Subaru is recalling and halting the sale of nearly 50,000 Legacy and Outback vehicles from the 2016 and 2017 model years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some of those vehicles may have serious problems with their steering columns, which could prevent owners from controlling them in traffic. Until the vehicles are repaired, Subaru is asking owners not to drive them.
The faulty component was supplied by NSK Steering Systems America, Inc. According to NHTSA's defect bulletin:
"An incorrect setting of a tool used in production of the steering column may have resulted in improper machining of one of the steering column shafts. If this improper machining condition exists, the steering column shaft may not engage properly. If this were to occur, the steering wheel may rotate freely and the driver would lose the ability to steer the vehicle."
Due to the severity of the problem and the danger it could pose to passengers, other cars, pedestrians, and property, Subaru has recalled the vehicles and ordered dealers to stop selling them until they've been inspected and repaired.
The recall and stop-sale is confined to 2016-2017 Subaru Legacy and Outback vehicles built between February 29, 2016, to May 6, 2016. Roughly 48,500 vehicles registered in the U.S. are affected.
Subaru began mailing out recall notices today, instructing owners to take their vehicles to dealerships for service. Dealers will check the lot number on the steering column and replace the column if necessary, at no charge to owners.
If you believe that you own one of these vehicles and have questions, you're encouraged to contact Subaru customer service at 1-800-782-2783 and ask about recall WTD-65. You can also visit https://www.wtd65.service-campaign.com, or call NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-423 and inquire about safety campaign #16V292000.