The Subaru Crosstrek is a crossover SUV that was first produced in 2012 as the XV. It is based on the popular Subaru Impreza hatchback and is aimed at drivers who want the practicality of an SUV but don’t want to sacrifice performance or style. It’s a hit compared to other Subaru models.
The Crosstrek car brand has been well-received in the market and has won several awards from various motoring magazines. While the SUV has been generally well-received by drivers, there are some common Subaru Crosstrek problems that you should be aware of before buying one.
1 – Stalling Problem
The first issue is engine stalling. You should check if your Subaru Crosstrek has been subject to the ECM software issue recall. In 2019, Subaru issued a recall for Crosstreks with a build date between September 18, 2018, and October 4, 2018, due to a software issue that could cause the engine to stall. If your Crosstrek falls within this build date range, you should take it to your nearest Subaru dealership to have the issue checked and fixed.
However, stalling can also be caused by a variety of other things including the fuel system, ignition system, or air intake system. Any of these could potentially cause the engine to misfire or stall. Symptoms and signs of engine problems can include hesitation when accelerating, the engine cutting out, or loss of power. You may also notice a decrease in fuel efficiency or an increase in emissions.
How to Fix
In most cases, installing a new ignition system should resolve the issue. If your Crosstrek is affected by the ECM software recall, you should take it to your nearest Subaru dealership for assistance, as you won’t have to pay for the repair. If your Crosstrek is not affected by the recall, you should take it to a trusted mechanic or service center to have it checked out.
2 – Stabilizer Link Issue
The second issue is a stabilizer link failure. This can cause the rear suspension to collapse, resulting in poor handling and an uncomfortable ride. Symptoms of a failing stabilizer link include vibration when driving, uneven tire wear, and rattling noises from the rear suspension. The most common model years affected by this issue are 2013 to 2017.
How to Fix
A qualified mechanic can check the condition of the stabilizer links. One can test the play or rattling in the links to see if it’s broken. The best way to fix a broken stabilizer link is to have it replaced. Be sure to check the recall list for your specific model and year before attempting any repairs yourself.
3 – Transmission Issues
The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek has had reports of transmission problems, particularly in cold weather and when shifting between gears. Symptoms include slipping and jerking of the continuously variable transmissions and sudden acceleration when shifting gears. The most common cause of transmission issues in Crosstreks is a faulty torque converter, which can be replaced by an experienced mechanic.
The 2013 XV Crosstrek isn’t the only model affected by this issue. There are reports of Subaru Crosstrek problems with the transmission going all the way to 2019 model years. However, it’s worth noting that this issue largely disappeared in 2020 models or newer. But you should still be mindful of it popping up after hitting 200,000 miles.
How to Fix
Any time there’s a transmission issue, you can expect extensive and expensive repairs and labor. You’re likely looking at a ballpark of around $2,000. As such, you’ll need to take your Crosstrek to a trusted mechanic to diagnose and repair the issue.
4 – Excessive Oil Consumption
Having experienced excessive oil consumption, Subaru Crosstrek owners have complained about the issue in earlier Subaru models. This problem can be caused by a defective valve guide seal or piston rings, which are responsible for keeping the combustion chamber sealed off while the engine is running.
Symptoms of high oil consumption include smoke coming from the tailpipe, a burning smell when driving, and excessive engine noise. The most commonly affected models are from 2012 to 2015.
How to Fix
If you’re mechanically inclined, you may be able to replace the piston rings and valve guide seals yourself. Otherwise, it’s best to take your Crosstrek to a certified mechanic. The fix is fairly simple but may cost up to $1,200, depending on labor costs and parts. Make sure you change your engine oil every recommended interval for optimal wear protection.
5 – Windshield Cracking
The second-to-last Subaru Crosstrek problem with certain Subaru models is windshield cracking. This isn’t a fairly common issue but it can be caused by extreme temperatures or even small stones hitting the glass at high speeds.
It typically happens for seemingly no reason. Symptoms of a cracked windshield include obvious cracks on the glass and fogging up in cold weather. Since this issue isn’t as widespread as others, there isn’t a specific model year affected. Any Crosstrek could be at risk of having a cracked windshield, so be sure to keep an eye out for any signs or damage.
How to Fix
To fix a cracked windshield, you’ll need to have it replaced by a professional glass installer. This typically costs around $400 and can be done in about an hour. If the crack is small enough, there are repair kits that can be used to “fill in” the cracks. Just keep track of the spot for any recurrence or indication that the crack is spreading.
6 – Faulty Accessories and Electronics
The last of the common Subaru Crosstrek problems is faulty interior accessories and electronics. These can range from non-functional power windows to malfunctioning air conditioning systems.
Another electronic issue that can arise involves a brake light switch defect, which causes the brake light to not light up when the brake pedal is pressed. The inverse can also happen, when the brake light remains lit even when the pedal has been depressed.
Motorized accessories like the power seats can also be affected. Your seat may not function properly and become uncomfortable. This issue is mostly found in the 2016 model years.
How to Fix
The best way to fix faulty accessories and electronics is to take your Crosstrek to a mechanic who specializes in Subaru vehicles. Your mechanic will be able to diagnose the issue and repair it quickly, typically at a cost of around $100 to $200.
Alternatively, you could find parts from junkyards and swap it out yourself. This is usually the cheaper option. However, it’s not always guaranteed to work as intended, and, depending on the actual part, it can be an intensive task to replace.
You will likely need to replace the wiring harness, as well, if your electrical system is acting up. There have been many complaints about this issue, and that seems to resolve the reported issues.
Which Model Years Are Best?
Without a doubt, a new Subaru Crosstrek from 2020 and up falls within the model’s best years. These vehicles have benefited from a massive amount of updates, meaning fewer issues. Overall, you can expect greater reliability from your Crosstrek.
If you’re looking for an older model, your best bet is to find one from 2017 to 2019, as these are less likely to experience defects or glitches than earlier models. You may want to skip these Subaru Crosstrek years to avoid.
No matter what model year you decide on, always make sure to thoroughly inspect the vehicle before making a purchase. This helps you avoid any expensive surprises in the future.