Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
106,903 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Subaru Outback cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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1998 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #7

May 152010


  • 81,000 miles


Engine overheating every half mile with engine reservoir overflowing. After $1300 of replacing thermostat, timing belt, belt tensioner, water pump, flushing the cooling system, and compression tests, I was told I had a blown head gasket. I was told the replacement would cost an additional $2,200 at least.

- Royal Oak, MI, USA

problem #6

Feb 262010


  • 107,259 miles
1998 Subaru Outback 2.5L motor head gasket failure.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #5

Dec 152008


  • 179,000 miles
Overheating, water leaking, head gasket problem.

- Lower Lake, CA, USA

problem #4

Dec 302008


  • 161,461 miles


Engine began to overheat only when being driven, does not overheat when idling. I have replaced the thermostat, water pump, and timing belt but it still overheats. While doing research on the internet, I found the site with many references to this being a known issue, a head gasket problem. Based on the number of similar complaints, Subaru has a design problem that should have been recalled or at least a warning of some type send out. What can be done about this issue?

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #3

May 172004

Outback 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 98,600 miles
My car overheated and died on the highway. It was determined that the head gasket had failed -- it was replaced, and the engine was tuned in associated ways. One month later, the car overheated again, with coolant leaking out of the engine. Once again the head gasket was replaced, as well as the water pump, which the dealer said may have been the original problem. I have had the car back for one week now, and it's working fine. Each time the car overheated, it was soon after I turned on the A/C (and the A/C didn't work well either time -- I.e., warm air came out of the vents). My A/C is working okay, now.

- Lewisburg, PA, USA

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problem #2

Jan 112004

Outback 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 121,000 miles
Appears I have a blown head gasket on my 1998 2.5L Outback. Coolant contains oil, coolant reservoir fills up rapidly with coolant when driven on the highway. Coolant never returns to the radiator after cooling down.

- Campbell, CA, USA

problem #1

Jun 302003

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Engine overheats. Two Subaru dealer service centers said they could not find the problem, and started an seemingly endless replacement of thermostats, and even the radiator. The problem continues, and now that I am over 60K miles, with my warranty expired, they suddenly say it is a problem with the head gasket, which will probably cost over $2,000 to replace. I now find out that there are numerous problems with the head gaskets of 1994-1998 Subaru, but there has never been a recall. Why?

- Nashville, TN, USA

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