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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
14,701 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2011 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #4

Sep 132011

Outback 4-cyl

  • miles


The sensor turns off intermittently when my wife sits in the front passenger seat (5 ft, 4 inches, 110 lbs). It will also turn off when she shifts her sitting position. The sensor will remain off, regardless of how she is sitting, for long periods of time (80+ miles) or until I restart the car. I spoke with two Subaru dealers and they said that they have seen this issue with lighter passengers and don't thing a recalibration will help due to the sensor's sensitivity.

- Allendale, NJ, USA

problem #3

Jul 012011


  • miles
The passenger side front air bag indicator randomly showed the status 'on' or 'off' when the seat was occupied by an adult passenger. No pattern could be identified for the indication although we tried every perturbation of sitting, fastening seat belt, closing door, starting engine, etc. The vehicle was returned to the dealer for repair. The passenger seat sensor(s) was replaced as defective, now the indicator never indicates 'on', always 'off' regardless of actions as above. The vehicle was returned a second time, this time it was determined that the sensor(s) were being inhibited because of seat covers distributing the weight in such a way as to 'fool' the sensors. It took a 180 lb. Person to activate the sensor, [a 170 lb. Person did not] with the seat covers on, the sensors appeared to operate correctly without the seat covers. This raises the question of weight distribution, are large buttocks required given that there are multiple weight sensors in the seat, how about a small framed 120 lb adult. The answer is clear, the passenger air bag should always be on unless manually turned off by the user. Subaru must provide a programming option to the owner to default the airbag status to always 'on'. my Toyota and Honda both provides a key lock option to disable the unit, default is, and should be required, to be 'on'. this is a safety issue, and Subaru is opening themselves to class actions, and heaven forbid the first accident when the unit fails to deploy because it was not armed because of quirky weight distribution requirements. I believe that a preventive recall should be ordered if Subaru does not unilaterally provide an always 'on' default option for the vehicle.

- Dufur, OR, USA

problem #2

Apr 072011


  • 50 miles
Front passenger seat airbag switch irregularly changes state with lighter occupant. The passenger side front airbag indicator light shows off even though occupant is within limits stipulated verbally by Subaru salesman. The indicator light changes state with occupant in seat, even though the occupant remained completely still.

- Sierra Vista, AZ, USA

problem #1

Oct 182010


  • 6 miles
Occupant sensing airbag won't turn on for my wife who weighs 110 pounds. This is a new 2011 Subaru Outback. The dealership argued and was evasive about my complaint; and said the seat was calibrated to activate with a 120 pound person. They were "instructing" me on the proper seating position. I told them I didn't want the vehicle if the air bag wouldn't operate for my wife. I have an appt. This week. Stay tuned.

- Webster, NY, USA

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