Subaru and General Motors Recall Vehicles...Again

Wagon Wheel - Craig Jewell

Subaru of America and General Motors are recalling cars to check for corroded brake lines and steering wheel problems, federal safety officials said on Tuesday.

Subaru is recalling about 200,000 Legacy and Outback sedans and wagons from model years 2005 to 2009 to check for corroded brake lines. GM is recalling 144 Buick Encores with heated steering wheels that were built between December 9 and 28 last year because the steering wheel could come loose or separate from the steering column.

An official recall notice released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that "salt water could splash on the brake lines through a gap in the fuel tank protector, resulting in excessive corrosion of the brake lines."

Subaru, a division of Japan's Fuji Heavy Industries, said the vehicles were sold in 20 "salt belt" states, mainly in the Northeast and Midwest, and most were built at its U.S. assembly plant in Lafayette, Ind.

Subaru in its NHTSA recall filing said vehicle brake lines could be perforated after exposure to salt over seven or more winter seasons.

NHTSA said corrosion could cause brake fluid leakage, which could result in longer vehicle stopping distances, increasing the risk of a crash.

GM in its filing with the NHTSA said a steering wheel fastener on the Encore may not have been properly installed.

The GM recall affects 144 Encores equipped with heated steering wheels, a new compact crossover vehicle introduced in January by Buick, is built by GM Korea. A companion model is sold by GM in Europe as the Opel Mokka.

The company said it had contacted 59 customers who had taken delivery of Encores with heated steering wheels "and their vehicles are being inspected."

GM said the other 85 unsold vehicles were being inspected at Buick dealerships "and none have been found to have the issue."

Subaru also reports "no accidents, injuries or incidents of failure have occurred." It said the problem was discovered by its Japanese parent during an internal testing program.

Owners can take their cars to Subaru dealers for a free inspection. Dealers will rustproof the affected area with anti-corrosion wax and, if necessary, replace the brake lines.

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