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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
15,208 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 engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #12

Oct 052004

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

On October 6, 2004, I was coasting into a parking space in my 1998 Subaru legacy Outback. My headlights were facing a curb, sidewalk, and cement brick building, and I touched the brakes to prevent bumping the curb. As soon as my foot hit the brake, the car vroomed as if the throttle had been fully opened, and the car continued moving forward. I pressed the brake harder, but the car seemed to take off on it's own and was totally out of my control. The all-wheel drive vehicle easily bumped up the curb, and the car flew into the air and crashed into the side of the building. The car was totaled by the insurance company. Fortunately, I was wearing my seat belt (the air bags did not deploy). The entire incident happened very fast and was totally unexpected. Although I am thankful that there was no pedestrian walking on the sidewalk when it happened and that I am alive to be writing this, I am convinced that this was a car malfunction that should be corrected in this vehicle.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #11

May 152004

Outback

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,691 miles
When driving at low speeds, the vehicle surged forward. This caused the consumer to lose control of the vehicle and hit a light pole head on. Upon impact, both frontal air bags did not deploy. The consumer had the vehicle towed to the insurance company's designated repair facility. This was quickly followed by 2-3 more accelerations in which the vehicle gained speed each time. The vehicle felt as if it were being shifted into the next gear.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #10

Apr 202004

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,800 miles
Failure and its consequences: I own a 1993 Subaru impreza L, and I own a 1998 impreza Outback sport. Both these cars have a potentially serious safety issue. There are two tsb's on hesitation issues for all Subaru's concerning this. This is a hazard because of the sudden need for acceleraion in the case of an emergency. My personal experiences are: 1. ambulance coming to intersection behind me with no room for me to pull over due to parked cars, and I attempted to moveout of his way pushing down on the throttle, and the car completely sputtering and barely moving. The ambulance is stuck behind me while I am attempting tomove out of it's way. 2. the light turns green at an intersection, but someone fails to stop to their red light, and nearly get T-boned, thanks to Cadillac's strong braking power, because my car sputters, and moves like a turtle when I need to safely move out of the way for safety. I have a family, and this needs to be addresses with a professional manner. With the engineering going into cars these days, and all off these high-paid engineers, and all professional positions, this is not an acceptable problem to be put aside. If there is anything that can be done, please do so. And in the future if it is done, my personal regards and thanks to all the initiative, and courage for those that stood to fix this problem. Max.

- Ottawa, IL, USA

problem #9

Nov 152002

Outback 4WD

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Driving along between 40 and 50 mph the car suddenly accelerated. I applied the brakes which slowed the car down but the engine continued to race mild panic set in. I attempted to put the car into neutral and instead accidently put the car into reverse. This did stop the car, but as you would expect. I have incurred an unknown amount of damage to the transmission. Although I don't expect any sympathy because of my awkward handeling of the shifter. I would like to know what if anything Subaru intends to about this very dangerous unexpected acceleration problem. Your complaint site has similar such complaints on record. Mine will be the ninth. When you consider that many people have probably experienced. The same problem but have not bothered to formally complain, it would seem that a real problem does exist. Thank you.

- Lockport, NY, USA

problem #8

Jul 192002

(reported on)

Outback 4WD

  • miles
Car attempts to accelerate when applying brakes to come to a stop. Engine roars and it is difficult to stop car. Problem happens intermittently and usually when the car is going 5 miles per hour or less. Brake pedal goes all the way down when attempting to stop car. The same problem is happening with our 2001 suburu Outback (see ODI#764455).

- Holmdel, NJ, USA

problem #7

Apr 202001

Outback

  • miles
Vehicle will rev /accelerate when consumer turns air conditioner( A/C) on. Problem usually happens when A/C is on. Contacted dealer, and dealer cannot find cause of problem.

- Prieniville, KS, USA

problem #6

Jul 202001

Outback 4WD

  • Manual transmission
  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Consumer was traveling about 60mph on highway, vehicle in front slowed down, consumer applied brakes, and vehicle took off on its on. Vehicle was out of control, but avoided other cars. Without prior warning, flipped three times, and ended on driver's side. Dealership was aware of problem. Consumer was traveling at 60 mph and was using cruise control, the vehicle in front of consumer was braking, in which consumer began to brake, however vehicle did not slow down, the cruise control did not disengage and the vehicle rolled over on the drivers side, vehicle was totalled.

- Ames, IA, USA

problem #5

Jul 202001

Outback 4WD

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Consumer was traveling about 60mph on highway, vehicle in front slowed down, consumer applied brakes, and vehicle took off on its on. Vehicle was out of control, but avoided other cars. Without prior warning, flipped three times, and ended on driver's side. Dealership was aware of problem. Consumer was traveling at 60 mph and was using cruise control, the vehicle in front of consumer was braking, in which consumer began to brake, however vehicle did not slow down, the cruise control did not disengage and the vehicle rolled over on the drivers side, vehicle was totalled.

- Ames, IA, USA

problem #4

Apr 132001

Outback 4WD

  • miles
I was parking my car to go to the video store with my son. It appeared to lurch forward, speeding up, and did not come to a stop until it hit four other cars, and finally plowed into a large 4X4 broadside, with enough speed to push it into another car. My airbags deployed, and my disabled child fell out of the passenger side onto the pavement. Paramedics where called and he was determined to have minor injuries. I had previous problems with the key sticking, and sometimes unexplained minor speedups int he transmission, but didn't realize how severe it was. Now I understand this is a possible, serious problem with my vehicle. The car is considered totalled, but hasn't been disposed of as yet. Police took pictures at the scene. Please help me figure this out.

- Waukesha, WI, USA

problem #3

Aug 091998

Outback

  • miles
When the brakes are applied vehicle would lurch forward. The rpms would be revving. Would put vehicle in neutral. Only used vehicle in NY.

- Woodbury, NY, USA

problem #2

Aug 201998

(reported on)

Outback 4WD

  • miles
There have been three episodes in which the engine suddenly and dramatically revved and car surged, once while stopped at a stop light, twice when taking foot off accelerator approaching a curve. I had to turn car off, and in several instances, when it was restarted the RPM went up to over 7000.

- Concord, MA, USA

problem #1

Aug 201998

(reported on)

Outback 4WD

  • miles
There have been three episodes in which the engine suddenly and dramatically revved and car surged, once while stopped at a stop light, twice when taking foot off accelerator approaching a curve. I had to turn car off, and in several instances, when it was restarted the RPM went up to over 7000.

- Concord, MA, USA

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