If you own a Subaru Forester, check your VIN number.
Subaru is recalling certain 2015-2018 Forester vehicles equipped with heated seats after it was discovered that an electrical connection in the front passenger seat may loosen. If that happens, the front airbag may deactivate, meaning it won’t activate if you’re in a crash.
The recall affects 366,282 Foresters with heated seats, but it’s estimated that only 10% of those vehicles have the defect. Vehicles that are not equipped with a seat heater are not affected because the sensor mat harness design is different.
Documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) say the connection in the electrical harness for the occupant detection system (ODS) sensor determines if the seat is occupied and, if so, tells the system to make the airbag active. If it’s unoccupied, the airbag is made inactive. If the sensor becomes loose, it could result in the system not being able to determine if the seat is or isn’t occupied, increasing the risk of injury to anyone in the passenger seat of the vehicle if there’s a crash.
The NHTSA says Subaru will notify owners of the recall beginning Nov. 29, 2019. Dealers will then inspect and, if necessary, replace the ODS sensor mat harness, free of charge.
Parts are not currently available, but owners will receive a second notice when they are so they can take their vehicle in for servicing.
If you own a vehicle you believe may be affected, you can check the NHTSA’s website. Just find your model’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN), plug it into NHTSA’s website and, if a recall doesn’t appear, it means your vehicle is not affected. If it says your vehicle has been recalled, you’ll want to wait for further information from Subaru.
If you have questions, you contact Subaru customer service at 1-844-373-6614. Subaru’s number for this recall is WUM-98. You can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153).