NHTSA Probes 2012 Subaru Impreza Air Bag Seat Sensors

Apr 14, 2015 12:43 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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If you've noticed anything strange going on with your 2012 Subaru Impreza, you're not alone.

Safety regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have opened a probe into select Imprezas released for the model year 2012 over complaints about front passenger seat air bags.

Subaru equipped its Impreza with sensors that are supposed to detect the size of an occupant and disable the air bags if the passenger is a child.

Things haven't been going according to plan lately. The Office of Defects Investigation has received 26 vehicle owner questionnaires involving the Imprezas' occupant detection system for failing to operate properly or mistakenly turning off the front passenger air bag when the seat is occupied, according to NHTSA documents.

The issue significantly increases the risk of an injury in the event of an accident. So far, no injuries have been reported to the Fuji Heavy Industries unit yet or the U.S. safety administration.

Here's where things get tricky. Subaru issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) back in May 2012 that discussed different conditions that caused the passenger seat air bag to turn off when the front seat was occupied.

 "ODI is opening this this investigation to assess the scope, frequency, and consequence of incorrect air bag suppression and any connection that may exists to the TSB."

NHTSA documents indicate that an estimated 33,500 cars are involved in the "preliminary evaluation."

If you noticed something is up with your 2012 Impreza, we urge you to contact your local dealer to schedule a maintenance visit.

The preliminary evaluation doesn't necessarily mean NHTSA will ask for a recall, but it's usually the first step to determine if an automaker needs to address an issue with one or more of its vehicles.

Make sure to check back with AutoWorldNews for the latest recall updates and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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