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fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
19,457 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #7

Sep 252007


  • 55,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Subaru Outback. While driving 65 mph, the contact heard a grinding sound coming from outside the vehicle. A local mechanic stated that the bearings in the transfer case failed. The vehicle was diagnosed by the mechanic; however, the failure recurred three months later. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The VIN was unknown. The current mileage was 60,000 and failure mileage was 55,000.

- Lexington, VA, USA

problem #6

Apr 052005

Outback 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 45,000 miles
Car shudders and stalls continually when starting in 1st gear, more frequently when cold. Have stalled in middle of interection multiple times. This is a manual transmission. I have driven manuals for 20 years have had never had this problem with other vehilcles. This has been happening since I purchased car 6 months ago.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #5

Dec 032004

Outback 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 31,200 miles
Dangerous hesitation in first and second gears especially. At stop light, upon attempting to accelerate, car bogged down, rpms dipped and nearly stalled before car finally accelerated with a violent jerk forward and back. Has happened on numerous occasions. Very dangerous-nearly been in three accidents already. So far the dealer has bled the clutch, adjusted the clutch, replaced the clutch, replaced knock sensor, replaced coolant temp sensor and replaced front oxygen sensor and problem still as bad as ever if not worse.

- Woodbury, CT, USA

problem #4

Mar 312004


  • miles


The car hesitates on acceleration, mainly in 1st and 2nd gear. Can be severe enough that car practically stalls in intersections.

- Murphy, NC, USA

problem #3

Mar 152004

Outback 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 5,000 miles
I have owned a 2002 Subaru Outback station wagon since August 2002, and have experienced a very frequent (daily to weekly) but inconsistent hesitation and shudder while accelerating from a stop. It occurs in 1st and 2nd gear, and is pronounced in cold starts only. The hesitation and clutch shudder also is pronounced in stop and go traffic, in first or second gear - in this situation, the car lunges or lurches forward until the speed increases to over 10 or 15 mph. This causes a safety concern at low speeds, and the start of acceleration from a stop. Have taken it to the Subaru dealer on several occasions, but they have not been able to fix the problem. The problem appears to be quite prominent in other Subaru oubacks and other models (based on other NHTSA complaints, and postings on the (search for shudder or hesitation and you can find hundreds of similar complaints). A trouble file has been set up with Subaru America. However, the problem continues to persist.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #2

Mar 232003


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
I purchased a 2002 Subaru Outback from oldham's Subaru of nicholasville, ky in feburary 2003. On sat. March 22, 2003, I noticed the car hesitating during initial acceleration after a stop and then with acceleration after shifting into second gear (manual transmission). On sun., March 23, 2003 the problem became much more severe. The car would lurch into intersections after a stop, and then hesitate. The car would not move at all, then would lurch out of the intersection. This nearly caused a very serious accident, and I had my 2 year old son in the car. I finally decided to pull to the side of the road and call roadside assistance. The car was towed to the dealership, who drove the car the next two days for 7 miles, then 6 miles, and said that they found no problems. I picked up the car and did not have the problem for a week, but I am now having the same hesitation problems with the car. It is clearly unsafe to drive, and I am afraid to drive it. My own investigation into the problem (web research) reveals that many other owners of Subaru's made in the late 90's to the present have had similar problems, with no help from their local dealerships. I hope that this problem can be investigated and addressed before people are injured or killed.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #1

Oct 302001

Outback 4WD

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
The manual transmission on this vehicle skips or shudders in 1st gear making it difficult to pull forward or into traffic at slow speeds without stalling the car. The only option is to rev the engine higher than normally to insure clutch engagement which then cause the clutch to burn. Sometimes even this doesn't work. It happens more often when the car is cold. Dealer said it could not be duplicated so it must be our driving, however I have been driving manuals for 20 years and this has never been a problem. This is a scary car to pull out into heavy or fast moving traffic.

- Bluffton, SC, USA

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