Subaru Brake Light Switch Can Malfunction Disabling Brake Lights and Causing No Start Condition

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Subaru Brake Light Switch Can Malfunction Disabling Brake Lights and Causing No Start Condition
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March 5, 2019

Subaru is recalling certain 2014-2016 Forester, 2008-2016 Impreza sedans, 2012-2016 Impreza station wagons, 2008-2014 WRX sedans (including STI), and 2013-2017 Crosstrek vehicles. Some contaminants may cause the brake light switch to malfunction, preventing brake lights from illuminating, preventing keyless ignition vehicles from starting, and CVT/automatic transmissions from being able to be shifted.

What's the problem?

Subaru's investigation into the problem began in March 2012 with the first report of a failed switch. Subaru determined that the switch was contaminated with oxidized silicon, which was not used in the manufacturing process of any related parts. Since it appeared the malfunction was due to external customer factors, Subaru deemed the problem to be an isolated incident.

Subaru continued to receive a small number of reports of failures and integrated a new switch into production in 2016 with higher resistance to silicon, which did not correct the problem. Ultimately, a replacement switch with a different mechanical design was incorporated into production in early 2019.

Brake lights that do not illuminate properly will not alert other drivers that the vehicle is slowing or stopping, increasing the risk of crash. Consequently, Subaru decided that a safety recall was warranted.

What happens next?

Subaru will notify owners and dealers will replace the brake light switch free of charge. The recall is expected to begin April 29, 2019.

Owners may contact Subaru customer service at (800) 373-6614. Subaru's number for this recall is WUE-90.