In recent months, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported on recalls by automobile manufacturers involving vehicles that have experienced sudden movement. In most of these cases, the cars began moving unexpectedly because of issues with malfunctioning parking brakes or parking gears that didn’t completely set. Either way, drivers, passengers and pedestrians were all in danger of accidents caused by rollaway vehicles.
But now Subaru is facing an entirely new danger with vehicles that are self-starting. Subaru of America and the NHTSA recently announced that approximately 47,419 vehicles are being recalled due to a problem with their remote engine starter accessories. Manufactured by Audiovox, the RES devices have become a popular option in some Subaru vehicles, as people who live in colder areas of the country like to be able to hit a button from inside the warmth of their homes to allow their vehicles to start and warm up.
Unfortunately, if a driver accidentally drops his RES device, it could alter the way it communicates to the vehicle, causing models equipped with the CVT transmission to start on their own. The vehicles could respond in different ways to unexpected engine ignition, as some could shut off after several minutes or start and stop multiple times. In either case, a driver could be left with less fuel than believed to be in the tank. But even more dangerously, a vehicle stored in a garage or concealed place could run as long as it takes for the fuel to run out, allowing the buildup of carbon monoxide, which can cause unconsciousness and/or asphyxiation in extreme exposure.
Involved in this recall are Outback and Legacy vehicles with model years between 2010 and 2013, as well as 2012 and 2013 Impreza vehicles and 2013 XV Crosstreks. Subaru will begin notifying affected vehicle owners in April; however, consumers who own one of these Subaru models with the CVT transmission and RES starting devices should contact the company at (800) 782-2783 for additional information and to schedule their free repair and replacement devices.