Defective airbag sensor leads to 366,000 Subaru Foresters recalled

NHTSA opened an investigation into the matter this past August, and now, the automaker will fix the issue at hand.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
2016 Subaru Forester
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2016 Subaru Forester

Affected Foresters may need a new sensor map harness.


An investigation into faulty airbag sensors for front passenger seats fitted to certain Subaru Forester vehicles, one of the automaker's most popular models, has ended with the company recalling affected crossover SUVs .

Subaru filed documents to recall the vehicles with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Oct. 3, and in total, 366,282 Foresters are involved in the new recall. Affected models come from the 2015-2018 model years, while a NHTSA investigation originally focused on just the 2016-2018 model years. The total number of cars has dropped, however. The federal agency originally investigated some 500,000 models for the airbag sensor defect.

The Japanese automaker traced the airbag sensor defect back to models equipped with heated seats. According to the documents, an electrical connection within the seats could loosen over time and cause a decrease in contact pressure. If this happens, the occupant detection system may not function properly and could deactivate the passenger airbag. If the airbag doesn't deploy in the event of a crash, the potential for injury increases.

Subaru said it's not aware of any injuries related to the defect, however. Owners may see the airbag warning light illuminate if the problem occurs and the indicator reading "passenger airbag off" will also illuminate.

Notifications for owners will start on Nov. 29 -- the delay is due to a lack of parts to perform the fix. Those who receive a notice will need to take their Forester to the dealer. There, a technician will inspect the sensor mat harness. Should it exhibit the problem, Subaru will install a new one for free.

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