2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek - front three-quarter view, black

Subaru has issued one of the strangest recalls we've come across in some time. As it turns out, certain Subaru models may randomly start their own engines. The issue is confined to select models equipped with an automatic or CVT and the company's optional Audiovox remote engine starter (RES) accessory. If the RES key fob is dropped, it could "randomly transmit an engine start request without pressing the button."

Vehicles affected include the 2010-2012 Legacy and Outback with an automatic or CVT, 2012-2013 Impreza with the CVT, and 2013 XV Crosstrek with CVT (shown), all equipped with the Audiovox RES accessory. Likewise, certain 2013 Legacy and Outbacks may have received replacement RES fobs that could be affected. All told, 47,419 vehicles are included in the recall.

Should one of these cars start on their own, Subaru says they will run up to 15 minutes, but the vehicle may also continue to start and stop until either the battery in the fob dies or the car runs out of fuel. Of course, if one of these cars is parked in an enclosed area, that means harmful gasses could build up, which could be dangerous if inhaled.

The fix is an obvious one: Subaru will replace the RES fobs for free. Owners of the affected vehicles can expect to be notified by the end of April, though their car might let them know sooner.
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Report Receipt Date: FEB 25, 2013
NHTSA Campaign Number: 13V061000
Component(s): ELECTRICAL SYSTEM , EQUIPMENT
Potential Number of Units Affected: 47,419

Manufacturer: Subaru of America, Inc.

SUMMARY:
Subaru is recalling certain model year 2010-2012 Legacy and Outback vehicles equipped with an automatic or CVT transmission and an Audiovox remote engine starter (RES) accessory, certain model year 2012-2013 Impreza vehicles equipped with a CVT transmission and an Audiovox remote engine starter (RES) accessory, and certain model year 2013 XV Crosstrek vehicles equipped with a CVT transmission and an Audiovox remote engine starter (RES) accessory. Additionally included are certain model year 2013 Legacy and Outback vehicles that may have received replacement RES fobs. If the RES fob is dropped, the fob may malfunction and randomly transmit an engine start request without pressing the button.

CONSEQUENCE:
The engine may inadvertently start and run for up to fifteen minutes. The engine may continue to start and stop until the fob battery is depleted, or until the vehicle runs out of fuel. If the vehicle is parked in an enclosed area, there is a risk of carbon monoxide build-up which may cause headaches, dizziness or, in extreme cases, unconsciousness and/or asphyxiation.

REMEDY:
Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will replace the RES key fobs, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin by the end of April 2013. Owners may contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783 for more information.

NOTES:
Original equipment keyless entry fobs integrated on the vehicle key are not affected. Subaru's recall campaign number is WQF-42. 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.