03Subaru is recalling millions of vehicles worldwide due to a possible problem with their brake lights.
Much like their bigger brother Toyota, Subarus are renowned for their reliability. They were just named the top reliable brand by Consumer Reports, and owners only have glowing reviews for their sporty, AWD cars and SUVs.
So it’s a bit of a pain to hear that the Japanese carmaker is now recalling 2.26 million vehicles across the world for a problem with the brake lights.
At issue is a strange interaction between the brake light switch and certain cleaning products that contain silicone. You can find silicone in almost everything from car detailing detergents to car waxes where it has different uses depending on the product. Sometimes it just helps with emulsion, other times it helps with spreading and coverage in wax products.
Whatever the use, it has a problem with certain Subaru vehicles. The silicone can penetrate the brake light housing and start mucking with the brake light switch, either keeping it permanently on or off. Either way, the guy behind you won’t be able to tell whether or not your braking. This increases the risk of an accident.
While no accidents or injuries have been reported, you can easily see how this could lead to a collision.
Roughly 2.26 million vehicles are affected, with 306,728 units in Japan and 1.96 million in the rest of the world, with the bulk of those being in the United States.
Affected vehicles are the 2014-2016 Subaru Forester, 2011-2014 Subaru WRX, 2008-2016 Subaru Impreza, and 2012-2017 Subaru XV (Crosstrek).
The fix is simple enough: Subaru will replace the brake light switch and brake light housings on affected vehicles free of charge. Japan’s Nikkei newspaper expects this recall to cost Subaru about $90 million.
This recall just got started in Japan, so it might be a few weeks before all the appropriate paperwork is signed here in the US. In the meantime, check those brake lights before and after you travel, just to be sure.