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.

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10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
23,755 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.

2002 Subaru Outback brakes problems

brakes problem

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2002 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #12

Nov 252009

Outback

  • 77,000 miles

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

Brakes briefly fail in freezing cold weather conditions. 5 or 10 hard pumps have usually brought them back. Very dangerous if you are not expecting it. I never leave my driveway or parking space without repeated pumping to get them working again. We are ski instructors (and this car is marketed for that) but its quite dangerous in freezing weather.

- Sula, MT, USA

problem #11

Mar 172009

Outback

  • 9,971 miles
Repetitive failure of both front brake rotors. Rotors have thickness variation which causes heavy brake pulsation and steering wheel judder from side to side when braking from greater than 45 mph. First complaint 6/18/03 9971 miles front rotors were resurfaced. Second complaint 5/3/04 16180 miles resurface front rotors. Third complaint 4/7/05 23013 miles resurface front rotors replace front brake pads. Fourth complaint 5/20/08 42147 miles replace front rotors and front brake pads. Fifth complaint 3/17/09 49719 miles resurface front rotors. Subrau does have a customer pay upgrade in their tsb #: 06-33-04 date: 01/15/04 for 2001-2003 Subaru vehicles to modify the disc brake pad.

- New Bedford, MA, USA

problem #10

Jun 282007

Outback

  • 65,000 miles
My 2002 Subaru Outback had front rotor failure in 2007-----the fins that hold the rotors together rusted and broke. When you checked the rotor thickness with a micrometer it was fine but when you applied brakes the pressure squeezed the surfaces together and made it feel like the rotors were warped---also undetectable by runout gage.

- Gibsonia, PA, USA

problem #9

Nov 072006

Outback 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

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

Our 2002 Subaru Outback eddie bauer edition has experienced a consistent brake failure the first thing in the morning on days where the outside temperature is at or below 45 deg F. the failure is repeatable as follows: After starting the vehicle with foot on the brake, the car initially seems okay with normal brake pedal feel (soft but not stiff) - in about the time it takes to put the car into reverse the brake petal stops responding and becomes very stiff. Also, brake assist disappears and it becomes very difficult (almost impossible) to stop the vehicle, even on the slight downgrade of our driveway. - under the force of gravity, it is possible for the car to drift backward into oncoming traffic, or anything else that happens to be located behind the car such as pedestrians and trashcans, for example. No accidents or near-misses have occurred as of the time of this writing, but this is not to say that they could not have occurred under normal vehicle use and traffic conditions in our area. The car usually comes to rest within 2 to 3 seconds after which the brakes seems to recover to normal function. - good functionality seems to continue as long as the car has not been sitting in the cold and/or as long as the engine compartment is warm. This problem has been brought up to two local Subaru dealers who both indicated they have never see this problem before. Also, one was able to replicate the problem. Given their expert commentary and physical evidence it is suspected that the car's behavior might constitute an emerging safety flaw to the vehicle's braking system. System will be repaired by consumer. Consumer has contacted Subaru customer support regarding this matter. They indicated that this was not an officially known issue per the list of NHTSA recall actions; hence, they took no action to remedy/investigate the problem. See Subaru case #: 936244 for details. See also nhtsb complaint #: 10106583.

- Fishers, IN, USA

problem #8

Jul 152004

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The dealership replaced at the front rotors and pads at 9000 miles. At 17,000 miles the front rotors and pads were replaced again, due to corrosion.

- Kings Park, NY, USA

problem #7

Nov 282002

Outback 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 14,000 miles
Brakes, complete brake jobs (rotors and pads replacement) at low mileage.

- Springfield, VT, USA

problem #6

Oct 202003

Outback

  • 46,000 miles

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

In cold severe weather brakes shutter. Recall 02V079000 was issued; however, this vehicle was not included in the recall due to VIN.

- Royalston, MA, USA

problem #5

Jan 212003

Outback

  • miles
While driving 25 mph on a dirt road the consumers vehicle began to fishtail. When the consumer applied the brakes they did not stop the vehicle and the steering failed. The consumer lost control of the vehicle and collided head on with a tree. Neither the front driver nor passenger air bags deployed.

- Keno, OR, USA

problem #4

Jan 212003

Outback

  • miles
While driving 25 mph on a dirt road the consumers vehicle began to fishtail. When the consumer applied the brakes they did not stop the vehicle and the steering failed. The consumer lost control of the vehicle and collided head on with a tree. Neither the front driver nor passenger air bags deployed.

- Keno, OR, USA

problem #3

Jan 212003

Outback

  • miles
While driving 25 mph on a dirt road the consumers vehicle began to fishtail. When the consumer applied the brakes they did not stop the vehicle and the steering failed. The consumer lost control of the vehicle and collided head on with a tree. Neither the front driver nor passenger air bags deployed.

- Keno, OR, USA

problem #2

Jan 212003

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,094 miles
The vehicle started to fish-tail, the consumer depressed the brakes with force and discovered the vehicle had no brakes.

- Keno, OR, USA

problem #1

Feb 212003

(reported on)

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
When the brake was applied, the vehicle experienced extended stopping distance.

- Bristol, CT, USA

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