Fire 'em Up: Subaru Subwoofers Belt Out Hot Tunes

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
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fire em up subaru subwoofers belt out hot tunes

Look, I’ll take this opportunity and cop to the fact I spent entirely too much money on aftermarket stereo systems when I was a kid. There is a very good chance, actually, that most of my systems were worth many multiples of the car in which they were installed.

This is why I applaud manufacturers who offer oontz-oontz-oontz levels of tunes as factory options. Subaru did just this on their 2015 WRX and WRX STI. However, it would seem that teenage Matthew was not the only one to haphazardly install speaker wiring, as the Exploding Galaxy has recalled 9,178 Rexys for a fire risk in the factory subwoofer.

According to an NHTSA recall, certain 2015 Subaru WRX and WRX STI models equipped with the optional factory subwoofer could experience an electrical short in the wiring, possibly leading to a fire. According to the recall report:

The subject vehicles are equipped with a factory installed subwoofer, which is located inside the trunk. Luggage in the trunk could contact subwoofer wire and move the wire out of its fixed position. If the wire touches the metal frame of the subwoofer, this may result in an intermittent short, causing the integrated circuit (IC) in the subwoofer amplifier to be damaged. In some case, the damaged IC may create a continuous electrical current into the subwoofer. If this occurs, the subwoofer could overheat, increasing the risk of a fire.

Once again, The Man is trying to stop kids from listening to modern music.

The recall goes on to clarify that the location of the subwoofer wire makes it susceptible to potential contact with subwoofer frame when cargo in the trunk hits it. Also, the subwoofer amplifier has insufficient protection from an intermittent electrical short. Crackling noises will likely occur when intermittent short happens, so the recall recommends turning off the audio system to prevent this defect from occurring.

You can’t tell me to turn off my music, NHTSA! You’re not my dad!

Ahem, yes. Anyway.

Owners of the affected cars will be notified and can then go to their dealer, who will fix the problem by plugging the thing into the thing. Actually, the dealer apparently has one of two options: installing a spacer clip on the wire or replacing the entire subwoofer and amplifier. We recommend owners demand the latter.

The NHTSA recall number for this issue is 17V-625, while the manufacturer’s recall number is WTQ-76. Get it fixed, kids. Don’t let The Man keep you from rocking out.

[Image: Subaru]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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6 of 18 comments
  • Pwrwrench Pwrwrench on Nov 02, 2017

    I have seen electrical shorts heat wires and melt the plastic insulation even on fused circuits. A few times trouble snowballed through the electrical system until it reached something tied directly to the battery leading to a fire. Also I have seen the results of "professional" audio installers doing bad things to wiring harnesses. This results in something electrical not working, the car unable to start up, or major (expensive) repairs required. One audio shop installed kick panel speakers in a Mitsubishi. They drilled through the PCM. BTW most don't know or care about time alignment or phase distortion. They just want a loud, "Woom-Ka-Boom"

    • See 3 previous
    • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Nov 03, 2017

      @JimZ The speakers that sound better on the board are going to sound better installed. Look at it this way: if it already sounds bad on the sound board, it's going to sound even worse in the vehicle. Why do you think you can't turn the sound board up as loud as you want, anyway? I have returned aftermarket Pioneer speakers that I wasn't able to listen to on a sound board, because they were even worse than the factory speakers. But yes, I'm sure it's all just junk and it only seems better because they or their friends have been suckered into buying it and so their minds play tricks to avoid damaging any egos. Maybe it only happens in a social context, thus rendering you immune to its effects. If only we had had the guidance of a brilliant mind like yours. You should volunteer as a mentor. Make sure the next generation of kids knows that everything sucks so they don't waste any money and can just stay at home on the computer and be miserable in solitude.


    Isn't this how the term hot hatch came to be?

  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.