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CAR TALK

Dear Tom and Ray: Do you know of any sudden-acceleration problems with Subaru vehicles? My 2004 Outback suddenly accelerated, on its own, while my foot was on the brake. The same thing just happened to my husband, under the same conditions. Subaru claims ignorance, even though I found several similar complaints online.

-- Jaye

Tom: This continues to be a controversial issue, Jaye. And Subaru is far from the only manufacturer to hear these sorts of complaints.

Ray: In our experience, unintended acceleration has a number of causes. The simplest one is someone accidentally stepping on the gas pedal when intending to step on the brake. Or stepping on both pedals at the same time -- and the gas pedal wins.

Tom: Obviously, if you put it in Park and take your feet off the pedals, and the engine is still revving high, that's not your problem.

Ray: We've also seen accelerator pedals get stuck under floor mats. So don't overlook the simple stuff.

Tom: Another cause of unintended acceleration is an old-fashioned sticking throttle. In fact, Subaru had a problem on some six-cylinder Legacys (only six-cylinder models) and WRXs a few years ago where the cruise-control cable would come out of its track and jam the throttle cable.

Ray: And then there are the more mysterious causes of "UA." These are the cases in which the computer is suspected.

The "Car Talk" radio show can be heard locally on WBFO-FM 88.7 on Saturday mornings at 6 and 10 a.m.

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