Subaru Recall Issued Over Air Pump Overheating, Fire Risk

Federal highway safety officials indicate that more than 100,000 turbo-charged Subaru vehicles are being recalled, due to faulty air injection pump relays that may overheat and melt, with at least one vehicle fire reported in connection with the problem. 

The Subaru air injection pump relay recall was announced by U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on October 25, following two warranty claims that suggested the vehicles engines began emitting smoke, with one catching on fire. To date, no injuries have been reported.

Subaru of America first notified their relay parts supplier, Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), after receiving a technical report in April 2011 of a check engine light warning due to air injection pump failure. The supplier opened an investigation and instructed its manufacturer to decrease the contact pressure point on the relays in September 2013.

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Subaru and FHI received two subsequent warranty claims from customers in October 2013 and May 2015, indicating heavy smoke began emitting from underneath the engine hood, with one of the vehicles catching on fire. Subaru and FHI collected parts from the two incidents and began investigating the root cause of the overheating components. Due to the severe damage the one reported fire caused to the vehicles engine components, Subaru was only able to recover parts to analyze from one vehicle.

FHI reported to Subaru on September 30, 2016, that due to an inappropriate manufacturing process control of the relay which controls the secondary air injection pump, the relay may short and fail to turn off the pump. In this event, the pump will continuously run to the point in which it will overheat and potentially cause an engine fire.

Subaru is warning customers that in the event the relay fails and causes the pump to overheat, the check engine warning light will illuminate and occupants may begin to smell a burning odor or smoke and possibly see fire.

The recall includes 2009 through 2013 Subaru Forester vehicles, 2008 through 2014 Subaru Impreza models, 2007 through 2009 Subaru Legacy models, and 2007 through 2009 Subaru Outback models. All of the vehicles impacted by the recall are equipped with turbo-charged engines.

Subaru has not yet provided a notification schedule but has announced the automaker will begin notifying owners of the issue with instructions on how to schedule an inspection at their local dealer. Dealers will be instructed to replace the secondary air injection pump relay free of charge. Customers with further questions may contact Subaru customer service at 1-800-782-2783 and reference the recall number “Wtm-73”.


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