pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
8,066 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.

2003 Subaru Legacy engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Subaru Legacy Owner Comments

problem #5

Sep 082006

Legacy 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,330 miles


For the second time (see my first report), my 2003 Subaru Legacy wagon suddenly accelerated while I was sitting at a stop light. I stood on the brake and put the transmission into neutral until the engine stopped revving.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #4

Jul 142006

Legacy 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles
I have a 2003 Subaru Legacy sedan. When the vehicle is in "drive" and you are sitting at a traffic light or stop sign, for no apparent reason the RPM's increase by 200 to 330 RPM's and the vehicle lunges forward. This is a constant on-going problem and I have to very careful when pulling into my garage to make sure I don't run the vehicle through the back wall of the garage. I reported this to the dealer on 2 occasions. The dealer stated that this is "normal engine operation". the dealer stated that the engine's computer determines what the RPM's should be according to the electrical demand. This is an unacceptable explanation. You never know when the vehicle is about to lunge forward.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #3

Oct 142004

Legacy 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles
The speedometer/odometer is not accurate. I have checked it with radar, gps and multiple measured miles with a stop watch and have consistently calculated an 8-10% inaccuracy. For example when the car is traveling at what the speedometer reads as 60 mph, the radar, gps and the measured mile all indicate a speed of 54-55 mph. The dealer has never tested my vehicle other than driving it next to another vehicle and comparing the speeds. This is obviously not accurate. I have voiced my complaint numerous time to the dealer and to the factory. The factory authorized the speed sensors to be changed. No cure. The problem remains and worsens as the tires wear and their diameter becomes smaller. If the speedometer is inaccurate the odometer could also be wrong and this would mean that my mileage would not be as great as is indicated and my warranty would expire that much sooner. Also my gas mileage would be less and my maintenance intervals would be sooner and I never really know what my true speed is. The factory indicated to me that they would only accept dynonmometer test and that I would have to do the test at my expense. They do not have such a machine and would not help me any further. I hope that you will be able to help with this problem. I have talked to other 2003 Subaru Legacy outback owners and most of them indicated the same problem after they were made aware of this. I was told by a mechanic that 2003 was the first year the speedometers/odometers were electronic. I don't know if this is true or not, but I'm very sure that myself and other Subaru outback owners have inaccurate speedometers. Hope you will investigate this.

- Bayville, NY, USA

problem #2

Sep 202004


  • miles
2003 Subaru outback developed a problem where the vehicle would experience hesitation upon acceleration and the check engine light would illuminate. ** answer required*** the vehicle lunged while in motion without the gas pedal being applied, the consumer had difficulty with the automatic shifting, lack of power upon acceleration, and on occasion an extremely loud noise coming from the rear of the vehicle when shifting, braking, or disengaging the cruise control with the brake pedal. The rotors were resurfaced.

- East Bridgewater, MA, USA

problem #1

Jun 152003


  • miles
Vehicle continues to accelerate while breaking. This incident has happend five times since new car purchase on April 29, 2003. Car towed twice. In last incident upon approching traffic light, busy intersection, car unexpectedly accelerated as I tried to come to a stop. Rolled up off road and hit sign to avoid driver in front.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

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