Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) announced a recall of over 660,000 cars and SUVs for possible brake line corrosion issues that may result in brake fluid leakage. Loss of fluid could lead to longer stopping distances, increasing the risk of a crash.
There is a possibility that salt water forming from the mix of road salt and rain or snow could splash on brake lines through a gap in the fuel tank protector. Excessive corrosion of the brake lines could occur and compromise their structural integrity. The company stated [pdf] that since the center and rear brake lines work independently of each other, there is no possibility of a complete system failure and a total loss of braking ability unless both systems fail simultaneously. The company also noted that a leak in a brake line would be cause for an illumination of the brake warning light on the instrument panel of the vehicle. Even though a driver may be aware of the problem, he or she may misjudge the decreased stopping ability of the vehicle.
This is the second time many of these vehicles have been recalled for essentially the same issue. In March 2013, about 274,000 2005-2009 Outback and Legacy cars were recalled for this issue. The NHTSA is including [pdf] these vehicles in the new recall to have additional areas rustproofed.
The recall includes vehicles registered or sold in states where salt is used on roads during the winter. The states included are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.
Subaru is not aware of any accidents or injuries attributable to this defect. According to a company bulletin sent to dealers, the recall campaign will begin within the next 60 days. Dealers will be responsible for performing corrective measures on vehicles brought in by customers, under recall or for other services, and to fix new, used and demo vehicles in dealer stock.
Fixing the vehicles involves pressing the brake pedal while observing and inspecting for brake fluid leaks. If no leaks are found, the affected area will be rustproofed with an anti-corrosion wax. If fluid seepage is found, the brake lines will be replaced and rustproofed with anti-corrosion wax.
The recall covers the 2005-2009 Outback and Legacy, 2008-2014 Impreza WRX/STI, and 2009-2013 Forester.