Powertrain and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
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.
Click on other model year to view more problems: 2020 2022
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.
2019 Subaru WRX Complaint Summary
|Complaint Category||Number of Complaints|
|Unknown Or Other|
|Fuel System, Gasoline|
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.
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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?”
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