NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 1996 Subaru Legacy

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 1996 Subaru Legacy, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA97010

    Component(s): Air Bags

    Summary: In its letter dated December 21, 1998, Subaru stated that the vehicles identified above will be recalled.Subaru dealers will remove the front towing/tie-down hooks.refer to NHTSA recall no. 98V-315 for details.


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE96075

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: December 18, 1996
    • Date Closed: April 30, 1997
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Air Bags

    Summary: ODI has reviewed 33 complaints of "oversensitive'' air bag deployment (I.e., any non-crash deployment) received by ODI and Subaru involving model year 1995 Subaru impreza & Legacy vehicles and all other impreza & Legacy vehicles equipped with air bag systems identical or similar to those in the 1995 impreza & Legacy; they are late 1994-1996 impreza and all1995 & 1996 Legacy (33 complaints out of 165,385 vehicles).ODI's analysis indicates that certain impreza & Legacy vehicles - - late 1994 & early 1995 impreza and all 1995 & early 1996 Legacy (29 complaints out of 95,678 vehicles) -- have much higher complaint rate than the remaining vehicles which are different in vehicle structure or equipped with different air bag sensing system.most of the complaints (26 of the 29) indicate that the vehicle's dual air bags deployed from an undercarriage impact with a curb, bump, dip, pothole, etc.in the remaining 3 complaints, the driver alleged that the air bags deployed inadvertently or without any impact.in 13 of the 29 cases, only the vehicle's front tow hooks reportedly were found damaged or showed evidence of impact, and in 6 other cases both tow hooks and other undercarriage components were reportedly damaged or impacted; no details were given in the 10 remaining cases.this PE has been upgraded to EA97-010


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE99067

    Component(s): Electrical System

    Summary: ODI has received 5,820 complaints concerning a variety of electrical system failures that result in the vehicle stalling.our complaint analysis indicates that the majority of these compaints are caused by alternator failure.in some instances, the vehicle is completely dead and will not restart.based on our investigation and the manufacturer's respomse, ODI is closing this investigation because the manufacturer has agreed to perform the owner nortification program cited above, including quarterly notifications to ODI.this program allows owners to get their alternator replaced for free.further use of Agency resources does not appear to be warranted.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists.ODI will continue to monitor this matter closely, and the Agency reserves the right to take further action on these models if warranted by the circumstances.

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