Buyers beware! Your Subaru Outback or Legacy could experience steering failure at any time. Well, Subaru America has discovered that around 48,500 models from the above-mentioned brands could have been fitted with faulty steering columns. The problem came to light at the beginning of this month when an affected customer reported a steering column failure on a 2016 Subaru Outback. Subaru acted swiftly to stop sales of the affected models on May 9th and issued a recall on 10th.
The automaker went a step further to warn owners no to drive the affected models until the issue is resolved. Luckily, there are no reported cases of injury or accident related to the faulty steering columns.
Subaru Legacy and Outback Recall-What is the problem?
The problem is that the steering column can experience a total loss of steering connection to the front wheels. However, in most cases, only looseness in steering feel is experienced. According to Subaru, the problem is as a result of an incorrect setting for an equipment used in building the steering columns.
This tool could have machined the steering column shafts in a faulty way meaning the shafts might not engage properly which may enable the steering wheels to rotate freely.
According to Subaru America, around 48,500 models may be affected. These models are 2016 and 2017 Subaru Outback wagons and Legacy sedans. However not all models but rather those built between 29th February 2016 and 6th May 2016.
Of those models, around 22,000 had already been bought while the rest are in dealer showrooms or in the production pipeline. Some 2015 Outbacks, specifically those built on 14th May 2015 may be also affected as they got the defective columns as repair.
What should affected customers do?
As said above, Subaru is advising owners of the affected models to stop driving them immediately and take them to Subaru dealers to be checked. To tell if your car was built during the specified period, check a sticker on the driver’s doorjamb which carries the month of manufacture.
You might wonder how you will take your car to the dealer and you have been advised to stop driving it, well, upon your call to the dealer, the dealer will send a towing truck to your location and tow it for free. If the dealer establishes that your car needs repairs, you will be given a free loaner or a rental car as your car gets fixed.
The repair takes roughly an hour; the automaker says that the inspection does not take long and that the repair is easy. However, affected customers might wait for a few days as Subaru manufactures additional steering columns. According to the automaker, dealers are currently fixing models in their dealerships. As such, if you want to buy any of the affected models, talk to your local dealer to find out if there is an available model.
As Subaru deals with this steering wheel column defect, the automaker is also grappling with another recall. The automaker is recalling around 766 2015 Subaru Legacy and Outback models made on 20th July 2015. The models have a problem with their electronic stability control systems. Subaru observes that brake fluid used on these cars may have excess moisture which might affect the performance of the stability control system which may result in poor vehicle control leading to crashes. Luckily, no accidents linked to the problem have been reported.