2011 Subaru Legacy drivetrain NHTSA complaints: Power Train

NHTSA — Power Train Problems

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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,776 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.

2011 Subaru Legacy drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 Subaru Legacy Owner Comments

problem #14

Nov 072016


  • 83,000 miles


** this has happened numerous times, it is not a one-time event. ** while driving and then applying the brakes to try to stop the car, the engine shudders and then stalls out completely - the engine stops. This happens regularly while braking suddenly to come to a stop, and it seems to be avoidable if the car is brought to a stop very slowly and gradually. The car may stall out when stopping at a stop sign on a local road or when coming to a stop at a traffic light on a street or highway. The car must be shifted into park and then restarted. At times this has created a very dangerous and nervous situation for me and my passengers, as well as other drivers on the road, because it has happened in heavy stop-and-go highway traffic. While momentarily stopped on the highway while trying to restart the car a rear end collision is very likely to happen.

- Randallstown, MD, USA

problem #13

Nov 072016


  • 100,000 miles
My 2011 subary Legacy 2.5I premium stalls at every intersection while braking. This is a known issue with Subaru and they put out tsb 16-90-13R regarding the issue with the torque converter on 1/6/2014. This should be a recall as this issue causes a serious danger of being rear-ended at every intersection, as the car stops abruptly from stalling.the stalling happens whenever applying the brake and coming to a stop, at any time of day and any temperature outside.

- Ballston Spa, NY, USA

problem #12

Jun 052011


  • 250 miles
Jerky cvt operation since day 1. in slow speed traffic (~20mph) the car had a bucking feeling when gently applying the accelerator pedal. This has been a constant throughout my ownership. Just before this catastrophic failure, the vehicle would suddenly jerk between 20-30mph and rpms would drop by 1,500 under normal acceleration as if an improper up-shift had occurred (though I did not cause this to happen, and the cvt has no "gears"). this would happen on any street, any time of day, any grade of incline/decline, turning or straight. Gillman Subaru North's shop foreman had no idea what to say after experiencing the problem firsthand on a test drive. I worked at the dealer when I purchased the vehicle new, and was constantly dismissed by both the dealer, gillman Subaru North, and by Subaru of America, being told it was just a quirk and to enjoy my new car. Now, after a transmission fluid change that was strongly recommended by gillman Subaru North, the transmission valve body has failed and the dealer wants $1772 to repair. Subaru of America was informed of everything, and refused to consider any other customers' experiences, as they evaluate on a case by case basis only. They refused to goodwill anything whatsoever.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #11

Aug 192016


  • 122,000 miles


Upon stopping at intersections or sudden braking anywhere, the downshift causes the engine to shudder and stall. It has happened downtown at several busy intersections with vehicles coming to a stop behind me. The vehicle then needs to be put in park and restarted in the intersection. This issue matches service bulletin 16-90-13R. I have attached a write up from a dealership after diagnosing my car. The problem cited is a faulty torque converter clutch solenoid and valve body.

- Tully, NY, USA

problem #10

Jun 102016


  • miles
Vehicle has 77,000 miles and is 5 1/2 years old. Now shuddering and stalling at stops, occurred 4 times in 2 weeks at major highway intersections and presents safety hazard.

- Freehold, NJ, USA

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problem #9

Jun 102016


  • 4 miles
Car has 77,000 miles on it and is about 5 1/2 years old. The car is shuddering at stops and stalling. Car has stalled 4 times in 2 weeks at major highway intersections and presents a safety hazard. Requires a torque converter replacement which is not covered under any existing recall or warranties.

- Freehold, NJ, USA

problem #8

Jun 142016


  • 118,000 miles


When applying the brakes at a slow speed the car will stutter and stall. The dealer said they have heard of this problem with this transmission. They said it is not covered and it will need a new transmission.

- Clayton, NC, USA

problem #7

Mar 052015

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Car continues to stall when reducing speed. Occurs mostly at traffic lights and stop signs; however, has occurred when slowing for traffic. Car has completed all scheduled maintenance and oil changes as required. Initially told to service air flow sensor and have inspected for vacuum leak. Vehicle service did not resolve stalling. Service bulletin 16-90-13 shows Subaru knows the torque converter to be faulty on these vehicles, causing the vehicle to stall under these exact conditions. This is creating a safety concern on these vehicles for the potential to be rear ended due to stalling when attempting to slow vehicle. Safety recall should be issued and torque converter should be replaced by Subaru due to faulty design.

- Newtown Sqquare, PA, USA

problem #6

Dec 042014


  • 114,000 miles
I was coming to a red light slowing down from 15 mph while applying the brakes, the car acts like something is grabbing & it shuts down the motor. The car was not cold it was warmed up & drove about 28 miles before doing this. The skid light came on. It was a dry road. This car has done it several times. I have searched this on the internet & have seen others saying the same thing has happened with their Subaru. Its scary to think this might happen to me on one of our slick roads going off a hill. I have not had it checked out yet do to the holiday season. It does not happen every time I drive it. I have noticed while applying the breaks when it starts feeling like the rotors are grabbing if you ease off just a little and then apply again the car will not shut off it will stay running. I have shut off the skid protection and drove it & still it will do this and the skid light will show up. On the internet it says it could be the icv valve. But im not sure that has anything to do with the skid protection. I bought the car this summer & I had the dealer ship to put new breaks and rotors on it before I bought it. Had no trouble at all with this until last month. I just had the oil and filter changed this week. There are no service lights staying lit. & it still does this. I will be getting this checked out. A guy mentioned that it could be the transmission. This car is an automatic & does have the manual transmission shifters on the steering wheel. The car was in the automatic mode when this happened it is not drove in the manual side. Im thinking I should try driving in the manual side to see if it will do this. I've had no complaints with any of my other Subaru weve owned. I have never had this problem with them. However I have never owned one with the skid protection or in the 2000 model until this one.

- Rock Cave, WV, USA

problem #5

Jun 262013

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
I have been having problem with my 2011 Subaru Legacy for over eight months, my car would just stop in the middle of the street without any warning, I took the car to the service center, after several tries they decided to replace the transmission with a remanufacturing one my car still having trouble, whenever I start the vehicle and move from park to reverse, its a hard shift and the car shakes like its going to stall, also from reverse to drive, I have taking my car back and they told me that's normal, there is nothing normal about that, when I bought the car brand new that problem never existed, my car have 32, 800 miles now, everytime I take my car I loose a day from work, please help!

- Mount Vernon, NY, USA

problem #4

Jul 122013

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 32,410 miles


When parked on a steep down slope, I attempted to back up in order that I could leave an outdoor concert where I had parked off road.. the transmission would not engage in reverse even after several attempts from park, neutral or reverse and kept drifting forward. I tried to engage reverse with the foot brake and emergency brake on and it still would not engage. The transmission stayed in drive and would only go forward no matter what I did. The car moved 1 foot forward when it was in park, emergency brake was on and the car was turned off. When it did that, it left the distance between my car and the Lexus in front of me only around 6 inches. I had no other option but to wait for the driver of the other car to arrive and drive away before I could leave. It was late at night and I was parked in a field in a county park, in another incident, I was stopped at a red light on an uphill. When the light turned green, I attempted to go forward but the car drifted backwards and nearly crashed into the car behind me. I had my foot on the brake when the light was red, but took it off the brake to accelerate the gas. The car rolled backward and nearly hit the car behind me. The transmission finally engaged after revving the engine strong and bucked forward. This car has the cvt transmission and other symptoms of the transmission problem are lurching, bucking from a rolling stop and rough idling. The local Subaru dealer inspected my car and said the transmission was operating normally and that the hill assist button would solve the problem. We do not believe the dealer's story based upon the hundreds of posts of Subaru transmission problems and are pursuing a replacement transmission. This is definitely a safety issue as drifting backwards or forwards without any control of the car will just result in a crash sooner or later. I no longer feel safe driving this car!

- Imperial, PA, USA

problem #3

Nov 012011

Legacy 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
On two separate occasions, I put the vehicle into drive and removed my foot from the brake, before accelerating; the car rolled forward in a shuttering manor and then lunged forward several feet (4-6 ft). The rpms seemed to drop (500-700 RPM) and then spike (1,200-1,500 RPM) with no acceleration at time of the incident. I immediately applied the brake and stopped for several seconds. I then took my foot off the brake again and the vehicle seemed to run fine. The engine was not cold at the time on occurrence; it had been driven approx. 30 minutes before the incident.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #2

Apr 172011


  • 500 miles
2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5I cvt premium model : at highway cruising speeds of 60+ mph, the vehicle feels "wobbly". the car feels as though it is getting swayed from side to side, even on good road in good conditions. I think it has to do with the AWD system. I slow down at times when I sense this as it makes me feel very unsafe. It causes a feeling of loss of control of the vehicle. This happens during normal weather conditions (no excessive winds or cross wind loading). This is noticeable to the passengers as well. The swaying or pitching happens in right as well as left directions. No amount of steering wheel control seems to counter this. Tire pressures are accurate to specifications and the car is brand new to me Feb 5, 2011 and has about 700 miles.

- Brecksville, OH, USA

problem #1

Jan 192011

Legacy 6-cyl

  • 1,700 miles
Engine speed surges occasionally ( 4 episodes in 6 months) when moving very slowly (parking) and wheel is being turned. Hard braking stops car and engine speed returns to normal.

- Bala Cynwyd, PA, USA

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