DETROIT - Subaru is recalling about 200,000 Legacy and Outback all-wheel-drive vehicles in the United States and Canada because the brake lines can rust and leak fluid.
The recall affects cars from the 2005 through 2009 model years sold in Canada as well as 20 states and Washington, D.C., where salt is used to clear roads in the winter.
"This is purely precautionary," Subaru Canada spokesman Joe Felstein said of the 25,732 vehicles subject to the recall in Canada. "We've not had one complaint or incident at all."
Subaru says in documents filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that salty water can cause the brake lines to rust and leak. If fluid leaks, it could take longer for drivers to stop the cars, increasing the risk of a crash.
The problem was discovered in internal testing and no related crashes or injuries have been reported, Subaru spokesman Michael McHale said in an email.
Subaru is recalling the cars as a precaution. Owners of the cars should take them to a Subaru dealer for inspection, he said.
The cars were made between December of 2003 and April of 2009. In addition to Canada, they were sold or are registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia, according to the documents.
Subaru says it is still totalling the number of vehicles affected by checking state vehicle registrations. The company sold more than 400,000 Legacy and Outback vehicles during the affected years, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank. But McHale said Subaru estimates that 200,000 are covered by the recall.
Subaru dealers will check the cars for leaks. If leaks are found, the brake lines will be replaced. If there are none, mechanics will apply an anti-corrosion wax. All the work will be done at no cost to owners.
McHale said there are front and rear brake lines, and both would have to have severe corrosion for there to be a problem. "What you'd notice is a decrease in pressure and an increase in stopping distances," he said.
— With files from The Canadian Press