The Japanese automaker Subaru has issued a vehicle recall notice for nearly 50,000 “zombie cars,” because a defect can cause them to start themselves.
Models in the vehicle recall notice include Legacy, Outback, and Impreza models from 2010 to 2013.
The recall also includes the 2013 model Crosstrek.
All of the models on recall have CVT transmissions, or “continuously variable transmissions,” which can move seamlessly through an infinite number of gear ratios between a certain maximum and minimum value. This type of engine has better fuel efficiency than many standard engines.
The vehicle recall notice affects 47,419 vehicles total.
The problem, according to the notice issued to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is with the remote engine starter fob. “If the [remote engine starter] is dropped, the fob may malfunction and randomly transmit an engine start request without pressing the button.”
This can cause the car to start itself and continue running for as long as 15 minutes, or it can continuously start and stop until either the fob’s battery or the car’s fuel reserves are exhausted.
“The engine may inadvertently start and run for up to 15 minutes,” the letter said. “The engine may continue to start and stop until the fob battery is depleted, or until the vehicle runs out of fuel. If the vehicle is parked in an enclosed area, there is a risk of carbon monoxide build-up which may cause asphyxiation.”
If the vehicle is parked in an enclosed area, this puts the owners or passengers at risk of asphyxiation as carbon monoxide builds up.
The vehicle recall will begin at the end of April. Subaru will replace potentially faulty fobs for free through their dealerships.
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Every year, thousands of consumers sustain serious injuries from defective products. Many of these injuries could be avoided if the manufacturers or distributors of these products took additional steps to ensure consumer safety. Defective products that commonly cause injuries include medical devices, pharmaceutical products, and other defective products such as toys, cars and automotive parts.
To protect yourself and your family, it’s important to know what products have been recalled because they are defective or unsafe. Federal agencies such as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) frequently issue recalls for medical devices, drugs, and products that may be harmful to consumers.
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