Fragile Valve Springs Leads to Global Toyota-Subaru Recall

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The defunct Scion brand isn’t done making headlines, it seems. The rear-drive FR-S 2+2 sport coupe is among a number of vehicles — mainly Subarus — recalled over valve springs that could break, leading to serious engine damage.

In total, some 400,000 vehicles built between 2012 and 2013 are included in the recall; among them, Subaru BRZs, Foresters, and Imprezas. The Japanese-market Toyota 86 and North American-market Scion FR-S, twins of the BRZ, feature the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

Of the group, Toyota has the smaller share, with 80,000 vehicles affected. Some 25,000 U.S. FR-S vehicles are included in the callback, all manufactured between March 2012 and July 2013. Subaru’s share includes 101,000 vehicles sold in Japan and an undisclosed number sold in the U.S. The production dates for these vehicles range from January 2012 to September 2013.

Ideally, drivers want their intake and exhaust valves closed during the combustion process, but that won’t be the case if one of your valve springs shatters. Both automakers warn of sudden engine stalls, which carries its own danger, and unavoidable engine damage should this occur.

Major financial damage might occur, too, but not to the driver. Subaru expects to pick up a major bill for the recall work, the Wall Street Journal reports, with the automaker planning to outline the financial cost in next week’s earnings report.

Scion owners should be notified of the recall in December, but there’s no word yet on when Subaru owners should check their mailboxes.

[Image: Subaru]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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6 of 16 comments
  • TomLU86 TomLU86 on Nov 01, 2018

    Recall, my fellow gearheads, that BMWs 2nd gen 3-series, came with an 'Eta', for "efficiency" 6-cylinder starting in 1984. This engine was tuned for "low end torque" and "efficiency". Part of the deal was "less robust valve springs" for less friction. This resulted in a red-line of 4700 rpm. I was a teen/20-something, and I was offended that BMW would foist this MOST unsporting drivetrain on my gullible fellow Americans, and yet, there it was. Weak valve springs.

  • Xtoyota Xtoyota on Nov 01, 2018

    Well....when the springs break and car won't go you can always use the car as a dog house :=)

  • Slavuta Slavuta on Nov 01, 2018

    I am waiting for some Subaru fanatics come and say, "my subaru ...." is super reliable.

  • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Nov 01, 2018

    I've never seen a valve spring shatter. When they fail they almost always break into 2 pieces. On non-interference engines the valve won't get bent and only the spring will need to be replaced. On interference engines yes that valve will often get bent.

    • See 1 previous
    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Nov 02, 2018

      @slavuta Yeah I got lucky when the timing belt broke on my 1997 Escort (joint Mazda/Ford design) for the 2.0 SOHC 4. The belt took out the crankshaft position sensor when it snapped but no head damage.