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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
90,758 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.

2006 Subaru Outback electrical problems

electrical problem

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2006 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #26

Feb 192016


  • 140,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Subaru Outback. While driving 50 mph, the vehicle stalled and the cruise control and check engine lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 140,000. The VIN was not available.

- Irrigon, OR, USA

problem #25

Aug 012015


  • 70,000 miles
Broken wires in hatchback portion that affects license plate lights, radio antenna and potentially all taillights. Was this way when car was purchased and owner was not notified at time of purchase.

- Port Orchard, WA, USA

problem #24

Jan 312016


  • 102,000 miles
My vehicle lost all ability to accelerate while driving on the freeway. I had to coast into the emergency lane, which was a wall of snow in Colorado at this time of year. Blocking traffic in the slow lane, I waited for a tow to my Subaru dealer. They told me that my pedal accelerator assembly had failed. After repairs, I experienced the same problem 2 weeks later. This time they are stating that my electronic throttle body has failed. I have researched and see that I am one of over 50 consumers that have experienced this problem.

- Arvada, CO, USA

problem #23

Jun 152015


  • 75,000 miles


Sudden loss of acceleration while driving; connection between gas pedal and engine control is faulty. Forces driver to coast to a stop and turn off car. No ability to use gas to get out of the way faster.

- Altadena, CA, USA

problem #22

Jun 072015


  • 118,724 miles
Was driving at approx 55 mph when all of a sudden check engine light came on, cruise light was flashing, and sport light was flashing, car slowed down to 10 mph and could not go any faster. It was revved up to redline and there was no response with the gas pedal. I was only 2 miles from my destination, so I limped it there and shut it off. I had it scanned with a code scanner and code "P2138" (throttle position sensor) came up. After much research I found it usually is related to gas pedal assy. It has not yet happened since clearing the code and making sure the plug on the pedal was tight.

- Dayton, ME, USA

problem #21

Feb 242015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 100,265 miles
P2138 code - throttle issue --- today as I was driving to work, luckily on a side street, when the check engine light came on and the cruise control light began to blink. Then I lost power to the engine while it was still running. I normally take the highway to work but this day there was snow and ice so I decided to take the side streets instead. I pressed the gas pedal with no response. I coasted to a side street and turned in with no incident, thank god. I was near a Toyota dealership and I asked for their help but they said they did not work on Subaru. I was just about to call aaa when I thought to restart the car to see if it would go so I could take it somewhere else. I gave it gas and it went. The check engine light and cruise control was still on. I drove slowly to another service place and they found the code P2138 and said I could drive it but to get it to a dealership as soon as I could. The Subaru dealerships are not located in my town and takes 20-30 by highway to get to one of them. I am very unsure of driving on the highway now and have this happening again. I drive the highways a lot in order to fit my daily schedule. This is especially true for me to see elderly mother who lives 30 minutes away by highway. I love my Subaru even after having had the typical 2006 problems like head gasket leak and such which I consider acceptable for the mileage I have on her. I had planned on getting another Subaru in the future but not having power is extremely scary and will make me shop elsewhere if this is typical. Updated 4/21/16

- Huntersville, NC, USA

problem #20

Jan 082015


  • 77,000 miles


My fiancee was driving my 2006 Subaru Outback on the highway approximately 65 mph when there was a sudden loss of power. The throttle was unresponsive, but the engine remained idling. My partner pulled over to the side of the highway and tried restarting right away but the engine wouldn't start. After waiting a few minutes he was able to restart and drive normally. The cel was on with the cruise control blinking. When I took the car in to get the code read it gave the P2138 error code. In the last month this has happened 3 more times, including when on the way to the mechanic this morning. The mechanic said he has heard of this problem previously with '06 Subaru and recommended I get the wvu31 recall update, which I am really hoping will make a difference. This is extremely unsafe and essentially makes my car undriveable as I am never certain when a sudden loss of power will occur. If this happens where there is no shoulder it could easily cause an accident. This is an extreme safety concern that needs to be addressed!

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #19

Jan 042015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
Sudden deceleration of vehicle. Check engine light comes on and the car goes limp. Vehicle is restartable after 5 minutes, however the throttle does not work properly afterward and the vehicle will not accelerate normally, thus it drives much slower, and will not go above 60 mph. Problem comes and goes.

- Santa Fe, NM, USA

problem #18

Dec 222014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 114,210 miles
My wife was driving our 2006 Subaru Outback. She was driving in winter conditions. She was driving the 2 mile bridge to our home when the acceleration suddenly failed and the vehicle abruptly slowed from 55 mph to 35 mph. The roads had snow and ice on them. The vehicle behind her closed in on the rear of our Subaru and began honking and flashing its lights. The check engine light in our car came on and the cruise control flashed. She was scared by the misfunction. The car revved up above 4000 rpms when she put it into park. She shut the vehicle off and I checked and found an error code. P2138. The accelerator has 2 circuits that relay the desired speed to the car's computer. When the circuits don't match the computer cuts the speed out of the vehicle. I think that the engineering behind this system needs to be re thought so that this doesn't occur. I read other reports online of people in heavy traffic who had near accidents.

- Sagle , ID, USA

problem #17

Nov 072014

Outback 6-cyl

  • 93,218 miles
While driving on the highway, the check engine light came on and I immediately had no throttle response. Thankfully it was 10:30pm and there was a lower volume of traffic. I coasted off to the shoulder. Turned the vehicle off, restarted, and still no throttle response. Turned off again for about 15 minutes. This time there was throttle response, but cel was still on. The following day, the cel light was off and vehicle running fine. Now, a week later, it happened again. It is a very dangerous situation to all of a sudden have no power while driving. Especially when there is traffic around. The fear is being run into from behind, or being stuck on the side of the road and become prey for the unsavory. This situation needs to be remedied before someone dies.

- Bel Air, MD, USA

problem #16

Aug 222014


  • 100,000 miles


Subaru Outback/legacy 2006 - intermittent issue over a few months. The check engine light comes on, cruise control flashes and car goes limp, gas pedal stops working. After car goes limp, engine needs to be turned off, but once car is put in park for it to be turned off, the engine revs to approx. 2000 rpms on its own. The car then has to sit for a few minutes to attempt to turn the car on and the gas pedal to work again. This problem has thrown the code P2138. This is a serious safety issue, even more so as it has happened while on the freeway, where the car will lose speed due to the accelerator pedal not working and the car has essentially become a roadblock in the middle of fast oncoming traffic. This could have potentially caused serious accidents. After researching this particular problem online, it appears that many others with this exact car make/year have had the same issue and it is prevalent to this particular car. Subaru needs to conduct an investigation and offer a safety recall of this vehicle - at the very least, the cost of repairs to fix this known and prevalent issue with this car needs to be covered by the manufacturer.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #15

Oct 172014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 117,987 miles
While driving down I-25 the car lost all power and had no acceleration. The car would only idle, I noticed a check engine light on. I had the car towed to a repair shop and when the code was read a P2138 that had to do with the accelerator the mechanic said it happens alot with this year Subaru. He told me by just shutting the car off and waiting a few minutes it would have driven normal, when he started it again it did drive normal. He sends them to a Subaru dealer and tells the people that if enough of us complain or fill in a report then something may be done. This is a very unsafe car if it loses all power driving down the highway!

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #14

Jun 302014


  • 138,000 miles
The first incident with this car was me putting the transmission into park after stopping at a gas station and the rpms suddenly shot up to 2000. After filling the tank, I tried to start it but it wouldn't turn over. I let it sit for a moment and then tried again and it started with now the "check engine light" on and "cruise" flashing. The lights self-corrected later that day before I could have the code read. The next incident I was in a left hand turn lane with a green arrow. The check engine light and cruise came on and I suddenly lost the use of the gas pedal. It was completely limp. No matter how hard I pressed on it the car just moved along at idle speed, less than 5 mph. I barely made it through the intersection before I lost the green arrow. I pulled over, put it in park, the rpms went to 2000, then I turned it off. Tried starting it again and it wouldn't turn over. Tried it a second time and it fired right up and the gas pedal functioned properly. The check engine light and cruise were on again. I took it to an auto parts store to have the code read and it came up with P2138, an issue with the throttle position sensor. These incidents occurred twice more before I was able to get a proper diagnosis from a mechanic and they occurred anywhere from one to two weeks apart. This is a potentially very dangerous issue with these cars and should be addressed by a recall by Subaru.

- Auburn, WA, USA

problem #13

Jul 022014


  • 70,000 miles
Drive-by-wire throttle receives signal error (P2138) and ECU cuts off throttle function. This presents a serious and dangerous condition as the driver is then entirely unable to modulate speed. This error has occurred three times with no warning on the same vehicle, and at various speeds and situations. The latest one occurred on a highway at approximately 60mph where collisions due to disabled throttle were narrowly avoided. This error and the vehicle's ECU response could kill someone.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #12

May 012013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
While driving at 65 mph, car began to "buck" and lost power. Cruise control light began to flash and check engine light was steady. Happened exactly the same again today, 6/3/2014. Problem was coded as P2138 and accelerator assembly was replaced one year ago. Car will need to go in to mechanic again today. Expect similar problem.

- Novato, CA, USA

problem #11

Feb 152014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 95,300 miles
While driving down the highway I lost the ability to accelerate forward, meaning my gas pedal stopped working and I began to coast. At the moment I lost the ability to accelerate, my check engine light appeared and my cruise control became disabled. Luckily, I was able to safely pull to the side of the road. After turning on and off the engine several times, I was then able to accelerate again. I then went to O'reilly's to have a diagnostics performed, which resulted in code P2138 (throttle pedal position sensor D-E voltage rationality). This problem continues to occur without warning.

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #10

Oct 262013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
While driving 70mph in the fast lane down the highway I turned cruise control on. As soon as the cruise control was engaged all throttle was lost. While in motion I put the car in neutral then back into drive and nothing happened. The car was decelerating so I pulled off the highway. Once safely on the side of the road I turned the car off for several minutes and then back on. The acceleration capability returned but the check engine light was on. I took the car to a mechanic to read the code which came back as the throttle control sensor. This is a very dangerous defect and should be addressed by Subaru America.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #9

Oct 252013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
I was accelerating to get on the freeway entrance in my Subaru Outback (with my wife and two small children) when I notice a complete loss in throttle response. The car was just barely moving due to the engine idle. Check engine light came on. I drove at that pace to a parking lot to check my options. I had not noted, until now, that this car has no throttle cable and is completely drive-by-wire. I looked at the connection of wire harness to the pedal assembly and did not see any red flags - no corrosion, etc. It appeared to be in good shape. I shut the car off, waited about 30 sec, and restarted it. It then got us home. When I got home tonight, I ran my obd diagnostic tool and got a P2138 error code. This is listed as "throttle/pedal position sensor/switch "D"/"E" voltage correlation" trouble code description. I am going to check into my options tomorrow, but felt this was worth reporting since it appears there are others out there that have experienced this problem as well. There is definitely a safety concern with a failure of this nature as I was traveling at a good rate and in traffic. Luckily, everyone is ok - but my wife and I worry when this will happen again. Thanks.

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #8

May 022013


  • 104,000 miles
In the 2006 Subaru Outback 3.0 the throttle is controlled electronically. This failed on me while driving at 70 mph down the freeway. The gas peddle stopped responding. I could not accelerate or maintain speed. I had to pull over. After about 1 minute I restarted the car and the throttle started to respond again. My check engine light is now on and the cruise control light is blinking. This is a safety hazard and needs a fix. After reviewing many forums, it doesn't sound like Subaru knows what is causing the issue. But there are some "recommendations".

- Shoreview, MN, USA

problem #7

Jan 152013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Rear wiper ceased functioning. The problem was due to broken wire(s) in a wiring harness that passes through a rubber accordion boot between the car body and the tail-gate (near the right-hand tailgate hinge). Many of the other wires, affecting upper brake light, license plate lights, backup lights, and tailgate latch/lock, were frayed and were replaced due to imminent failure of the above listed components. Research at an online forum for Subaru owners showed that many other owners (of 2005 and 2006 Subaru Outbacks) have experienced similar failures due to broken wires in this wiring harness. I suspect that it is an under-reported problem. I believe that Subaru should be asked to issue a safety recall notice.

- Chapel Hill, NC, USA

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