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. Notes: The 2013 Outback has a problem with excessive oil consumption.

A class action lawsuit is pending that alleges Subaru's "FB" engine has defective piston rings which causes oil to leak past the rings & burn up at an excessive rate. More information about the class action is available here.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
12,789 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.

2013 Subaru Outback drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2013 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #12

Dec 232015


  • 23,767 miles


This vehicle has several issues. I had an oil change and within 1 week they had to add 1.3 quarts. Car had 23,767 miles. In just over a month I have had to add almost 4 quarts of synthetic oil and spent close to $100 for the oil. The car is an automatic with a manual option and I am also haveing problems where the gears won't change in auto nor manual operation. It revs the engine and I have to stop, turn it off then restart. It happens all the time but the dealer said there is nothing wrong with it..there is also an issue with vibration of the steering wheel all the time and the brakes don't want to catch all the time. Should not have to pump the brakes 2 or 3 times to get them to engage.

- Red House, WV, USA

problem #11

Feb 012016


  • 21,000 miles
Randomly, the floor shift lever locks while in park and I can not start the car or turn the key. I have to pull back and forth on the steering wheel and jiggle the shift lever until I am able to turn the key to start the car. When this happens, I am stuck where ever I have parked until I can get the key to turn and start the car and shift into reverse or drive what ever the case may be. There is no telling when this will happen as I park, just random and nothing seems to trigger the locking event.

- Boyne City, MI, USA

problem #10

Nov 122015


  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Subaru Outback. While driving at approximately 50 mph, the vehicle hesitated to accelerate and attempted to stall. The contact stated that the vehicle was burning excessive oil and there was an abnormal noise. The vehicle was diagnosed by a certified mechanic who stated that the power train needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 48,000.

- Banner Elk, NC, USA

problem #9

May 232015


  • 27,032 miles


Using excessive oil. Thi si sthe secon time I had to put oil in approximately 5700 milees after an oil change. Its not leakeing anywhere.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #8

Mar 122014


  • 7,500 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Subaru Outback. While driving approximately 5 mph and making a left turn, the vehicle stalled. The contact was able to restart the vehicle and resumed normal operation. The failure occurred multiple times. The dealer was unable to diagnose the cause of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 7,500.

- Warwick , RI, USA

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problem #7

Dec 272013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 9,000 miles
While towing a camper well within the towing capacity of the vehicle, the vehicle would not accelerate beyond 60 miles an hour. We (myself, my wife, and 6 dogs) were South of pueblo, Colorado going up that very long include towards trinidad. The vehicle's engine would not rev as if it's transmission was failing, but it would absolutely not accelerate beyond 60. We pulled over and contacted the nearest Subaru dealership (back in pueblo) and went back to pueblo and had them look it over. They couldn't find anything wrong and their test did not show any problems. They were only able to speculate that it may be a failsafe feature that prevents the engine from becoming damaged when it begins to overheat. We had driven from North of dallas to West of fort collins, with stops, without problems, but this day the temperature was 50 degrees and probably the warmest it had been our entire trip. We had previously stopped for a few hours in garden of the gods, so it had only been back on the road for an hour when this occurred. After the dealership looked at it, we hitched it back up and continued on our trip. They instructed us to just drive slower when going up hills and mountains. We experienced problems again when we got to trinidad, but drove through it since the exits are rather sharp and black ice was a concern. Once we stopped driving up inclines the vehicle drove like normal. After we stopped towing the camper the vehicle stopped having issues.

- Denton, TX, USA

problem #6

Oct 182013

Outback 6-cyl

  • 9,000 miles


In temperatures lower than 45 degrees F, if not 'warmed up' the car will make a loud thunk noise and lurch forward upon being put into drive. If the brake is not firmly engage, the car will jump forward. The Subaru dealer claims this is caused by the car's status as a performance vehicle, and engine warm up needs to occur to lower the rpms.

- Fallston, MD, USA

problem #5

Sep 292013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 5,442 miles
I have had 2 incidents since buying new Outback in April 2013. I was at a complete stop while vehicle was in drive. When I lifted my foot from brake to accelerate, the car revved up and lunged forward on its own. Both times I was able to slam on the brake and avoid an accident. Now I feel that I cannot trust the car whenever I come to a stop. I am waiting to hear from dealer about this 2nd incident, since after 1st time they tested and said "cannot find a problem"...... however, after reading another complaint it could be a malfunction between electronic accelerator pedal and new cvt transmission!!! also, sometimes I feel the car is maintaining a speed without any acceleration (like on cruise control).

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #4

Sep 022013

Outback 4-cyl

  • miles
2013 Subaru Outback. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle transmissions problems. The consumer stated under certain conditions, there was a considerable delay in engine response when the accelerator was pressed. When driving normal speeds there was no problem. However, after letting the accelerator up and slowing down to idle speed, the pedal was then depressed and the vehicle would often stall. It was an intermittent problem, but gradually getting worse. The dealer tried to explain the problem away, by saying the electronic accelerator pedal and new transmission had to work together in tandem and that some delay was normal. Updated 10/17/13 updated 10/30/13 the consumer stated the stalling occurred when the accelerator was applied while coasting at idle. It happened for one to two seconds almost every time he drove the vehicle. Updated 09/25/14

- Knightstown, IN, USA

problem #3

Dec 202012


  • 2,000 miles
Transmission will not shift into a lower gear when trying to accelerate from a full stop or from a slow speed. This problem occurs within first minute or so after starting the car when engine is cold (e.g. first thing in the morning). First thing in the morning, I will begin driving the car within 10-15 seconds of first starting the engine. I drive 2 blocks where I come to a stop sign. From a full stop I must wait for a break in traffic traveling 30-35 mph. As I press on the accelerator, engine noise will increase and rpms increase as expected; but car reacts as if transmission is shifting from 1st to 4th gear directly (preventing the car from accelerating safely.) more than once, cars overtaking me from behind had to slow or take evasive action to avoid rear-ending me. This only happens when engine is cold. Once engine warms, car will accelerate from a dead stop without problem.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #2

Nov 252012

Outback 6-cyl

  • 325 miles
Made a turn and was halfway down the block going approximately 15 mph when the engine suddenly shut off. The instrument gauge lit up with all sorts of annunciators. I was able to pull over to a safe location and park. The following annunciators were flashing; at oil temp, cruise control indicator, and the brake light. The following annunciators were lit solid; check engine warning light /malfunction indicator light and the vehicle dynamics control warning light. Turned off vehicle. Waited. Turned engine on and the annunciators were still present and the instrument gauge remained unchanged.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #1

Oct 082012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 400 miles
I bought a Subaru Outback 2.5 limited on 9/29/12. There has been intermittent clicking noises during acceleration and when taking foot off the gas pedal, usually when near or above 38 miles per hour. The clicking noises range for low to loud. My car has now been in the dealer for over 1 week. The first time I took it in they said it was due to a loose panel behind the glove compartment and they "screwed" it in place. The same noise continued to occur without improvement. I then went on ride with the service clerk and he thought he heard it when he was driving but not when he was a passenger. Then I left the car with the dealership service and the service manager drove it today and denies he hears any abnormal noises. Even before the service manager drove the car, he said he spoke to their corporate technician and was told it was likely just a normal cvt noise, essentially dismissing my concern. So I wasn't surprised when he denied hearing it. Now the general manager is taking my car home for a test drive today. I am going to record the noise for them and their corporate and an attorney if they still deny hearing it.

- Zionsville, IN, USA

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