Subaru of America recalled 59,934 2015-2021 Subaru WRX and WRX STI performance sports cars for defective backup lights and rear-view images. Subaru informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the backup light switch on the WRX and STI may corrode and become inoperative.
What is the problem?
The statement from the NHTSA says the defect can result in the backup lights not illuminating and the rear-view camera image not displaying when the vehicle is in reverse. Subaru estimates approximately one percent of the 2015-2021 models are affected.
Photo credit: Competition Subaru
Is there a safety risk?
The NHTSA report says, "The operating environment of the backup lamp switch may expose the internal switch contacts to heated oil. When heated, sulfur in the oil may cause a chemical reaction with the materials used on the switch terminal contact surfaces and plate spring. This chemical reaction may cause corrosion and a non-conductive film to form on the contacts resulting in poor electrical conductivity."
NHTSA goes on to say, "Over time, the backup lamp switch may become inoperative, which may result in the backup lamps not illuminating when in reverse gear, the rear-view camera (if equipped) not displaying an image, and the select lever/gear position indicator in the combination meter not displaying 'R' for reverse gear."
Photo credit: Competition Subaru
"If the backup lamps do not illuminate when the vehicle is in reverse gear, this may reduce the awareness of other motorists or road users of the driver's intention to operate the vehicle in reverse, increasing the risk of a crash."
"Additionally, a rear-view camera (if equipped) that does not display an image can reduce the driver's view of what is behind the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash."
Subaru says they know of only one technical report and zero vehicle owner queries (VOQs) in the U.S. market. Subaru is not aware of any crashes or injuries resulting from this condition. Diamond and Zebra Electric Mfg Co LTD. manufactures the back lamp switch for Subaru Corporation in Japan.
Are 2022 Subaru WRX models affected?
Subaru says a different switch assembly was introduced for the next-generation 2022 WRX model year at the start of production.
For all potentially affected vehicles, Subaru retailers will inspect and replace the backup light switch, as necessary, free of charge. 2015 -2021 Subaru WRX and WRX STI notification letters are expected to be mailed on September 19, 2022.
What should WRX/STI owners do?
WRX/STI owners may contact Subaru's customer service at 1-844-373-6614. Subaru's number for this recall is WRE-22. Check your vehicle's VIN to see if your performance car is affected by this recall.
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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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