2008 Subaru Legacy seat belts / air bags NHTSA complaints: Air Bags

NHTSA — Air Bags Problems


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,742 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 Legacy seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2008 Subaru Legacy Owner Comments

problem #19

Jun 012015


  • 98,000 miles


Airbag warning light on the dashboard comes on intermittently, but now stays on the majority of the time. Took car to dealer for passenger airbag recall and they told me the airbag light on the dash is fault code 26. Many other Subaru owners reporting this exact same issue, which is related to faulty soldering of components in the overhead map light console. As this is a critical safety issue (passenger airbag may not deploy in an accident), Subaru should issue a recall to repair or replace the faulty component(s). Beware- serious safety issue.

- South Windsor, CT, USA

problem #18

Feb 152016


  • miles
In February, I received a recall notice regarding the passenger side air bag. The notice mentioned a parts shortage, and that I would be notified when the supply improved. I have not yet received that second letter. In the meantime, I am not able to allow passengers in the front passenger seat which is a significant inconvenience.

- Richmond, IN, USA

problem #17

Nov 152015


  • 89,000 miles
Airbag warning light on the dashboard comes on intermittently when starting the vehicle (fault code 26 - passenger air bag indicator failure) many other Subaru owners reporting this exact same issue, which is related to faulty soldering of components in the overhead map light console. As this is a critical safety issue (passenger airbag may not deploy in an accident), Subaru should issue a recall to repair or replace the faulty component(s).

- Hillsboro, OR, USA

problem #16

Feb 102013


  • 95,000 miles


Air bag dashboard light lights up intermittently when starting and driving. Problem has been occurring since 2013. Subaru dealer said problem is faulty soldering in the overhead console that controls airbag operation. Many internet complaints about this Subaru problem. Airbags won't work when dash airbag light is on. Subaru won't take responsibility for this safety issue. Charges $300+ to replace defective console.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #15

Feb 192016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2008 Subaru Legacy. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 15V323000 (air bags) and 14V311000 (service brakes, hydraulics) however, the parts to do the repairs were unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Mineola, NY, USA

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problem #14

Aug 012013


  • 82,000 miles
Dash warning light has come on and gone off on a regular basis since I purchased the car a little over 2 years ago. It seems to happen more in the winter. If I look online it appears as if there are many complaints about this part and the average cost seems to be 300-400 dollars to fix it. If an airbag is not working because of a faulty part I believe this to be a huge safety risk to anyone in the vehicle. With the recall on the brake lines in my car failing what would I do if I lost my brakes while driving and the air bag was not working?

- Freeville, NY, USA

problem #13

Jul 132015


  • 74,500 miles


I brought my car to the local repair shop when my airbag light on the dashboard was coming on intermittently. Unfortunately I had to take the car to the dealership for them to diagnose the problem. When I called bertera Subaru I made the first appointment they had available, which was two weeks from when I was calling. I dropped my car off on my scheduled appointment on July 10th at 10:30 am. Bertera informed me that my car should be ready for the end of the day. At 4:00pm bertera called to tell me that they were unable to take a look at my car and would not get to it for the rest of the day. Disappointed with the customer service, and still wondering what was wrong with my air bag I had to make another appointment for Monday July 13th. On Monday bertera informed me that my car was "cleared of all recalls" yet my airbag sensor needed to be replaced for $384 and if I didn't replace it I will still have to pay $120 for the diagnosis and that it is a safety hazard to continue driving because if I got in an accident the airbags would not deploy. I instantly looked online where I saw hundreds of complaints from Subaru owners with airbag problems. When I received the copy of my service the airbag light error was code 26. There was power and ground on input side, but the indicator "internally shorted". since the airbag does not work when the light isn't working properly this is extremely dangerous. I urge the NHTSA to let all potentially affected owners know about it. Please consider this complaint to further investigate Subaru and add this to the existing problem of takata defective inflator and propellent devices airbag recalls. This "internal shortcut" is also contributing to the defect in airbag deployment. Thank you for your time, stephanie desmond

- Agawam, MA, USA

problem #12

Jun 172015


  • 96,925 miles
On June 17 airbag light went on at startup and stayed on until I arrived at work. When leaving after 9hrs the light was off at startup. Since then the light comes on at least twice a week and stays on for two or three days then goes off. I am extremely concerned about their deployment in the event of an accident. I do plan on taking the vehicle to the dealer.

- Abingdon, MD, USA

problem #11

Dec 012008


  • 3,000 miles
Air bag problem light is on constantly whenever it's cool and humid, or cold outside. I've scanned for trouble codes, but no codes are present. A non-Subaru garage did troubleshooting but was unable to find any cause. Given other complaints, I'm distressed that this is a pervasive issue with the potential for serious injury or death. Subaru needs to do the right thing and fix these issues before anyone loses their lives.

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #10

May 202015


  • 79,634 miles
Airbag light on. Code read on/off switch above rear view mirror defective. With airbag light on the airbags are disable. This is a known issue and the vehicle needs to be recalled to fix problem.

- West Jordan, UT, USA

problem #9

Oct 152014


  • 105,000 miles


My airbag light had been turning on intermittently as is described by many 2008 Subaru Legacy and outback owners about a year prior to my accident. On October 15th, 2014, I lost consciousness while driving and went off the road and struck two trees. My vehicle was totaled with a cracked frame and it took two tow trucks and a winch to pull my car off of the trees. In this accident my airbags did not deploy and I suffered a fractured vertebra, a traumatic brain injury, knee injuries, and shoulder injuries. This is beyond wrong and Subaru know there are defective parts in these Legacy's and outback's as is outlined by all of the complaints out there online and with the NHTSA. I will not stop pursuing this until Subaru is held accountable ethically, as well as financially for the problems I have suffered as a result of their defective product.

- Steger, IL, USA

problem #8

Jan 102014

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Airbag light keeps coming on and off. I took it to the dealership in January and spent over $100 to have them tell me nothing was wrong. Now it keeps coming on and off all the time as of July 2014 until now. This is a common problem and is something that should be covered because it is a safety requirement by law likes seatbelt.

- Burlington , CT, USA

problem #7

Aug 042014

Legacy 6-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
Red airbag light in dashboard goes off intermittently, regardless of whether or not there is a occupant in the passenger front seat. According to the Subaru dealership service (glendale, ca), passenger airbag censor in the passenger seat is most likely the culprit, and passenger side air bag may not go off during a collision. Others Subaru owners have reported similar issue on legacygt.com, forums.nasioc.com, subaruoutback.org, and subaruforester.org.

- Burbank, CA, USA

problem #6

Apr 172014

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 90,537 miles
The airbag light on the dash came on while my daughter was driving this vehicle. Because the light had never come on while driving before and I had the same problem approximately two months earlier with my 2009 Subaru outback (vehicle safety complaint on file), I told her to find a safe area and stop and turn the car off and then turn it back on. After doing so she told me the light was now off. I told her to come home (she was just a few miles away) and watch to see if the light came back on again, because as I had earlier been told by a Subaru technician that when the dash "airbag" light was on that none of the vehicle's air bags would work in a collision. I took the vehicle to the dealer and told them the problem. They checked the computer codes and found the same code as in my 2009 outback (code # 26-passenger front seat system had failed) the map light/passenger seatbelt lamp assembly (part # 84621ag51A) which is located on the interior roof directly next to the rear view mirror had to be replaced. I was again told that because the air bags are a "supplemental system" they are not covered by any warranties. But seat belts being the "primary system" are covered. Since I had the same problem with my 2009 outback and the part was an in stock item and then it happened again with my 2008 Legacy, it seems a bit strange to me that Subaru does not know that they have a problem with a part that controls the airbags in their cars. "love" (pun is intended) to know when the recall will happen! I had to pay another $200 to fix a problem that will allow my vehicle's airbags to work in the event of a collision because the airbags are considered a "supplemental system" in a vehicle that is advertised as a very safe vehicle. The main reason I purchased two of them.

- Cumberland, RI, USA

problem #5

Jun 062013

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
The dashboard airbag light will come on indicating there is a malfunction with the airbag system. It used to go out on its own but now it stays on for days. Subaru has diagnosed and traced the problem to the overhead console component. When the dashboard airbag light is on, the airbags will not deploy in the event of a crash.

- South Burlington, VT, USA

problem #4

Apr 082013

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
My 2008 Subaru Legacy with 59K miles was having intermittent air bag warning light issues. The air bag light would turn off and on at random times with no pattern or reasons. The manual advises to have the air bag system immediately checked out to find reasons that would illuminate the warning light. Took the car to the dealer today and the problem was diagnosed as a faulty over head map console light cluster near the sunroof controls. The official part that has a short or faulty wiring is part # 84621ag51A. I only need the airbag wiring but unfortunately the entire overhead cluster is necessary because they don't have just an airbag wiring replacement part. The total cost to have the air bag system back to working order was $294 complete. I have ran an internet search engine and this issue is very common. It seems irresponsible for Subaru to have such an important safety system be disabled by a faulty crappy soldering job in the over head map light console.

- South Jordan, UT, USA

problem #3

May 152013

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Subaru Legacy. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the driver's side air bag warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not repaired or taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000.

- Marshall, NC, USA

problem #2

Jan 082013

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 76,505 miles
I own an 08 Subaru Legacy 2.5I sedan with approximately 77000 miles on it. At approx. 76000 miles, the "airbag" warning light came on in the main dash cluster. Referring to the owner's manual, all it said was that this light indicates a problem with the airbag system and that the system may not allow the airbags to deploy at all during a collision, or may deploy with even a light collision. It recommended to take the vehicle to the dealer immediately. I took the car to the Subaru dealer I have always had service done, and they told me the "lamp assembly - map" had an electrical short in it and needed replaced. An "electrical short"? that sounds very serious. With parts and labor, the cost came in at $389.30, which seemed quite excessive. As critical as airbag systems are, it would be reasonable to think that this type of problem should warrant a safety recall, especially given the warning in the owner's manual that the system may not function at all if not taken care of. Also, the service agent I spoke with at the dealer said there have been a "handful" of this type of problem, and treated the situation as routine....like an oil change or filter replacement. I also own a 07 Toyota rav 4, which has had several recalls issued for seemingly much less critical issues. All of them were taken care of by Toyota. I wrote a similar letter to Subaru America, explaining that, given this issue, I would have to think twice about purchasing another Subaru vehicle in the future. Thank you

- Golden, CO, USA

problem #1

Nov 152011

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Subaru Legacy. The contact stated that the air bag warning light was illuminated on the instrument panel. The warning light would mostly illuminate when the weather was colder. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician advised that the occupancy air bag module would have to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 83,000. Updated 12/13/12 updated 12/13/12

- Higganum, CT, USA

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