2018 Subaru Crosstrek Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, engine and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

There’s no doubt that the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek has a following of enthusiasts. Most owners come from a long line of Subaru owners that have come to rely on the brand. Even this model uses the tagline, “there’s always room for more stories.” They don’t realize how true that is. In fact, many of those in love with the brand are questioning their loyalty after experiencing this defective electrical system, malfunctioning engine and faulty powertrain.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019

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Electrical

For a reputable brand such as Subaru, it seems obvious that they should provide functioning electronic equipment with their vehicles. After all, the customers are paying a premium price to choose this model over the competition. Sadly, that extra money is a waste when facing an SUV with electronics that don’t work.

One Edmunds review illustrates this perfectly by saying, “The electronic steering on the highway over 50 mph has no feel of the road. It pulls the wheels on the slightest imperfection on the road. This makes the ride very  uncomfortable and dangerous. Also, a/c blows hot air when getting on the parkway or when passing another vehicle. However, city driving was great and the reason I originally purchased the vehicle. Traded the vehicle in after only 6 months.The is car is gone at a great loss to me, notice the reviews are not as good on the newer cars anymore.”

There are more than 40 service bulletins related to the electrical system. What’s most interesting is Service Bulletin #WUA-86R, which states, “In the interest of customer satisfaction, Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is initiating a service program to update the Harman head unit.” Notice that the repairs aren’t being done because the system is faulty, but rather just to keep people happy. There’s a problem with that situation. The automaker should want to fix the issues because the car isn’t right. Instead, it’s a “courtesy” to the driver. Having a working audio system is no longer expected.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek Electrical Problems:

SUBARU’S SAFETY SYSTEM EYESIGHT THAT USES ACROSS MULTIPLE MODELS INCLUDING MY 2018 CROSSTREK HAS A SERIOUS PROBLEM THAT PREVENTED THE HUMAN DRIVER TO BE ALERTED. THE EYESIGHT SAFETY WARNING AUDIO ALERT DOES NOT INTERRUPT THE AUDIO FROM THE RADIO UNIT, IN ADDITION THE AUDIO WARNING SOUND LEVEL IS VERY LOW DESPITE THE MAX SETTING ON THE SYSTEM. MY CELL PHONE’S RINGER VOLUME IS MUCH LOUDER THAN THE SUBARU’S EYESIGHT VOLUME. DURING THE NORMAL MUSIC LISTENING I CAN’T EVEN HEAR THE SAFETY WARNINGS (REAR CROSS TRAFFIC, FORWARD WARNING, AND LANE ALERT ETC). THIS CREATE AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS DRIVING ENVIRONMENT THAT MIGHT LEAD TO AN ACCIDENT. MY CROSSTREK DOES NOT HAVE AN ADDITIONAL WINDSHIELD VISUAL ALERT LIKE MY GM CAR THAT HAS A RED LED PROJECTED TO WINDSHIELD IN ADDITION TO AUDIO ALERT. BY THE WAY GM’S ALERT STOP THE RADIO AND THE VOLUME IS LOUD. MY PROBLEM WAS CONFIRMED BY DEALER AND SUBARU OF AMERICA. SOA TOLD ME THAT THERE ARE NO REPAIRS NEEDED. I HOPE YOU CAN WORK WITH SUBARU OF AMERICA TO ASK THEM TO REPAIR THIS IMPORTANT SAFETY FEATURE. I HAVE A YOUNG TEENAGE DRIVER IN MY FAMILY AND I AM VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THIS ISSUE

MAIN COMPUTER SYSTEM STOPS WORKING ON A COUPLE OF OCCASIONS. NO RADIO, NO VOLUME CONTROL, NO CD, NO PHONE, NO MAP/GPS. MAP/GPS WAS IN USED AT THE TIME. SYSTEM RESUMES ALL OF ITS FUNCTIONS AFTER THE VEHICLE WAS PULLED OVER AND SHUT DOWN FOR A FEW MINUTES. VEHICLE WAS IN MOTION WHEN THIS HAPPENS.

THE STARLINK ENTERTAINMENT AND NAVIGATION SYSTEM (8″ SCREEN) PERIODICALLY FREEZES WHILE DRIVING. WHEN FROZEN, THE TOUCHSCREEN WILL NOT WORK AND THE SYSTEM IS USELESS. SOMETIMES THESE IS NO SOUND AND AT OTHER TIMES IT IS MAXIMUM VOLUME. AFTER SHUTTING OFF THE VEHICLE FOR AT LEAST FOUR HOURS, THE SYSTEM WILL UNFREEZE.

Engine

The car’s engine must be performing at optimal levels to get drivers from Point A to Point B. With Subaru, many people assume that the engines are highly durable and last forever, but it’s easy to find different experiences.

Just look at this NHTSA review. “My oil temp on my Subaru is higher than normal…I have had it in the dealer 2 times already and even tho they say the temps are not normal they say there is nothing they can do because everything looked fine.. but they tell me to change my oil every 3k now instead of 6k… I have asked Subaru what the oil temp range is and after months of calling someone finally tells me max temp is 247… My car goes over that… I take it to the dealer again and same thing… They do nothing… I ask them again what the normal temp range is and they don’t know… They tell me to just drive it that it’s under warranty… The high oil temp probably did some long term damage… Subaru is unwilling to do anything here even tho they say the temps are not normal… The temps rise up at highway driving… Up hills mostly..Normal speed.  It’s like there is no cooling… Go up hill during regular highway driving the oil temp just shoots up.. Water temp is normal.”

While there isn’t anything about this listed in the manufacturer communications, there are plenty of other engine troubles addressed. One that stands out is Service Bulletin #16-121-19. It indicates that many customers hear a tapping noise coming from the engine and CVT. Most often, this sound is heard after the car is warmed up. The repair involves taking off the six converter drive plate bolts, rotating it and reinstalling them. Maybe Subaru just wants to help consumers have more stories to tell others. The problem is that it is backfiring and the stories being spread are mostly negative.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek Engine Problems:

PURCHASED A NEW 2018 SUBARU CROSSTREK FROM MY LOCAL SUBARU DEALERSHIP AND DROVE THE CAR HOME. THE NEXT DAY (JUNE 3, 2018), ON MY FIRST TRIP OUT TO RUN ERRANDS THE CAR STALLED AFTER GOING FROM REVERSE TO DRIVE AT SLOW SPEED IN A PARKING LOT. THE NEXT DAY (JUNE 4, 2018), THE CAR STALLED AGAIN TWICE IN RAPID SUCCESSION UNDER SIMILAR CONDITIONS IN ANOTHER PARKING LOT. THE SAME DAY (JUNE 4, 2018), I DROVE THE CAR TO MY LOCAL SUBARU DEALERSHIP FOR SERVICE. SUBARU ENGINEERS EVALUATED A SIMILAR PROBLEM ON OTHER CROSSTREKS AND DETERMINED THAT THE ISSUE WAS A SOFTWARE PROBLEM. 21 DAYS LATER I AM STILL WAITING FOR A REMEDY.

THERE WAS A RECALL ON MY CAR FOR THE ENGINE STALLING AND HESITATION. THE RECALL DID NOT RESOLVE THE PROBLEM. THE CAR HAS BEEN AT THE DEALERSHIP TWO TIMES. THEY CANNOT DUPLICATE THE CONDITION. SUBARU DOES NOT WANT TO GET INVOLVED TO HELP MY DEALER REPAIR THE CAR. I AM AFRAID TO DRIVE THE CAR BECAUSE WHEN IT DOES LOSE POWER ITS A MAJOR SAFETY CONCERN.

Powertrain

Along with the engine, the powertrain is also a component that needs to be running correctly for optimal performance. With this Subaru model, there are just as many complaints about the durability and competency of the powertrain.

One NHTSA review says, “The CVT transmission in this car is jerky, will often act as if applying the brakes with stopping, will have trouble shifting during stop and go traffic, resulting in jerking of the car. Will occasionally vibrate as if traveling over rough pavement. The vehicle is in motion when this happens. Can be in urban or highway traffic.”

There are also lots of manufacturer communications about the powertrain. Service bulletin #16-103-16R talks about fluid seeping from the CVT assembly. It turns out that the seepage is coming from the oil pump chain cover sealant. The repair involves removing the chain cover and cleaning all of the surfaces.

Aside from that, Subaru also has a significant recall that causes alarm for some drivers. While it isn’t powertrain related, it must still be addressed. In NHTSA Campaign Number 17V701000, it is stated that Crosstrek vehicles might have the incorrect floor mat retention bracket installed, which allows the mat to move and interfere with the pedals. This can lead to a crash if not dealt with. Imagine the stories that have come from that defect. Probably nothing that most owners think they will have to experience.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek Transmission Problems:

VEHICLE HAS BEEN TO THE DEALERSHIP TWICE SINCE PURCHASED IN JUNE 2018 DUE TO JERKY, BUCKING AND HESITANT ACCELERATION AND SHIFTING. ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS, HESITANCY HAS ALMOST RESULTED IN BEING HIT WHILE PULLING OUT INTO TRAFFIC AND FROM PARKING SPACE IN LOT. THIS CAN OCCUR IN FWD DRIVE AND REVERSE. VIBRATION AND SHAKING OCCURS AT ABOUT 1700RMP AND LESS OCCASIONALLY 1100RPM.

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