Subaru Recalls 634,000 Vehicles Due To Potential Vehicle Fires

Subaru Recalls 634,000 Vehicles Due to Potential Vehicle Fires

Subaru recalls nearly 634,000 Foresters, Legacy, Outback, and Tribeca vehicles due to a potential fire hazard with the puddle lights located under the sideview mirrors.


According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), problems with the puddle lighting can cause smoke and fire hazard on vehicles that have the lights installed. However, according to Subaru, only 53,999 vehicles involved in the Subaru recalls actually have the lights, but the company does not know exactly which cars have the puddle lights installed because the lights are outfitted after the vehicles are manufactured, leaving the company with no way to track them, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

The NHTSA explains in their recall summary that a “short circuit can develop when either the puddle light or connector are exposed to an electrolytic moisture source (such as road spray that has road salt in it) and it penetrates the circuit board of the puddle light or the pins of the puddle light connector(s).

The recall includes the following vehicles:

  • 2009 – 2012 Subaru Forester
  • 2010 – 2011 Subaru Legacy
  • 2010 – 2011 Subaru Outback
  • 2006 – 2012 Subaru Tribeca

NHTSA says the short circuit may cause enough heat to generate smoke or fire.

Though all owners of the vehicles listed in the Subaru recalls will be notified of the issue, not everyone will have to have their vehicles fixed. Owners of these vehicles who are able can simply look under their doors to see if the lights are installed. The lights come on when the doors are opened to allow vehicle occupants to see the ground as they get in or out of the vehicle. According to Subaru, the company is unaware of any fires or injuries caused by the defect, and “less than ten” reports of smoke have been filed, the LA Times reports.

Subaru will be notifying vehicle owners in February of the Subaru recalls, and owners whose vehicles have puddle lights will be able to take their vehicles to dealers to have a fused harness installed, free of charge, NHTSA says. Owners may contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783 for more information. Subaru’s recall campaign number is WQE-41.

Last year, Subaru issued a recall of 326,014 model year 2009-2012 Subaru Forester vehicles due to rear center seatbelts that failed to meet federal motor vehicle safety standards for the attachment of child restraints. The company also recalled about 381 model year 2012 Impreza sedans and wagons, Legacy, and Outback vehicles due to a potentially defective brake master cylinder that could significantly increase the brake pedal travel distance needed to stop the vehicles, increasing the risk of accidents.

According to NBC News, more than 16 million vehicles were recalled in 2012, a 4.5 percent increase over the number of vehicles recalled in 2011. Toyota ranked first for the number of recalls last year, with about 5.3 vehicles being recalled in the U.S. Honda was next with 3.9 million vehicles recalled in the U.S., NBC News reports.

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