An improperly machined steering column shaft can be a problem for certain 2016 and 2017 models.

Subaru is recalling 48,500 examples of the 2016-2017 Legacy and Outback in the U.S. for a possible steering failure, and this includes a stop sale on any unsold affected cars. Subaru of America spokesperson Michael McHale tells Motor1 that about 22,000 of these are with customers, and "the rest are in our pipeline,” meaning they’re still at dealers. The affected models have production dates from February 29, 2016, through May 6, 2016.

According to documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "an incorrect setting of a tool used in production of the steering column may have resulted in improper machining of one of the steering column shafts." If the problem occurs, "turning the steering wheel may have no effect on the direction of the wheels," which is a very dangerous situation.

Subaru will begin notifying owners on May 13. Dealers will inspect the steering column's lot number and will replace it if the part is among the faulty units. According to the NHTSA documents, "until the vehicle has been inspected, owners are advised not to drive their vehicle." McHale told Motor1 that the company will come pick up the affected models and will take them to dealers. The owners will also get a loaner vehicle. 

By industry standards, the automaker is addressing this problem very quickly. According to NHTSA, Subaru only received a customer complaint about this problem on May 3, and it started investigating the cause on May 5. McHale told Motor1 this was the only reported incident of the problem, and there have been no reported injuries.

Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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close RECALL Subject : Loss of Steering Ability 

Report Receipt Date: MAY 11, 2016 
NHTSA Campaign Number: 16V292000 
Component(s): STEERING 
Potential Number of Units Affected: 48,500 
Vehicle Make Model Model Year(s)
  • SUBARU LEGACY 2016-2017
  • SUBARU OUTBACK 2016-2017
Manufacturer: Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is recalling certain model year 2016-2017 Legacy and Outback vehicles manufactured February 29, 2016, to May 6, 2016. The steering column on the affected vehicles may have been improperly machined, and as a result, turning the steering wheel may have no effect on the direction of the wheels.
The loss of steering ability would increase the risk of a crash.
Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the lot number on the steering column, replacing the steering column, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin May 13, 2016. Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-800-782-2783 or by visiting Subaru's number for this recall is WTD-65. Note: Until the vehicles have been inspected, owners are advised not to drive their vehicles.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to