Ovation: Subaru’s Zombie Car Recall.
I drive a Toyota Camry Hybrid and I love it. However, I’ve had my car for almost three years and I’m still confused by the keyless ignition system. I enjoy the fact that the fob I carry in my pocket affords me many conveniences and I get certain sense of satisfaction from driving a hybrid vehicle. I think my problem lies in the fact that I really can’t tell when the car is running and when it’s not. When it’s using battery power, it’s virtually silent. Fortunately, if I walk away while the car is still running, it beeps and chirps to let me know that something is wrong. I make a point to be certain that all the lights are off and no alarms are sounded before I consider myself officially “parked”.
Sometimes I think my car has a mind of its own.
It appears that many Subaru owners may experience the same feeling. The Japanese automaker has recently announced a recall of nearly 50,000 vehicles because they run the risk of starting themselves. Apparently the “zombie cars”, which include Legacy, Outback, Impreza and Crosstrek models, contain an automatic transmission and an Audiovox remote engine starter. If a fob is dropped, it can malfunction and randomly transmit an engine start signal to the vehicle without the pressing of a button.
Subaru has indicated that, if this happens, the engine may inadvertently start and run for up to fifteen minutes. The engine may continue to start and stop until the fob battery is depleted or until the vehicle runs out of fuel. If the vehicle is parked in an enclosed area like the average home’s garage, there is a risk of carbon monoxide build-up that could cause asphyxiation.
This latest recall from Subaru is scheduled to begin at the end of April when owners can get their faulty fobs replaced by dealers free of charge.
I’ve had to replace the battery in my fob only once. Of course, the battery was difficult to find and quite expensive to purchase so, once I found one I bought a couple of extras to have on hand. For me the biggest difference between using a key and using a fob is that you never have to worry about the key suddenly not working … you just have to remember where it is.
I admit that I can, sometimes, be forgetful. Forgetting to turn off a hybrid is one thing … not being sure if you started it or it started itself is a frightening prospect. This is one recall I’d take seriously!
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