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.
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 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.