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Another in a growing list of electronic control recalls. What happens when cars age?

Subaru of America is recalling 74,000 Outback and Legacy 2010 models because of defective wiring in the steering column.

It is part of a larger global problem, where the Japanese initially tried to fix the issue with a service bulletin claiming it was an isolated defect.

The wiring in a steering column connector located behind the steering wheel may develop stress cracks and eventually break. If this were to happen, many electrical components may not operate as intended, including the airbag, which makes this a safety related defect.

Possible circuits affected are the driver’s frontal airbag, paddle shifter function, cruise control, horn control and radio function. It is just the latest example of how the growing use of electronic controls in automobiles leaves them vulnerable to safety defects and service problem.

The recalled models in question were built between February 16, 2009 through April 12, 2010. Dealers will check lot number of the steering roll connector and replace defective ones.

The safety defect follows a stop sale of legacy and Outback models this past spring for sudden engine failures. (See Subaru Stops Sales, Recalls Legacy and Outback)

Owners may contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783 about safety recall WVR-28.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to http://www.safercar.gov.

NHTSA Campaign Id Number: 10V283000.

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