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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
61,620 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 1 of 2)

problem #34

Jul 062016


  • 81,000 miles


While driving, if you have to stop quickly and step on the brakes hard the car engine stalls. This puts the car in jeopardy of being hit from behind and injury to the passengers. This has happened multiple times over the past couple of months at various speeds - both low speed and highway speed.

- Sewickley, PA, USA

problem #33

May 282016


  • 94,000 miles
Car stalls to complete stop motor stops and car is dead leaving my wife and 3 year old in the middle of an intersection for cars to nearly hit till she puts it in park to restart car I have read, it is the tork converter it needs to be recalled as a safety concern !!!!!

- Belmont, MI, USA

problem #32

Apr 252016


  • 89,300 miles
Vehicle intermittently shudders and stalls when coming to full stop, requiring shift to park or neutral to restart. Frequency of occurrence is rapidly increasing. Dealer cited service bulletin 16-90-13R and replacement of the torque converter is necessary to correct the problem.

- Hamburg, PA, USA

problem #31

Mar 292016


  • 107,102 miles


Vehicle stalled on inclines when brakes were applied creating a very dangers situation. Dealer sighted service bulletin 16-90-13R for design change to the cvt torque converter but would not absorb total cost of repair since car has 107102 miles and out of warrantee. This situation should create a product recall before someone is seriously injured.

- Far Hills, NJ, USA

problem #30

Mar 102016


  • 113,455 miles
While driving to approach a stop the car studders, begins to loose engine power and stalls. It then requires that the car must be placed in 'park', the key turned to the 'off' position and then restarted.

- Boiling Springs, PA, USA

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problem #29

Mar 172012


  • 27,448 miles
While coming to at stop vehicle will shutter and stall! at the beginning of our ownership of this vehicle it would shudder and the idle would go very low, almost stalling. Now when we come to a stop it will stall! this has become very dangerious. There is a tsb from Subaru tsb 16-90-13, tsb 16-90-13R change design of torque converter from solid bushing type to needle bearing type. Thrust washer wear inside the torque converter causes restriction of oil passage used to bleed off lock-up clutch application pressure.

- Brea, CA, USA

problem #28

Nov 202015


  • 70,000 miles


Ascended steep hill and stopped at stop sign. Processed to drive through intersection uphill. All lights on dash began to flicker on and off and car stalled out going down the road. After this occurred, I lost all electrical functions of car. I was not able to restart car, place car into park, apply emergency brake, turn on hazard lights, and the power brakes and steering were not present. I spent 5-7 minutes trying to restart the car and trying to figure out a way to stabilize the car since I was currently going down a steep hill without anyway of stabilizing it. After this time, smoke began coming out from under the hood. I had to coast car down hill into busy intersection and turn it onto next road in order to find a flat area to stabilize car so I could get out of it. When I got out, I began seeing flames drop down from front driver side of engine area. The car quickly caught on fire and most of the engine burnt out before flames were extinguished. The fire appeared to start in computer area. This car was bought new and have had no previous problems with the car, except we have had to change the low beam headlight bulbs several times while owning it. After I witnessed my car catch on fire and afterwards discovered Subaru has a service bulletin for the torque converter, I believe the headlight issue and the torque converter issues are all connected. I believe what happened to my car is the torque converter failed that day causing an over voltage/over draw of power that was so bad it took out my computer unit, I then believe the battery continued to feed the computer unit, in its unresponsive state, until it caught on fire. The fire inspector told me sometimes bulbs will burnt out due to an over voltage situation. Something is definitely overdrawing power and it needs to be looked into because it endangers every driver, passenger, and anyone around these cars.

- Lancaster, OH, USA

problem #27

Feb 062016


  • 51,245 miles
Service bulletin # 16-90-13 car stalls when coming to a stop. This happens in traffic at stop lights anywhere I need to make a hard stop. This is very dangerous and it would appear this is a major issue for many owners. This should be a recall not just a service bullitin

- Orrangevale, CA, USA

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

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

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