Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
191 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2008 Subaru Impreza seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2008 Subaru Impreza Owner Comments

problem #13

Jan 162009


  • miles


I was involved in a direct head-on mvc traveling 35 mph(at time of impact). The front passenger was wearing the seatbelt appropriately. The airbags did not deploy and the front passenger's head made contact with dash. This passenger did sustain a moderate neck injury presenting the following morning requiring evaluation and treatment in an emergency department. There was significant damage to the front of the car and the car is not drivable.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #12

Jan 072009


  • 1,000 miles
Passenger airbag on/off light cycles between off and on when a passenger of 100lbs is seated in the seat.

- Forest, VA, USA

problem #11

Jan 092008


  • miles
The passenger frontal airbag periodically turns off when my girlfriend is sitting in the passenger seat. She weighs approximately 125 lbs and when she is sitting in the passenger seat the passenger frontal airbag will haphazardly change from "on" to "off" when it is supposed to be remaining in the "on" position.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #10

May 302008


  • 50 miles


Front passengers sitting correctly that weigh between ~95 and 120lbs do not activate the airbag or the airbag light is intermittent.

- Plainfield, IL, USA

problem #9

Oct 262008


  • 200 miles
2008 Subaru Impreza front passenger air bag sensor turns off and on while my wife 5'1" 110 lbs sits in front passenger seat. Dealership originally stated the sensor is set to detect 80lbs. Dealership is now stating sensor is set to 125 lbs and nothing can be done to remedy this situation.

- Walnut Creek, CA, USA

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problem #8

Sep 172008


  • miles
My 24-year-old daughter, who is 5'2" and weighs approximately 100 pounds, was sitting in the passenger seat of my 2008 Subaru Impreza for the first time when we discovered that the passenger occupancy sensor does not register her weight and shuts off the passenger-side airbag. By moving around and adding weight to the seat we were able to turn the airbag back on temporarily -- but when she is just sitting in the seat as she normally would, her weight is not high enough to trigger the sensor. I called the Subaru dealer, who told me that there is no way to change the calibration of the weight sensor. The sensor cutoff is unreasonably high; there are many adults who do not meet this weight requirement (a google search turned up many similar experiences with Subaru). This miscalibration could have dangerous -- even fatal -- repercussions.

- Bayside, NY, USA

problem #7

Aug 182008


  • 500 miles


The front passenger airbag off light turns on and off randomly when my wife is in the seat....she is 5ft 2in and 119lbs. Often as we are traveling down the road with her in the front seat the airbag is off. This failure occurs frequently and despite the fact that she is restrained and seated as outlined in the owner's manual. After multiple discussions with the dealer and Subaru customer service we are advised that there is nothing they can do as the car is designed this way. For our purposes this vehicle does not consistently provide the safety benefits of a front impact the manufacturer not responsible to remedy this?

- Georges Mills, NH, USA

problem #6

Jul 302008


  • 500 miles
Immediately after purchasing a new 08 Subaru Impreza, I noticed that the passenger airbag on/off warning light will intermittently switch back and forth from on to off when a person 5'11' and 160 lb was sitting on the passenger seat. I went to the dealer and they recalibrated the cushion seat weight sensor. This did not solve the problem. I went back and, according to the dealer, following Subaru's instructions, they replaced the seat cushion (including all the sensors in it). This again did not solve the problem. The dealer maintenance manager told me that the weight sensors are very sensitive and all the Imprezas exhibit this (don't know why they would replace the seat cushion if they all exhibit this). I requested to meet the regional service manager, which has not happened yet. This is a severe safety failure with potential catastrophic consequences. My vehicle has now less than 3,000 miles. Updated 10/03/08

- Oak Park, MI, USA

problem #5

May 302008


  • 15 miles
Passenger air bag light goes on and off. My wife weights 120 and it some time goes on and stays on then the next minute it goes off. I have had the dealer address this issue twice now and same response. "don't worry it will deploy regardless if the light goes on or off". honestly can't believe that. They also said (sherman oaks Subaru" that they have addressed the problem to Subaru and they said its a light issue and don't worry about it. That is not a good answer since this is a safety issue. Plus they say they can't duplicate the problem. In the iwsti chat room their are about 10 complaints of the same problem for the 2008 Subaru WRX sti. This needs to get addressed!

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #4

Aug 252008


  • miles
The passenger seat airbag in my 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX sti does not turn on when a passenger sits in the seat.

- Kennett Square, PA, USA

problem #3

Jun 242008


  • 90 miles


Passenger side airbag goes on and off, when my 18 year old daughter sits in seat! she's 5'2" 130lbs. Took to dealer and they had her ride in two Impreza's off the lot and they all did it!

- Colfax, IN, USA

problem #2

Mar 262008

Impreza 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126 miles
Passenger airbag failures in 2008 Subaru Impreza outback sport: I purchased a 2008 Subaru Impreza outback sport one month ago, 4/17/08. I realized a few days after owning the car that the passenger airbag is only activated by passengers over 130 pounds. I am 49 years old, 5'4" and weigh 125#. the airbag is off anytime I am in the passenger seat, no matter how I sit in the seat. Same result (off) happens with my 16 year old daughter who is 120# and a couple of her friends who are between 105-115#. I then had two children, 87# and 95# sit in the passenger seat. The passenger airbag was off. The passenger airbag light is on when my sons are in the seat. They weigh 150# and 160#. I called Subaru service and they said the passenger airbag is set to be on for persons over 80# and they recommended I bring the car in to get checked. I took my car to Subaru service and they said "the passenger airbag is operating properly according to government standards." I called Subaru corporate office and they said the same thing. I went back to the Subaru dealer and sat in two identical Impreza outback sports and the exact same result that the passenger airbag was off. I also sat in four 2009 Subaru foresters and the passenger airbag was off in 2 of the 4. I sat in two 2008 legacy outback wagons and the passenger airbag was on. I sat in two 2008 tribecas and the passenger airbag was on. Subaru is not being cooperative in resolving the situation.

- Solon, OH, USA

problem #1

Oct 252007

Impreza 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Bought new Subaru 2008 Impreza outback sport wagon- passenger side frontal airbag does not turn on if passenger weighs 100-107 lbs (that is us)and only noticed wk 3 since no passenger until then. Only works with heavier guys. No fix per Subaru. Apparently I see online that there have been earlier complaints of same problem in Subaru for past 2 years, even other models. Why is this not reported or fixed. Other makes do it well for any person >65 lbs.

- Brookline, MA, USA

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