Piston Slap: Flammable Subies Up North, But Tennesseein' is Believin'!
Hi Sajeev, I own a 2002 Subaru WRX wagon, and live in Tennessee. Last month, Subaru and the NHTSA issued a recall for certain 02-03 WRXs in northern states. The recall states that in cold weather, there may be an underhood fuel leak. Tennessee is not considered a cold-weather state, so my car is not officially part of the recall. But I’ve noticed that if the temperatures get down to the 20s (not particularly cold, in my book), I can definitely smell raw fuel coming from the engine bay. I’ve called two dealerships in my area, and neither of them have heard anything about the recall. I called Subaru directly, and they are insisting that I take my car to a dealer for an inspection. Naturally, the cost of this inspection will only be refunded if the car is then included in the recall. I do not at all like this option. Any ideas on where else to turn?
Offsetting planned losses via regional recalls makes me sick. Look, it even snowed in Houston this winter. TWICE. It’s been mighty cold outside, so maybe Subaru should send a letter to “not affected” customers saying they aren’t worth a service tech’s inspection skills?
Because that is the end game: so get the local community involved. Forget about complaining to Subaru’s customer help line, talk to NHTSA and consumer advocates for advice. I’d start with those bloodhounds on local TV: this makes for great news. My local CBS affiliate was the first to blow out the Ford Explorer/Firestone problem, so to speak. Point is, this stuff works.
If all else fails, go to the local courthouse and file for arbitration. That certainly gets Subaru’s attention: legal fees are far more painful than fixing your trivial fuel line. So here’s the cop out from the horses’ mouth:
Recall Number: 09V468000
Dates Manufactured: Sep 2000 to Sep 2002
Number of Vehicles Affected: 5724
Date Owners Notified On: Dec 2009
SUBARU IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2002-2003 IMPREZA WRX VEHICLES ORIGINALLY SOLD IN OR CURRENTLY REGISTERED IN THE STATES OF SOUTH DAKOTA, NEBRASKA, NORTH DAKOTA, MINNESOTA, IDAHO, IOWA, MONTANA, COLORADO, WISCONSIN, NEW YORK, WYOMING, MICHIGAN, ALASKA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, VERMONT, AND MAINE. DURING COLD STARTS, TYPICALLY UNDER EXTREMELY COLD TEMPERATURES, FUEL LEAKS IN THE FUEL DELIVERY LINE COULD OCCUR WHERE THE LINE CONNECTS WITH A RUBBER HOSE.
Consequence of Defect:
FUEL LEAKS, IN THE PRESENCE OF AN IGNITION SOURCE, COULD RESULT IN A FIRE.
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE FUEL LINE FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING DECEMBER 2009. OWNERS MAY CONTACT SUBARU AT 1-800-782-2783.
SUBARU RECALL NO. WVK-21. OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION’S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.
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