2011 Subaru OutbackEnlarge Photo
Subaru is recalling more than 600,000 cars--including some Legacy, Outback, Tribeca, and Forester models--for a defect in door lights that may short circuit and lead to a fire.
A notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website puts the number of vehicles potentially affected at 633,842. Affected vehicles include all 2010 and 2011 Subaru Legacy and Outback vehicles, certain 2006 through 2012 Subaru Tribeca, and certain 2009 through 2012 Subaru Forester vehicles.
2011 Subaru LegacyEnlarge Photo
Documentation from Subaru (PDF) submitted to NHTSA breaks down the number of vehicles potentially affected by the safety recall as follows:
2010 Subaru ForesterEnlarge Photo
Subaru said that 53,999 accessory puddle lights were sold and of that number, it is not possible to determine an estimated percentage of affected vehicles that may experience the lighting defect.
According to Subaru, vehicles equipped with accessory puddle lights have four of them, two on each rocker panel. When the puddle lights are illuminated, they brighten the ground underneath the doors.
A short circuit can develop occurs after moisture, such as salt water, gets into the light circuit board or pin connectors. This condition may generate heat, melting the plastic and resulting in smoke and/or fire.
Subaru said it received the first consumer complaint and warranty claim involving smoke and/or fire on a Tribeca in April 2007. The automaker instituted three engineering changes in 2007 and 2008 to fix the problem. In February 2009, Subaru received the first consumer complaint and warranty claim involving smoke and/or fire on a Forester vehicle and made a running manufacturing change in January 2010. In March 2011, Subaru began an investigation into the issue.
2008 Subaru Tribeca 5-PassEnlarge Photo
What Subaru will do
Subaru will notify owners of affected vehicles and dealers will install an additional fused harness at no charge. The Subaru safety recall, identified as WQE-41, is expected to begin during February 2013.
In the meantime, owners of vehicles involved in the campaign with any questions or concerns may contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783.
Alternatively, owners of vehicles involved in the campaign may contact NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to http://www.safercar.gov. Reference the NHTSA campaign ID No. 12V602000.