The Two Worst Subaru Crosstrek Years You Should Avoid & Why!

The Subaru Crosstrek has prided itself on its reliability. Are there any model years to shy away from buying? What are the two Subaru Crosstrek years to avoid?

Subaru Crosstrek Years You Should Avoid 1 The Two Worst Subaru Crosstrek Years You Should Avoid & Why!

What are the worst years of the Subaru Crosstrek?

There are two years of the Subaru Crosstrek to avoid; 2013 and 2016. Even though Subaru prides itself as a maker of dependable, long-lasting automobiles, these years seemed to have more reported repair problems and have rated more poorly than any other year.

As an individual with a long career in all things automotive, I enjoy owning and driving a car that I know will last. I might be old school, but I don’t believe in paying my hard-earned money on an SUV that will end up spending more time in the repair shop than on the road. 

The last thing I want is for someone to take my advice or follow my example and end up not getting more than their money’s worth. If there’s an excellent car to buy, I should point toward it. If there is one to avoid, I should scream “run” as loud as we can. 

Related Article!
The BEST Years For The Subaru Crosstrek

What are the Two Subaru Crosstrek Years to Avoid?

The Subaru Crosstrek is one of the finest vehicles that Subaru has ever made. Designed as a sub-compact SUV, a blend of the Outback Sport and Imprezza, the result was a smaller car with a hatch. The Crosstrek XV, as it was known internationally until 2015 (when the Roman letters were dropped), has sold very well over the last several years. 

In addition, the crossover has won numerous IIHS safety awards over the past decade, continuing the tradition that Subaru is known for. But as good as it may be, there are a couple of years that are better than others. 

The 2013 Crosstrek Should Be Avoided

2013 was the first model year for the Crosstrek. Most industry insiders will say that no one should buy the first year of any model because often, the manufacturer needs to get a year or two to work out any bugs. A new model always has items that may not perform as the engineers expected, and a year or two allows them to identify problem areas and recommend fixes. 

What were some of the issues involving the 2013 Crosstrek?

Subaru Crosstrek Years You Should Avoid 1 1 The Two Worst Subaru Crosstrek Years You Should Avoid & Why!

Failure of Brake Light Switch

There are numerous complaints about brake lights being out. A switch sends an electric signal at the base of the brake pedals (under the dash) to engage the rear brake lights. Replacing the switch is no big deal, but it is a hassle not to have working brake lights or push button start (which depends on the brake pedal being engaged). 

A faulty brake switch created problems for owners getting tickets for no brake lights or, in some cases, other people ramming into the back of their cars. Some were not able to start their cars. 

While most manufacturers had the same issue, Subaru recalled over 2 million vehicles to fix this issue in 2019. (Even though the problem had been going on for years). 

Problems with Auto Stop/Start

Many manufacturers have been under such pressure to meet MPG standards that they are looking for any way they can to save fuel. 

One of the most popular systems has been auto stop/start, where the car’s engine shuts off when the vehicle is sitting at a red light. The brake pedal is pushed down, and then when released, a signal is sent to the engine’s starter, and the motor comes to life. 

Subaru had issues with their system because there were occasions that the car’s system was designed to disengage the auto stop/start when a door was opened or there was a load on the engine in some way (AC blowing, etc.). If the battery sensed an additional drain, the car would shut off and had to be restarted manually. 

Excessive Oil Consumption

Subaru used a Boxer-style engine in 2013, and it was prone to use a lot of oil. While the manufacturer claimed that losing oil between oil changes is normal, owners weren’t buying it. Many of them decided that faulty components were to blame and continued to bring their Crosstreks into their dealerships with complaints.

Those who did not monitor their oil consumption often ended up with motors with no oil in them, leading to overheating and, in some cases, engine failure caused by burning oil.

Other Mechanical Issues Reported

  • Rust and Paint Corrosion
  • Failure of Eyesight System
  • Rodent infestation (attracted to the soy-coating on wiring)

The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek Should be Avoided

A couple of years later, the folks at Subaru had an off year with the reliable Crosstrek. Consumer Reports gave this model year a 2-star rating, which is unusually low. There were several areas of concern, but most customers complained about the suspension and engine. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested safety features and named the car a top safety pick, except for the low-beam headlights creating an excessive glare. 

Suspension – Lower Control Arms

The bushings inside the control arm were not very good and tended to lose their ability to stay lubricated.

This problem caused a failure in the lower control arms and front struts for many Subaru Crosstrek owners. 

Complaints ranged from clunking noises to vibrations in the steering wheel to inadequate driving control. The repair cost was well over $1000 and was not covered under warranty because the dealership considered the replacement a normal wear and tear item.  

Air – Water Leaks

Customers often complained about hearing wind noises coming through the windshield or condensation from faulty seals.

Some owners had instrument panels that shorted out due to the moisture finding its way into the interior of the Crosstrek. While Subaru never acknowledged the problem with a recall, in 2020, the courts would eventually rule against the company for using faulty windshields in the 2017 – 20 models. 

Engine Gaskets 

One of the issues that seemed to plague this model year was head gaskets leaking out above the exhaust manifolds, creating smoke as the oil dripped onto the hot metal of the exhaust. 

In addition, some owners complained of coolant and oil mixing, which is a death knell for an engine. A gasket is considered a wear and tear item, so that no warranty would cover the repair. 

Other Mechanical Issues Reported

  • Brake Switch
  • Rust and Corrosion on the undercarriage
  • Transmission Repair or Replacement
  • AC Compressor Failure

Key Takeaways

  • The worst years are the 2013 and 2016 model years
  • Most reported complaints are not covered under warranty
  • There is a recall for Brake Switch on the Crosstrek
  • Consumer Reports rated both model years with low ratings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *