(USA TODAY by Chris Woodward) Talk about ghostly: You're Subaru could be starting its engine when you don't even know about it.
Subaru is recalling 47,419 certain 2010 to 2013 model-year vehicles because if an key fob with a remote starter built into it can go wacky if it is dropped. The drop can cause a malfunction that could result in the fob remotely turning on the car's engine, and turning it off again, when owners aren't even aware of it, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The process can keep repeating itself, all with the owner kept in the dark about it.
Remote starting has become a popular option, especially in cold weather climates where owners want their car interiors to warm up before they begin their chilly morning commutes. All it usually takes is one press of the key-fob button from inside the warm confines of their homes. But in this case, the fob -- and the car -- take on a mind of their own.
Because of the malfunction, the engine can turn itself on remotely at random. It won't stop until the car runs out of gas or the battery runs out of juice in the key fob.
But the problem appears confined to only one kind of remote starting device, the Audiovox remote engine starter accessory that comes with automatic transmissions. The recall covers 2010 to 2013 Outbacks and Legacys, 2012 and 2013 Imprezas and 2013 XV Crosstreks.
Until the cars are brought in to dealers under the recall, there's one fast solution that owners can use: switch to the keyless entry fobs integrated into the vehicle key that came with the new car. They are not affected.