If you have a 2019 to 2022 Subaru Ascent, be careful. Subaru has announced a recall that affects more than a quarter million Ascents due to a risk that they may catch on fire. Owners of the affected vehicles will be contacted within 60 days, but in the meantime, you can enter your VIN on the NHTSA’s website to check if your Ascent is part of the recall.
The ground bolt that secures the ground terminal of the Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heater may have been improperly fastened during vehicle production. This potential condition may result in the melting of the ground terminal and surrounding components, increasing the risk of fire when the PTC heater is in operation. There have been no crashes or injuries due to this issue.
For all the potentially affected vehicles, Subaru retailers will replace the PTC Heater Ground Bolts and replace the ground wire and connector holder if necessary. A small percentage of vehicles, estimated at 0.6%, will require ground and connector replacement. The inspection and repair will be completed at no cost to the customer.
Due to the risk of the affected Ascents catching on fire and potentially causing additional damage, until the vehicles have been inspected by a Subaru dealer and repaired if necessary, owners should avoid parking the car in their garage at home. Subaru also suggests owners park away from carports or other structures, and says not to leave the Ascent running unattended.
That said, Subaru hasn’t gone so far as to tell drivers to stop driving their cars until they can be inspected. While driving, though, “If an owner notices or smells smoke coming from the dash or driver’s footwell area, they should immediately stop operating the vehicle and turn the ignition switch to the ‘off’ position.” Owners who experience this issue are advised to call their dealer or Subaru roadside assistance.