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2018 Outback Limited 2.5i
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm new here. The wife and I own a 2018 Limited 2.5i with the HK infotainment system. I'm going to get straight to the issue.

Once the vehicle is on, the infotainment system starts to freak out and start selecting/tapping things on the screen by itself. Which then creates the issue of it shuffling through different apps and beeping(which i turned off) and making it impossible for us to select/tap on anything because it's stuck doing this. Sometimes once the vehicle is on it will work okay for minutes or hours, I've noticed it's more frequent in the day when it's hot out. But ultimately once you start using it as intended it will randomly start to freak out.

Back story, we bought the vehicle used and everything seemed fine at first glance. I noticed they had just cleaned the whole car and the interior was glossy from the cleaner they used. BUT.. there were like oily looking bubbles behind the screen of the infotainment system towards the top(which have spread more throughout the screen since purchased).. which led me to believe that when they cleaned the screen they used too much cleaner and it got into the CD player slot and ran behind the screen.. this seems to be my only explanation.

My theory is that the oily bubbles behind the screen are creating contact that makes the screen think there is touch input. And the sun heating up the oily bubbles makes it more active.

My questions are:
1.)has anyone experienced these symptoms disregarding the oily bubbles behind the screen? Because I know these systems have had many glitches. 2.)is there a way I can remove the touch screen part to wipe it down or any other ideas on how to remove the oily bubbles from behind the screen? Maybe creating vacuum from the ceiling player with suction them out. Idk
3.)if it seems to need replacement, is anyone selling an infotainment system for the 2018 that supports HK sound.
4.)or does anyone know of an aftermarket infotainment system worth replacing it with that doesn't mess with the backup camera and other controls. Basically plug and play keeping all oem features.

Thanks for reading and any help is much appreciated.

Spidey-Subie
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2020 Onyx
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Is there any factory warranty left on the car? If so then report the problem immediately to the dealer. If your warranty has recently expired, then sometimes Subaru of America will extend a courtesy and do a repair for free.

1 (800) 782-2783
 
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2018 3.6 Touring (Canadian, so Premium I guess?)
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If you think it’sa moisture issue, if you have a garage put a dehumidifier in it overnight, close the doors and windows and let it run.
 

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20 Outback Premium; former 19 Outback Premium, 85 GL Wagon, 87 GL-10 Wagon
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18’s initially had head unit issues that were solved with a software update. The bubbles on yours suggests more of a hardware issue to me.

It’s possible the original owner dumped the car because he was tired of the same issue; the repair history might show this. When a manufacturer buys back a car they fix what they can and then resell it. If this was a buyback for an intermittent issue they might have simply flipped it without fixing anything.

The head unit in our 19 was pretty flawless, and that’s the same as what’s in the 18 once you get it fixed. Hopefully SOA will take care of you even if you’re over 36K because head units were a known issue on the 18’s.
 

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2018 Outback Limited 2.5i
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Is there any factory warranty left on the car? If so then report the problem immediately to the dealer. If your warranty has recently expired, then sometimes Subaru of America will extend a courtesy and do a repair for free.

1 (800) 782-2783
The vehicle has 53k miles now. I called a few months ago back to the dealer I bought it from and they were of no help. So I took it to an actual Subaru dealership and after 45 minutes of waiting they informed me it would be $100 just to even inspect it. So granted I felt I already knew the issue and that they would tell me they need to replace the whole unit for probably over $800 I just left. They informed me it's out of warranty I think after 40k miles, so I'm not sure if calling would still work but I can try, thank you!

Spidey-Subie
 

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Here is info about the update history with links to the class action and the tsb with the extended warranty info…


Technically the warranty covers Starlink malfunctions, so materials/appearance might not qualify… definitely call SOA and see what they can do.
 

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2018 Outback Limited 2.5i
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The 2018 headunit has an extended warranty because of the class action lawsuit… so it’s 5 year, 100,000 miles for it…
Oh wow, that's good to know. I'm hesitant to take it in again as I feel they will still charge me an arm and a leg due to seeing the oily bubbles and call it user error/negligence and that it's not a system error.
Have you gone through this method of replacement or repair, what did you have to do?
 

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20 Outback Premium; former 19 Outback Premium, 85 GL Wagon, 87 GL-10 Wagon
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Call SOA using @walker’s info on the extended warranty for the head unit. It’s a shame the dealer you went to didn’t know this, hopefully just an innocent error.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here is info about the update history with links to the class action and the tsb with the extended warranty info…


Technically the warranty covers Starlink malfunctions, so materials/appearance might not qualify… definitely call SOA and see what they can do.
You got back to me as I was writing a reply to your first response. I'll look into this option. Thank you!

Spidey-Subie
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
18’s initially had head unit issues that were solved with a software update. The bubbles on yours suggests more of a hardware issue to me.

It’s possible the original owner dumped the car because he was tired of the same issue; the repair history might show this. When a manufacturer buys back a car they fix what they can and then resell it. If this was a buyback for an intermittent issue they might have simply flipped it without fixing anything.

The head unit in our 19 was pretty flawless, and that’s the same as what’s in the 18 once you get it fixed. Hopefully SOA will take care of you even if you’re over 36K because head units were a known issue on the 18’s.
That's very possible they overlooked/neglected the information system repair. The only reason I believe the dealership I went to caused the issue is because the oily bubbles looked to be fresh at the time of purchase and more towards the top under the cd player and they have now spread further down and across the screen growing in size and continue to do so.

It was something I carelessly overlooked because I wanted this specific model and had to drive 3hrs to get it at this relatively decent price. It almost looked like sun damage at first glance so I didn't think much of it because it worked fine until we took it off the lot about an hour into the drive home. Thanks for your helpful information!

Spidey-Subie
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you think it’sa moisture issue, if you have a garage put a dehumidifier in it overnight, close the doors and windows and let it run.
I may try something like this if all else fails. It being what appears to be interior cleaner fluid might be more hesitant to the dehumidifier since it's more of an oily base fluid as opposed to water. And it being behind the screen, I'm wondering how it would "evaporate" or if it would more so shift. I'd have to pry the CD slot somewhat open to create an opening for the liquid to escape maybe. Haha, sounds dangerous. Anyway thanks for the suggestion!

Spidey-Subie
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
UPDATE

I called SOA about the extended warranty on the 2018 Outback HK issues. All they said was basically that yes, the warranty is still active and to take it into your local dealership. Okay. So I called the dealership nearest me and they said I'd have to make an appointment and they would update the system to address it's glitchy issues (I didn't mention the oily bubbles incase it's irrelevant and they try to blame it on that) they said the update would take up to 4 hours. Oof. And I asked about if the update didn't work, then what? They said if it's necessary, they could replace or maybe repair the unit. I asked about any of this costing anything and they stated it would all be a free service. I suppose we'll see what happens!

Thanks again, everyone!

Spidey-Subie
 

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In the thread I linked with the headunit update history there are firmware files linked in there - latest was June 2020. Having the dealer do it is nice if something goes wrong, but you could do that yourself.

The extended warranty would cover any firmware updates for that unit, so it shouldn’t cost anything to you.

That won’t address the spots behind the screen though.

I had a 2017 that did those spots but on the heater controls. Wasn’t anything I ever did, never figured out what caused it. I ignored it since it was so low on the dash you normally wouldn’t notice - and it had to be in direct sunlight to show up.
 

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I hope the dealer will fix this for you. I had issues with my radio unit pressing buttons on its own and freezing up (I drive a MY17). I had no bubbles on my radio though. I recorded a video of the problem and showed it to the service department at my local Subaru, and they immediately put in an order for a new radio. A couple weeks later I was all fixed up. As walker said, there were lots of radio issues with this generation, but even more on the MY18. I think you should be able to get some warranty support with this, though you might have to put some pressure on them because they will definitely want to write it off as user error.
 

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UPDATE

I called SOA about the extended warranty on the 2018 Outback HK issues. All they said was basically that yes, the warranty is still active and to take it into your local dealership. Okay. So I called the dealership nearest me and they said I'd have to make an appointment and they would update the system to address it's glitchy issues (I didn't mention the oily bubbles incase it's irrelevant and they try to blame it on that) they said the update would take up to 4 hours. Oof. And I asked about if the update didn't work, then what? They said if it's necessary, they could replace or maybe repair the unit. I asked about any of this costing anything and they stated it would all be a free service. I suppose we'll see what happens!

Thanks again, everyone!

Spidey-Subie
I have the EXACT same issue. Same bubbles but I bought the car brand new and haven’t used anything weird on the screen. I live in Florida so maybe the extreme humidity?

Did you have any luck at the dealer? I took it in today and they did the firmware update but that didn’t fix it and they basically said there’s nothing they can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Huh, that's interesting.. I live in FL as well but it's questionable how the climate would alter the screen. With the windows up it shouldn't allow for any water to penetrate into the electronics that easy and I'd think the FL sun beating down on it daily would cause them to dissipate and maybe just leave behind water spots. These bubbles seem more so oily and shifting as they warm up from the sun. Maybe something in the infotainment system has something that released the oily liquid. It's hard to say..

But I did go to the dealer, I'm fairly certain the update won't resolve our issue and the bubbles are causing the screen malfunction. I ended up running into an old friend there that we used to work on cars together and he's the master mechanic there and said he could hook me up whenever I got around to bringing it back in. Just need to plan a weekend to get back over there.

But if you find an alternative solution, definitely keep us posted.
 

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I have the EXACT same issue. Same bubbles but I bought the car brand new and haven’t used anything weird on the screen. I live in Florida so maybe the extreme humidity?

Did you have any luck at the dealer? I took it in today and they did the firmware update but that didn’t fix it and they basically said there’s nothing they can do.
If you have a 2018 model your system will be covered by the 5 year 100,000 mile warranty referenced earlier in this thread.

You can return to the dealer with the TSB details or you can call Subaru Of America snd open a case with them, advising them your dealer said they could do nothing more for you.

Let us know how you get on.

Sesgrass
 
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Huh, that's interesting.. I live in FL as well but it's questionable how the climate would alter the screen. With the windows up it shouldn't allow for any water to penetrate into the electronics that easy and I'd think the FL sun beating down on it daily would cause them to dissipate and maybe just leave behind water spots. These bubbles seem more so oily and shifting as they warm up from the sun. Maybe something in the infotainment system has something that released the oily liquid. It's hard to say..

But I did go to the dealer, I'm fairly certain the update won't resolve our issue and the bubbles are causing the screen malfunction. I ended up running into an old friend there that we used to work on cars together and he's the master mechanic there and said he could hook me up whenever I got around to bringing it back in. Just need to plan a weekend to get back over there.

But if you find an alternative solution, definitely keep us posted.
Yeah the update didn’t fix anything I agree about the bubbles.

let me know if you figure anything out. The guy at the dealership recommended contacting Subaru of America directly, or gave me the option of taking the whole radio out and shipping it to Subaru to look at, which could be expensive but wouldn’t give me a price.
 
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