Melting / Sticky Dashboards / Instrument Panel (IP) – 2005-2009 Subaru Legacy & Outback

NUMBER: 12-197-16R
DATE: 02/25/16
REVISED: 05/06/16

APPLICABILITY: 2005-09MY Legacy and Outback Models
SUBJECT: Melting  / Sticky Dashboards / Instrument Panel (IP)



As part of our dedication to customer satisfaction, Subaru of America, Inc. is initiating a program to extend the original New Car Limited Warranty coverage of the instrument panel (IP) or dashboard assembly on the applicable vehicles listed above to 10 years / regardless of miles from the original warranty start date.  This warranty extension will cover a ONE-TIME replacement of the IP if it melts or becomes sticky to the touch as a result of exposure to heat and / or humidity conditions.  This extension will NOT cover IPs with damage resulting from outside influence such as abuse, vandalism or application of harsh chemicals such as acids, bases, or petroleum products.


The condition must be verified during an inspection by an authorized Subaru retailer.  SOA will inform vehicle owners this condition may exist via a customer letter.  For vehicles within the coverage guidelines listed in this bulletin, customers can schedule an appointment with an authorized Subaru retailer should any of the described conditions occur.

instrument panel (IP) or dashboard


NOTE:  ALWAYS perform a Vehicle Coverage Inquiry on Subarunet to determine eligibility for this warranty extension before proceeding.  See sample inquiry result below.

IMPORTANT:  The VIN should also be checked for any open campaigns or recalls at this time.

********* ******* ******* ******* ********* ********** ****** ******
WC YNW 84 999,999 xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx SADMIN





REMINDER:  Always verify with your Parts Department that all required parts with the current part numbers are ordered specifically for the VIN of the vehicle being repaired.

VERY Important Information Regarding Parts Availability:

It is difficult to predict customer demand and where parts may need to be shipped to support that demand.  Subaru is currently working with the IP supplier to increase their production levels.  For this reason, it is important for retailers to explain to customers there may continue to be a delay before a part replacement can be performed.  Please be sure to take this into consideration when performing customer scheduling.  Due to the time-sensitive nature of these claims, retailers should make all efforts to schedule the customer’s vehicle in for inspection, verify the condition and document in writing on the repair order if this warranty extension applies prior to any coverage expiration (where applicable).



  • Perform a Vehicle Coverage Inquiry on Subarunet and confirm if the Takata Airbag Campaign WQR-53R is OPEN or CLOSED.
    • If OPEN, the WQR-53R MUST be completed regardless if the IP warranty extension applies or not.
    • If the dashboard must be replaced due to the sticky / melting condition AND the WQR-53R Campaign is OPEN, these repairs MUST be combined and completed whenever possible.  If dash parts are on backorder then the WQR-53R must be completed first.  Do not delay WQR-53R completion.  Please plan accordingly.
    • If WQR-53R has been previously completed (campaign is CLOSED), proceed with inspection and if necessary, repair under this IP warranty extension (if applicable).
  • Inspect the IP surface. Does it appear unusually glossy and/or smooth?  If you touch the IP (use of disposable gloves recommended), does your fingertip stick to the surface?  Does there appear to be a residual mark left when you lift your finger?  Does this condition appear to affect the entire upper surface of the IP in a fairly uniform manner (not localized)?  If the answers to these questions are YES, proceed with IP replacement under this warranty extension.
  • Follow the procedures and all safety precautions outlined in the applicable Service Manual for replacing the IP assembly in addition to the necessary related interior trim components.

CAUTION:  Refer to the “CAUTION” section in the General Description portion of Airbag System AB in the Body Section of the applicable Service Manual before handling or servicing any airbag module.



Always verify proper operation of any systems (e.g. HVAC, Audio / NAV Unit combination meter warning lamps) affected during the performance of this repair along with the condition of related trim components BEFORE proceeding with disassembly.  If any issues are identified, always review / demonstrate to the customer to eliminate the possibility of post-repair misunderstandings.  If the customer is not available to review, Service Manager review and sign-off on the repair order is highly recommended.

  • It is especially important and must be emphasized that during a repair like this to TAKE YOUR TIME and BE CAREFUL when working with the related trim components. Whenever possible, avoid prying on the various components when removing them from the original IP.  Over time, plastic parts become brittle and as referenced above, may take additional time to obtain should a replacement need arise.
  • When removing the “A” pillar trim, be VERY CAREFUL not to damage the upper metal retaining clip (see photos below). The clip is located just below where the trim panel meets the head liner. If the metal retaining clip becomes damaged or separated from the trim panel, the “A” pillar trim panel MUST be replaced as the clip is not available separately. DO NOT attempt to straighten or reuse the clip if it becomes damaged.  Use a plastic trim tool to push down (1 & 2) and release the upper portion of the metal clip from the body. Be careful to not pull the trim panel open any further than necessary to gain access for releasing the clip. There is also a plastic retaining clip (3) in the lower portion of the trim panel which will release easily once the upper retaining clip is loose.  At reassembly and using a plastic trim tool, make sure the inner lip of the door weather strip overlaps the outer fabric edge of the trim panel (4) to help secure it.

“A” pillar trim

“A” pillar trim


VERY IMPORTANT:  This repair involves transfer of the passenger side airbag module into the replacement IP assembly.  To minimize the possibility of damage, remove the airbag module (or perform the WQR-53R Campaign where applicable) and install it into the replacement IP as soon as possible after removing it from the original IP.

  • When removing the center vent / storage box assembly, CAREFULLY release the 3 retaining claws shown in the illustration below using a plastic trim tool.  Always support the trim tool against the IP (example: a second trim tool placed horizontally between the first tool and the IP) to distribute the prying force and avoid damage as shown in the example photo. Remember to disconnect (and reconnect) the trip computer’s wiring harness connector.

center vent


  • Remove the 2- 10mm hex bolts from the base of the rear (armrest) console storage box and slide the center console rearward a few inches to get the necessary clearance for removing the forward console trim pieces. The center console does not have to be removed completely.
  • Use a needle-nosed plier to collapse the inside retaining claws and release this “T-Headed” clip from the right hand inner corner of the glove box then remove the assembly.

To Remove


  • Remove the 2- 10mm hex bolts securing the airbag inflator to the dash bar bracket.  Although the IP is now loose and ALMOST ready to remove, DO NOT forget to disconnect (and reconnect) the sun load sensor connector (if equipped, all models with auto a/c).

sun load sensor connector


  • Always use caution when removing the new IP from the plastic shipping bag. Pay close attention to the mounting brackets on each end of the new IP as indicated in the photo below.  They can easily be broken if the heavy plastic shipping bag is removed too hastily.

mounting brackets on each end


  • As shown in the photo above, the replacement IP does not include the white insulation material. Although the ductwork does the bulk of holding the insulation in proper position, there are a few places where it is heat-fused as shown in the photo below to the original part.  CAREFULLY cut around the fuse point with a small utility knife or scissor to release it then pull the insulation away from the original IP taking care to not tear it.

cut around the fuse point


  • There is a small piece of fabric-type material which acts as a “cover” for the gap between the top of the steering column and the underside of the combination meter area of the IP.  This small trim piece must also be VERY CAREFULLY removed and transferred to the new IP.  A small hobbyist knife or equivalent carefully worked in between the material and IP to break the glue bond works well.  PATIENCE is the key!

fabric-type material

fabric-type material


  • Once the cover is removed, a VERY small amount of black or clear silicone sealer / adhesive works well to “tack” it into position on the new IP. Once in place, a small “fillet” of black or clear silicone can be applied from the back side as shown below to fully secure it in place. (Gray was used for photo.)

black or clear silicone sealer / adhesive works well to “tack” it into position


  • VERY CAREFULLY using the molded-in groove as a guide, trim the IP as shown to gain access to the square hole for the combination meter top retaining screw clip.  After cutting, peel away the trim surface then the foam underneath it to access the square hole for the clip.

trim the IP


  • Along the front edge, (closest to the windshield), there are 2 places where the insulation is heat-fused to the IP. Using a sharp scissor, cut the fuse points off the insulation and use tape to secure it to the new IP as shown below.

insulation is heat-fused to the IP


  • Once the steering column “cover” and the insulation are in place, complete the transfer of all remaining components to the new IP.  Use caution and TAKE YOUR TIME especially when CAREFULLY removing the side dash vents.  There is very limited space for the linkage found on the outside of the side vent assemblies to “wiggle” them free from the original IP.  It is best to dislodge the claws on the top of the vent then push them out from the back instead of trying to pry them out from the front using a trim tool.  REMEMBER:  These parts often become brittle with age and prying on them should be avoided whenever possible. Always confirm the vent assemblies are fully seated into the new IP and function properly after installation
  • Another item which must be transferred is the VIN plate. Using a pair of wire cutters, CAREFULLY collapse the BACK side (expanded) part of the two “pop” rivets in an “+” pattern then push the rivets out from the back.  When reinstalling the VIN plate, push the rivets back through the holes already in the new IP.  Be careful to not bend the VIN plate or it most likely will not lay flat in the recess provided for it.  After making sure the rivets and VIN plate are seated tight against the IP, use a pair of locking pliers to crush (re-expand) ONLY the portion of the rivet coming through the IP to secure the VIN plate.
  • The last item to transfer from the original IP is the thin EPT foam (anti-rattle) sealing material found on the leading edge of the IP. On the vehicle used for development of this procedure, the original foam peeled off easily and had plenty of adhesive remaining to reapply it directly to the new IP.  Use the leading edge of the new IP as a guide. Leave about 1” overhang on each end.  Use a small piece of tape to secure both ends to the new IP’s underside.

EPT foam (anti-rattle) sealing material


  • Before installing the new IP, to eliminate a possible source of a rattling sound, wrap both hooks and the center locator pin with non-woven material, p.n. SOA963W110 (or an equivalent self-adhesive foam) as shown in the photos below.

new IP


REMINDER:  1 sheet of the SOA963W110 non-woven material is enough for approximately 8 vehicles.



The Basic New Car Limited Warranty for these vehicles is three (3) years or 36,000 miles.  Effective immediately through March 31, 2017, ALL affected vehicles, regardless of mileage and warranty start date will be covered for this repair.  Inspections and repairs must be completed prior to the March 31, 2017 expiration date of this warranty extension.

After March 31, 2017 the coverage period extends the vehicle’s New Car Limited Warranty as it applies to the dashboard to 10 years / regardless of mileage providing additional coverage for some vehicles.   Inspections and repairs must be completed prior to the expiration of the 10-year warranty extension.

Please submit for reimbursement as you would any other covered repair using the claim coding provided below.  Any IP condition found to be other than those specifically described in this bulletin will not be covered by this warranty extension.

NOTE:  Certain vehicles affected by this Instrument Panel (IP) Warranty Extension may also be affected by the WQR-53R Air Bag Product Campaign.  In those cases, the Warranty Extension repair includes overlapping labor with WQR-53R.  When the IP repair is performed in conjunction with WQR-53R, labor time will be adjusted on the IP claim to account for that overlap.

For vehicles within the Basic New Car Limited Warranty period or covered by this Instrument Panel Warranty Extension, this repair may be submitted using the following claim information:

This labor operation (A911-668) is to be used ONLY for documenting the condition when parts are backordered and repair cannot be completed on the first visit. 1
Use this coding for IP replacement WITHOUT WQR-53R Airbag Campaign (inflator replacement). 2
Use this coding for IP replacement COMBINED WITH WQR-53R Airbag Campaign (inflator replacement). 3

NOTE:  For claim entry, use part # SOA635079 for the non-woven material.  This part # is nonorderable and used for claim entry purposes only.


  • SOA strongly discourages the printing and/or local storage of service information as previously released information and electronic publications may be updated at any time.
  • Always check for any open recalls or campaigns anytime a vehicle is in for servicing.
  • Always refer to STIS for the latest service information before performing any repairs.



Dear Subaru Owner:

As part of Subaru’s dedication to customer satisfaction, this letter is to inform you of an extension to your New Car Limited Warranty.  Subaru is implementing a Dashboard Warranty Extension program, which extends warranty coverage on dashboards for all 2005-2009 Subaru Outback and Subaru Legacy vehicles sold or leased in the United States.  This change is in anticipation that a small number of vehicles may require repairs for sticky and/or melted dashboards as a result of heat or humidity.  Subaru will also reimburse vehicle owners who have previously paid for replacement of a sticky and/or melted dashboard caused by heat or humidity.

Please note that this is not a recall, as it does not impact the safety of your vehicle.  If your dashboard has not melted or become sticky as a result of exposure to heat or humidity, you do not need to bring your vehicle to a Subaru retailer for repair.

Please note the following important details regarding this program:


Dashboard Warranty Extension

The Dashboard Warranty Extension extends the vehicle’s original “New Car Limited Warranty” as it applies to the dashboard in two ways.

An immediate coverage period is available for ALL affected vehicles regardless of mileage and warranty start date, and is effective now through March 31, 2017.  Inspections or repairs under this immediate coverage period must be completed on or before March 31, 2017.

A supplemental coverage period extends the vehicle’s “New Car Limited Warranty” as it applies to the dashboard to 10 years from the warranty start date, regardless of mileage, providing additional coverage for some vehicles.  Inspections or repairs under this second coverage period must be completed prior to the expiration of that 10-year period. The specific condition covered by the extension is a sticky and/or melted dashboard caused by heat or humidity.  If that condition is verified by an authorized Subaru retailer, a repair will be performed at no charge to you. A maximum of one dashboard replacement, if eligible, will be covered by this program.

If your vehicle is currently experiencing symptoms, and you would like to have your dashboard inspected regardless of mileage or warranty start date, please schedule an appointment with an authorized Subaru retailer for a free visual inspection.  The inspection itself will take approximately 15 minutes. However, it may be necessary to leave your vehicle for a longer period of time on the day of your scheduled appointment to allow your retailer flexibility in scheduling. This offer for inspection and repair expires March 31, 2017.


Important Information Regarding Parts Availability:

Due to the nature of this condition, the actual demand and locations where parts may need to be shipped is difficult to predict.  For this reason, there may be a delay before a part replacement can be performed.  In such a case, retailers will perform inspections and document any confirmed condition to ensure coverage under the terms of this warranty extension.  Repairs will be performed as parts become available.  Inspection must take place prior to the expiration of the above listed coverages for this to apply.

Please note: The Dashboard Warranty Extension is subject to the same terms and conditions set forth in your New Car Limited Warranty unless expressly modified by this letter.  For example, damage caused by abuse, vandalism or exposure to harsh chemicals is not covered by the New Car Limited Warranty, and therefore it is not covered by the Dashboard Warranty Extension.


To Apply for Reimbursement

Subaru will reimburse vehicle owners who have previously paid for replacement of a sticky and/or melted dashboard caused by heat or humidity.

  • Complete the enclosed Claim Form for Dashboard Warranty Extension.
  • Attach a copy of the receipt or invoice for the repair. A copy of the repair invoice or work order showing a dashboard replacement for the above listed condition will meet this requirement.  The invoice must show your vehicle model, vehicle identification number (VIN), the name and address of the facility that completed the repair, the cost of the repair (parts and labor), and the date the work was completed.
  • Attach proof of payment, such as a copy of the canceled check, bank statement, cash receipt, or credit card receipt showing that you paid for the repair.
  • Mail the completed Claim Form for Dashboard Warranty Extension and copies of the receipt(s) and invoice(s) to this address:

Subaru of America, Inc.
Customer Retailer Services Department
Attention: Dashboard Warranty Extension P.O. Box 6000
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-6000

Please allow 6-8 weeks for the reimbursement to be processed.

Your request for reimbursement must be postmarked by no later than June 30, 2016.  Failure to include proper documentation may delay your reimbursement.

If you have questions about this notice or need help contacting an authorized Subaru retailer, please contact Subaru Customer Service at 1-855-384-8926.


Subaru of America, Inc.


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