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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
905 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.

2015 Subaru Outback engine problems

engine problem

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2015 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #9

Apr 022015


  • 100 miles


I have a surging issue with my 3.6R after cold starts. Upon start-up, the idle will be ~1800 and when I put the car in drive, it will drop to 800-1000rpm. Then, as I slowly pull into the garage, or pull into a stopped line of traffic, the engine will surge back to the higher RPM, causing the vehicle to push through the brakes. I have had this return to high idle occur after I have come to a complete stop, causing the vehicle to push through the applied brakes and requiring additional brake pressure to stop the vehicle. I have also had it occur when slowly rolling forward. I believe this is an unsafe situation that could result in damaged property and/or injury. I see that there is at least one additional NHTSA complaint for this issue, which Subaru deemed "normal" operation. I did contact my dealer requesting a firmware update, if one was available, and they said there was not one. I have owned this vehicle since 3/23/2015 and this issue has occurred since new, but it more common in colder weather. I have 18K miles on the vehicle.

- Georgetown, KY, USA

problem #8

Sep 092015


  • 4,000 miles
The Subaru Outback 2015 was parked in a lot after a 12 minute drive and burst into flames. It was purchased in February 2015 and was not yet due for servicing when the event happened. The Subaru Outback manufactured from July 3rd-27th 2015 has been recalled due to "possibility of fire due to a transmission fluid leak". I believe the same thing occurred with my car and I am concerned that if the model is not recalled someone will get badly injured or killed due to fire.

- Yakima, WA, USA

problem #7

Oct 252014


  • 100 miles
The vehicle is equipped with the 3.6R engine and a continuously variable transmission. When descending a long hill in a fixed gear ratio (usually 2nd or 3rd) the vehicle slows normally until the RPM reaches approximately 1200 RPM at which point the vehicle suddenly begins accelerating until the RPM reaches approximately 2500 RPM at which point the process repeats. I observe the "mpg" suddenly drop at the same time to around 25 mpg when the vehicle accelerates. It rises back to "99" when it slows. Note that during the entire sequence my foot is off the accelerator pedal and the throttle angle display shows zero. I find this very hazardous as the unintended acceleration can occur when entering or within a turn creating a crash risk. Upadte 9/15/15

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #6

Oct 162014


  • 25 miles


When the engine is cold, the idle speed is 1600 RPM when started. When placed in reverse or drive it reduces to a nominal 900-1000 RPM. When the vehicle starts to move it suddenly drops to 600 RPM. When braking to a stop after moving vehicle the RPM suddenly jumps to 900-1000 RPM just before vehicle halts. This causes sudden unexpected acceleration of the vehicle and presents a safety hazard. I believe this is due to an engine/transmission software issue. This has occurred since new. Updated 9/15/15

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #5

Jun 042015


  • 1,537 miles
Unintended acceleration. When driving at low speeds--what would traditionally be 1st and 2nd gear (the car has a continually variable transmission)--and while keeping constant pressure on the gas pedal, the transmission changes the acceleration of the vehicle on its own in a process that feels like it can't find the right "gear", and it provides a "jerking" feeling (usually only a couple of "jerks"). yet the transmission is not just finding the right gear for a specific constant speed; as it shifts around, the acceleration changes and has, with constant pressure on the pedal, accelerated faster on its own. I have never felt less control of a vehicle as I have with this one.

- Phoenixville, PA, USA

problem #4

Jan 272015


  • 30 miles
Engine idle is erratic when cold. Backing out of the garage in the morning the engine surges 3-400 RPM making the car jerk faster and slower. This is with only the brake pedal pressed. I have a second identical car that does not have the problem. Temperature is in the 40's. when the engine slows, you have to ease off the brake, them it suddenly speeds up 50% and the car takes off. The cycle repeats for a few minutes in the mornings. The problem is very repeatable -the same thing every morning.

- Garden City, ID, USA

problem #3

Mar 182015


  • 1,000 miles


Dear sir, on February 11,2015 we purchased a new 2015 Outback 2.5 premium at seller dealer 400106 VIN [xxx] and the odometer reading was 10 miles. This was our dream car that we saved for a few years to finally purchase. It developed an engine knocking noise at only 1000 miles on the odometer. So I took it to the Subaru dealer for evaluation on 3/18/15 and after 2 days there they determined that the engine had a problem and would have to be replaced according to Subaru experts. I really respect Subaru??S and their history, but we no longer consider this one our dream car. If the power plant is faulty we wonder what else is going to go wrong with it. My family will no longer feel safe. Though the car may or may not fall under the song-beverly consumer warranty act we want a replacement for the same type vehicle, nothing more and nothing less. I feel the engine should not of failed at only 1,000 miles on it and I'm sure [xxx] would strongly agree. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Chino Hills, CA, USA

problem #2

Feb 122015


  • 1,200 miles
Two issues; the similarly reported electrical stop. Started car on cold morning, drove short distance, dropped kids off at school. Went to restart, and car was completely dead. Had to jump it. Second issue; burning oil smell in cabin. Oil level was fine, and smell not coming from tail pipe. Took car to shop today for the oil smell, and I told them about the electrical stop. They said the electrical issue is related to needing to replace 4 relays. The oil smell, however, is due to a bad crankcase seal that they said failed most likely due to the cold. I found similar reports on

- South Royalton, VT, USA

problem #1

Nov 072014


  • 149 miles
Red engine light came on and car died. Lost all power/ drive. Needed to coast to berm. Would restart, but die immediately. Everything was immobilized. This could have happened at 70 mph on an interstate! our was very close to being rear- ended.

- Indpls, IN, USA

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