Subaru Owners Frustrated by Broken Windshields

Though the four-year-long class action lawsuit over spontaneously cracking Subaru windshields has ended, the issue persists for customers.

In October 2019, plaintiffs Jeffrey Barr, Arnold Milstein, Allan Zaback and Brittany Funk filed a lawsuit against Subaru, claiming that their windshields cracked for seemingly no reason. The plaintiffs and Subaru agreed on a settlement in April 2024.

If the court approves this settlement, it could compensate the current or former owners or lessees of about 1.4 million Subaru vehicles. This includes the 2019-2022 Subaru Ascent, the Forester (2020-22), the Legacy (2020-22) and the Outback (2020-22).

Among the many Subaru owners allegedly impacted by defective windshields are Richard McMillan and Jay Sundu.


Richard McMillan’s Unpleasant Surprise

McMillan lives in Pulaski, Virginia, and owns a 2021 Subaru Forester. In January 2024, while on vacation in Florida, he noticed a large crack on his windshield with no discernable cause.

“We just got up and went out to get in the car, and there was a 10-inch crack in the windshield,” he said.

According to McMillan, when he took the vehicle to his local Subaru dealership and asked why this had happened, they said they didn’t know. McMillan said he ended up paying around $1,000 to replace his windshield.

Before purchasing his vehicle, McMillan had been aware of the alleged problems with Subaru windshields.

“When I was at the dealership (to purchase the vehicle), I asked them about it, and they acted like they knew nothing about it,” he said.

McMillan purchased the vehicle anyway because he likes Subaru vehicles. Plus, he said his wife loves the Forester. Despite his appreciation for the car, he remains frustrated with Subaru because he had to find out about the potential settlement from his own research.

“I would think it would be their responsibility to let all the owners know about this, that there’s a settlement,” he said.

McMillan has contacted Subaru’s customer service for more information regarding the pending settlement and is waiting to hear back. So far, his new windshield hasn’t had any issues.


Jay Sundu’s Rotation of Windshields

Sundu’s frustration stems from his experience at his local Subaru dealership. Unlike McMillan, Sundu had to replace the windshield of his 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness repeatedly.

Sundu took his vehicle to Auto Glass Express in Berkeley, California the first two times. Technicians identified the problem as impact damage and replaced his windshield with original equipment (OE) glass.

According to Sundu, the shop told him he needed to go to a Subaru dealer on the third break because it didn’t look like an impact break, and there was likely something wrong with the windshield. The Subaru dealership in Albany, California, consulted Subaru America, which confirmed that assessment. Since it was a warranty issue, they replaced that windshield for free, again with OE glass.

Then, that third windshield broke.

“I went on a trip, and I just got in the car one morning and noticed that it was cracked … and I knew nothing hit it,” he said.

Sundu says he returned the car to his local dealership, which told him it was an impact break. Sundu didn’t think so, so he returned the vehicle to Auto Glass Express.

“I went to a glass company, and the glass technician and the owner of that glass company are like, ‘No, that’s not an impact. That’s clearly a stress fracture,’” Sundu said.

The most recent crack in Jay Sundu’s windshield led him to Jacques Navant at Don’s Mobile Glass in Modesto, California.

According to Sundu, the Albany dealership would not see him upon his return. After contacting Subaru America he went to a different Subaru dealership, which also told him it was an impact fracture. Sundu did some research and found Don’s Mobile Glass in Modesto, California.

When Sundu first contacted Jacques Navant, technical director of Don’s Mobile Glass and Auto Glass Safety Council board member, Navant researched the Outback’s VIN. Navant found a technical service bulletin listing Sundu’s vehicle as not being in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 212.

Although FMVSS 212 is not related to spontaneous windshield cracks, it does pertain to windshield safety, so Navant became concerned. He invited Sundu to the shop to look at the windshield.

“After looking at this vehicle, I became concerned because it was clearly a stress break, and the dealer that he was dealing with told him that it was a rock break, which it 100% wasn’t,” Navant said.

The most recent crack in Jay Sundu’s windshield sat in his line of vision and disrupted the vehicle’s ADAS technology.

Navant added he was concerned because the crack crossed into Sundu’s line of sight and disrupted the vehicle’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) technology. He replaced Sundu’s windshield once more, this time with aftermarket glass. So far, the vehicle’s windshield hasn’t cracked again.

Sundu says Subaru should correct the alleged flaw that causes spontaneous windshield breaks. He points out that people who can’t afford to replace their windshields are at higher risk.

“It’s a safety issue because many people can’t pay the deductible, so they don’t have money to replace their windshields, so they drive around with broken windshields,” he said.

According to Sundu, Subaru must figure out how to fix the alleged flaw causing the windshield breakage.

“I don’t think they’re a bad company,” he said. “I think they can do it. They just need to step up because it’s a safety issue, and they sell their cars on safety.”

McMillan and Sundu are just two of many Subaru owners who have experienced this frustration, and Navant has seen many situations like theirs.

“The day Jay came in for his replacement, my technician pulled a vehicle in right next to him,” Navant said. “It was the same vehicle, with the same crack, in the same area.”

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