The first automotive recall of the New Year goes to Subaru, which has discovered a potential problem with puddle lights that could lead to smoke or fire on 633,842 models sold in the United States.
Subaru told U.S. safety regulators that the recall concerns certain 2010 and 2011MY Legacy and Outback vehicles, 2006-2012MY Tribeca crossovers sold before January 2012, and some 2009-2012MY Forester crossovers, also sold before January 2012.
The Japanese carmaker said up to 53,999 of these vehicles may have been equipped with the problematic puddle lights, but since it cannot identify which cars feature them, it decided to widen the recall to include all cars.
Here's what Subaru told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
"A short circuit can develop when either the puddle light or connector are exposed to an electrolytic moisture source (such as road spray that has road salt in it) and it penetrates the circuit board of the puddle light or the pins of the puddle light connector(s)."
"Over time, migration of the moisture into the circuit board and/or into the connector cavity, may result in a short circuit of the puddle light system. This may generate heat which may melt the plastic resulting in smoke or fire."
The automaker's dealers will rectify the problem by installing an additional fused-harness. Subaru stated it will notify owners within the next few weeks with the recall expected to begin in February.