— Subaru has audio speaker problems as the automaker announces a recall of more than 9,100 cars to repair subwoofer speakers that can catch on fire.
The 2015 WRX and WRX STI cars have factory-equipped subwoofers located in the trunks, but Subaru says luggage in the trunk could contact the subwoofer wires and move the wires out of position.
A short-circuit can occur if the wire touches the metal frame of the subwoofer, causing the integrated circuit in the subwoofer amplifier to become damaged.
Occupants will likely hear crackling noises when intermittent shorts occur, and turning off the audio system will prevent the risk of fire. The fire danger enters the picture due to continuous electrical current into the subwoofer, causing the speaker to overheat.
The first report of an overheating subwoofer on a 2015 WRX was received in January 2017. Subaru collected the affected parts and sent the subwoofer to the supplier for investigation and by April, the automaker learned the circuit in the amplifier had been fried due to electrical overload.
However, while the supplier knew what caused the overheating subwoofer, engineers didn't know how the electrical overload occurred.
In May, Subaru received another complaint and engineers determined the subwoofer wire could make contact with the speaker frame when items in the trunk move around.
The automaker says the location of the wire is the problem because it makes the wire susceptible to contact with the subwoofer frame when something in the trunk hits it. Also, the subwoofer amplifier doesn't have internal protection from intermittent shorts.
Model year 2016 cars aren't affected because Subaru started using an updated subwoofer amplifier in production for reasons other than the subject of the recall of 2015 models. The new subwoofers have circuit protection to prevent damage from intermittent shorts.
The recall starts today, October 31, 2017, and will require dealers to install wire retainer clips or replace the subwoofers, if needed.
Owners of 2015 Subaru WRX and WRX STI cars may contact the manufacturer at 800-782-2783 and refer to recall number WTQ-76.