2009-2012 Subaru Forester: Recall Alert

March 16, 2012

Subaru is recalling certain 2009-2012 model year Forester SUVs over concerns about a defect in the automatic locking retractor in rear center seats.

A notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) site lists the number of potential affected units at 275,000, but documentation from Subaru (PDF) indicates that the number of 2012 Foresters that may be affected is not yet known.


2009 Subaru Forester

2009 Subaru Forester

Specifically, the numbers of potential affected vehicles per model year and range of production dates are as follows:

  • 2009 model year: 88,759 units built from November 26, 2007 through March 26, 2009
  • 2010 model year: 111,830 Foresters built from January 28, 2009 through August 6, 2010
  • 2011 model year: 74,802 units built from June 10,2010 through August 31, 2011
  • 2012 model year: TBD Foresters built from May 25, 2011 through March 13, 2012

2010 Subaru Forester

2010 Subaru Forester

The problem

As published in the NHTSA bulletin, the issue involves the automatic locking retractors (ALR) in the seat belt assemblies located in the center rear seat that don’t meet Federal locking requirements under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208: “Occupant Crash Protection,” and may not permit proper installation of child seats.

The possible consequence of this condition is that an insecure child seat in the rear center position increases the risk of injury to the child in the event of a crash.

Subaru says that the noncompliance only applies to the rear center seating position, and that ALRs in the front passenger and rear outboard seating are not affected.

2011 Subaru Forester

2011 Subaru Forester

What Subaru will do

Subaru will notify owners and dealers will replace the rear center seat belt assembly with a newly modified automatic locking retractor, at no charge. The Subaru safety recall campaign is expected to begin on or about April 13, 2012, but due to the size of the recall will be phased in.

In the meantime, owners of 2009 through 2012 model year Subaru Forester SUVs with any questions or concerns may contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783.  Reference the Subaru safety recall No. WQA-37.

Alternatively, owners of vehicles involved in the campaign may contact the NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to http://www.safercar.gov.  Reference the NHTSA campaign ID No. 12V099000.

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