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2018 SJ Forester 2.5i Ltd CVT
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Discussion Starter #1
Subaru drops from 5th place to 7th place out of 30 brands and now is below 6th place Hyundai. Acura dropped all the way to #28.
Looks like the CR article is not behind a paywall:
Who Makes the Most Reliable Cars?

CR blames the 2019 Forester for Subaru's drop but cites the Ascent as Subaru's least reliable model.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i Limited CVT
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418 Posts
It’s a race to the bottom. The bottom line. Competition and cost cutting equals lesser quality. Subaru is not what it once was. It seems like Subaru is pushing cars off the assembly line with defects. A kind of, “we’ll deal with problems later”. I don’t think newer Subaru’s are going to last 300k miles anymore.
 

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2020 Forester Touring
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207 Posts
It's only Murphy's law acting against all the " innovations" that give greater odds of something going wrong with all the added complexity.
Glad I have no bells or whistles
Advancement is inevitable. Surely with greater complexity come greater odds with something going wrong. Yet it's precisely why the manufacturers need to put more effort into reliability and quality control. Avoiding advancement as a solution is the wrong way of looking at things.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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To anyone who reads the forum, it shouldn't be a surprise.
But a drop from #2 to #7 is admittedly a shock.
Electronics have never been Subaru's strong suit, and the new cars are loaded with them.
Compounding the problem is the lack of competent technical staff to repair problems when they happen..
Dealers don't diagnose and fix, they just replace components.
Think Eyesight... any problem = replace the unit.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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Avoiding advancement as a solution is the wrong way of looking at things
Adding complexity where it isn't needed and calling that "advancement" has a great deal to do with the issue.
 

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To anyone who reads the forum, it shouldn't be a surprise.
Electronics have never been Subaru's strong suit, and the new cars are loaded with them.
Compounding the problem is the lack of competent technical staff to repair problems when they happen..
Dealers don't diagnose and fix, they just replace components.
Think Eyesight... any problem = replace the unit.
I disagree. I worked in the semiconductor industry. All you can do is train techs to identify what component failed and replace. Everything is on chip so nothing else a tech can do. Do you expect them to spend days troubleshooting down to the IC level than try to solder in a new one? Something only a multi million dollar robot can do? Subaru still hasn't fixed the rear gate opening issue and they're on like rev#3 of the control board. There's nothing the local dealer tech can do other than replace whole components and give feedback to Subaru.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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Feel free to disagree.

My pellet stove began operating erratically.
A bit of research and I diagnosed that it had a circuit board controller problem from a power spike.
I replaced the $70 circuit board instead of replacing the $6,000 stove. It works like a charm.
Fortunately it wasn't a Subaru, or the dealer would have told me to throw it away and buy a new one.

When a camera stops working, it could be repaired.
It has components (circuit boards, lenses, etc.) as it isn't cast out of a solid piece of silicon.
There is a big difference between going down to the IC diagnosis level and the complete replacement of a product because "it doesn't work - you need a new one".

If the problem is a circuit board, you replace the circuit board, not the entire camera.

There was a formum poster whose dealer who told him they needed to replace the Eyesight camera for BIG $$$.
He noticed a little spider on the lenses, blew it off and all was good.
That's the problem when support people have technology they are not equipped to deal with.
It costs the customer - Big Time.

Another example:
My solar charge controller is full of IC's... It failed because of a lightening induced EMP (several board level components were affected).
I got it repaired - they actually had technicians who knew what they were doing. It cost me ~ $100 vs $1000.

To say that because something has electronics in it, it cannot be repaired is BS... unless the repair facility does not have any expertise to support the products they sell, which happens to be the case of Forester electronics in a Subaru.
 

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Agree to disagree. You make some good points like the spider story but that's just a bad tech and has nothing to do with as you say Subaru being bad with electronics.

My counter points.

Modern cameras are most certainly all cast out of a lense and one piece of silicon. Most modern-day electronics are throw away items as it's cheaper to replace the entire item and most often the only choice due to modern miniaturization and complexity. Apple's first Iphone cost them $80 to manufacture in total not counting R&D. It's less expensive for them in most cases to replace the entire phone than pay labor to even crack it open.

And onto the eyesight. I've had the plastic eyesight outer cover off. Under it is one structural aluminum housing containing the electronics and lenses. I'm going to take a guess here that is cheaper for Subaru, not you, to replace the entire unit when problems arise not related to spiders. Guessing here that maybe that short of cleaning the lenses that there isn't much a dealer tech can do to repair. Maybe replace the lenses but would that than require recalibration beyond stearing angle adjustment and do they even have the equipment for this?
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i (Base) CVT
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I don't know I'm torn on this one. Reliability to me is knowing my car is going to get me from point a to b. Does a faulty radio or a malfunctioning seat warmer stop me from getting my destination?

Cars are entering a new world with expectations well outside their area of expertise I think. They are trying to keep up but the goalposts keep changing fast.

I wish they would score comfort features reliability as a separate catagory. In the end I would like to know if the car will make it to the liquor store for my weekly booze run. I don't really care so much if my butt will be cold getting there.

Sent from my LM-Q710.FG using Tapatalk
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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I haven't taken one apart and fortunately will never need to.
With an MSRP of over $2 grand, I'm happy not to own one.
I'm thinking it was not so much a bad tech as people in general used to not bothering with diagnosing anything.
It isn't hard to find people who have had problems with the camera system.
The lenses are an available item, but I wonder if anyone ever had that remedy suggested.
While Subaru may be able to "save" the customer certainly doesn't and something is driving a significant rating drop, which was the subject of the post.
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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My solar charge controller is full of IC's... It failed because of a lightening induced EMP (several board level components were affected).
I got it repaired - they actually had technicians who knew what they were doing. It cost me ~ $100 vs $1000.
Slight detour...
What brand charge controller and who did the repairs, the factory or an independent shop? I'm curious shoudl I ever be in that situation. I have a Renogy controller, and while it has done its job, I have my doubts about ever getting it repaired when the time comes.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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We’re living in a commodity-based world nowadays.

Example: 40 years ago, even small towns had TV/Radio sales and repair shops. If your TV went out, it went to the local shop for repair. Think about how many TV repairs shops are operating in your local area today. It’s often cheaper to toss a 3 year old flatscreen and replace it with a new one, rather than repair it.

What’s happened is the level of expertise of the inner-workings and experience of electronic products has moved up the chain of manufacturing, and the only thing going on at the local level is problem location and diagnosis, and that’s quite often driven by following a manufacturing flowchart. If “A” is happening, go to page X, if not, continue to next step. This is compounded by the fact that there’s so much more electronic “participation“ in every aspect of modern vehicles... A/C, transmission control, cabin convenience features, etc.

This is everywhere. Think medicine...Got a foot problem? See a specialist. Elbow hurting? Head out to the Orthopedist... The GP has become the “front man” that directs you to the next level physician. Sounds a bit like what’s happened to the vehicle industry to me...


I can only imagine what the costs to an average dealership would be if it had local electronics techs and did local electronic repairs on a vehicle.... not to mention the reliability of those repairs. As high as things cost in today’s environment, it would make dealer costs to car owners look like a bargain.

While I don’t par like the “diagnose and swap out” philosophy in play today, I doubt there’s a better, more economical way.
 

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While I agree with what you said, FF, I think the point was missed.
Subaru is rolling out cars with complex electronic systems they are unprepared to support.
Look at the problems reported on this forum... More complexity means there are more opportunities for failure, and those failure causes become harder to find.

That ends up being a problem for a customer, who likely isn't thrilled with a multi-thousand dollar repair, if out of warranty, or trips to the dealer to "diagnose" a problem that the technicians are very often ill equipped to find.
Dissatisfaction is often the result, and ratings fall... in this case precipitously.

Does anyone think reliability ratings are dropping because the cars are less problematic?

As expensive out of warranty repairs occur, these will eventually affect the resale value of the cars.
People typically don't want someone else's problem they cannot afford to fix, and when that reputation is established, it can be hard to recover from.
You can call adding complexity progress, or attempting to keep up with the marketplace, but that doesn't mean the product is better because it's different.
In fact, many new additions cause additional problems... Keyless start killing drivers who don't notice their cars are left running is an extreme example.
As more common functions are integrated into systems that can only be repaired by degreed engineers, the cost of repairs end up being time consuming and/or expensive.

I'm thinking that at some point, the rational reaction to this "progress" will be an alternative that is simpler to build, use and maintain at a lower cost.
Wasn't Subaru's slogan "Inexpensive - And built to stay that way"
 

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Slight detour...
What brand charge controller and who did the repairs, the factory or an independent shop? I'm curious shoudl I ever be in that situation. I have a Renogy controller, and while it has done its job, I have my doubts about ever getting it repaired when the time comes.
Midnight Solar Classic 150 repaired with a 2 year warranty.... $140 included labor and parts plus shipping.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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While I agree with what you said, FF, I think the point was missed.
Subaru is rolling out cars with complex electronic systems they are unprepared to support.
Look at the problems reported on this forum... More complexity means there are more opportunities for failure, and those failure causes become harder to find.

That ends up being a problem for a customer, who likely isn't thrilled with a multi-thousand dollar repair, if out of warranty, or trips to the dealer to "diagnose" a problem that the technicians are very often ill equipped to find.
Dissatisfaction is often the result, and ratings fall... in this case precipitously.

Does anyone think reliability ratings are dropping because the cars are less problematic?

As expensive out of warranty repairs occur, these will eventually affect the resale value of the cars.
People typically don't want someone else's problem they cannot afford to fix, and when that reputation is established, it can be hard to recover from.
You can call adding complexity progress, or attempting to keep up with the marketplace, but that doesn't mean the product is better because it's different.
In fact, many new additions cause additional problems... Keyless start killing drivers who don't notice their cars are left running is an extreme example.
As more common functions are integrated into systems that can only be repaired by degreed engineers, the cost of repairs end up being time consuming and/or expensive.

I'm thinking that at some point, the rational reaction to this "progress" will be an alternative that is simpler to build, use and maintain at a lower cost.
Wasn't Subaru's slogan "Inexpensive - And built to stay that way"
Actually, it wasn’t my intention to contest the point, but simply state that, IMO, there’s no alternative. This isn’t just a Subaru issue. All vehicle manufacturers are seeing the same things.

But, let’s also recognize that the level of complexity and ease-of-use of high-tech features have a considerable impact on user satisfaction surveys... Ford found that out when it introduced the initial Sync systems. Even when things work, they must be ergonomically sensible and user friendly.

The trend in more sophisticated electronic control systems and devices in vehicles... again, as I see things developing, is only going to increase. I disagree that, without some unforeseen and unpredictable MAJOR changes occurring, we’ll reverse the trend towards continuously more and more sophistication in future cars, and start offering vehicles with only the most basic features. And as those “features” do increase in intensity, it will only lead to more “diagnose and swap” policies. Even the basic vehicle offerings nowadays have some pretty advanced technology imbedded inside.

Few auto buyers want a new car without advanced safety systems (many now government mandated, not just in the country where you live, but worldwide) or without advanced infotainment options.... certainly, not enough to sustain a reasonable production number of those vehicles. Example: manual transmissions and hand-cranked windows.

Whether we like it or not, cars are moving towards a shorter-term disposable commodity. In 100 years, there will still be lots of examples of Ford Model T’s and Model A’s, but the vehicles made from the 1960’s forward will be the rare find. That’s primarily because of the introduction of synthetics (plastics) and other materials more easily formed and recycled than traditional metal and wood components. Of course, enhanced safety was the original driving force behind that transition.

A 1940 Dodge Business Coupe could easily be running and in good overall shape today if it experienced sufficient care over the years, and the costs of that care would have been acceptable. Then again, I doubt anyone would trade the driver seat position in the car for that same seat in a 2020 Forester knowing a head-on collision with another vehicle at 60MPH was imminent.

The mantra of automakers today is to make cars with a limited lifespan that will be largely recycled at the end of that lifetime. The only real question is how many years that lifespan will be.

Now again, that’s just my opinion, and it would’t be the first time I missed the mark, but I think there’s more than adequate evidence to support that belief.
 

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2008 2008 2.5i-2018 XT
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I think Feline Freddy expressed it perfectly. There is no evidence to me that shows Subaru is less reliable than others bc of complexity of electronics.

That's why I buy extended warranties.
 
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