Subaru recalls 33K new Imprezas for stalling engines

Thanks a lot, winter fuel blends.

Subaru

Subaru's can thank Old Man Winter for prompting its latest recall.

Subaru issued a recall for 33,131 examples of the 2017 Impreza, in both hatchback and sedan variants. The affected vehicles have build dates between September 23, 2016 and March 21, 2017.

Joe Namath's arch nemesis is to blame for this recall.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

The culprit in this case is the engine, brought on by using "winter blend" fuel. Under low-speed or high-temperature conditions, fuel may vaporize inside the fuel line. This could cause a drop in fuel pressure, which can make an engine operate roughly or stall out completely. In certain cases, it may take a little while for the engine to start again.

The common name for this issue is vapor lock. You may have learned about it from "The Simpsons." Thanks, Joe Namath.

Winter blends are commonly introduced across the chilly regions of North America. In order for an engine to work correctly, its fuel must vaporize. Winter blends are capable of vaporizing at lower temperatures, helping to ensure proper functionality when it gets chilly out.

Thankfully, after digging into the issue, Subaru found that it was merely a computer issue. The computer that operates the radiator fan was not set to kick on at a low enough temperature. And since the fan wasn't cooling the fuel down properly, it can get too warm in the lines and vaporize early -- and boom, vapor lock's your uncle. A simple reprogramming of that computer is all it takes to fix the problem. Owners will be notified by first-class mail.

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