The accessory lights that illuminate the area under the doors are referred to as "puddle" lights. An electrical short circuit can develop when either the puddle light or its 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). The short circuit can generate heat which may melt the plastic resulting in smoke or fire. Subaru dealers will install an additional fused-harness, to protect the puddle light system.
2012 Subaru Tribeca Recalls
Puddle Lights May Melt or Catch Fire
Electrical & Lights,December 26, 2012
RepairPal Expert Overview: