Subaru issues recall of 271,000 SUVs because of 'increased risk' of fire

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Tuesday that Subaru issued a voluntary recall of over 271,000 Ascent SUVs.

Subaru launched the recall in response to certain Ascent SUVs potentially having an "improperly fastened" ground bolt for their positive temperature coefficient (PTC) heaters, according to the safety recall report.

When heaters with "improperly fastened" bolts are operating, their ground terminals could experience excessive heat, potentially leading to melting and an "increased risk of a fire," the report said.

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Two fires have been reported in connection to the issue, according to the NHTSA’s release. The carmaker said it is "not aware of any crashes or injuries resulting from this condition."

The more than 271,000 SUVs covered in the recall are select 2019 to 2022 Ascent models, the NHTSA said.

Signage is displayed on the side of a building at the Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. manufacturing plant in Lafayette, Ind., May 25, 2016. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

People who own them should park outside and with plenty of distance from buildings until they get repaired, Subaru and the NHTSA said. Owners should not leave vehicles that have not been repaired unattended, they added. 

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According to the company, owners should put the ignition "in the ‘off’ position" and not drive the SUV if a burning smell or smoke arise from near the dashboard or foot well on the driver’s side. They should also "immediately contact Subaru’s roadside assistance or the nearest Subaru dealer" for help, according to the safety recall report

In this Feb. 14, 2019, file photo, the Subaru logo on the front grill of a 2019 Subaru Impreza sedan is displayed at the 2019 Pittsburgh International Auto Show in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File / AP Newsroom)

"For all affected vehicles, Subaru dealers will replace the PTC heater ground bolts and, if necessary, replace the ground wire and the connector holder," the safety recall report stated. "Subaru will provide reimbursement to owners for repairs according to the general plan submitted in May 2022."

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Dealers received notification of the recall by Dec. 12, while owners are slated to be informed starting "on or about" Feb. 6, according to the safety recall report.

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