In the affected 2012 Impreza models, the airbag sensor in the passenger seat can malfunction, causing the airbag to turn off even when someone is in the seat.
Specifically, a capacitance sensor functions incorrectly when someone in the car uses a cell phone, if their clothes are damp while seated or if that passenger is touching a grounded part of the vehicle like the seat adjustment lever. A cell phone left sitting on the seat, or getting water directly on the seat can also cause the issue.
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Subaru initiated the recall after NHTSA opened a formal investigation into the issue following 26 complaints from owners. The Japanese brand says that it has paid more than 25000 warranty claims related to the problem.
Subaru dealers will reprogram the sensor to fix the issue.
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