The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a massive recall campaign today for some of the more popular Subaru models due to defective puddle lights that could short out and possibly lead to smoke and/or fire.

(*)While the recall notice lists a total of 633,842 Forester, Legacy, Outback and Tribeca models from various model years, Automotive News is reporting that there are only 53,999 units actually equipped with the defective lights, but Subaru is having to make the massive recall since it is unable identify which vehicles have the lights.

The problem with the 2009 through 2012 Forester, 2006 through 2012 Tribeca and the 2010 through 2011 Legacy and Outback is that the puddle lights mounted under the door mirrors can collect water or moisture, which can lead to the short. To fix the problem, Subaru is adding an extra fuse to the wiring harness as a part of the recall that will go into effect next month. For Forester owners, this is the second major recall in less than a year following the 275,000 units that were afflicted with faulty rear seatbelts.

For more information about the recall or to see if your vehicle applies, scroll down for the official NHTSA recall notice.
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Vehicle Make / Model: Model Year(s):
SUBARU / FORESTER 2009-2012
SUBARU / LEGACY 2010-2011
SUBARU / OUTBACK 2010-2011
SUBARU / TRIBECA 2006-2012

Manufacturer: SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC.
Report Receipt Date: DEC 26, 2012
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 12V602000
NHTSA Action Number: N/A
Component: EXTERIOR LIGHTING
Potential Number of Units Affected: 633,842

Summary:
Subaru is recalling certain model year 2010 and 2011 Legacy and Outback vehicles, certain model year 2006 through 2012 Tribeca vehicles sold before January 2012, and certain model year 2009 through 2012 Forester vehicles sold before January 2012. These vehicles may have been equipped with accessory puddle lights that, when illuminated, brighten the area under the doors of the vehicle. 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).

Consequence:
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.

Remedy:
Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will install an additional fused-harness, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin during February 2013. Owners may contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783 for more information.

Notes:
Subaru's recall campaign number is WQE-41. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.