Subaru is recalling 660,238 vehicles located in 20 US states that use salt on their roads. It's possible that salty water could splash onto the rear brake lines, and it could eventually cause corrosion and potentially perforation, leading to a fluid leak.

The recall covers the 2005-2009 Outback and Legacy, 2008-2011 Impreza, 2008-2014 WRX and STI and 2009-2013 Forester. However, only vehicles currently or formerly registered in the following snowy US states or districts are covered: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. The company previously recalled the 2005-2009 Legacy and Outback to repair this problem, and now it's added the additional models, plus any of the original cars it missed the first time.

According to the defect notice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Subaru found a total of 24 cases of corrosion in US leading up to the recall. There was a single case of actual brake line perforation, but it happened in Switzerland, according to the document. The company believes that it would take seven or more seasons of winter driving on salty roads before any corroding would begin.

To fix things, Subaru will inspect all of the affected vehicles to check for a fluid leak. All cars will receive a coating of anti-corrosion wax around the potentially affected area. If there is a leak, then the lines will be replaced and will still get the wax coating. The automaker will begin contacting owners soon, but company spokesperson Michael McHale also tells Autoblog that "customers can come in at their convenience." Scroll down for the NHTSA recall announcement or download the full defect notice as a PDF here.
Show full PR text
RECALL Subject : Brake Lines may Fail due to Corrosion
Report Receipt Date: JUN 10, 2014
NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V311000
Component(s):
Potential Number of Units Affected: 660,238
All Products Associated with this Recall
Vehicle Make Model Model Year(s)
SUBARU FORESTER 2009-2013
SUBARU IMPREZA 2008-2014
SUBARU LEGACY 2005-2009
SUBARU OUTBACK 2005-2009
Details
Manufacturer: Subaru of America, Inc.

SUMMARY:
Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is recalling certain model year 2005-2009 Outback and Legacy, 2008-2011 Impreza and 2008-2014 Impreza WRX/STI, and 2009-2013 Forester vehicles, currently, or formerly, registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. Salt water could splash on the brake lines through a gap in the fuel tank protector, resulting in excessive corrosion of the brake lines.

CONSEQUENCE:
Brake line corrosion may result in brake fluid leakage. Fluid leakage may result in longer distances being required to slow or stop the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

REMEDY:
Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will test the brake system by depressing the brake pedal and inspecting for brake fluid leaks. If no brake fluid seepage is observed, the affected areas will be rustproofed with anti-corrosion wax. If brake fluid seepage is observed, the brake lines will be replaced followed by rustproofing with anti-corrosion wax. These services will be performed free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783. Subaru's recall campaign number is WQK-47. Note: This recall supersedes recall 13V-110 which applied to certain 2005-2009 Legacy/Outback vehicles. Vehicles that were remedied under the previous campaign still need additional areas rust-proofed.

NOTES:
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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      Wm
      • 5 Months Ago
      GM has 6 million trucks and SUVs with the same problem, but refuses to recall them. They consider it a normal problem. The NHTSA opened and investigation in 2010 and upgraded it to an engineering analysis in 2011. The have been nearly 1,000 complaints filed and accidents with injuries. Still GM does not recall and they government won't make them. Interesting that Subaru takes full responsibility. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140513/AUTO0103/305130103
        Jesus!
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Wm
        Subaru takes responsibility nearly 10 years later you mean?2005 is first model year with this condition obviously. If it takes 10 years then I say that is normal for up north. They need to stop using salt and use a better alternative...they are out there.
          zchmcqn
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Jesus!
          Did both of you not read the article? It mentioned that they PREVIOUSLY recalled the 2005-2009 models. And now they're including new vehicles in addition to those that were MISSED during the previous recall (i.e. for those folks who did not bring their vehicles in the first time). And for the record nobody died as a result of this defect.
          krusshall
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Jesus!
          People's obsession with criticizing GM always leads to hypocrisy and obliviousness.
          oollyoumn
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Jesus!
          Well it does take some time for rust. Maybe it's taken this long for it to become a safety issue. Still quicker than GM's non-response.
      hatchmyback
      • 5 Months Ago
      I don't have Subaru but an aged Focus and noticed the very problem after last winter (lots of salt out here, sometimes beyond reason). The strange thing is that the lines corroded the most right behind engine (on the firewall, my model did not have plastic floor below the egine bay). Really hard to get there (I tried to spray some paint to protect it from more damage). I'll probably visit the junkyard to harvest replacement parts. t's funny that until last year I consider under-body corrosion the biggest issue - that actually held pretty well, will just respray it again.
        normc32
        • 5 Months Ago
        @hatchmyback
        This is a design problem from Subaru. The brake line actually rubs the frame on the girlfriends 2012 Forester. No rust yet the rust belt area she drives.
      AlwaysOn
      • 5 Months Ago
      I wonder what part of the brake line is corroding? It's my understanding that the lines are rubber. Must be the end fitting. ? I swapped mine out for some Stainless Steel bake lines so I wonder if I can ignore the recall?
        Sissyfoot
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AlwaysOn
        The flex lines from the body to the wheel are rubber, yes. Even your stainless braided lines are rubber or plastic inside. That's how they flex. From there to the master cylinder it's all hard steel lines. It sounds like the lines to the rear wheels pass through a cover for the fuel tank. My guess is that the anti-corrosion wax coating didn't make it past the holes in that cover, but salty spray can. Under that cover must be bare steel lines, and that's why they're rusting. I have a 2005 Outback. Time to call the dealer, I guess.
        GR
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AlwaysOn
        Brake lines are metal. Brake hoses are rubber. Upgrades like what you have changed the rubber hoses for SS hoses. The lines are still metal from the factory.
        normc32
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AlwaysOn
        The girlfriend's 2012 Forester the rear line rubs against the frame. No rust yet.
        normc32
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AlwaysOn
        The girlfriend's 2012 Forester steel line rubs against the frame.
      brux2dc
      • 5 Months Ago
      So if you're .25mi from DC in VA, can see the Potomac from the balcony, you can expect the river to magically stop all snow fall in VA?
      dinobot666
      • 5 Months Ago
      What about their corroding headgaskets? Why haven't they ever done a recall on those? They ALWAYS fail.
        normc32
        • 5 Months Ago
        @dinobot666
        Smoking on cold start 2012 Forester with 20K miles is not good. Add to that the thing sips coolant and needs topping off.
        GR
        • 5 Months Ago
        @dinobot666
        "ALWAYS"? Subaru had head gasket issues in the EJ25 engine from the early to mid 2000's. They remedied the issue around 2007 and head gasket problems have significantly declined. Earlier models and other engines were not affected so much. My '95 Impreza with the EJ22 made it to over 225,000 miles with no head gasket issues. In fact, it ran very reliably past 200,000 miles before things started to cause problems from age and wear.
          dinobot666
          • 5 Months Ago
          @GR
          They still have the same problems with their headgaskets on the EJ engines. The gasket in an '07 EJ engine is the same as the gaskets from years prior. It wasn't until the somwhat recent introduction of the F series engine, with better flowing heads did they finally solve the headgasket issue that plagues ALL of the EJ engines.
          GR
          • 5 Months Ago
          @GR
          Again, not quite. Not all EJ engines had HG issues. Older EJ22s like mine were just fine. Also, you don't hear of many MY 2008+ with HG issues as Subaru mostly remedied the issue by then. Also, the EJs are no longer in use. All models have the F Series engines making HG issues pretty much a matter of the past.
          Lab Rat
          • 5 Months Ago
          @GR
          That's part of the revision from EJ25 and EJ25T to EJ253 and EJ257... the head gasket from my Forester won't fit an earlier model.
          Gorgenapper
          • 5 Months Ago
          @GR
          @GR The 2015 STI still uses the EJ257.
      eric
      • 5 Months Ago
      Why not Colorado? There's salt in our sand here.
      Kumar
      • 5 Months Ago
      This is incorrect: "now it's added the additional models, plus any of the original cars it missed the first time." See below from the press release indicating previously recalled vehicles need to be brought in again: "Note: This recall supersedes recall 13V-110 which applied to certain 2005-2009 Legacy/Outback vehicles. Vehicles that were remedied under the previous campaign still need additional areas rust-proofed." I received notice for that previous recall a few months ago but everything came back ok, so I guess they'll get to have another look now that it's been through a few more months of salty love this past winter.
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