Subaru Forester SUVs Recalled for Airbag Deactivation Risk

Jon Linkov

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Subaru is recalling certain 2015–2018 Forester SUVs because an electrical connection under the front seat cushion may become loose. If this happens, the front airbag may deactivate even if the seat is occupied. This recall only affects Foresters with heated seats.

Over time the connection in the electrical harness for the occupant detection system (ODS) sensor mat may become loose. This mat determines if the seat is occupied and, if so, tells the system to make the airbag active. If it’s unoccupied, the airbag is made inactive. The faulty connection could result in the system not being able to determine if the seat is or isn’t occupied.

Dominick Infante, Subaru of America Director of Communications, said in an email to Consumer Reports that the company isn't aware of any injuries or incidents related to this electrical problem.  

The Details

Vehicles recalled: 366,282 Forester SUVs with heated seats from the 2015 through 2018 model years.

The problem: Over time an electrical connection that is part of the occupant detection system (ODS) may become loose or unstable. If this happens, the system can’t tell if the seat is occupied, and therefore may deactivate the airbag.

The fix: Subaru owners will be notified of the recall beginning November 29, 2019, and will receive a second notice when the new parts are available. Subaru’s dealers will inspect the SUV and, if necessary, replace the ODS sensor and electrical harness free of charge.

How to contact the manufacturer: Subaru’s number for this recall is WUM-98. Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-844-373-6614. 

NHTSA campaign number: The NHTSA campaign number is 19V701.

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall: NHTSA’s website will tell you whether your vehicle has a recall that needs to be addressed.

If you plug your car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) into NHTSA’s website and a recall doesn’t appear, it means your vehicle doesn’t currently have one. Because automakers issue recalls often, and for many older vehicles, we recommend checking back regularly.



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