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 over 10,000 2019 Forester and Crosstrek vehicles. Similar to the 2019 Subaru power steering recall in the midst of a production shutdown that affected the Forester, XV, as well as the Impreza. 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 on 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. This comes after a separate 2016 Subaru steering column shaft recall that dealt with steering issues on the 2016 and 2017 Subaru Legacy & Outback models. 

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, a 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 were 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 on 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 on 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.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 10,000 vehicles are included in this Subaru recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle recall lookup tool.

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 vehicles recalled for brake light issue, loss of safety functions

November 18, 2021 UPDATE – Subaru Corporation (OTCMKTS:FUJHY) has remedied 993,791 Subaru vehicles with brake light issues such as the 2013 Subaru Crosstrek. 974 vehicles have been deemed unreachable with an additional 34,370 vehicles removed from Subaru’s brake light recall.

Camden, NJ – February 19, 2019 – Subaru Corporation (OTCMKTS:FUJHY) has recalled 1,303,530 vehicles, due to faulty brake lights. If brake lights do not illuminate as designed, other vehicles will not be alerted when the vehicle is slowing or stopping. This issue increases the risk of a crash. This mirrors a 2021 Nissan Recall of 807,376 Nissan Sentra vehicles with malfunctioning brake lights. The recall includes:

  • 2014-2016 Subaru Forester SUVs
  • 2008-2016 Subaru Impreza sedans
  • 2012-2016 Subaru Impreza station wagons
  • 2008-2014 Subaru WRX sedans (including STI)
  • 2013-2017 Subaru Crosstrek SUVs

Recall summary  

The brake light switch is built inside of a housing and turns the lights on and off. In recalled vehicles, contaminants may seep into the switch housing and disable it. The brake will still work even if the light switch is not operating correctly.

But depending on the model, the failure may also result in the inability to start the Subaru Forester, Impreza, WRX, or Crosstrek or shift out of “Park” when trying to go somewhere. In some cases, it may also disable the anti-lock brake (ABS) system and some important safety features, including EyeSight driver-assist and vehicle dynamics control (VDC). 

Warning signs

The vehicle should display an appropriate warning light if any of the above systems malfunction.  

Subaru Forester recalls

The Forestor platform was involved in a December 2019 recall when the 2019 Subaru Forester struggle with stalling issues and earlier that year for Forester’s loss of electric power assist.

Risks 

Trailing vehicles must be alerted when the driver applies the brakes. If the brake light is out, the risk of a rear-end collision greatly increases. 

If the vehicle’s ABS fails, the brake pedal may become unresponsive. Both this and the loss of other essential safety features – such as EyeSight driver assist, which helps the driver to stay in his or her lane – augments the risk of crash and subsequent injury or death to the occupants of the car and other people on the road.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to replace the brake light switch. The repair is free of charge and is available now. The Subaru brake light switch replacement is expected to take 30 minutes, but your dealer may need to keep your vehicle longer, depending on scheduling.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 1,300,000 vehicles were originally included in this Subaru recall. As of October 2020 – the last date for which information is available – close to a million have been fixed or removed. To see if your car is amongst those that still need to be fixed, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle recall lookup tool.

Note: February 16, 2021

We have noticed a large number of readers are interested in this recall. For that reason, we have rewritten it to include the best, most up-to-date information.

Ken BoydSubaru vehicles recalled for brake light issue, loss of safety functions

Subaru recalls 370,000 vehicles with dangerous Takata airbags

Camden, NJ – February 27, 2019 – Subaru (OTCMKTS:FUJHY) is recalling 373,514 vehicles in two recalls related to potentially deadly Takata airbags.

Both recalls are limited to cars sold or registered in certain states that experience high temperature and humidity. They include the following vehicles:

  • 2010 – 2013 Forester
  • 2010 – 2014 Tribeca
  • 2010- 2014 WRX
  • 2010 – 2014 Outback
  • 2010 -2014 Legacy
  • 2010 – 2011 Impreza

To see the complete list of states included in the recalls check out the National Highway Transpiration Safety Administration (NHTSA) official information here and here.

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.

Risks

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.

Safety tips

In the owner letters, Subaru has warned owners not to allow passengers to ride in the front passenger seat until the defect has been remedied.

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.

Is your vehicle part of these recalls?

Over 370,000 vehicles were originally included in these recalls. As of April 9, 2021 – the last date for which information was available –  315,724 airbags have been replaced. To see if your car still needs to be repaired, use MotorSafety’s free lookup tool.

Note: June 14, 2021

We have noticed a large number of readers are interested in this recall. For that reason, we have edited this article to make it more clear and make sure it corresponds to the latest editorial standards. We have also included the last section, which provides an important update on these recalls’ completion rates.

Sean ReyesSubaru recalls 370,000 vehicles with dangerous Takata airbags

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 needs 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 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

Subaru Recalls More Than 160,000 Vehicles for Weak Engine Valve Springs

Laguna Hills, CA – November 13, 2018 – Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is recalling certain 2012-2014 Subaru Impreza, 2012-2013 Impreza Stationwagon, 2013 Subaru BRZ, XV Crosstrek and Toyota Scion FR-S vehicles for a valve spring issue that could cause engine stall. This recall is expected to affect 165,534 Subaru vehicles in North America.

The Defect

According to the NHTSA Recall Safety Report, due to an improper design of the valve train within the engine, an excessive stress is generated on the valve spring compared to the design condition. In addition, a very small amount of the impurity within the composition of the spring material is not avoidable in the manufacturing process. The combination of excessive stress and the dispersion of the impurity in the valve material during manufacturing may cause the valve springs located inside the engine of the affected vehicles may fracture, which may cause engine malfunction. In the worst case, the engine may stall during driving, and restarting will not be possible, increasing the risk of a crash.  Drivers may have a short window of advance warning as abnormal noise or vibration may occur prior to the engine stalling.

Timeline of Events

In April of 2012, SUBARU CORPORATION (Subaru) received a technical report from the Japan market which described an abnormal noise and rough idling. The collected engine was examined, and it was surmised that the valve spring broke and fell off, making contact with the piston and causing a rough idling and an abnormal noise. While a component analysis was conducted, no spring material flaw was identified and the cause of the fracture was unknown. In May 2013, the lower limit of the tolerance of the spring wire diameter was raised as a precaution and in response to eleven technical reports related to stalling reported from the U.S. In August 2016, based on additional examinations of engines collected from the field, it was determined that a ndactor not avoidable in the manufacturing process, namely very small amount of impurity within the composition of the spring material, could affect spring fracture.

Three additional technical reports related to stalling were issued from the U.S. during this time frame, but by September 2018 it was determined that a higher occurrence rate than estimated with general manufacturing dispersion from the vehicle manufactured with lower spring tolerance. Further investigation led to the revelation due to the improper design of the valve train, stress generated exceeded the design condition, and, when combined with the dispersion of impurity within the composition of the spring material, could cause spring fracture due to fatigue. On Oct 25, 2018, Subaru issued a safety recall for vehicles equipped with a similar valve train design manufactured prior to the tolerance adjustments made in May 2013.

The Solution

Subaru will notify owners, and all valve springs will be replaced with new ones free of charge. Owner notification will occur within 60 days of Dealer notification, which began on November 1. If parts are not available by that time, owners will be notified that parts are not available yet and they will be re-notified once parts are available. Owners may also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153). The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 18V-772.

Sean ReyesSubaru Recalls More Than 160,000 Vehicles for Weak Engine Valve Springs