It’s a most unusual recall, but Subaru is recalling 633,842 Forester (2009-12), Legacy (2010-11), Outback (2010-11) and Tribeca (2006 – 2012) for a possible problem with a dealer-installed add-on. A potential electrical short can occure with certain puddle lamps and — since Subaru did not factory install them — which vehicles are affected. The company does know that there were 53,399 sets of these puddle lamps and that they were not all affected, making this a giant headache.
Puddle lamps are a set of four lamps installed (two on each side) under the rocker panel beneath the doors. You and your dealer should be able to tell if you are affected. No puddle lamps installed under the rocker panel on each side, no problem.
If you do have puddle lamps that are defective, moisture may enter (or have entered) the assembly resulting in a short circuit that could lights to fail, melting of the rocker panel assembly or a fire. The fix is the installation of an additional wiring harness equipped with an inline fuse between the connector and the lamps.
Subaru owners can call 800-782-2783 for more information.