Subaru recalls thousands of vehicles for airbag sensor issue

Detroit, MI — July 27, 2015 — Although there have been many reports of issues with airbag deployment systems themselves, several thousand Subaru Imprezas have suffered from a defect outside the airbag itself that makes it difficult to activate the airbags when they are needed. Sensors in these vehicles are overly sensitive and liable to be shut off during unexpected and seemingly benign situations.

Fortunately, the defect doesn’t come completely without warning signs. Top Speed’s Jonathan Lopez reports that an airbag warning light will appear on the dashboard if the sensor has been compromised. Affected Imprezas were built between 2011 and 2012, and featured poor calibration, making the vehicle sensors unable to respond in different conditions.

The manufacturer has, at the urging of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) begun contacting owners. While no injuries have been connected to this issue, the company has received 26 different complaints related to it.

Lopez describes some of the ways that the sensor might be accidentally deactivated during the drive.

“These conditions include a passenger touching an electrically grounded part of the car (like the metal seat adjuster), using an electronic device (like a phone) plugged into the accessory power outlet, or sitting with damp clothes,” he said. “It’s also reported that a cell phone left on the seat or a splash of water on the seat could trigger the failure.” He notes that this is a comparatively minor recall, especially considering the much-publicized Takata efforts.

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Recall MastersSubaru recalls thousands of vehicles for airbag sensor issue