Subaru Recalls Forester, Crosstrek for Multiple Issues

March 11, 2019 by Alan Adler, @AlanAdler

Subaru of America Inc. is recalling nearly a million of its Forester and Crosstrek compact SUVs because the switch in the brake light may fail, preventing illumination and increasing the risk of collisions with following vehicles.

Other vehicle systems also may be affected by brake light switch failure.

For example, vehicles with keyless ignitions may fail to start, and vehicles with continuously variable transmissions may not be able to shift out of park, and anti-lock brakes and vehicle dynamics control may not work. Additionally, Subaru’s EyeSight suite of safety systems, including lane-departure alerts and assist and lane-sway alert, may fail.

The affected vehicles include 526,941 Foresters from the 2014 to 2016 model years and 363,566 Crosstrek from the 2013 to 2017 model years. Additionally, 413,000 Impreza four-door and five-door and WRX four-door models were included to make the total number of vehicles recalled 1,303,530.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents on the recall did not indicate any crashes or injuries.

The brake light switch housing may have been exposed to seeping silicone gas, which can form a silicone dioxide deposit layer on the switch contact terminal. If the layer builds up, the contact switch may lose conductivity and fail.

Subaru is getting parts and tools needed for the recall. Free repairs are expected to begin April 29. It received its first report of silicone buildup affecting a brake switch in 2012. After several attempts to fix the issue, Subaru told NHTSA it would conduct a recall. The NHTSA recall number is 19V-149.


Separately, Subaru is recalling certain unsold 2019 Forester and Crosstrek vehicles. The electronic power steering system may short-circuit, cutting electric power steering assistance.

Dealers have placed 6,277 Foresters and 4,140 Crosstreks from the 2019 model year in quarantine until the steering gearboxes are inspected and replaced if necessary. Seventy percent of the vehicles built from Dec. 27, 2018, to Jan. 16, 2019, are suspected of having the defect.

The connector inside the electronic power steering-control unit may have formed small gaps in the plastic material molding during manufacturing, resulting in inadequate isolation between terminals. If an insulation loss occurs, the electronic power steering warning lamp would illuminate, and steering assist might be disabled.

Loss of power steering assist could make it harder to steer, increasing the risk of a crash.

The NHTSA recall number is 19V-065.

Read Next: 2018 NY Auto Show: Subaru’s New Forester is a Family Friendly Redesign

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