Mechanical Defect Can Cause Engine Failure In 2013-2014 Subaru WRX And WRX STI: Lawsuit

Photo: Subaru
Photo: Subaru

A mechanical defect in 2013-2014 Subaru WRX and WRX STI vehicles can lead to contaminated oil carrying metal debris throughout the engines, according to a lawsuit filed last week.


The lengthy complaint, filed in federal court on behalf of 2013 WRX owner Vincent Salcedo, alleges that, once the vehicles’ connected rod bearings begin to fail, metal debris is carried throughout the engine by way of contaminated oil. In particular, the suit says, defective rotating assemblies are the source of the problem.

“This defect—which existed at the time each Class Vehicle was manufactured, and typically manifests itself during and shortly after the limited warranty period has expired—will inevitably cause the Class Vehicles to experience spun connecting rod bearings and catastrophic engine failure,” according to the complaint, which you can read entirely below.

“Further, due to insufficient channels of oil lubrication, the Class Vehicles often experience accelerated and premature catastrophic engine failure that can result in stalling events while the vehicle is being operated.”

Michael McHale, a Subaru spokesperson, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Jalopnik, but he told the Courier-Post of New Jersey last Friday that it’s “investigating” the claims.”

The Courier-Post said the latest suit is the second case brought against Subaru by McCune Wright Arevalo LLP, a California-based law firm. The initial case, which claimed that several 2011-2015 Subaru models excessively consumed oil, was settled last year, the newspaper reported.


Here’s more from the Post-Courier:

The latest suit, filed Thursday in federal court, Camden, “is the result of an extensive investigation by our firm during the past year,” said attorney Matthew Schelkopf at the law firm’s East Coast offices in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

The WRX and WRX STI models, marketed as high-performance, “sporty” vehicles, sold almost 25,500 units in 2014, an annual increase of about 42 percent. The brand sold more than 16,000 units in 2013, also marking a sharp jump from year-before levels.


The 57-page complaint alleges that Subaru failed to disclose the issue to consumers, and asks for unspecified statutory and punitive damages.

We’ll update this post if we hear back from Subaru.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk


As a design engineer, this stuff scares the heck out of me sometimes.
I’ve designed engines. I’ve designed body and suspension. I’ve configured complete vehicles. And I can tell you this about every single one of them: They might break one day.
We NEVER have all the information we’d like when making a decision. And even if we did, we can never predict or design for every condition the customer might put our product into. We make the best tradeoffs we can with the information we have, and we move onto the next challenge.
We all HOPE our cars will last to a million miles. But the reality is that most of them won’t. Your car will break eventually. In some cases I can even make a pretty good guess which part will break first. Does that mean it was designed improperly? No. It means that part has a finite life, just like everything else. Sometimes that’s shorter than you hoped. Shit happens. If it lasts less time than my company promised it would, they’ll pay to fix it. If it lasts longer than that, you’re on your own. That’s the deal you made when you bought the car.