Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,650 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #12

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 #11

Jun 232014


  • 57,000 miles
I was driving on the freeway when my check engine light, ABS brake light, traction control (all wheel drive) light and cruise control lights began flashing all at once. I called the dealership immediately and was told that all the lights flash because most drivers ignore just the check engine light. At the dealer the next day I was told the same thing with the addition of the facts that the ABS brake system and the traction control systems were actually disabled during this incident. During the conversation it was said that to correct the problem, a "reflash " of the computer system was needed and that this was a known problem on some Outbacks. I asked why there was no recall if the problem was known and was told they just fixed the problem when it happened. This seems to me to be a significant safety problem since if the problem occurred while the driver was on ice or snow or wet road, vehicle stability would be compromised. I think Subaru should at least be made to recall the suspected vehicles and fix the problem even though it is something that may not happen to all vehicles.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #10

May 132014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that while entering a parking a parking spot, the vehicle suddenly accelerated and the contact crashed into a pole. There were no injuries. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 39,000. The VIN was not available. Updated 7/31/14 the consumer no longer owns the vehicle. Updated 08/05/14

- Wanaque , NJ, USA

problem #9

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 #8

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 #7

Jul 202013


  • 52,000 miles
I was on vacation driving home. Was at about 300 miles into a 400 mile trip. Driving 68 mph on a divided highway. Temp approx. 85 degrees, sunny day. Attempted to pass a vehicle on a hill. Accelerated about max acceleration and vehicle completely cut off all power when acceleration attempt occurred. I had to pull over immediately w/O any power. Tried to re-start the vehicle without success. Car did turn over for about one second then shut off completely. Result was a need to tow the vehicle to a dealer. Vehicle sat overnight. When the dealer tried to start the vehicle it started. At this point I have not had any problems with this situation. But I have not been in a situation of being on a long trip, in 85 degree temp and attempting a hard passing acceleration on a steep hill.

- Williamsville, NY, USA

problem #6

Jan 102014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 47,500 miles


1st incident 1/10/2014- leaving a stop light car would not accelerate and vdc, cel and brake light flashing. Sat on the side of the road for about 1/2 hour. Husband came to pick us up and tried starting the car. The car started and was able to drive w/O further issue. Check codes and had misfire cyc 1,2,3,4. local mechanic could find nothing wrong cleared codes. Husband noticed both drl lights were blown. Replaced both and when the key was turned on (not started) heard a loud squealing electrical noise from the area of the alternator/power steering pump where the electrical harness is bolted to the top of the engine. Started the car and it drove fine for about 2 weeks. 2nd incident 1/14/2014 - pulling away from a friends house vdc and cel lights come on. Turn off car and sit for about 20 minutes. Start car all warning lights gone and car drove fine. Husband checked codes and found misfire cyc 1,2 only 3rd incident 1/30/2014 - leaving stop light and vdc light comes on and car will only go about 3 miles per hour enough to get it off road and engine stalls. No cel this time. Sit for about five minutes start car and it drives fine and all lights gone. Replaced the battery and had mechanic clean out the ABS brake sensors. Subaru America and our dealership where we bought the car are aware and can find nothing wrong.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #5

Oct 012011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 300 miles
During the 2 years since I purchased my 2011 Outback 2.5I (cvt), there have been about 15 occasions where I was going downhill, using engine braking, with my foot off the accelerator, cruise control not engaged, but gas was fed to the engine, resulting in speeds of 45 to 50 mph (4500 RPM) in 2nd gear. One indicator that gas is being fed to the engine is the fuel economy gauge shows poor gas mileage. This definitely does not feel like engine braking when the engine is screaming as you are speeding downhill. Usually when I drive the same stretch of road using engine braking my speed is 30 to 35 mph in 2nd gear and the fuel economy gauge shows no fuel is being consumed. Subaru refuses to comment on this problem since I cannot reproduce it for them. I asked the service manager about the similar but less severe, repeatable behavior, of cycling between accelerating to over 2000 RPM and decelerating to about 1200 RPM. He said this is done to meet emission standards.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #4

Dec 162012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 30,200 miles
I was driving at 65 mph with the cruise control on and all of sudden the cruise disengaged, check engine light, brake, and traction control lights lit up on the instrument panel. The car's loss of speed could have caused an accident as the loss of speed was fairly dramatic. Disconnected the battery to see if that would help, it did, but only for a day. It happened again today 12/17/2012.

- Frazee, MN, USA

problem #3

Nov 012012

Outback 6-cyl

  • miles
2011 Subaru Outback. Consumer states unintended acceleration the consumer stated the sudden acceleration problems started shortly after he purchased the vehicle. On two occasions, he came close to having an accident. The consumer believed there was an issue with the pedal arrangement. He stated he realized he was crossing his right leg over his left leg to apply pressure to the brake pedal. The brake power assist amplified the applied force very well, but at times the brake pedal seemed to get too close to the floor board. He found the brake pedal was high when the engine was off and sank to a lower level when the engine was started. The level could get close to the operating plane of the accelerator pedal. On one occasion, he flipped off the cover on the brake pedal and was braking on a bare steel plate. He discovered he was using more natural ergonomic motion and got too close to the right edge of the brake pedal. The distance between the edges of the brake pedal and the accelerator pedal was about three inches. The width of the sol of his size 12 shoe was about 4 1/2 inches. The consumer believed the problem was an engineering design problem that involved the vacuum braking system, the accelerator linkage design and ergonomic.

- Prospect Heights, IL, USA

problem #2

Nov 182011


  • 7,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Outback. While the contact was driving approximately 5 mph in a parking lot, the brake pedal was engaged and the vehicle continued to accelerate over a parking barrier. The vehicle then crashed into a fence and traveled into several bushes coming to a complete stop. There was no personal injury. The vehicle was towed to a collision center for repairs. The vehicle sustained moderate damages. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 7,000.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #1

Jun 012011


  • 27,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Outback. The contact noticed that with the cruise control and the paddle shifters for the steering wheel malfunctioned and the vehicle would not decelerate. The dealer advised the contact not to use the paddle shifters while using the cruise control. The manufacturer was not notified nor was the vehicle inspected or repaired. The current mileage was 30,000. The approximate failure mileage was 27,000.

- Shelburne Falls, MA, USA

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