Subaru and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHSTA) today (Jan. 3) announced the recall of 633,842 Subaru vehicles from years 2006 through 2012 that may have an electrical short circuit problem with after-production installed puddle lamps.
That is where this recall is unusual, since the specific vehicle installation of these puddle lamps cannot be determined from factory production records.
Subaru does know that there were only 53,399 of these puddle lamps actually sold which limits the number of vehicles that are impacted. Further, not all of the puddle lamp sets sold are defective.
The vehicles involved that may possibly have the puddle lamps installed are the Forester (2009-2012), Legacy (2010-2011), Outback (2010-2011) and the Tribeca (2006-2012).
Normally, the owner is dependent on information from the manufacturer to determine if their vehicle is one of the those affected. In this case the owner can determine if their vehicle is affected by inspecting under the rocker panels on each side. If the puddle lamps are there, they are in the recall. If there are no puddle lamps, then their Subaru is not affected.
The puddle lamps are a set of four lamps installed two on each side under the rocker panel under the doors. When the doors are opened, they illuminate the ground under the door.
The defect is that moisture may enter (or have entered) the puddle lamp assembly resulting in a short circuit that could cause the lights to fail or melting of the rocker panel assembly. In a worst case situation, a fire may result.
The remedy will be the installation of an additional wiring harness equipped with an inline fuse between the vehicle connector and the puddle lamps.
Subaru will be notifying possible owners immediately and parts to remedy the problem will be available in about 60 days. These modifications will be made free of charge.
The Subaru recall number is WQE-41.
Subaru owners can call Subaru at 1-800-782-2783 for more information.