Subaru is recalling 366,282 Foresters from model years 2015-18 because the front passenger airbag may not go off when it should during a crash. The problem stems from Subaru’s “Occupant Detection System,” which may not be able to detect a person sitting in the seat due to a loose connection.
There’s an electrical connection under the passenger seat that may loosen over time, according to Subaru. That connection is necessary for the detection system to function. Subaru says that only cars equipped with heated front seats are subject to this recall, as those are the only ones equipped with the specific harness where this would be possible.
If your Forester is experiencing this problem, Subaru says you may see the “airbag warning” light illuminate on your dash. The “Passenger airbag off” indicator will also be illuminated, so that makes two different lights to check to see if your airbag is working. In turn, the seat won’t recognize the presence of a person in the front passenger seat, and the airbag may not deploy in a crash.
Subaru will inspect the vehicles it recalls and replace the sensor mat harness if necessary. If you own a 2015-2018 Forester with heated front seats, look out for a note in the mail informing you of a recall. You’ll need to take the car in to the dealer, where the recall work will be done free of charge. As of now, Subaru isn’t aware of any injuries or fatalities associated with this problem.