Last post on Jul 27, 2009 at 4:24 PM
You are in the Subaru Forester
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Subaru Forester, Car Safety, Wagon
#6 of 25 FRUSTRATION!!!!
Oct 25, 2007 (8:05 pm)
I made a formal complaint to the NHTSA.gov today. I URGE YOU ALL to make your complaints formal and your voice HEARD. I have been on the phone sick w/ SOA, and want some resolve. My complaint was as follows:
Since purchasing my vehicle brand new on 7/4/05, the front passenger occupant detection system fails to activate the front airbag for passengers who are both larger and heavier than the purported cutoff of 80-pound children. The passenger is 5'3", 105lbs, yet the airbag light goes to the "off" position intermittently despite the passenger sitting straight. The airbag also sometimes fails to arm upon start up of the car, and will remain "off" for more than 15 minutes while the car is moving. The car was also involved in a safety campaign, in which my passenger seat wiring was already checked by the dealer and found to be routed properly, which may have affected the airbag if routed improperly. Thus, the wiring is a non-issue. The fault is in the passenger sensing equipment. Attempts to bring the car to the dealer to be checked with diagnostic equipment, ended in being told that the system is "working as designed". I contacted Subaru Corporate and local dealer on 10/18/07, who told me that nothing can be done to fix/change the situation, as the system cannot be adjusted, nor do they perceive a problem with the system. I already explained to Subaru that a number of other known owners of 06-08 Forester models have the same problem, and that 130lb passengers still have the same problem. I have concluded that while the intent of Subaru's design was good, the design is flawed, as the sensor pad is not sensitive enough for many passengers, and the intermittent-nature of the sensor is quite dangerous should a frontal-impact occur. This problem has existed on my car for over a year in which I started taking notice, and there is no known fix, nor have I been told that Subaru is admitting to a problem or seeking a solution. This is a big liability and safety concern of mine, and hope to find some resolution.
I have been told that the same sensor system is used in all 06-08 imprezas, 06-08 foresters, and the current generation legacy. Spread the word, everyone please make a complaint to NHTSA.gov! Thanks for your support.
#7 of 25 118 post thread for your info:
Oct 25, 2007 (8:10 pm)
If you have this problem, you're definitely not alone... I am part of a subaru forester owner's forum. Please read through when you have time, to share the journey of me and some others.
#8 of 25 Re: Airbags
Oct 25, 2007 (8:36 pm)
It's just my personal opinion but if you're properly belted in, a frontal impact airbag offers limited added protection(however, I can see real value in side impact airbags). So while I agree that Subaru should ensure that the passenger seat airbag works as advertised, I don't see it as a huge safety concern.
Oct 25, 2007 (8:40 pm)
I'm not sure if it's the case, but it may be that if the sensor is in the "off" position, neither the front, or the side airbag may work. In that cased you're screwed.
#10 of 25 Re: my worry [davebee1]
Oct 25, 2007 (9:14 pm)
I'm fairly certain that the side airbags aren't passenger dependent. The reason the front one is, is due to the danger of the airbag causing more damage to the occupant than the actual accident. Yet another reason I don't get too excited about them.
Oct 25, 2007 (9:35 pm)
Regardless: the Subaru system is supposed to protect adults. A 105lb individual qualifies as one. A child <80lbs doesn't. If the system works sometimes, and sometimes not, that's unexcusable. Your argument of whether or not an airbag is important is a tangent here, while still a worthy discussion and I respect your opinion regarding their usefulness. The subject of this thread is regarding a system that was designed poorly and does not protect and individual that it was supposed to. The system is supposed to protect a properly seated 80lb or more individual.
#12 of 25 Airbag Sensor problem
Oct 28, 2007 (9:47 am)
We own an 07 XT Sports and have been fighting Sub of America about this problem for some time now. My wife (125lbs, 5'4") constantly has the airbag sensor going on and off all the time. Scares the hell out of both of us. It has even gone out on me a few times and I'm 160lbs. This is a system that is suppose to work all the time. My Acura RSX never had any trouble and it was also weight sensitive. My Honda S2000 is the same way and she never has trouble with that sensor.
As for the comment above stating that if you have your seatbelt on you shouldn't need the airbag, I urge you go go on youtube and search Forester crash test. Watch that front dummy after it hits the wall and tell me that you don't want the airbag to go off in a frontal impact.
This is incredibly dangerous and Subaru has know about this issue for over two years now, as I'm unfortunately now finding out. I too have filed a complaint with the NHTSA.
#13 of 25 Re: regardless [davebee1]
Oct 28, 2007 (1:34 pm)
I found it to be exactly the opposite on our '07 Outback. My wife would transport two children, ages 7 and 9, home from school last spring. Initially, the 9 year old sat in the front and the 7 year old in the back due to space constraints introduced by having our 3-year-old in one back seat with one of those bulky car seats. The 9-year-old weighed approximately 75 pounds. For the first few days, everything was fine. Then, the boy started noticing the sensor engaging when she was driving over bumpy roads (which includes just about every one in Fairbanks, Alaska!). So, for fear the airbag might employ should an collision occur, she started stuffing them all three in the back. I am not sure which option was less safe for the children, but there is no question about which was less comfortable!
There was one time when I saw the air bag turn off while I was sitting in that seat, and I was removing my wallet from my back pocket (taking weight off the seat). So, as far as I can tell, that system was working properly. Road conditions will affect the sensors.
You might find out the actual weight setting on it. For example, not all 80# of an 80# person rests on the seat. And, each person's weight distribution is different. Is the setting 60#? 50?
#14 of 25 Re: regardless [xwesx]
Nov 18, 2007 (9:51 am)
On my 05 Legacy GT my wife who weighs in at about 95lbs sometimes has it on sometimes off. Ours is fairly accurate as when she lifts her feet and sits firmly in the seat it works w/o issue. The few times that it didn't work, she went inside and found she weighed in at just under 90lbs which IIRC is the cutoff.
As was stated above, not having the airbag deploy in my opinion is a good thing as long as you are wearing your seatbelts you are likely to be as good or better off w/o the airbag.
#15 of 25 Re: Airbag Sensor problem [patch3]
Nov 19, 2007 (9:54 am)
Correct me if I'm wrong - I thought the major driving force for air bags was to protect those nitwits who have an aversion to buckling up for safety. And that if you are buckled up, you really don't get a whole lot more protection from an airbag. And if you still insist on not buckling up, you may even be at risk for serious injury anyway because of the likelihood that you will submarine under the bag upon impact.
I have seen some comments on the capability to "calibrate" the sensor with a 90-llb weight on the seat. Any thoughts on using, say, a 60-lb weight?