Subaru is recalling almost 50,000 vehicles that creepily start by themselves. The issue is the result of a remote starter glitch.
The recall affects some Legacy and Outback cars that have model years 2010 through 2013. The recall also includes Impreza sedans from 2012 and 2013 as well as XV Crosstrek crossover vehicles with a 2013 model year.
The Subaru recall was announced after documents were filed with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The documents filed with the NHTSA state that the problem happens if the remote starter key fob is dropped.
The act of being dropped can cause the engine to start, even if the ignition button was not pressed. The engine will run for up to 15 minutes and could continue to start and stop until either the fob’s battery is depleted or the vehicle runs out of gas.
The problem could be fatal for the car’s owner, should it be parked in an enclosed area, like a garage. There could be a risk of asphyxiation from carbon monoxide.
Thankfully the so-called “zombie car” problem is not a difficult fix. Subaru’s recall will start at the end of April when the automaker will replace the remote start key fobs free of charge. Cars that came with an original equipment keyless entry fob that is integrated on the vehicle’s key aren’t affected by the recall.
This is the second recall for Subaru so far in 2013. The automaker was forced to recall almost 634,000 sedans, wagons, and crossovers because of an electrical problem that could result in a fire. The cars are relatively late model and only about 54,000 of the vehicles recalled have to be repaired.
Subaru spokesman Mike McHale assured of the first recall, “There have been no incidents of injury or accidents.” He explained that the company had only received about 10 reports where a short happened and resulted in smoke. There were no reported incidents of a vehicle fire.
Subaru will notify the owners of the recalled vehicles so that they can receive a replacement remote starter from the dealership. The problem poses no risk while driving, because the starter system is disabled once the car is started with a key.