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.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
24,958 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.

2012 Subaru Outback engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #4

Apr 132011


  • 91,982 miles


While driving with cruise control engaged, suddenly the cruise control disengaged, the brake warning light and the ABS warning light came on. The required repair was only the forward oxygen sensor, a non-emergency repair. Yet cruise control and ABS were disabled, ABS being an important safety feature. I was told Subaru has purposely programed the car this way. Not only was I unable to make a decision as to the critical nature of the actual repair but had an important safety feature disabled unnecessarily.

- Duluth, MN, USA

problem #3

Jul 142012

Outback 6-cyl

  • 100 miles
Situation: Traveling at 60mph up a steep hill on I70 West bound in left passing lane. Cars following close, and cars in the right lane. For the first time (new car) I used the downshift paddle on the left side of the steering wheel to downshift to accelerate. I tapped it to downshift one gear. It instantly dropped to 1st gear. The engine rpms went to red line or above. The car decelerated dramatically, and I was tossed forward. I attempted to upshift using the right paddle but there was no response, and the car remained in first gear. The car behind nearly hit me. The only useful control that I had was the steering wheel (brakes or accelerator useless). Further, I assumed the brake lights were not lit. Due to the alertness of the driver behind and the drivers to my right as I slowed dramatically and got off the highway to the right shoulder, a serious accident was avoided. Dashboard lights were lit, brake light flashing, etc. Car was towed to flatirons Subaru in boulder, co. There the computer data logging confirmed both my speed and the rpms at redline or above. They were unable either to reproduce this behavior, or to determine the cause. I understand that they were told by Subaru that this was the first time this had been known to happen, and then told to reinitialize the "adaptive" portion of the computer, which I believe they did. Overall, I was told that "this couldn't happen because there were safety locks to prevent it". when the recorded data confirmed my description, I think the mechanics were very surprised, and did try hard to understand this. I wouldn't accept the vehicle back because I am of the opinion that if you don't know why something happened, you can't be sure it won't happen again.

- Boulder, CO, USA

problem #2

Jul 192012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 3,750 miles
In early December of 2011 my wife and I purchased a 2012 Subaru Outback with a 4 cylinder engine, cvt transmission. We had to wait a day for our Outback because it was being repaired do to a brake system recall. Ever since purchasing the Outback we have had a serious issue when using the paddle shifters to slow down for a stop. When the tach slows to about 1100 RPM in first or second gear the engine then accelerates to up to 2500 RPM, slowing down and then speeding up again then repeating the cycle over even if you apply the brakes. Sometimes it would just run at 2500 RPM until you braked to a stop. I took the Outback to our dealer and the Subaru service advisor was very surprised when I drove it to demonstrate the very serious issue. It did exactly as I have described and even stayed at 2500 RPM. The service advisor and who I presume was the overall manager of the dealership took it for a drive without me. When they returned I was told that the way it operated was the way it was supposed to operate because of the engine needing to be more environmentally friendly. I stated I did not really believe that excuse and left. Since that first visit, the Outback has started doing the very serious acceleration issue also in automatic drive at low speeds. I returned on July 19, 2012 to get my first service done. I left the car for the service and tested an exact (except for color) 2012 Outback. This Outback had none of the very serious acceleration issues that my Outback has. When returning to pickup my Outback I told the service advisor of this outcome and he stated I would have to contact Subaru of America to elevate the issue. Respond as soon as possible as to where I can take the Outback for repair of this very serious acceleration issue. My wife and I will be traveling via the Outback very soon and need this very serious issue resolved before we leave.

- Lampe, MO, USA

problem #1

Jul 092012


  • 4,000 miles
Vehicle stopped cruise control & flashed brakes & no traction control unexpectedly. Came close to a wreck shutting the vehicle down on the side of the road hitting various tire recaps & debris on the side. Of the road. Not told that this is a regular occurrence with this vehicle.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

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