Notes: A relatively dependable vehicle that handles well in bad weather, but increasing concerns about turbo failure in the GT probably means you should look elsewhere if you want a car with a little pep in its step.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
85,348 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.

2005 Subaru Legacy electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Subaru Legacy Owner Comments

problem #20

Dec 012015


  • 90,000 miles


Car did not have backup lights, electronic lock for rear hatch did not work. Tested bulbs and switch for backup lights and they were fine. Uncovered wiring harnesses left and right of rear hatch 6 broken wires right side 1 broken wire right. Spliced temporarily until I get the time and money to make permanent repair.

- Brockport, NY, USA

problem #19

Aug 132015


  • 110,000 miles
The wiring harness that goes to the hatch is made out of undersized wire and from opening and closing the hatch the wires have broken. I have reported this previously, but at that time, the only problem was that the hatch would not lock. Now I do not have backup lights. This is clearly a design defect. What do we need to do to get Subaru to fix this?

- Trumbull, CT, USA

problem #18

Feb 042015

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 110,850 miles
In the 2005 wagon, the rear wiring harness that goes through the hatch and is subject to a lot of bending (it connects the rear wiper, backup lights, etc) uses cheap wiring that wears out. This problem has been extensively documented by Subaru owners at today, my rear wiper stopped working, and several other wires are about to break. This could affect rear wipers, backup lights, rear license plate lights, etc. These wires are of very poor quality - I have owned 2 other cars with hatches, and even in harsh Canadian winters, had no issues. These wires broke just due to use in very mild California conditions.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #17

Jan 272015

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 134,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Subaru Legacy. The contact stated that while the heating system activated, the front driver's side seat was smoldered. The contact mentioned that the front driver's side seat was severely burned. The vehicle was diagnosed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 134,000. Updated 04/10/15 updated 6/26/2015

- New Hope, PA, USA

problem #16

Jan 242015


  • 81,700 miles
Rear tailgate wire harness found to be broken. Rear wiper did not work. This wire was completely broken. Two other wires found to be cracked and about to fail. This could potentially cause rear hi mount stop light, license plate lights, and back up lights to be non-functional.

- Santa Clarita, CA, USA

problem #15

Aug 152014

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
My rear brake lights and tail lights stopped working, my wiper would work intermittently, and license plate lights would not work at all. Took to a mechanic who diagnosed that the wires traveling through the rubber grommet to the rear gate had been broken due to a design in the path they travel where they are bent severely every time the gate is opened and closed, and eventually they snapped. He informed me that this was a common issue on my model and put new wires in place of the broken ones.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #14

Jun 182014

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 95,000 miles


My tailgate will no longer lock or unlock. After a lot of reading online it seems that this is a very common problem. I took it to the dealer and was told that the rear gate harness is frayed and needs to be replaced. If any of the other wires in this harness fail I could potentially lose tail lights and license plate lights.

- Saranac Lake, NY, USA

problem #13

Feb 222011

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
The wiring harness on the rear lift gate (station wagon) keeps breaking and shorting out. This is a dangerous defect, as rear lights can go out without notice, leading to a possible rear-end collision. Dangerous for pedestrians when the backup lights have shorted out and are not visible. Rear visibility also hampered under snowy or rainy conditions when the wiper shorts out. Repairs have been made at least three (3) times (2/22/11, 3/24/13, 9/25/13), yet these electrical issues still persist. A recall from Subaru should be ordered to address this electrical defect and safety issue.

- Santa Fe, NM, USA

problem #12

Oct 132013

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 89,874 miles
Rear wiper stopped working. The problem was due to a broken wire inside the passenger's side accordion boot for the rear hatch of the wagon. Other wires within the harness (which supplies power to the rear hatch lights, hatch lock, and wiper motor/sprayer) were also cracked. In researching this problem, I have found this this is starting to become a more frequent issue and should be replaced/recalled by Subaru.

- Glendora, CA, USA

problem #11

May 012013

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 96,002 miles
My car door power door locks stopped working, rear wiper stopped working, rear brake lights and running lights stopped working, also radio stopped working. Upon investigation I found that the wiring harness on both sides of my rear lift gate had torn and shorted out. This is a dangerous shortcoming on this car, the wires are so short and placed under constant tension that they rip themselves apart.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #10

Apr 302013

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles


The hatch appears to be rubbing on the wires that connect the hatch electrical to the rest of the body. Wires have been cut and various hatch functions are being disabled. So far locking and hatch open warning have been affected, but this will eventually affect the taillights, brake lights, backup lights, license plate lights and rear defogger, and the issue would therefore be considered a safety issue.

- Trumbull, CT, USA

problem #9

Mar 012013


  • 76,000 miles
Subaru Legacy 2005 wagon; multiple electrical wires routed through a flexible rubber boot leading from the chassis to the rear hatch of the wagon have broken from repeated bending action by opening/closing the rear hatch rendering the rear wiper inoperable.

- Marblehead, MA, USA

problem #8

Apr 042013


  • 110,000 miles
The rear hatch of my Subaru Legacy wagon - the electrical wires supplying the rear brakes, hatch lock, and rear window wiper are being cut by the hatch opening and closing. Loss of rear brake lights, rear wiper function, and rear hatch locking mechanism all effected by the poor routing of these electrical wires through an accordion style boot. Very dangerous issue with regard to multiple safety concerns.

- Latrobe, PA, USA

problem #7

Dec 222012

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 61,492 miles
I was driving on the highway, and the car seem to loose power, luckily I noticed it, as I was able to cost over to the side of the rode. I own a carmd, and attached it to my car, it gave me code P2138 which means the throttle position sensors (2 of them) not being in agreement. I think this is very dangerous as this can happen at any time while one is driving, potential leading to a accident or fatality.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #6

Dec 182012


  • 93,000 miles
For the second time my check engine light has come on and my car has gone into a fail safe mode while driving (eliminating the ability to accelerate). The code the computer provides is P2138, which refers to the throttle position sensors (there are two) not being in agreement. I took the car to white bear lake Subaru in white bear lake, mn to have this issue resolved. They did not replicate the check engine light and therefore would not perform any service. The issue again happened, this time over 1,000 miles away in Georgia and I was almost run over by multiple vehicles as I tried to get to the side of the road - the car was not responding. Therefore, this issue is a serious safety hazard.

- Stockbridge, GA, USA

problem #5

Oct 142012

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 89,600 miles
Car has been very slow to reduce rpms when shifting gears or when stopped (and in neutral) for the past few weeks. Today, when pulling into a starbucks, the car surged forward. Luckily I have a stick shift and just pushed the clutch in. After surging, the check engine light came on. Using a diagnostic tool, I found that the car is throwing error code P2138. This indicates that the accelerator pedal position (app) sensor is either bad or has a poor connection. The detail on the error stats "the ECM has detected that the app sensor 1 and app sensor 2 disagree more than 4.5% for less than 1 second." Essentially, one or both throttle-by-wire circuits isn't functioning properly. I went online and found that this is an all too common problem and some folks have found that their cars are surging forward, threatening safety.

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #4

Sep 012010


  • 90,105 miles
This 2005 Subaru Legacy is a station wagon with power door locks, the back lift gate wiring harness on the passenger side has torn the electrical wires within the flexible boot mounted on the top of the car between the body and the rear hatch. As a result it is no longer possible to lock and secure the rear hatch back door of the station wagon. The wires within the wiring harness are just to short and have ripped themselves apart in addition the rear high mount brake light is also no longer functioning.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #3

May 212010


  • 59,344 miles
I am the owner of a 2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5gt. Last night, when I was trying to start the vehicle, it shut off in the middle of starting and the vehicle completely went dead. This morning, I noticed that there was a large and deep burn mark in the headliner surrounding the map light panel and that part of the map light as well as the auto-dimming mirror were melted.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #2

Jul 292006

Legacy 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
Immediately following heavy rain storms, my 2005 Subaru Legacy wagon had problems starting and running. The engine 'stutters' or 'misfires' until the battery is disconnected and left for approximately 10 minutes, then reconnected. I have taken the car in to the Subaru dealer on approximately four occasions for this problem, where ECU codes have been cleared, and I have been informed that the problem was solved. It invariably returns with the next rainstorm. I am concerned that this problem could emerge while driving in rainy conditions, leading to an immediate loss of power and control of the vehicle.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #1

Jul 162005

Legacy 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles
With approximately 2,000 miles on my brand new Subaru Legacy GT I was driving 80 miles to my home. The lights on my dash were flickering and the cruise control worked, then stopped working when I would try to decrease or increase my speed. Once I got into the canyon about 20 miles from home (a curvy road next to the Colorado river) all my interior and exterior lights went off suddenly. I maneuvered my way to the side of the road, shut the car off then turned it back on. Thankfully, the lights came back on. I took the car into the Subaru dealership and they didn't find anything. They said they couldn't fix it until the problem was duplicated. My main concern with this statement is that if I crash my car and injure myself or kill myself because the lights went out, it will be fairly difficult for anyone to "duplicate" the problem. Second issue happened about a month later when the cruise control light began flashing and the check engine light came on. I took it to the Subaru dealership and they discovered a valve body problem. Meanwhile a day later I was driving and the car would barely move. It felt as if it were stuck in 3rd gear. I took it back in and drove a rental car until the part came in. I have the car back now with the 2nd and 3rd problem fixed, but with still no resolution to the fact that my lights could again shut off while I am driving at night.

- Grand Junction, CO, USA

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