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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
96,516 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2006 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #42

Jan 172015


  • 100,000 miles


While driving home the check engine light came on and the cruise control light began flashing. The car began to decelerate and the accelerator pedal became unresponsive. Vehicle continued to idle normally, but depressing the accelerator had no affect on the engine. Searching forums returns that this is a very common and dangerous issue with the drive-by-wire throttle of these vehicles. Had it happened on the freeway as opposed to a 30mph residential street, it would probably have resulted in an accident.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #41

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 #40

Dec 022014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 183,400 miles
While coming to a stop at a traffic light, the check engine light came on along with a flashing cruise control light. When I started up there was no response from the gas pedal. My car started to roll and got up to 10 mph ( the speed limit was 45 mph). The RPM gauge stayed at 2000 rpms. I pulled on to a side street with my flashers on and parked. I turned off the engine and started it. Still no response from the gas pedal. I turned the car off a second time. This time the engine didn't start. I tried again and it take a long time (10 seconds) but it finally started. Now the gas pedal responded. I drive my car home without incident but the check engine light stayed on and the cruise still flashed. I went to auto zone where they said the code was P2138. Thank goodness the traffic was light when this happened and I was able to find a side street. Updated 12/21/15

- Williamsville, NY, USA

problem #39

Nov 172014


  • 56,400 miles


Slowing at intersection to make a right turn when check-engine-light came on. Cruise control light started flashing (vehicle was not in cruise control at the time) accelerator pedal became unresponsive (could get no acceleration out of the car when pressing the pedal) and was barely able to get through intersection to turn. After a minute or so was able to get enough power to run at about 10mph tops with hazards on to get a location where I could pull over out of traffic. Car would not start immediately after (three cranks with no response) after a few minutes, though, it restarted and seemed to operate normally, no problems with speed. Diagnostic code was P2138 (throttle/pedal position sensor/switch "a"/"B" voltage correlation.

- Laramie, WY, USA

problem #38

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 #37

Oct 302014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 42,100 miles
Vehicle suddenly lost power, would not accelerate when accelerator pedal was depressed. When car was turned off and ignition turned, the vehicle was idling at a high RPM. When placed into drive vehicle would move forward at 15 mph, but there was no response from the accelerator pedal. Engine light went on, as did the cruise control light. Depressing the cruise control on/off button did not change cruise control indicator. Took into the dealership and they cleared the code and returned the vehicle back to me. The same thing occurred several days later. When I took it into the dealership, they told me the accelerator pedal assembly was malfunctioning and they charged me $403.88 as a replacement. I see now on the web that others have had this problem. This is a very dangerous fail and could have caused a serious incident. It is also very frustrating because it all occurred within a few days of having $2400 of service already on the vehicle (engine head gaskets replaced, timing belt, trans fluid flush, tire rotate), and I had to take it back to the dealership 3 times in order to get issues dealt with (twice with the accelerator issue, once because they had failed to properly tighten the power steering belt).

- Missoula, MT, USA

problem #36

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 #35

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 #34

Oct 112014

Outback 6-cyl

  • 96,105 miles
Driving on the highway, the check engine light came on soon followed by the flashing cruise control light. At the point, the car became no longer responsive to the accelerator. I was forced to pull over because after breaking, I couldn't speed back up. Turning the car off and on again did not solve the problem. When I turned the car on the engine revved at a high speed with the cruise control light still flashing. I eventually had to get the car towed.

- Fair Oaks, CA, USA

problem #33

Oct 042014


  • 149,000 miles
As I was driving on the freeway, suddenly the check engine light came on, I lost thrust even though the engine was still turning at 2000 RPM, and my car started to slow down. Luckily I was already in the right lane, so it was easy to pull off the road. I went to autozone to have them read the code. The code was P2138 which is the pedal position sensor.

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #32

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 #31

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 #30

May 302014


  • 133,000 miles
While driving down the road, lost ability to accelerate, throttle failed to respond. This has happened 4 separate times now. Replaced accelerator assembly, but problem still continues without notice. Intermittent problem.

- Rockton, IL, USA

problem #29

Mar 192014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
I have experienced this twice in the past 3 months. Both time my car goes to limo mode. The check engine light comes on and the cruise control light flashes. The pedal does not rev the engine. After a number of tries, the pedal will become responsive again. After about 3 restarts once the engine is reving the check engine light and cruise will go out and the car will be normal until it does it again. When I read the code, it's P2138 indicating it's an issue with the 2 reducent sensors on the pedal disagreeing about where the pedal is. This is a very serious defect! call soa and asked to take it to the authorized dealership. Bought the car at West Subaru herr buffalo, live in Canada now.

- Orchard Park, NY, USA

problem #28

Apr 062014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 135,310 miles
I was parked in a shopping mall parking lot. When I started the engine and pulled out of the parking space the gas pedal was unresponsive. I just rolled along with no power. The check engine light came on and I rolled into another parking space. I read in the owner's manual that it could be an emission control problem or something to do with the gas cap. I took the gas cap off and re-seated it and when I tried to start the car again on the third try, the check engine light went off and the car had power again and the gas pedal was responsive. I took it to my mechanic and he found the code to be P3128. I was fortunate that this did not happen while I was on the highway or anywhere in busy traffic. I had the entire throttle/pedal assembly replaced at a cost of aprox. $500 and hope that this solves the problem.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #27

Feb 212014

Outback 6-cyl

  • 112,650 miles
I was driving the vehicle at a steady rate of 50mph. Suddenly the cruise control indicator light illuminated and began to flash as well as the check engine indicator light. The vehicle also became unresponsive to the accelerator when pressed or depressed. The vehicle would maintain a speed about 20mph even after coming to a complete stop. After pulling to the side of the road and engaging the hazard lights, I put the car in park. The RPM gauge then skyrockets to 3000-4000 RPM and the engine becomes really loud. I turn the key off and let the car sit for a few minutes. Neglecting to sit for a few minutes results in the same behavior. After starting the car again the cruise control indicator light still flashes and the check engine indicator light remains on. After 3 restarts both indicator lights are off and all seems fine. After taking it to the dealership they told me it is a "bad accelerator and it has been replaced recently". the dealership then reset the code. This has happened over 10 times in the last 3 months and continues to happen on a random basis. Loss of power and control is unsafe and needs to be addressed.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #26

Dec 162013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
Sudden loss of accelerator control in traffic. Cannot rev engine or maintain speed above 600 RPM/5 mph; barely idling. Codes on ECU indicate throttle body positioning sensor failure. Eventually had to replace throttle body to resolve problem.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #25

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 #24

Dec 032013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
Same symptom happened twice: Once just after starting from a service area on the interstate, the second on Suburban roads I describe here. During a normal 30 mile Suburban trip, after about 20 miles the vehicle suddenly lost power and the check engine light came on. The engine continued running but the accelerator pedal seemed to have no control over the engine speed or power. After coasting to a stop and turning the engine off for a minute the car started and ran normally, though the check engine light stayed on for a day or so. When we took the vehicle to the dealer after the first incident they were not able to interpret the check engine codes; after the second incident they found a P2138 code -- "accelerator position sensor" failure. They replaced the accelerator assembly and the vehicle seems to be running correctly again. As I understand it the issue is a failure in the accelerator position sensor: There are dual sensors in the assembly and if their readings differ the accelerator pedal is effectively "disconnected" and the driver loses all power. I believe this is a serious safety issue: The failure could just as well have taken place at high speed on the interstate without the possibility of a safe stop, and having the first indication of trouble being "losing all power" is not acceptable.

- Northborough, MA, USA

problem #23

Dec 092013

Outback 6-cyl

  • 64,860 miles
Vehicle lost throttle response suddenly. Was able to coast at about 20mph off of an interstate to a safe location code check indicated P2138 throttle position sensor fault.

- Parker, CO, USA

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