Subaru of America is recalling 32,400 2012 Subaru Impreza sedan and wagon models over concerns regarding faulty airbag deployment. The recall encompasses 2012 model year vehicles that were manufactured between April 21, 2011, and February 15, 2012. The recall does not include WRX or STI models, and is not connected with the Takata airbag recall affecting earlier Imprezas.

The issue is believed to stem from a malfunction in the occupancy detector’s capacitance sensor, which helps to identify when there is a passenger sitting in the seat. Basically, a variety of unanticipated conditions could prompt the detection system to deactivate when an adult is seated, preventing the airbag from deploying in a crash. These conditions include a passenger touching an electrically grounded part of the car (like the metal seat adjuster), using an electronic device (like a phone) plugged into the accessory power outlet, or sitting with damp clothes. It’s also reported that a cell phone left on the seat or a splash of water on the seat could trigger the failure. 

If the system is deactivated, the driver will receive an airbag warning light, while the passenger airbag indicator registers as being off.

Most occupancy detectors detect weight rather than electrical capacitance, and Subaru says the sensor, newly introduced for the 2012 model year, was not properly calibrated to filter out the above-stated conditions.

The recall was issued following a preliminary evaluation from the NHTSA in April, which was launched after 26 complaints from owners. Subaru says it has paid 25,000 warranty claims related to the issue since May.

Owners of all affected Impreza models should receive a mailed notification of the recall within the next 60 days, and can fix the issue by bringing their car to any Subaru dealership for the free installation of a modified sensor.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

I know someone out there will probably call me out for blatant fanboyism, but all things considered, this is a relatively mild recall. Yeah, I know having the airbags fail to deploy in a crash because you like playing Real Racing 3 isn’t exactly a good thing, but considering the other recalls we’ve seen recently, it could be worse.

I know someone out there will probably call me out for blatant fanboyism, but all things considered, this is a relatively mild recall.

How much worse? Well, earlier this year, Takata made the single biggest product recall in U.S. history when it recalled nearly 34 million vehicles for airbags that would rupture on deployment, sending metal fragments into the cabin, basically turning them into grenades. Or there’s the recall General Motors issued last year for 800,000 cars over faulty ignition switches. Both are believed to be the cause of multiple deaths and injuries.

So – only a five-figure number of cars are affected and no deaths or injuries have been reported yet. No biggie.

Still, Subarus have a reputation to maintain. Solid crash ratings and AWD grip go a long way, but if the airbags don’t go off, there’s an issue. 

If you happen to own a 2012 Impreza, check the dash to make sure the airbags are still on, then call Subaru customer service at 1-800-782-2783. 

2012-2014 Subaru Impreza

2012 - 2014 Subaru Impreza High Resolution Exterior
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You can read our full review here.

Source: Automotive News

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