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Subaru Outback, Legacy Recall - Drive Chain Break May Cause Loss Of Power

Subaru recalled the 2020-2021 Subaru Outback and the 2020-2021 Subaru Legacy because of a faulty drive chain. See if your vehicle is on the recall list.


Subaru of America recalled the 2020-2021 Subaru Outback midsize SUV and the 2020-2021 Subaru Legacy midsize sedan because of a programming error in the Transmission Control Unit (TCU) that may allow the clutch to engage before the drive chain is completely clamped.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the improperly secured drive chain could slip and break. If the drive chain breakage occurs while the car is in motion, the vehicle may experience a loss of power, increasing the risk of a crash. This is the second recall for the Subaru Outback this week. The Outback and Legacy are manufactured at Subaru of Indiana Automotive in Lafayette, Indiana.

2020-2021 Subaru Outback, Legacy recall

What is the Subaru Outback and Legacy defect?

The NHTSA and Subaru of America say some 2020-2021 Outback and 2020-2021 Legacy models are recalled due to an improper shift program in the TCU. If the shift lever is moved to drive or reverse immediately after the engine has started, the independent secondary pressure control program may allow the forward/reverse clutch to begin engagement before enough secondary clamping pressure has been applied to the drive chain.

How many and what Outback and Legacy trim levels are affected?

Subaru of America says the number of potentially affected Outback vehicles is 130. The number of potentially affected Legacy vehicles is 52. According to the recall report, the estimated percentage of Outback and Legacy models with the defect is five percent. The Outback and Legacy models affected are the Outback XT and Legacy XT models with the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine.

2020-2021 Subaru Outback, Legacy recall

Subaru determined that 182 pre-production vehicles needed to be included in the affected models and conducted a voluntary safety recall for those 182 pre-production vehicles that required the same repair.

The remedy

Subaru says retailers will reprogram the TCU, analyze the historical data for chain slip characteristics, and visually inspect the chain guide. If vehicles are confirmed to be experiencing drive chain slip, or the chain guide is damaged, they will replace the transmission assembly. For each potentially affected vehicle, all remedy repairs necessary will be completed at no cost to the customer.

What should Outback customers do?

Subaru will notify affected 2020-2021 Outback and Legacy owners by first class mail. The NHTSA says owner notification letters will be mailed on September 5, 2022. Owners may contact Subaru's customer service at 1-844-373-6614. Subaru's number for this recall is WRK-22. This recall is an expansion of previous recall number 21V-955.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


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