Subaru Ascent Problems: 4 Known Issues (Explained)

This midsize SUV is a great car that performs well on the road, with adult-friendly seating, user-friendly infotainment systems, and a suspension system that smoothens road bumps.

But while Subaru Ascent SUV does not have glaring weaknesses, it has a few problems that we have covered below.

#1 Car Will Not Start

Despite the Subaru Ascent being a reliable companion, it has many interconnected parts that can sometimes cause the machine to fail. Several car owners have reported the car not starting.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Let’s break down some of the reasons a car may not start.

Weak Battery

If your Ascent’s engine refuses to crank or cranks slowly, then the 12v battery is either weak or dead. Investigate the issue more closely by doing a battery voltage test. You will need a multimeter to confirm whether the starting problem has been caused by the battery.

A successful test will give you a reading of between 12 and 13 volts. Values below 11.5 or more than 14 will need you to bring in an expert for a professional assessment. It is possible that your car battery may have a defect.

You should also try jumpstarting the car. You will need a healthy battery from a different car and jumpers cables to boost your battery. But nowadays, most people carry a jumpstart kit as it is more convenient,

Corroded Battery

If the contacts on the car battery are corroded, there will be reduced current flow, meaning the engine will not be able to start properly.

With a simple check, you can confirm whether your Ascent’s starting problems are due to corrosion. Lift the rubber covers over the battery terminals and check for corrosion. If you see silvery-green or white deposits without further damage, you only need to clean it up, and you are good to go.

Broken Starter Motor

A starter motor starts your engine. On average, the motor should last about 100,000 to 150,000 miles. However, that life can be shortened if you tend to start the engine frequently. Once the starter motor breaks down, then your engine will not start.

You can tell the starter motor has an issue when you try to start the engine and hear a clicking sound. In most instances, you may have to replace it with a new one.

Clogged Fuel Filter

Even though the fuel filter will not wear out like other mechanical parts, it can get clogged with dirt and other particles over time. As a result, its permeability decreases, which means the fuel pressure reduces too.

If the fuel liter is clogged, the engine will no longer perform as effectively as it usually does. In certain circumstances, the engine will not start at all.

Clogging of the fuel filter is inevitable because its job is to trap dirt and particles. That is why you should change your fuel filter every 9000 to 13,0000 miles.

Defective Alternator

An alternator produces electricity in your car. If it is faulty, it will not produce electricity, and your battery will not start. Most people often assume it is battery failure causing the engine not to start, only to replace the battery and have the same issue.

Alternators hardly break down. In fact, in a modern car like the Subaru Ascent, its performance has been improved and can last you a long time. However, this part can break down depending on how you use your car. So if you own older models, check whether the alternator could be the issue.

Fuel Pump Failure

If the fuel pump fails, then the Ascent’s engine won’t start. The pump ensures that the right amount of fuel passes from the tank to the engine’s injection system with enough pressure.

However, there are certain signs your fuel pump will give you before ultimately failing. They include:

  • A whining noise from your fuel tank
  • Engine sputtering
  • Car surging
  • Low gas mileage
  • Loss of power under stress

If you have noticed any of these signs, have your fuel pump checked, as that could be the culprit.

Blown Fuse

Although this is rare, a blown fuse can also be the reason your Subaru Ascent will not start.

It is highly recommended that you do not try to fix this issue at home. Let a professional handle the repairs to avoid damaging anything.

Rodent Damage

Another reason your Subaru Ascent may not start is from rodent damage. Rodents can crawl under your vehicle and bite wires and cables. This will affect various systems such as oil supply and power supply.

You can easily pinpoint rodent damage by looking at the engine compartment. And unfortunately, if the damage is too severe, be prepared for high repair costs.

#2 Open Tailgate Drain Battery

The Subaru Ascent has been marketed as a car for outdoor activities such as parties, for people who love camping and dog trainers. Therefore, it makes sense that one would want to leave the tailgate open for an extended period.

The only problem is that when you do this, the battery drains, and you might even be stranded somewhere if you do not get help. Also, the issue has been reported by most car owners that own the 2019 model.

Unfortunately, there is nothing much car owners can do to avoid this problem other than minimizing the time they keep the tailgate open.

But what happens when you really want to keep the tailgate open for a longer time? Most car owners have found a workaround which is basically purchasing a deep cycle battery and a jump start kit.

#3 The Eyesight Feature Malfunctions

Eyesight technology has been designed to promote safe driving and give drivers some confidence when they are on the road.

However, this feature can sometimes fail, as several Subaru Ascent drivers have reported.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Here are some possible reasons why the eyesight feature may malfunction.

Poor Weather Conditions

When the weather conditions are horrible, you may have some difficulties seeing what is around you. The eyesight feature faces the same challenge. Since it depends on cameras to operate, dust, rainy weather, fog, or bright sun can make the system fail.

If you find yourself in such a situation, drive carefully. Do not rely on this feature, as it can fail you. Reduce your speed and stay alert on the road.

Unclear Lane and Warning Problems

The system monitoring the lanes tends to be quite sensitive, and when the lanes are not well-drawn or clear, it can fail.

You will find the car is giving you multiple re-occurring warnings, yet you have maintained your lane. Instead of getting those false warnings, turn off the eyesight system and stay alert until you get to a place where the lanes are clear.

If your eyesight system is simply misbehaving even when the weather is pleasant and the lanes are well-drawn, get a mechanic. This is particularly important if you have been in an accident before, and your windscreen was hit.

#3 Windshield Cracked Spontaneously

There have been many complaints about cracked windshields in Subaru vehicles, and the Ascent is no different.

Ever since the company switched to acoustic glass, some owners have complained that the windshield cracks out of the blue.

We love an acoustic windshield because it has sound dampening capabilities and reduces wind and tire noise while one is driving. But on the downside, Ascent owners have found themselves facing a huge bill because of having to replace the cracked windshield.

Unfortunately, there is yet to be a known reason as to why this could happen.

That is because owners have claimed that the crack will just appear out of the blue even if nothing has hit the windshield.

General Pros and Cons of the Subaru Ascent

Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of this car.

7 Pros To Notice

Let’s start with the pros.

1) Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The Subaru Ascent has earned good safety scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Some of the safety features you will find in this car include:

  • Automatic high-beam and adaptive headlights
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Lane change assist
  • Rearview camera mirror
  • Forward collision warning
  • Forward automatic emergency braking
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers

2) The Vehicle is Roomy

One of the reasons we love the Subaru Ascent is its size.

The car can fit 7 or 8 people if one manages to get a bench seat in the middle row. If you take a lot of trips with friends or have a large family and want to enjoy time together, you will love this seating arrangement.

The leg room is also enough, with the front row having 42.2 inches of leg room, the middle row, 38.6 inches, and the third row, 32 inches of leg room.

3) Able to Tow Cargo

As we have already mentioned, the Subaru Ascent is a great vehicle for outdoor activities. It, therefore, makes sense why one would want to tow cargo in the back.

This SUV is big in size, with a maximum towing capacity of this vehicle is 5000 pounds. That is a huge amount. However, note that a Subaru Ascent base model has a towing capacity of 2000 pounds.

Check also: New electric cars that tow well.

4) All-Wheel Drive

Standard all-wheel drive is sort of a Subaru thing. Almost all Subarus have this feature, and the Subaru Ascent is no exception. That means even when you are driving on snow or ice, you will have no issues accelerating.

5) It is Easy to See

Subaru Ascents has unobstructed sight lines, meaning one does not have to slouch to see something. It is all about good visibility, which is a Subaru family tradition. The car has thin roof pillars and a camera-based rearview mirror, allowing you to get a good look at your surroundings.

6) Gorgeous Cabin

In terms of interior, the Subaru Ascent has outdone itself, earning praise from car owners. The faux woods, metal accents, and leather seats make the cabin look and feel nice. The materials are also high quality and suited for an active lifestyle involving kids, pets, and dirt.

7) Looks Stylish

While appearances may not be everything, they certainly do matter. The Subaru Ascent has rugged, amazing looks that appeal to different buyers. The car can come with either 20 or 18-inch wheels and also has LED fog lights.


Here are some of the problems with the Subaru Ascent

  • The car will not start on times
  • Open tailgate drown battery
  • The eyesight feature malfunctions occasionally
  • Windshield cracked spontaneously

What Do the Reviews Say?

“The Subaru Ascent has outstanding all-around performance. From the functional interior to the plush ride and the impressive engine, this car is everything it promises. The car is not only functional but also extremely comfortable and will appeal to many families.”

“The Subaru Ascent is a great car for shuttling families from one place to the other. However, it is not the most captivating three-row crossover we have on the market, as other cars have more room and offer a better driving experience.”

What Is the Resale Value of the Subaru Ascent?

Year Mileage (Miles) Price ($)
2019 48,000 $38,050
2020 36,000 $39,679
2021 24,000 $41,654
2022 12,000 $42,408

Go Back: Problems per Subaru Model.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.