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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
71,355 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.

2011 Subaru Outback drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #26

Jan 132016


  • 142,000 miles


Vehicle shudders and stalls out when coming to a stop and/or slowing down. The vehicle must be put back into park and restarted before it will move. This happened to me four times today. This poses an incredibly dangerous threat to anyone in this vehicle or around this vehicle while in traffic. Anyone in this vehicle is a sitting duck for an accident because you never know when it will stall out. I am appalled at the fact that I have seen so many of these same issues be reported and not recalled yet. Obviously this is a safety issue that must be addressed...really - does someone have to die or get seriously injured for someone to take action here??

- Burlington, NC, USA

problem #25

Dec 232015


  • 111,000 miles
My Outback is stalling at red lights and sudden stops. Took to dealership and they said the torque converter is failing. They said Subaru is aware of the problem. This needs to be recalled due to a safety issue. There are many who are having this problem.

- Rancho Murieta, CA, USA

problem #24

Dec 302015


  • 114,000 miles
Vehicle stalls when braking hard when coming to a stop.

- Bristol, VA, USA

problem #23

Dec 012015


  • 80,000 miles


The car is stalling out when the brakes are applied as this happens every time I come to a stop. I have to put the car in park in the middle of traffic to restart it. This is extremely dangerous and creates a public hazard. This is a safety issue that needs to be addressed asap before someone gets killed. I brought the car to the dealer as soon as this happened and they told me the vehicle needs a new torque converter to the tune of $2600. Upon researching this issue, I found Subaru is well aware of their problematic torque converter since they issued a service bulletin regarding it. This is obviously faulty equipment that Subaru is aware of and should make good on. This car has 80,000 miles on it and has been well maintained as I brought it brand new in late 2011.

- Canton, CT, USA

problem #22

Oct 092015


  • 110,000 miles
Car has a continuously variable transmission. The torque converter will not disengage when car comes to a hard stop. This causes engine to die. This can be dangerous in heavy traffic. Subaru is aware of problem. Subaru issued technical service bulletin 16-90-13R to specifically address this issue. Problem is, my car was well out of warranty before this issue could be identified. It is an expensive transmission repair. Again, this is a safety issue. Subaru should be required to recall these cars and fix the torque converter.

- House Springs, MO, USA

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problem #21

Sep 192015


  • 78,547 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Outback. While attempting to park, the contact forgot to shift the lever into the park position but was able to turn the vehicle off. As a result, the vehicle rolled away and crashed into a gate. The air bags failed to deploy. A police report was not filed and there were no injuries. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The dealer was notified of the issue and stated that the vehicle was designed to perform in that manner. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 78,547.

- Augusta, WV, USA

problem #20

May 102015


  • 100,000 miles


Driving on highway at approx. 65 miles per hour. Heard loud clicking and engine lost power. I was just able to get off the highway without being hit by others. There was no warning lights or anything before this happened. The car has received regular checkups/oil changes and was not due for another oil change yet.

- Randolph, VT, USA

problem #19

Apr 202015


  • 113,750 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Outback. While slowing down to make a turn, there was an abnormal noise coming from the front of the vehicle without warning. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 10V326000 (power train). The approximate failure mileage was 113,750.

- Stafford Springs, CT, USA

problem #18

Mar 022015


  • 71,000 miles
About 1 month ago my car began to stall when coming to a stop ie at an intersection or stop sign. The car just shudders and dies. It will start back up. The problem got worse, happening 1-2 times per day. After searching the internet, I found a Subaru service bulletin #16-90-13 design change to lock-up type torque converter linked to a description of an issue like this. When I brought my car in for service I mentioned the service bulletin to the service coordinator and he knew all about it. They tested the car and this was confirmed to be the problem. My car however is out of warranty. It is less than 5 years old - not even paid off yet- but has >60,000 miles. The repair is not covered and will be close to $1800. This is a safety issue and should be a recall. I am a repeat Subaru buyer and it shocks me that they will not stand behind their cars better than this and would let a potentially dangerous situation go on without putting mitigation in place.

- Franklin, MA, USA

problem #17

Jan 052015


  • 68,000 miles
After braking moderate to hard when the vehicle comes to a stop the car stalls without fail. It occurred while my wife and 18 month old were slowing down/stopping on a busy road to yield oncoming traffic before taking a left turn onto another road. When we first brought the vehicle into the local Subaru dealership they ran diagnostics and found nothing wrong and sent us on our way. A few weeks later on March 10, 2015 we brought the car back after it occurred several more times. The dealership didn't even need to do a road test, they knew the problem was a faulty torque converter. We were led to believe this is a common defect for this model. They also said the transmission (cvt) may need to be replaced. This same problem has happened to others we know who have the same car. Our Outback has 74K miles on it now. The warranty expired at 70K miles. We still owe payments on the car and now will need to spend thousands of dollars to fix it. This car is not safe to drive and we hope Subaru recalls this model to have the torque converter and cvt replaced. At best people will need to spend thousands to fix the issue. At worst this problem could lead to severe or fatal injuries.

- Westford, MA, USA

problem #16

Jan 142015


  • 80,500 miles


At a hard, fast brake to avoid traffic congestion on the freeway, the car stalled and died. It lost all power and had to be restarted. A faulty torque converter is the culprit. The torque converter failure in the Subaru (not just Outbacks) has been shown to result in a sudden loss of power / stalled engine, which can endanger the driver and other drivers.

- Palo Alto , CA, USA

problem #15

Sep 152014


  • 93,000 miles
Service bulletin # 16-90-13 design change to lock-up type torque converter when I have to come to a stop or if I go up a hill slow, or if I have to stop quick my vehicle will stall. This is dangerous, especially in traffic. I have checked every other possible problem and they all check out fine. I do not feel that the consumer should have to pay for a defective part. If I had to stop quick in traffic it would be very dangerous. I have already had this problem where the vehicle stalled with traffic behind me. I feel this is a "recall" and not a routine maintenance problem.

- Hepzibah, WV, USA

problem #14

Jun 182014


  • 101,000 miles
The engine shuts down whenever you brake suddenly or use any pressure to brake (not coast to a stop). The car shakes and then dies and you have to restart the car. This happens almost daily and after taking it to several shops it was determined that the torque converter is bad and needs to be replaced. There is a service bulletin out about fixing this so it appears to be a common problem. Even a quick search online produces hundreds of similar complaints for this make & model. Given that this can stall out at any speed with any pressure in applying the brakes with the torque converter, this should be an immediate recall for safety concerns!!! it's a faulty part on the car, not a wear & tear item.

- Red Hook, NY, USA

problem #13

Jul 182014

Outback 6-cyl

  • 34,576 miles
I backed out of a parking spot, stopped and, with my foot on the brake, shifted to drive to pull forward. The car surged forward rapidly. I stood on the brakes, the surge continued very briefly and then the car finally stopped. This was the first incident of this kind in the three years I have owned the car.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #12

Apr 262012

Outback 6-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
Safety concerns with hesitation issue with transmission at slow speeds when applying /giving more gas.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #11

Jan 132014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 31,300 miles
I would like to report an abnormal behavior in my car on January 13, 2014 as this is a safety matter. The road condition was dry and the outside temperature was about 40 degrees. First I backed out of my garage onto the road, then shifted to the D position and drove about half a mile forward. I noticed that the car did not slow down as usual when I applied the brakes as I was approaching the first intersection. I had to press the brake pedal much further than usual. I did not slow down to a complete stop, made a right turn and continued to drive. I decided to pay closer attention to the behavior of the car during the next braking period. I drove another quarter mile and I had to apply the brakes again as I was approaching a stop sign. The car did not slow down as usual again, so I had to press the brake pedal to the floor to make a complete stop. When the car finally stopped moving I heard a loud squeaking noise and the tachometer arrow was moving back and forth between 2000 and 5000 RPM. It seemed as though the clutch was still engaged even though the brakes were applied and the car was not moving. This continued for 5-10 seconds until I shifted into the N position as I continued to hold my foot on the brake pedal. The squeaking sound disappeared and the tachometer arrow went down immediately. I shifted back into the D position again with my foot still on the brake and the car behaved normally. This problem has not appeared since that time. I have taken the car to a Subaru service dealer at norwood, MA 02062 on Jan. 27, 2014, but they did not find anything wrong (customer #[xxx], invoice [xxx], miles 31340). I would like to get to the bottom of the problem since this could be a serious safety issue. I have filed a complaint to Subaru website on January 28, 2014 but did not hear a word from them since that. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Needham, MA, USA

problem #10

Jul 062012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 18,192 miles
This vehicle is hesitating from a start, posing a high risk of causing a serious accident when entering traffic. The hesitation occurs, on average, once every 300 miles under differing conditions. I have taken the vehicle to Subaru service four times because of this problem. They state they can"T solve the issue because they can?T ?duplicate? it. I have informed them over and over again that it is an intermittent problem but they refused to keep the car long enough to duplicate the problem. I have asked Subaru for a replacement but all they will offer is yet another appointment ?to attempt to duplicate the concerns". in the meantime, I am forced to drive a vehicle with a serious safety problem, which occurs randomly without warning. This hesitation defect appears to be a common issue with this power train, placing numerous drivers at risk. Please see the following associated complaints: 10290805 10297490 10307668 10343600 10346037 10346648 10347133 10351374 10354541 10355908 10355908 10356951 10358243 10411748 10413779 10448621 10505368 10515376 thank you for your time.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #9

Feb 152012


  • 12,000 miles
While driving at 40 or 50 miles an hour, my husband tries to shift to 4th or 5th gear and the gear slips into reverse. Then the car can't go in reverse. We bought the car in June 2011. This first happened when the car was about 8 months old. The dealership replaced bushings. The same thing happened again a few months later, on the highway, with my two kids in the car, when my husband was shifting from 5th to 6th. The dealership replaced bushings. The same thing happened on May 11, 2013, while we were on the highway and my husband was shifting from 4th to 5th; the gear slipped into reverse. The car then can't go in reverse.

- Boston, MA, USA

problem #8

Apr 222013

Outback 6-cyl

  • 33,400 miles
The issue started at around 25,000 miles. My 2011 Subaru Outback, upon shifting from reverse to drive or from park to drive from a cold start, the transmission would pause for a second or two then would exhibit a loud bang/clunk and the car would lurch forward. Warming the car for several minutes (~5-10 minutes) did not solve the issue. I read others who had the same issue so at 28,622 miles (~1.5 months from the first incident) I brought the car to the Subaru service/dealer. Unfortunately they could not replicate the issue, likely due to the fact that they did a transmission relearn before trying to test the transmission. The car was fine for about 2 days after receipt from service, but then the bang/clunk/lurch began again, on and off, under the same conditions mentioned earlier (I.e., cold start, shifting into drive, etc.) until its failure on April 22 (mileage ~33,400, ~3 months after bringing the car to the Subaru service/dealer noted above). The transmission failed while I was driving 45 mph, after I heard a bang from under the vehicle. The vehicle was still controllable, but only first gear worked. The car today (April 23) is at the service station to determine if it is a transmission issue or a computer issue.

- Mchenry, IL, USA

problem #7

Aug 062011


  • miles
2011 Subaru Outback. Consumer states vehicle rolled down the street without the key in ignition and engine off the consumer stated the vehicle finally came to rest in his neighbor's yard. The consumer then noticed the gear shift was in drive. The consumer stated according to the manual, the key was not supposed to come out of the ignition, unless the gear shift was in park and the engine was off. The consumer stated on August 6, 2011, when he returned to his vehicle, he attempted to start the vehicle, but the engine would not turn over. The consumer contacted Subaru. The Subaru employee stated there may have been a problem the key or the security system. The vehicle was towed and a couple of days later, the consumer was informed the battery had been replaced and the vehicle was ready to be picked up. About two months later, the consumer experienced a similar problem, but after three attempts, the vehicle started. The consumer also stated the headlights would not go out, unless the key was removed from the ignition.

- Greenville, ME, USA

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