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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 1 of 4)

problem #62

May 052016


  • 141,000 miles


Was driving to work and stopped at a light. Light turned green and I released the brake pedal, car started faster than normal with no pressure on the gas pedal. I pressed the gas pedal repeatedly but it did not respond. I pulled over and put the car in neutral and the engine started reving high light the pedal was stuck. I tried pressing the cancel button on the cruise control, thinking that it might have gotten stuck but that didn't work so I put it in park and turned it off. Tried turning it back on once and it didn't turn over. Tried it again and it turned on, but this time the check engine light was on, and the cruise control indicator was blinking. Could have been much worse if this was on the highway and it got stuck at a high speed, or if I was trying to turn onto a busy road and couldn't accelerate.

- Blue Ash, OH, USA

problem #61

Apr 042016


  • 93,000 miles
Throttle failure. While driving throttle completely fails. No acceleration, car will only move at automatic idle speed. Cruise control light flashes, check engine light on. Extremely dangerous -- very lucky it didn't happen in an intersection or while passing another car. Turns out to be common for this model -- and mine has only 93,000 miles. I am attaching a sample from an online complaint site. This requires a recall.

- Washington, CT, USA

problem #60

Mar 262016


  • 3 miles
Accelerator randomly stops working. Once you stop the vehicle and wait about 10-15 seconds then restart I seems to work fine. Also check engine and cruise lights flash when this occurs. So far this has only happened right after starting the vehicle while leaving a driveway or parking lot so at slow speeds. If this happens on a 6 lane freeway system, it could be very dangerous!!!!!!!

- Lancaster, CA, USA

problem #59

Dec 212015


  • 155,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Subaru Outback. While driving at various speeds, the accelerator pedal was depressed and the vehicle failed to accelerate. The check engine warning indicator illuminated. The driver had to coast the vehicle to the shoulder and turn the ignition to the off potion and back on in order for the vehicle to operate normally. The failure recurred three times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure could not be duplicated. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 155,000.

- Mount Horeb, WI, USA

problem #58

Jan 272016


  • 95,000 miles
Loss of power, no acceleration while driving at highway speeds. Trouble code P2138 faulty throttle position sensor in the gas pedal leading to no acceleration. This happened while driving on the freeway at highway speeds (70 mph or so). Suddenly there was no power when pushing the gas pedal and we had to make it to the shoulder on a busy freeway with no acceleration what so ever. This should be a recall! people can die with loss of power and acceleration on the freeway, or being stuck on a blind curve on a mountain road. Very dangerous situation with this system!

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #57

Dec 072015


  • 138,000 miles
While driving at speed - city street 45mph -- lost ability to throttle. No throttle, engine, or acceleration response when pressing gas pedal. Check engine and cruise lights blinking. After pulling over, turned off engine. Upon restarting after a minute, throttle capability returned. This has happened twice, unexpectedly.

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #56

Nov 012015


  • 182,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Subaru Outback. While driving at 70 mph, the accelerator pedal was depressed, but the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle lost power, the cruise control deactivated, and the check engine warning light illuminated. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the throttle position sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 182,000.

- Baxter, TN, USA

problem #55

Oct 112015


  • 48,500 miles
While driving my Subaru yesterday, I suddenly lost the ability to accelerate. The car speed dropped to 10 mph. I pulled off the road and restarted car twice. Barely enough acceleration to get car to 18 mph. The check engine light remained on and the cruise light blinked continously. Took car to dealer today. Error code is P2138. Dealer cannot find what is wrong with car. I am concerned about going onto highways and having this happen.

- Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #54

Sep 302015


  • 115,000 miles
I was driving when suddenly my car would not go forward more than a few mph, the check engine light came on and the cruise control was flashing. Thankfully I was only doing about 30 miles an hour in town. I pulled over, turned my car off, turned it back on and it wouldn't start. I started it for a 2nd time and it started and I drove home. I took it to my Subaru only mechanic of 17 years (I'm on my 4th subie) who thought the error code of P2138 was odd. He told me to let him know if it happened again....and it did a few days later so I took it back in. My mechanic called Subaru and found out this was not an uncommon problem. I've only had it back a day so I'm not sure if the problem has been fixed. I certainly hope it has as I'm terrified of the thought of this happening on the highway doing 70 mph on my way to work in horrible traffic. After getting on the internet, this long-time Subaru lover is surprised and disappointed that Subaru hasn't done a recall on this problem. This is a very dangerous issue that needs to be addressed.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #53

Sep 282015


  • 95,480 miles
I was driving with my 10 month old in the car when it suddenly began to deccelerate. I pressed on the gas pedal and got no response. The check engine and cruise control lights began flashing at this time as well. Fortunately I was on a rural road (speed limit 40 mph) and was able to limp along to a pull off. I turned the engine off and let it sit for 5 minutes. When I turned the car back on I was able to drive again. The check engine light was on when I initially started the car but turned off when I began driving again. The same event occurred 4 days later when I was taking my 4 year old to preschool. I turned off a 25 mph street into his school when the check engine light came on and the gas pedal quit working. I should note that when the gas pedal "quits working" the car will not let me go above 15 mph. Once again, I was able to turn the car off and when I started it back up the gas pedal worked again. I took the vehicle to a local mechanic who replaced the accelerator pedal and sensor. Fortunately I was on rural roads when both of these events happened, but this would have been terrifying if I was on a busy road or freeway, especially with 2 small children in the car.

- Winthrop, WA, USA

problem #52

Sep 252015


  • 53,000 miles


I was driving on the interstate and when I got onto the exit ramp, the vehicle gas pedal stopped working and the check engine light came on along with flashing cruise control light. I coasted into a dealership with hazard lights on at about 10mph. Diagnosis was a faulty accelerator pedal sensor. This could have been very dangerous if I was in heavy traffic or still on the interstate. Car only has 53,000 miles on it.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #51

Aug 202015


  • 95,000 miles
I was driving at approximately 55, miles per hour the eng went to ide speed, the check eng light came on. I drifted off the side of the road, the throttle was unresponsive. Read the code out and it was for throttle pedal position sensor. It has happened twice since, this could be dangerous if in major traffic such as on a freeway. It could cause a crash. This seems to be an issue with Subaru, I have researched it and many people report this in forums on the internet.

- Morgantown, WV, USA

problem #50

Jul 282015


  • 124,356 miles
When driving on the highway at 75mph the engine light and cruise control light came on and the accelerator became unresponsive. After pulling over and restarting the car it worked fine. This has happened 7 times so far and after reading many posts on Outback forums it seems that this is a very common and dangerous problem that needs to be figured out by Subaru.

- Ventura, CA, USA

problem #49

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 #48

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 #47

Mar 172015

Outback 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
I was stopped at a traffic light, when the light changed I attempted to give the car gas to begin moving and there was no power in the pedal. All the lights on the instrument panel were on and the radio was playing. I had some power and was able to move out of the flow of oncoming traffic. I parked but did not turn the car off. I turned on my hazards and tried the pedal again. Nothing! I turned the car off and restarted the engine. At this point the check engine light came on and the cruise control light began flashing. I attempted and this time there was power in the pedal. The check engine light remained on and the cruise control light is flashing. I have dropped the car off at my mechanic. This was scary with traffic bearing down on me at rush hour and no where to go initially. I am just very thankful I was not traveling at a high rate of speed when this occurred.

- Hendersonville, NC, USA

problem #46

Jan 282015


  • 49,296 miles
I was traveling on a 3-lane highway at the posted mileage (60 mph). Simultaneously the check engine light came on and the gas pedal lost all power. The cruise light was also flashing. I tried flooring the gas pedal, but the vehicle continued to lose power and the speed rapidly decreased to less than 20 mph. This happened with absolutely no warning and no time to get off a busy thoroughfare. This occurred at approximately 3:00 pm, so fortunately the traffic was not extremely heavy. I was able to cut across 2 lanes of traffic that was going 60 mph +, exit on an off-ramp, and get to a safe location to call for a tow truck to take the vehicle to dealership for repair. The outcome was code P2138 (accelerator sensor). The sensor was replaced at a cost of $340. I purchased this vehicle new in 2006, and have kept it well maintained at the dealership per their service schedule. However, until this problem occurs, there?S no doubt it would have ever been caught by the dealer to repair. This is extremely dangerous because it could have caused a serious injury to me and other drivers. If it had been at another time, I could have been rear-ended by drivers going the posted speed limit.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #45

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 #44

Feb 022015

Outback 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
Vehicle is a 2006 Subaru Outback sedan 'll bean edition. Upon traveling to work at 5:30am, going up hill at 40 mpg, the gas pedal stopped working but the engine was at high RPM. The check engine light came on steady with cruise control light flashing. Had to shut the car off, put on hazard lights as this was a dark road. Tried unsuccessfully twice to get the car to start. On the third try it started and pedal did work but the check engine light stayed on with the cruise light flashing. Drove slowly to work which was a mile away and the safest place to park the car. Upon getting it to my garage later that day they scanned the codes from the computer and it showed a P2138-throttle /pedal positioning sensor. Had to get the complete gas pedal with sensor from a authorized Subaru dealership and replace it. Was fortunate I was not in traffic or a major highway. This is a safety issue and needs to be addressed!

- West Newton, PA, USA

problem #43

Feb 032015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
While traveling down a residential road, my 2006 Outback sedan lost acceleration control and went into limp mode in which it was only idling and had no control from accelerator. The check engine light illuminated and the cruise control light began blinking. I turned the engine off from drive, moved the shifter to park and restarted the vehicle after a minute or so. It started up fine but seems to be idling low, sputtering and hesitating a little. Especially when reversing slowly or pressing the accelerator very lightly from idle. A mechanic nearby said the problem code was reading "bad throttle position sensor." I believe the error code was P2138. Upon researching the issue and as others have suggested, this is supposedly a common problem yet no real reason for the failure can be identified. Some have said that replacing the throttle body which includes the aforementioned sensor helped the situation. Other said that replacing the accelerator pedal assembly which includes the accelerator pedal position sensor has helped. In a few cases with both repairs, the problem recurred. I am bringing my vehicle to the dealer to read the history of failure codes and repair the problem. A note to fellow complainants out there, please update your post if you had a repair done which solved the problem and how long it has been since an recurrence if any since the repairs were made, it really would help the rest of us out there who don't want to let the dealerships scratch their heads and charge us for unnecessary repairs.

- Merritt Island, FL, USA

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