Subaru is recalling some 2010 and 2011 Legacy and Outback vehicles, some 2006 through 2012 Tribeca vehicles sold before January 2012 and some 2009 through 2012 Foresters sold before January 2012 becuase a door bottom mounted ‘puddle light’ may overheat and cause a fire.

Up to 638,400 cars will be recalled though the actual number affected by the defect is far less.

“Up to 53,999 of these vehicles may have been equipped with accessory puddle lights that, when illuminated, brighten the area under the doors of the vehicle. A short circuit can develop when either the puddle light or connector are exposed to an electrolytic moisture source (such as road spray that has road salt in it) and it penetrates the circuit board of the puddle light or the pins of the puddle light connector(s),” a report on the NHTSA website said.

“Migration of the moisture into the circuit board and/or into the connector cavity, may result in a short circuit of the puddle light system. This may generate heat which may melt the plastic resulting in smoke or fire.”

Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will install an additional fused-harness, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin during February 2013.