— Following an investigation into passenger airbag problems in the 2012 Subaru Impreza, Subaru is recalling over 32,000 model year 2012 Impreza 4-door cars and station wagons. The investigation was opened after Impreza owners complained about passenger-side airbags turning off even though people were in the seats.
Subaru is recalling the cars after finding what can only be described as a strange cause for the airbag failures. The automaker says the airbag occupant detection system can fail if a front seat passenger uses a cell phone or other device that is plugged into the power outlet.
If that's not bizarre enough, the airbags can fail if the plugged-in device touches any part of the car that is metal.
Owners will see the airbag warning light come on and the passenger airbag indicator say "OFF." Additionally, the trouble codes B1650, B1760 and B1761 will be stored in the car's memory.
This has been an ongoing problem that Subaru should have fixed long ago by recalling the cars. The automaker issued a technical service bulletin (TSB 17-16-12) to dealers on May 29, 2012, yet a recall was never ordered and the problems kept occurring.
Subaru doesn't know when the Impreza recall will begin, but dealers will replace the airbag occupant control unit with a modified unit.
Owners of the 2012 Subaru Impreza can contact the automaker at 800-782-2783 and make reference to recall number WQT-55.