7777) where the contact was informed that the failure was due to a stone. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100.
CategoryEngine
DateNov 19, 2020
StateMD
Description
The vehicle stalled at highway speed as I began to decelerate on the interstate highway. I attempted several times to restart the engine until the vehicle reach a rolling stop in the middle of the 4 lane highway. I turned on my hazard lights and after approximately a minute I managed engage the engine for a brief period to reach the shoulder of the highway before the engine stalled again. There were no indicators or warning lights on. I tried several times to start the engine with no success so I called for service. After waiting for 30 minutes, I tried to start the car again; this time the rpms stayed normal. I drove to the car dealership for service. On the first day the technicians were able to replicate the issue but could not identify anything wrong with the vehicle. The technicians tested my fuel octane and electrical system. The technicians then ran a full diagnostic test on the car and still they could not find anything. My vehicle has been with the subaru technicians for 6 days and so far the problem is still unknown.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateJul 21, 2020
StateNM
Description
The screen freaks out. It freezes, jacks up the volume sometimes and just feels like the screen has a mind of its own. It goes black sometimes but overall just freezing. Its really annoying and frustrating when the volume starts blaring or decides to not let you listen to it at all. It's usually when its in motion. It happens randomly. I have not noticed a pattern as to when the faults happen.
CategoryVisibility/wiper
DateMar 06, 2020
StateMI
Description
Small glass chip defect occurred in the center of the passenger side windshield. This occurred while the vehicle was stationary and sitting in a parking lot. This vehicle was isolated in the parking lot and did not have any other vehicles near it. It is unknown whether the windshield temper or composition may be defective and easily propogated a defect on the way to the parking lot. The way the windshield chipped/developed the small crack would have had to occur with ease because the vehicle was brand new (350 miles) and had no interactions with flying debris especially with the shorter drive. The chip/small crack was small enough to be repaired but still is visible inside the vehicle. The insurance company epoxied the small chip to mitigate more potential cracking. Due the aforementioned circumstances, this appears to have the same occurring incidents happening across all affected subaru models.
CategoryEngine, Power Train, Unknown Or Other
DateOct 15, 2019
StateNM
Description
Very similar issues described in previous engine failures reported. New car, off the showroom floor, serviced on frequent. There was a sudden loud clunky noise and complete loss of power. 7 weeks later still at subaru and dealership not able to identify the issue but not started to say it was driver fault?
CategoryElectrical System, Engine
DateJul 25, 2019
StateTX
Description
Starter winded (missed) on startup and did not engage until next attempted vehicle startup.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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