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Recalls: Subaru for rusted brake lines, Buick for loose steering wheels

About 200,000 2005-2009 Subaru Legacy and Outback models, plus a handful of new 2013 Buick Encores, are included in the recalls.

By Exhaust Notes Apr 2, 2013 6:44AM
Subaru is recalling about 200,000 cars for brake lines that can rust and leak fluid, according to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The brake lines on 2005-2009 Legacy and Outback models sold or currently registered in 20 "salt belt" states, along with Washington, D.C., can corrode due to a gap in a plate covering the fuel tank where a brake-line joint connector resides. That gap can let in a significant amount of salt water, especially when the cars are driven through puddles, Subaru said. The lines can then leak hydraulic brake fluid, which can reduce braking performance and increase the amount of distance needed to stop the car.

Subaru said that it discovered rust problems in May 2011 and that the brake lines could rust out after "seven or more winter seasons."

Subaru said that it was continuing to review registration data but that it expected about half of the 400,000 vehicles produced during these model years would need to be fixed, according to Subaru and The Associated Press. Subaru said that no customers have  reported any problems.

The full list of states affected: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Dealers will inspect the brake-line joint connector and cover it with wax and, if the connector is leaking fluid, will also replace the center and rear brake lines. Subaru did not say when the recall would begin, but owners can call the company at 1-800-782-2783 to find out if their car is included.

Federal recalls that only mandate repairs to vehicles in "salt belt" states have been criticized by safety advocates for not fully addressing the problems, since there is no telling how long a vehicle may have been exposed to salt in other states, despite its registration.

In March, Subaru recalled 47,419 cars, including later-model Legacy and Outback models, to fix faulty key fobs that could start the engines without an owner pressing the button.


General Motors is recalling 144 Buick Encores for steering wheels that can loosen and detach while driving, according to filings with NHTSA.

Certain 2013 Encore models have heated steering wheels that may not have been fastened properly, which could cause the driver to lose control. The Encore is a brand-new compact crossover built in South Korea.

GM has had other problems with steering wheels detaching on the first Chevrolet Cruze sedans. In April 2011, GM recalled 2,100 Cruzes for steering wheels that could detach from the column; in May 2011, nearly 129,000 Cruzes were recalled for steering gear shafts that could separate, again resulting in a loss of steering.

Dealers will inspect the fasteners on 2013 Encores and refit them as needed starting April 12. Owners can call GM at 1-800-521-7300.
Apr 2, 2013 8:21AM
I have owned 6 Subarus, 2 used, 4 new and never had a single issue with any of them.  I feel they are a very reliable car.  Mine got me home safely through many bad snowstorms on roads loaded with salt !
Apr 2, 2013 9:39AM

The two Subarus I haven since 1994 have virtually been100% reliable.  My 1994 Outback was traded in with 174,000 miles on it and hac been in the shop only three times.  My 2007 with 55,000 miles has been in the shop only once.  I'll put that up against any other car built.


Apr 2, 2013 10:32AM
Funny about all the comments on the subarus.  Legacy's and outback's are made here in the usa in Indiana and are among the most troublefree cars made with over 96% still on the road today. I own 3 Outbacks , 1) 213k miles troublefree. 2) 159k miles troublefree. And the baby 3) only 77k miles troublefree.   I love American cars Including my Subarus made here in America!
Apr 2, 2013 10:42AM
All cars break and all cars have good and bad points. I worked for G.M. & V.W. in the sixties & seventies & G.M. again in the eighties. Even Honda with whom I finished my career in the Nineties had problems. However I agree if you purchase a German made car be prepared to spend $$ on repairs...
Apr 2, 2013 9:15AM
I bought brand new Subaru Outback in 2011to make sure I won't have any headaches with fixing something in the car for a while  and... within first week I got misfired cylinder.... The car lost a charm of a new car....
Apr 2, 2013 9:07AM

Seriously issues with normal wear and tear along with climate conditions should not be a reason for a recall- When a car is inspected the mechanic should notice the problem. If the material used is faulty that's another issue.

Apr 2, 2013 7:46AM
Before all of the Japanese car haters jump on this, please do not forget GM's recall last year for mounting brake lines in a place where the front tires could rub against them while turning the steering wheel. Which is dumber, failing to take into account just how corrosive road salt is or mounting brake lines in a way that your tries will certainly rub through them??
  See, all manufacturers have recalls, and ANY recall is better than being left stuck road side from a mechanical failure!

More GM's with the possibility of steering wheels falling off? Seriously? I cannot think of a more inexcusable recall, except for wheels falling off, or brake pads missing (all things that leave you completely out of control and unable to avoid crashing.

  So, it looks like we are left with the following choices:

  A) Burn in a Ford (fuel leaks or gas tanks falling out)

  B) Crash in a GM (for several different issues), or combust from a NG leak

  C) Pull your floor mat out from under your gas pedal in a Toyota to avoid a crash

Well, if there is only one thing we are all assured of in's death. Dying in a car crash beats a long, slow, painful death from cancer!

Apr 2, 2013 10:23AM
What's the big deal? You pop a hole in a brake line because it rusts through go get it fixed on your own nickel. Why is the government even involved in this? We all understand steel rusts. Go remove and replace them with stainless if it bothers you at all. It certainly wasn't planned by any vehicle manufacture.
Apr 3, 2013 2:12AM
Have third Subaru now.  Have owned 1995 Impreza, traded in 1999 for a 99 Outback.  Now have a 2005 Outback.  I found them to all be reliable up to 200,000 miles before trading them off and the 05 has 169,000 on it.  AWD in them is very good in the snow.  Parts for routine maintenance, brake pads, rotors, bearings, etc., are very easy to find and affordable.  Rust has not been an issue on any of them, we just make sure we run them through a car wash after a huge snowstorm where lots of salt and sand is put down.  Any car will last a while if treated correctly.  BTW, I also have a 97 Cavalier, an 87 Ford F150, and a 95 GMC Jimmy.  All of those are over 200,000 miles and going strong.  You just have to take care of them top and bottom.
Apr 2, 2013 7:09PM
I completed the training of slightly over 550 high school students here in Ohio in Driver Education (in-car training.)  I asked each one if their parents ever checked under the hood to see if the oil level was normal and if the coolant level was correct.  A majority said they had never seen a parent check under the hood.  Ohio and many other states have a serious vehicle rust problem due to the salt placed on roads in winter.  But the corrosion problem on vehicles has gotten even worse since calcium chloride has been added to the salt.  An investigation by a Cleveland TV station revealed that calcium chloride is about 10 times more corrosive to unprotected steel than sodium chloride--common salt.  So the problem goes right to a lack of, at least, a yearly inspection of the underside of motor vehicles for signs of serious corrosion, especially to the brake lines.  The lack of overall concern for vehicle maintenance (checking under the hood, especially before a long trip, and having a yearly inspection of the underside of the vehicle), seems to be a big problem in the U.S.    The attitude seems to be, "Just drive it 'til it drops."  THAT attitude can be downright deadly to the driver, passengers and others on the road.
Apr 2, 2013 11:34AM
Did those of you slamming Subaru even bother to finish reading the article? Hmmmm, Subaru dealing with corroding brake lines after six or seven years.....second part of article: MORE GM'S ROLLING OUT OF THE FACTORY WITH IMPROPERLY SECURED STEERING WHEELS!! Give me the corrosion problem over losing the steering wheel....ANY DAY!!
  In the last 18 mos. GM has had recalls for loose steering wheels (TWICE), loose wheels, missing break pads, brake lines rubbed through by tires, fires, explosions, air bag problems, missing hood latches and more! Some of them do OK on crash tests but it's what causes those crashes that scares the heck out of me. Safer to swim with sharks than to drive a GM!
  Simply amazing the sheep that buy their products and support Obama. God help us!!


Te He, Audi, three times the cost and three times the repairs.

Nice to be rich.

Apr 2, 2013 12:26PM
I have owned 3 Subarus and while they are a great cars but they are not without flaws, unfortunately most of the flaws show up after expiration of the warranty. My 2001 Outback has 190k miles on it and it has had some problems, but it's still has at least another 100K left in it.  It has been a good reliable vehicle that I would recommend to anyone. I  hope the new Forester will be as good.   
Apr 2, 2013 10:27AM
Wife and I had a Subaru Loyal wagon back in about 1992.  Car was great on ice and snow, gutless as he...  After about 13,000 miles the entire engine had to be rebuilt!! We dumped it after that and will never touch a Subaru again
Apr 3, 2013 5:26AM
Subaru's, own them, love them.  I have a 2006 currently with no problems.  But will get it checked out.  Great little cars.  :)
Apr 9, 2013 5:34AM

Wow. We've had 2 Subarus. An '85 GL Wagon and, since 2000, the "new" '93 Loyale Wagon. 150,000 or so miles. We liked 'em both. So we got the new one when it was 7 years old and have been driving it for 13 years. Sure, it's had its problems. I justify this by trying to remember --- it's a MACHINE! For instance, starter motor problems years ago. So I took it apart and repaired, but the solenoid kept on failing. So, I bypassed it, with lamp cord and a pushbutton remote ignition switch located on the floor by the driver's left leg. On the plus side --- now it's practically theft-proof. Also, about a year ago, the cable release for the hood broke. Rather than trying to find and install a replacement, I studied the latch operation and found that a properly inserted awl (not to be confused with an owl, which is so much harder to work with!) will release the hood. Another theft prevention device. I should patent this stuff!! Now, somebody below was lamenting that Subaru hasn't protected the undercarriage. This is true. For the past couple of years, a rabbit has been taking up residence inside the engine compartment. I discovered this after awl-releasing the hood one fine spring day and being surprised by a bounding bunny --- out over the grill like he was shot from a cannon. That wasn't the worst of it --- turns out he liked some of our wiring. Luckily it was only the A/C compressor wiring, right up on top and easy to see and repair. But after the third repair we hit on a new strategy: 5 strategically placed fist-sized rocks and several square feet of loosely crumpled aluminum foil in all the good "nesting" spots. Works perfectly. Of course, we have to leave a note on the driver's seat: "Take out rocks before starting." Haven't forgotten yet. The old thing kind of crawls up hills, isn't the quietest car on the road, but it gets respectable mileage (26mpg), can't be automatically GPS-tracked by Big Brother, has handy, easy-to-use 4-wheel drive, and the thing never starts unless we put a little metal key in, turn the ignition switch to ON, and press the secret starter. No problems with gas lines or brake lines, either. Who could ask for more?

Apr 2, 2013 8:10AM

Don't what to call it, unskilled labor, ignorant designers, or lack of pride in what we produce.

One thing for sure is trying to make the most profit and a fast buck to please the investors and fatten the CEO's bank axccount.

Apr 2, 2013 9:21AM
Apr 2, 2013 8:06AM
Thank God mines a 2014 Subaru Forester.  WHEWWWWWWW   !!!!!!!!  Scared me there for a sec.
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