Another Recall Ordered For Subaru Impreza and Crosstrek Vehicles

Laguna Hills, CA – Oct. 29, 2019 – Approximately 205,000 hatchbacks and SUVs distributed and manufactured by Subaru of America are due to be recalled over concerns that the engine may power off as a result of a faulty PCV valve. The vehicles in question, Impreza and Crosstrek, are also subject to a separate recall related to potentially damaged electronic control modules.

This particular Impreza and Crosstrek recall is scheduled to occur Dec. 13, which is the day Subaru expects to distribute notifications to owners informing of this engine cooling issue. Those who receive the communiques should bring their automobile to an area Subaru dealer so a repair can be arranged. There will be no charge for the fix, if one is needed.

The Defect

In paperwork submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Subaru is getting ready to recall 205,000 Imprezas and Crosstrek vehicles – model years 2017 through 2019 and 2018, respectively – after discovering the positive crank ventilation valve may be compromised in certain automobiles. Made from aluminum, the PCV valve may crack and cause the components within it to fall into the engine itself. Such a scenario could prevent the engine from functioning and lead to a crash should the engine turn off or cause the automobile to stall.

Timeline of Events

NHTSA maintains a portal that consumers can use to see when recall takes place and the events that led up to actions requiring correspondence with government traffic safety officials. Among the documents typically made available is what is known as a Product 573 Safety Recall Report. It chronicles recall-specific investigations on a month-to-month basis and also describes the proposed remedy to rectify the safety issues in question. However, this report was not made available at press time.

Several Product 573 Recall Reports have been revealed by NHTSA in 2019 overall, and for Subaru in particular. One stemmed from faulty brake pedal mounting brackets that Subaru became aware of over the summer and another for defective driveshafts. The driveshaft problem first came to Subaru’s attention in June and the voluntary recall became official less than a month later.

The Solution

As to the Impreza and Crosstrek recall, Subaru says it’s aiming to inform all the parties for whom this safety risk applies beginning Dec. 13. In the mailers set to be distributed, owners will be asked to bring their automobiles to a dealership so a repair order can get underway, assuming the PCV valve is damaged. This can only be determined by bringing the car in for inspection. If a problem is found, the PCV valve will be replaced free of charge.

It’s very possible that you’re driving a car that may be subject to a recall. Find out for sure by entering your VIN at MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesAnother Recall Ordered For Subaru Impreza and Crosstrek Vehicles

Nearly a Half-Million Subarus Recalled Due to Stall Risk

Laguna Hills, CA – Oct. 25, 2019 – A massive recall is about to get underway for Subaru of America, after the automaker discovered certain Impreza and Crosstrek vehicles – whose model years stretch from 2017 to 2019 – may have faulty engine control modules. Specifically, despite the engine being turned off, the ECM may continue to run, a circumstance that has the potential to cause a short circuit or blown fuse. This could lead to an accident if either of these outcomes take place while motorists are traveling.

The automaker expects to inform registered car owners of this 2017-2019 Subaru recall by Dec. 13. Recipients are encouraged to then bring their vehicles to their local dealership so diagnostic test can be performed. This will determine whether the ignition coil requires replacing or if some other modification. Whatever is deemed necessary, there will be no charge for parts or labor.

The Defect

Approximately 466,205 Crosstrek SUVs and Impreza hatchbacks are due to be recalled by Subaru, according to documents prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It appears that the engine control module, which manipulates the actuators controlling the internal combustion engine, fails to power down when the engine is shut off. Left unchecked could result in a blown fuse or short circuit of the engine. Either scenario dramatically increases the risk of the automobile stalling and the possibility that the operator encounters an accident.

Timeline of Events

Typically when safety recalls are ordered, the NHTSA produces what is known as a Part 573 Safety Recall Report. This document details the various elements of an automotive recall, including a chronology of how a performance or safety issue came to light and what led the automaker to make the decision that it did regarding the recall. These particulars were not available in the NHTSA’s portal at the time of publication.

Subaru prides itself on its safety record and is a perennial favorite to receive recognition for building some of the safest automobiles on the road from the likes of J.D. Power and Associates and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute and Kelley Blue Book. In fact, last year, the Camden, New Jersey-headquartered nameplate landed seven models on IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ list, two of which were the Crosstrek and Impreza, specifically the sedan and 5-door option. Others that received the highly coveted honorific  included the Subaru Outback, WRX, Ascent and Legacy.

In order to be included among IIHS Top Safety Pick+ selections, vehicles must undergo a battery of tests that analyze how well they hold up in the event of a crash at a high rate of speed, including front, side, rollover and how well the head restraints prevent passengers from experiencing a head or neck injury. Vehicles must received a “good” rating for these tests. Headlights must also receive a “good” rating, while the front crash prevention test must elicit a “superior” or “advanced” score. 

“Each year we continue to improve and innovate the safety features in our vehicles for our customers, said Thomas Doll, CEO and president at Subaru of America, in a press release. “For the Subaru brand to lead the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards with seven winners reflects our commitment to making safety the top priority in our vehicles.”

The Solution

The recall is anticipated to begin officially on Dec. 13, the first day in which Subaru plans to distribute mailers to owners of the models in question. Recipients are urged to bring their vehicles to an area Subaru supplier so the ECM can be inspected and the engine coil replaced or modified. Some of these automobiles may also need to have their front exhaust pipes swapped assuming ignition coil damage is confirmed.

For more information on the 2017-2019 Subaru recall as well as any others announced within the last few months, please visit MotorSafety.org to get the details.

Sean ReyesNearly a Half-Million Subarus Recalled Due to Stall Risk

Subaru Recalls Forester Vehicles Due to Air Bag Risk

Laguna Hills, CA – Oct. 14, 2019 – Subaru of America has announced the recall of more than 366,000 Forester vehicles equipped with heated seats, due to a defect that could potentially deactivate the front passenger air bag.

An indicator acknowledging the loss of the air bag’s function will illuminate if deactivation occurs, so hopefully drivers will be fully aware if their vehicle is affected. However, the problem still brings with it an increased possibility of injury for the individual in the passenger seat, thus necessitating the field action.

The Defect

Documents describing the defect note that it applies to certain 2015-2018 Subaru Forester vehicles, and is caused by electrical issues.

“Over time, due to a decrease in contact pressure between terminals in the occupant detection system (ODS) sensor mat harness, a temporarily unstable electrical connection may be possible,” Subaru’s safety recall report describing the defect pointed out. “If the connection is temporarily unstable, the ODS may not properly determine the status of a front right seat occupant.”

Because the sensor cannot ascertain whether or not the front right seat is occupied, it may fail to activate the air bag.

Timeline of Events

Subaru’s own chronology report regarding the defect goes back more than three years, as the issue first surfaced in April 2016. At that time, the manufacturer received its first field report related to the ODS sensor issue, which described the condition as it affected a 2016 Forester vehicle. Further reports of the same issue continued to find their way to the automaker throughout much of 2017, although no root cause could be determined by either Subaru or its supplier.

By September 2018, it had ultimately been determined that “other factors could cause connection instability, such as harness connectors and/or harness routing,” which led to a crucial update of the manufacturing process. Roughly one year later, Subaru finally concluded that the root cause of the failure was the unstable electrical connection described above.

The manufacturer was able to decide the scope of the recall by comparing vehicle production information, results of their own investigation, and field reports describing specific vehicles that contained the defect. Of the 366,282 vehicles currently reported to be included within the recall, Subaru estimates that roughly 10% of them contain the defect. 

The Solution

“Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, as necessary, replace the ODS sensor mat harness, free of charge,” stated an official letter that Subaru filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Dealers have already been notified of the field action, and owners of vehicles affected by the recall will themselves be fully informed by the end of November. However, the parts being used for the repair are not currently available, so owners will be contacted once again, at a later date, when they can actually bring their vehicle in for the remedy to be implemented at no cost.

For information on other vehicle recalls involving Subaru and other major automobile manufacturers, visit MotorSafety.org

Sean ReyesSubaru Recalls Forester Vehicles Due to Air Bag Risk

2020 Legacy and Outback Vehicles Recalled For Brake Pedal Mounting Bracket

Laguna Hills, CA – Sep. 29, 2019 – Subaru of America has announced the recall of certain 2020 Legacy and Outback vehicles in order to inspect and potentially repair the brake pedal mounting bracket. 

The brake pedal mounting bracket in the affected vehicles, most of which were produced in August 2019, may not contain all the bolts required to function properly, or may feature a bolt that was insufficiently tightened. As a result, the mounting area for the brake pedal may deform, which could reduce braking performance and thus increase the risk of a crash.

The Defect

In the Legacy and Outback vehicles involved in the recall, the brake pedal mounting bracket may include an insufficiently tightened or outright missing bolt.

“Over time, if a brake pedal mounting bracket has an insufficiently tightened or missing bolt/nit, the brake pedal mounting area may deform,” stated the safety recall report that Subaru filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make a formal note of the issue. “Deformation of the brake pedal mounting area could reduce braking performance, increasing the risk of the crash.”

The recall population includes 2,862 Outback vehicles, and 605 Legacy vehicles, according to the same report. Subaru estimates that one percent of those vehicles contain the defect.

Timeline of Events

According to the chronology included in Subaru’s safety recall report, knowledge of the potential for the defect came to light on Aug. 29, 2019, when an associate discovered an insufficiently tightened bolt on a vehicle in the midst of assembly. 

“Upon closer review, it was observed that certain hardware located on the brake pedal mounting bracket may have been insufficiently tightened or missing,” according to the report. 

An investigation was opened shortly thereafter, and the condition was quickly traced to a defective bolt feeder, which was removed from the assembly line on Sept. 4. Further investigation allowed Subaru to determine that the flagged hardware may have serviced a number of vehicles that were produced between July 30 and Aug. 29.

Subaru decided to conduct the recall on September 11, and informed dealers on September 18.

The Solution

Dealers have been informed of the defect and a stop order has been placed on all vehicles potentially containing it that have not yet sold. All of those vehicles will be inspected – and repaired if necessary – before being made available for sale once again.

Owners of vehicles involved in the recall will be notified by Subaru no later than Oct. 1, according to the report filed by the automaker with the NHTSA. These customers will be instructed to bring their vehicle to an authorized dealer, who will inspect the brake pedal mounting bracket hardware, and then replace the hardware of the brake pedal assembly if necessary.

If you own one of the listed vehicles and have further questions, you may contact Subaru’s customer service line at (844) 373-6614. For information on additional Subaru recalls and other news from the automotive industry, visit MotorSafety.org

Sean Reyes2020 Legacy and Outback Vehicles Recalled For Brake Pedal Mounting Bracket

Subaru recalls SUVs with defective driveshafts

Laguna Hills, Calif. — July 26, 2019 — Subaru of America has recalled dozens of sport utility vehicles potentially equipped with defective driveshafts, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2019 Subaru Ascent SUVs produced between June 8, 2019, and June 11, 2019. The Japanese automaker suspects that all of the vehicles involved in the recall contain these defective components.

The Defect

The affected vehicles could come equipped with driveshafts whose support bracing surfaces and bolts have been inadvertently painted and are therefore disconnection. Continuous vibration could shake these essential fixtures lose, leading to driveshaft separation and sudden loss of motive power. The defective parts pose a serious hazard to owners and occupants as a consequence. That said, Subaru has yet to receive any reports linking the defect to any accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

On June 12, 2019, quality assurance personnel inspecting recently assembled vehicles at the Subaru of America production plant in Lafayette, Indiana encountered a 2019 Subaru Ascent with an out-of-specification driveshaft torque brace bolt. The automaker connected with its driveshaft supplier, Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, based in Monroe, Georgia, and requested that it conduct an internal investigation to understand error. The supplier executed a review June 13, 2019, and found that some production teams were not masking driveshaft support mounting surfaces during the painting process. Subaru and Hitachi then used assembly records to assess the extent of the issue between June 14, 2019, and July 1, 2019.

The automaker reviewed all investigation findings and approved a voluntary recall July 2, 2019.

The Solution

Subaru has directed dealers to inspect the recalled vehicles and replace any defective driveshaft components, free of charge, per NHTSA documents. The vehicle manufacturer intends to contact owners via first-class mail July 26, 2019. Those who need additional assistance can connect with Subaru customer service staff by calling (844) 373-6614. Callers should use the recall identification code WUI-94. Owners can also reach out to the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.       

Sean ReyesSubaru recalls SUVs with defective driveshafts

Subaru Recalling 10,417 Vehicles Because of Power Steering Problem

 

Laguna Hills, CA – March 12, 2019 – Subaru of America, Inc. announced the recall of certain 2019 Forester and Crosstrek vehicles.  A connector inside the Electronic Power Steering unit may short-circuit, causing a loss of electric power steering assistance. Up to 10,417 vehicles are potentially affected by this issue.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Safety Recall Report on this issue, a connector inside the Electronic Power Steering control unit may form small gaps in the plastic material molding during the manufacturing process. Consequently, connector terminals inside the plastic molding may have insufficient isolation between terminals. If a loss in isolation happens, the EPS warning lamp will light and the EPS assist may be disabled. When this occurs, steering will become more difficult, increasing the risk of a crash.

Timeline of Events

Subaru received the first report of a vehicle experiencing loss of power steering assist Jan. 8, 2019. The report came from a transport truck driver who had just restarted the engine to load the vehicle for transportation. The problem occurred before the vehicle was in motion. Subaru requested part collection to begin a supplier investigation.

In the following week, Subaru received ten additional incidents of vehicles with disabled EPS assist. In all ten new cases, the issue happened shortly after the engine was restarted but prior to driving the vehicle, similar to the original occurrence. All eleven of these cases surfaced in Japan, while still under the automaker’s control.

The Investigation proceeded with a supplier-conducted examination of the failed parts, review of the manufacturing process and an inquiry into the history of the composition of raw materials involved in the connector’s fabrication.

On Jan. 16, Subaru received the first report of this problem occurring while a vehicle was in motion. Like the previous incidents, the failure was reported by a transport truck driver while the vehicle was still in Japan under manufacturer control. As a result, all production and shipping of potentially affected vehicles was halted.

Subaru of America subsequently placed a hold on these vehicles on Jan. 21. Since all the vehicles were in the shipping process and hadn’t yet arrived in the U.S., the hold kept the automobiles at their various ports of entry. Back in Japan, a safety recall was announced Jan.30 by Subaru for the Japanese market, because some of the potentially affected Forester and Crosstrek vehicles had already been sold.

In the U.S., Subaru went ahead with distribution of the vehicles to retailers beginning Feb. 4, so that dealers could make repairs. A voluntary safety recall was issued at that time.

The Solution

The recall of potentially affected vehicles began Feb. 7, 2019. As of that date, none of the affected vehicles had been sold yet. Subaru has notified dealers of the issue, and they will inspect the steering gearbox and replace it as necessary, free of charge.

Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-800-373-6614. Subaru’s number for this recall is WUC-88. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V065000.

Sean ReyesSubaru Recalling 10,417 Vehicles Because of Power Steering Problem

Subaru recalls 1,303,530 vehicles for brake light switch issue

 

Laguna Hills, CA – March 7, 2019 – Subaru of America, Inc. is recalling certain 2014-2016 Forester, 2008-2016 Impreza sedans, 2012-2016 Impreza station wagons, 2008-2014 WRX sedans (including STI), and 2013-2017 Crosstrek vehicles. When exposed to certain contaminants, the brake light switch may malfunction, preventing the brake lights from illuminating. The same problem may also prevent starting of keyless ignitions and shifting of CVT/automatic transmissions out of park. As many as 1,303,530 vehicles are potentially affected by this issue.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Safety Recall Report on this issue, silicone gas may seep into the brake lamp switch housing. If this happens when closure of the contacts occurs, silicon dioxide may form a deposit layer on the switch contact terminal. The contact switch may fail to operate once this compound buildup reaches a certain level.

Depending on the particular vehicle model, this may have a harmful effect on the functioning of brake-lamp illumination, shifting from park, push-button ignition, the anti-lock brake system, vehicle dynamics control (VDC) and Eyesight operation. Brake light failure represents one of the most critical possible consequences stemming from this flaw, resulting in the inability to alert other drivers that the vehicle is slowing or stopping and increasing the chances of a rear-end collision.

Timeline of Events

Subaru received the first technical report of a failure of an ABS/VDC warning lamp due to brake lamp switch problems from the U.S. market in March 2012 and began a supplier investigation at that time.

In August 2012, the investigation revealed oxidized silicon on the contact surface. Since no silicone-containing products were used in the manufacturing process of related parts, it was assumed that exposure resulted from some consumer product containing silicone. Subaru concluded the issue was an atypical incident, not requiring immediate action, but continued to monitor reports from the field for any changes.

From August 2012 through December 2017, additional field data suggested additional problems, so the investigation continued. From January 2018 to January 2019, Subaru determined that a brake lamp switch with a different mechanical design would be beneficial, so it began the specification and validation process for a new component. By February 2019, a voluntary recall was instituted in Japan, and later in the U.S., for the following vehicles and model years: the Subaru Crosstrek from model years 2013-2017, Subaru Forester of 2014-2016, Subaru Impreza of 2008-2016, Subaru WRX of 2008-2014.

The Solution

Effective March 1, 2019, Subaru began informing dealers of the recall of certain Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, and WRX vehicles to replace the brake lamp switch. Subaru will begin notifying affected vehicle owners by mail around April 29, 2019. Owners with a valid email address will be notified by email as well. If parts are not available by the time these notifications go out, owners will be told that parts are not available yet and they will be re-notified once the replacement parts have been received. Retailers will be advised when the notification is scheduled.  Dealers will replace the brake light switch, free of charge.

Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-800-373-6614. Subaru’s number for this recall is WUE-90. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V149000.

Sean ReyesSubaru recalls 1,303,530 vehicles for brake light switch issue

Subaru Adds More Than 370,000 Vehicles To Takata Air Bag Recall List

 

Camden, N.J. – February 27, 2019 – Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is recalling certain 2010-2013 Forester, 2010-2014 Tribeca, WRX, Outback, Legacy, and 2010-2011 Impreza vehicles sold or ever registered in specific regions, in two separate but related recalls. The range of vehicles included specific models and years, and is confined to potentially hot and humid regions. The total potential number of units affected is 373,514.

Vehicles being recalled are from the states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana,  Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as the U.S. Territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Defect

According to the NHTSA Safety Report filed on January 9th, all the recalled vehicles are equipped with Takata air bag inflators with propellant wafers that contain non-desiccated ammonium nitrate. The injectors are part of full passenger frontal air bag modules which have been utilized over many years as original equipment and replacement equipment. Takata’s investigation to date has revealed that the propellant wafers can degrade over time, especially when exposed over long periods of time to high absolute humidity and drastic temperature cycling.

This degradation can lead to explosive combustion in the event of a crash that triggers deployment of the passenger frontal air bag. Excessive internal pressure when the non-desiccated ammonium nitrate inflator with degraded propellant is activated can cause the inflator to rupture, causing metal fragments to pass through the air bag. As the sharp metal fragments exit the air bag module at high speed, they can enter the vehicle interior and strike the front seat passenger, driver or other occupants of the vehicle, potentially resulting in serious injury or death.

Timeline of Events

On November 3, 2015, the NHTSA and Takata entered into a Consent Order surrounding the defective airbag issue. On May 4, 2016, the NHTSA and Takata forged an amended agreement on the basis of testing and analysis conducted by Takata (and further independent testing by third party unaffiliated research organizations). Due to the results of those tests, the NHTSA concluded that all non-desiccated frontal Takata PSAN inflators will, at some point in the future, reach an unstable and dangerous threshold level of degradation. NHTSA then ordered Takata to file certain defect information reports (DIRs) which Takata submitted. On May 20, 2016, Subaru determined to launch a voluntary recall.

Subsequently, further DIRs were submitted by Takata in January of 2017, 2018 and 2019 in accordance with the schedule outlined by the NHTSA to roll out waves of recalls in order of priority and highest risk, and to allow time for manufacture of appropriate replacement parts to stock dealers in preparation for the recall. Subaru has issued regular recalls for subsequent series of vehicles in cooperation with the Takata DIR filings.

The Solution

The recall began January 25, 2019. Subaru is notifying owners to take their vehicles to dealerships where dealers will replace the front passenger air bag inflator, free of charge. Any vehicle owners who have already paid to fix this condition prior to this campaign may seek reimbursement for their costs. In the owner letters, Subaru has warned owners not to allow passengers to ride i the front passenger seat until the defect has been remedied. Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-844-373-6614.

Subaru’s numbers for these recalls are TKA-19 and TKB-19. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Campaign Numbers for these recalls are 19V007000 and 19V008000.

Sean ReyesSubaru Adds More Than 370,000 Vehicles To Takata Air Bag Recall List

Subaru ponders 14,000-car recall amid production shutdown

 

Tokyo – Jan. 31, 2019 – Subaru has paused production of multiple vehicle types at its factory in Japan due to the possibility of a defect in the cars’ power steering systems. The automaker is deciding how to proceed with the 14,000 affected cars, some of which were sold in Japan and others of which are destined for export to other territories. Most of the cars impacted are likely bound for the U.S. The Forester, XV and Impreza are the three models that may include the defective component.

A report from Nikkei noted that recent years have seen over 500,000 cars recalled by Subaru. While past recalls have been caused by potential faults in components such as valve springs, as well as actions such as regulatory compliance failures. The most recent plant shutdown has not turned into a fully declared recall, but it has impacted cars even beyond those that may have the defective part, as the factory equipment is employed to produce multiple vehicle types.

The Defect

The problem that has caused the concern involves part of the electrical assembly used in power steering. The component in question is a third-party item produced by Hitachi Automotive systems and used in the three Subaru models. The Nikkei report explained that when the part fails, a warning light activates on the dashboard, and steering the car becomes harder for the driver. Xinhua noted there have been two instances of such a failure happening, though no one has been reported injured yet.

The fact that Subaru cars use a unique engine configuration known as the “boxer” layout may have exacerbated the challenges of the situation. The components for these engines are not compatible with generic hardware that work in more standardized engines. Subaru technicians searched for a solution to the current issue that did not require manufacturing and ordering a “made from scratch” replacement part. That meant isolating the exact issue causing the fault and correcting it.

To remove the defective parts from the supply chain, Subaru shut down its main production facility in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, which produces 2,600 cars a day when operational. Most of the vehicles produced in the plant – 80 percent – are exported, and Nikkei added that 60 percent of those cars go to U.S. dealerships. After ascertaining which part would have to be replaced to resume production, Subaru reopened its plant on schedule, according to Xinhua.

As the component is produced by an outside supplier, Hitachi has also been contacted for input. Hitachi stated that problems during car assembly are unlikely, which may mean the electronics within the steering components are faulty.

Timeline of Events

The potential recall at Subaru has developed over a relatively short time frame. All the affected vehicles that contain the potentially defective part were produced between late December 2018 and the Jan. 16 shutdown of the Gumna plant. Upon discovery of the fault, Subaru declared a week-long shutdown and sent out recall notices for roughly 780 vehicles that were made at the facility in question and sent to be sold on the Japanese market instead of overseas, according to the Xinhua report.

Nikkei added that the quality control division within Subaru, which has been the subject of some of the automaker’s recent scandals in the Japanese market, did not catch the potential power steering problem. Instead, two reports of problems with steering were used to determine the part responsible. Fortunately, there were no collisions or injuries of any kind reported due to the power steering issues. While the vehicles may have become hard to control, they didn’t crash.

The automaker’s recent series of scandals, as described by Nikkei, began in late 2017. At that time, Subaru revealed that some of its inspections were performed by staff without the proper certifications. After that, more troubling details emerged. In November 2018, a valve spring problem caused the recall of 101,000 vehicles, with 100,000 more added because of legal compliance issues.

These recalls have taken a toll on the company’s finances. In the immediate aftermath of the plant closure notice, Subaru’s stock price fell 6 percent on the Tokyo exchange. The announcement that the stoppage would only last a week provided some relief, but the impact was still a net negative, demonstrating the lasting financial impact of repeated recall events and quality-control problems.

The Solution

Due to several complicating factors, the exact course of action Subaru will take is unclear. The roughly 14,000 exported cars that may contain faulty Hitachi steering components have not been officially recalled. Since the vehicles have all been produced over the past few months, many of them are likely still in the custody of dealers rather than customers.

The automaker is pondering sending replacement parts overseas to replace the faulty components, according to Xinhua, rather than recalling the vehicles to Japan to be refitted. The domestic recall has been the most straightforward part of the process, with the under-1,000 vehicles produced for the Japan market already recalled.

Since the production facility impacted is primarily used to produce export vehicles, and most of those cars are bound for the U.S., there is a chance American regulators may soon be involved in the recall process. Recent weeks have seen no new announcements from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as it shut down operations along with other Federal agencies during the budget impasse. During that silence, some automakers have still issued their own recall notices for U.S. vehicles, including the latest wave of Takata air bag inflator repairs.

Sean ReyesSubaru ponders 14,000-car recall amid production shutdown

Subaru Impreza, BRZ and XV Crosstek valve spring recall update

 

Camden, New Jersey, Jan. 28, 2019 – In November 2018, Subaru of America issued a recall for 165,534 vehicles across the Impreza, BRZ and XV Crosstek models. The recall was brought on by engine springs that are prone to fracturing. In the event that these components break, the cars may make unnatural noises, or the engines may malfunction or stall. Recently, the Burlington Free Press revealed additional details of the recall, including the fact that some dealers may not be able to replace the part until late 2020.

The vehicles that potentially contain compromised value screws include the 2013 Subaru BRZ, the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstek and the 2012-2014 Subaru Impreza. Owners of these vehicles should have already received letters regarding the recall, which is how the Free Press determined how long the repair timeline will be in high-demand areas such as Vermont.

The Defect

Reacting to reports of compromised valve springs within vehicle engines, Subaru issued its recall for the cars in question. In addition to strange noises and other unspecified malfunctions, engine stalling may make it impossible for drivers to start their cars again. Subaru recommended in its letter to vehicle owners that if they experience noise or vibrations while driving, they pull over as soon as it is safely possible, to ensure they do not suffer the heightened collision risk that would come with stalling out.

Timeline of Events

The report from the Free Press brings more clarity to how long the recall will take to carry out. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration named the defect Nov. 1, 2018. When the first notice went out, there had been 11 reports of cars suffering from operational problems due to insufficiently strong springs in their engines. Letters went out to Subaru owners shortly thereafter instructing them to bring their vehicles into a dealership for repairs as soon as possible. When the Free Press’s reporter set a date to have her own Subaru repaired, the local dealership explained the earliest slot it has available is in November 2020.

Representatives from the dealership explained that due to the large number of Subarus on the roads of Vermont, as well as the time-consuming nature of the repairs and the need for specialized training, the timeline of repairs will stretch well into next year. Dealership personnel need to be briefed on the spring replacement operation. At the dealership in question, this tutorial is scheduled for February.

The Solution

In a 7-to-13-hour procedure, mechanics will replace the affected parts in affected vehicles. The procedure uses specialized tools. In addition to the relatively time-consuming nature of the work, as well as the limited number of tools present at each dealership, only one vehicle is serviced each day. This procedure explains the long wait time in areas such as Burlington.

In its recall notice, Subaru noted that if a vehicle stalls and cannot start again due to spring problems, owners should make arrangements to have the car towed to the nearest Subaru dealer. For vehicle owner reference, the recall’s number is 18V-772 in Subaru’s system and WTY-84 according to the NHTSA’s records.

Sean ReyesSubaru Impreza, BRZ and XV Crosstek valve spring recall update