2020 Subaru WRX Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Wheels, brakes and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Subaru has long been known for making a great, dependable car, so there were high hopes when it came to the 2020 Subaru WRX. Even the automaker claims that owners get a “WRX advantage” with this model. However, after driving it for some time, it becomes clear that there are major troubles with the engine, service brakes and wheels.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019   2022

Problems with the Engine

As a performance-focused model, this WRX should be equipped to handle whatever comes it’s way, but the engine seems to be underpowered.

One Cars.com review states, “It has a very short power band, it just seems to only deliver good power for about 2,000 rpm then falls off.”

Even Service Bulletin #11-199-20 talks about engine troubles. In this communication, the Engine Control Module must be updated with new logic to prevent a hard starting condition. This seems to happen most frequently in colder climates and high-altitude regions. Basically, if a WRX owner wants to head to the mountains for a weekend of fun, there could be problems. Where is the “advantage” in that?

2020 Subaru WRX Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Air Bags
Fuel/propulsion System
Seat Belts
Unknown Or Other

Brake Problems

Another essential system is the service brakes. Without the brakes operating correctly, occupants could be in a lot of danger.

That’s what is revealed through this NHTSA complaint. “The contact owned a 2020 Subaru WRX. The contact stated that while his son was driving at 40 mph, he attempted to depress the brake pedal. However, the vehicle failed to stop, running a red light, the vehicle was T-boned. The contact stated that the impact caused the vehicle to hit a light post, the air bags failed to deploy and the seat belt failed to lock. The contact stated five days prior her son was driving and the brake pedal failed to engage while coming to a stop light. The driver had to depress the brake pedal to the floor to stop the vehicle. The driver stated that no warning lights or messages were displayed during either failure. The driver sustained a fractured wrist. The police report was filed. The paramedic came however, the contact was told to call the doctor for X-rays. The driver was seen by his doctor for his fractured wrist. The vehicle was totaled and was towed to a body shop. The contact called [dealership] and was told to call the manufacturer. The contact called the manufacturer and filed a complaint. The failure mileage was 2,100.”

While Subaru hasn’t wanted to discuss any brake defects, the company did warn technicians of extra servicing requirements when dealing with some brake models. Service Bulletin #06-76-20 states that the Brembo brakes require “extra care” while servicing due to the aluminum construction. At this point, it’s difficult to believe that Subaru is going the extra mile to deal with any WRX-related system.

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Problems with the Wheels

The WRX is designed to turn heads, but the wheels and tires seem to be a problem that is gaining more attention.

Here is another NHTSA complaint. “I have recently purchased a 2020 Subaru WRX Limited. I have learned by inspection that the standard OEM tire on this vehicle is a Dunlop Sport Max RT. This is a high-performance summer tire. This class of tire is not recommended to be used in very cold weather and especially on ice and snow. I have previously owned such tires and they are terrifying on ice, that is, dangerous. I live in an area of the country where snow and ice are common. Subaru did not inform me of these tires and I am now confronted with purchasing a new set of all season tires so I can safely drive my car. By the way, I have previously worked in tire engineering. Is a less knowledgeable person expected to recognize such a deficiency and take the necessary precautions? Not drive in cold, snowy or icy conditions or purchase new tires?”

What a scary thought. However, Subaru doesn’t seem to care about the manufacturing of this WRX model when it comes to any system or part. Just look at Service Bulletin #07-173-20, which states that the rear trunk can open on its own after parking. Just imagine the surprise when owners come out of a store to find the trunk open. Hopefully, all of those precious goods are still located inside. The moral of the story is – the “advantage” to driving a WRX is stolen property, totaled new vehicles and an underpowered engine that only likes the warmer weather.

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.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 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.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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