Subaru of America Inc. is recalling nearly 593,000 vehicles over faulty windshield wiper motors that could malfunction and, in some cases, start a fire. The recall campaign covers certain model year 2010 to 2014 Outback sport utility vehicles and Legacy sedan models. In its recall report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Subaru said the issue comes as a result of poor manufacturing of the bottom cover for the wiper motor installed in front windshields, which could cause interference between two motor components.
If there is an obstruction, such as snow or ice, the wiper may be prevented from returning to its normal resting position. When the wipers are turned off, the wiper arms will continuously attempt to return to their normal position, generating too much electrical current in the wiper motor bottom cover, the report said. “The windshield wipers may become inoperable, resulting in a possible collision, or a fire could start in the bottom cover area of the wiper motor,” the report said. To fix the issue, Subaru will replace the front windshield wiper motor bottom cover free of charge to customers. The automaker said it began notifying dealers on Sept. 26, and owner notification is expected to take place in October.
The recall is an update to a 2011 windshield wiper motor recall on 2010 to 2011 Legacy and Outback models due to a design issue related to certain components contained within the wiper motor bottom cover. According to Subaru’s recall report to NHTSA, Subaru sent a notice to its parent company Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. in 2013 informing it that a wiper motor had emitted smoke and caught fire in a vehicle whose model was outside the range of previously recalled vehicles. Fuji launched an internal investigation, and on Sept. 16 concluded that the issue stemmed from “inappropriate manufacturing processes,” and was different from the issue found in the 2011 recall. As a result, all repaired vehicles under Subaru’s 2011 recall that are subject to the new campaign must be recalled again.
According to a Subaru spokesperson, there have been no accidents or injuries associated with the recall. This is not Subaru’s first recall of 2016. The automaker recalled approximately 300,000 vehicles in May to replace possibly defective air bags manufactured by Takata. The recall was part of a larger announcement by automakers including FCA US LLC and American Honda Motor Co. recalling approximately 12 million vehicles.
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