Subaru has announced that it is recalling certain 2012 Legacy sedans and Outback wagons due to a side curtain airbag defect. Side curtain airbags protects both front and rear occupants in the case of a side-impact or rollover crash. The recall affects a total of 381 vehicles, manufactured between December 1 and December 23, 2011. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this airbag problem may result in improper airbag deployment in the event of a crash, which will dramatically increase the risk of injury.
So just what causes this airbag defect? The NHTSA explains it as follows:
“These vehicles may be equipped with side curtain airbags that contain an incorrect propellant mixture for the initiator component used, resulting in insufficient output of compressed gas.”
Subaru is expected to begin notifying customers of the safety recall in early April. Affected vehicles will receive new side curtain airbag modules, free of charge. Owners who may not want to wait until April can contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783. Subaru owners may also contact the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 or visit them online at www.safercar.gov. The recall number for this notice is WVZ-36.
Subaru’s latest recall comes just two months after another recall involving 2012 Impreza, Outback and Legacy vehicles. Issued in December 2011, this particular recall involved a faulty brake pedal and affected approximately 3,000 vehicles. The defect resulted in a stop-sale order involving the three Subaru models. Aside from the recall, the stop-sale order was issued due to a scarcity of cars and parts resulting from the March 2011 earthquake in Japan. The Japanese automaker also had to conduct two other recalls in 2011, which pertained to moonroof defects and windshield wiper motor issues. The recalls did not deal with any 2012 models, but did involve nearly 270,000 2010-2011 Outback and Legacy vehicles.
Recalls aside, the 2012 Outback earned the “Best Wagon for the Money” and "Best Wagon for the Family" awards from U.S. News and Rankings. The Outback earned a 9.8 safety rating and the top spot among all wagons. The 2012 Legacy also earned high marks in safety, earning a 9.6, but ranked 10 out of 19 in the midsize car group.