Subaru to Recall 1.3 Million Vehicles for Faulty Brake Light Switch

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Like nearly every other carmaker, Japan’s Subaru was hit hard by the recall of vehicles equipped with Takata airbags that could have resulted in spraying the passenger compartment with tiny pieces of metal. On Friday the company said it plans to recall 1.3 million U.S. vehicles to fix a problem with a faulty brake light. That may surpass the number of vehicles recalled for faulty airbags.

According to a Reuters report last Friday, Subaru was planning a voluntary recall of up to 2 million vehicles sold in the United States, but a company official told CNET that the recall will involve about 1.3 million vehicles. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told The Wall Street Journal that a formal recall announcement will be posted this week.

Vehicles included in the recall are Impreza sedans and Forester and Crosstrek sport utility vehicles built between 2008 and 2017. As planned, the recall will include specific vehicles only. If the recall is expanded to include all that were built during those years, the recall will hit about 2 million vehicles, more than the Takata recall.

The recall will fix a problem with the brake light switch located behind the vehicle’s brake pedal. In some cars, some silicone-based products used to clean auto interiors can seep into the switch housing that could cause the vehicle’s brake light not to come on when the driver steps on the brake.

Stepping on the brake pedal still produces its predictable outcome — stopping the car safely. The brake lights may not work, but the brakes themselves are not affected by the flawed switch.

Non-functioning brake lights raise the risk of a rear-end collision. A Subaru spokesperson told CNET that it has received approximately 20 reports of the issue from customers. The Wall Street Journal reported that the company has received a total of 1,399 complaints.

U.S. owners of affected models will receive a written notice from Subaru within the next 60 days.

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