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Subaru Recalls 271K Ascent SUVs Due to Fire Danger


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Subaru of America have reported that Subaru will recall 271,694 units of the 2019-2022 Ascent midsize SUV due to a risk of fire. 

2022 Subaru Ascent driving REL
Subaru is recalling more than 271,000 Ascent SUVs due to a potential fire risk.

Owners are urged to park their vehicles outside away from structures and avoid leaving the vehicle unattended while the engine is running. Subaru encourages owners of affected vehicles to contact an authorized Subaru retailer as soon as they receive notification of this recall from Subaru of America.

It’s a faulty ground terminal

The problem is an improperly fastened ground terminal for the Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heater. Obscured access to the ground point may not have allowed the ground bolt to achieve a proper tightness during assembly. 

With a loose mounting point, a ground fault may result in the melting of the ground terminal and surrounding components when the PTC heater is in operation. Potentially affected vehicles were identified using vehicle production records, and those vehicles not included in this recall are known to have been assembled with a properly fastened ground bolt.

The share of Ascent vehicles with the fire-causing defect is estimated at about 1 percent. 

The problem stems from a change in assembly tooling that took place in 2020. Subaru received the first technical report on the problem Feb. 24, and it implemented a change on the manufacturing line to resolve the issue April 29. 

2021 Subaru Ascent front 3-4 REL
The company is recalling 2019 to 2022 model-year Ascents to deal with the problem.

The company conducted tests and evaluations to determine the extent of the problem and has elected to recall the affected vehicles “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the NHTSA report. At this time, Subaru is aware of just 11 technical reports in the U.S. market. There have been no crashes or injuries resulting from this condition.  

What to do? 

Subaru dealers were notified of the recall this week, and Ascent owners will be notified in February. 

For all affected vehicles, Subaru dealers will replace the specific ground bolts and, if necessary, replace the ground wire and the connector holder. A small percentage of vehicles, estimated at 0.6%, will require both the ground and connector replacement. The inspection and repair will be completed at no cost to the customer. 

Until the free recall repair is completed, owners should continue to park their vehicles outdoors and away from other vehicles or buildings, even if the vehicle is turned off. If an owner sees or smells smoke coming from the dash or driver’s footwell area, they should immediately stop the vehicle and turn the ignition off and get all passengers out of the SUV. Then the owner is advised to immediately contact Subaru’s Roadside Assistance program or nearest Subaru dealer for assistance.

To find out if a vehicle is affected, please go to and enter the vehicle’s 17-digit vehicle identification number. Vehicle owners can also visit and enter the 17-digit vehicle identification number for more information on this recall. Alternatively, call the Vehicle Safety Hotline 888-327-4236, Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET; Hearing Impaired (TTY): 800-424-9153.


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