Subaru Recalls Nearly 500,000 Vehicles to Replace Defective Airbags Again

Althea Chang-Cook

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Subaru is recalling 497,922 vehicles to replace front passenger airbag inflators. These same vehicles were part of a recall in which defective Takata airbag inflators received temporary replacements until permanent ones were available.

The recalled airbag inflators may explode if a propellant they contain degrades after long-term exposure to high humidity or extreme temperatures, according to documents released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In this type of explosion, sharp metal fragments could strike the driver or passengers and cause serious injury or death. Subaru said there have been no injuries or deaths related to the issue.

Subaru already has begun notifying owners of affected Subaru vehicles and General Motors has begun notifying owners of affected Saab vehicles, which are based on the Subaru Impreza.

Neither Subaru nor GM immediately responded to Consumer Reports' requests for comment.

Across many car brands, tens of millions vehicles equipped with defective Takata air bags are under recall because these airbags may explode, according to NHTSA. 

The Details

Vehicles Recalled:
2009-2013 Subaru Forester
2003-2006 Subaru Baja
2004-2011 Subaru Impreza
2004-2014 Subaru WRX (Including STi models)
2003-2014 Subaru Legacy 
2003-2014 Subaru Outback
2005-2006 Saab 9-2X

The Problem: The airbag inflators may explode due to propellant degradation after long-term exposure to high humidity, temperature and temperature cycling. An inflator explosion may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death. 

The Fix: Dealers will replace the passenger air bag inflators, free of charge.

How to contact the manufacturer: Subaru owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-844-373-6614. Saab owners may contact the Saab Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-955-9007. There are three recall numbers for this issue: TKA-20, TKB-20, and TKC-20.

NHTSA campaign numbers: 20V003000, 20V002000, 20V001000. Owners can look up their 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) or the make, model, and year of their vehicle on NHTSA’s website to find out whether their vehicle is affected by this recall.

If you plug your car’s 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.

More from Consumer Reports:
Top pick tires for 2016
Best used cars for $25,000 and less
7 best mattresses for couples

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2020, Consumer Reports, Inc.