Both the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ sport coupes are being recalled for a potential power steering fault that could lead to loss of vehicle control. An errant wiring harness layout in both cars’ electric power steering system is at the root.
According to a statement by Toyota Australia explaining the issue: “ An electric power steering harness may interfere with the instrumental panel lower cover which contains the driver’s knee airbag”, which could lead to “an electrical contact failure which may result in the loss of power steering assist.”
So far, the global count for cases involving this fault is 62, with no incidents causing serious or lasting harm to either the driver or vehicle. Toyota Australia says that nearly 15,000 (14,906 to be exact) of their 86s while Subaru states that 3016 BRZs are effected, built from between April 9th, 2012 to March 18th, 2015.
The specific layout of the power steering electrics being in close proximity to the driver’s side knee airbags could, in some cases, cause the wire harness to be dislodged and lead to loss of power steering. However, should this occur, Toyota and Subaru have assured owners that drivers will still be able to steer the car, but without power assistance increased effort will be required at low speed.
“If the power assistance for the steering is lost, the vehicle retains manual steering capability,” says Subaru.
Owners of the effected vehicles will be notified starting in September to bring their cars in to an authorised service centre. The repairs, of course, will be of no charge and should take around an hour to complete.
Both the BRZ and 86 are a collaborative project by Subaru and Toyota, sharing the same underpinnings, body, chassis, and 2.0-litre flat-four engine – for all intents and purposes they are identical, rolling off the same production line at Subaru’s main manufacturing facility in Gunma, Japan.