fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,577 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.

2001 Subaru Outback brakes problems

brakes problem

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2001 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #14

Dec 162006

Outback 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles


Within 4 years, my Subaru Outback vcd needed 3 sets of brakes and 4 sets of rotors (not including the "resurfacing" to extend the rotors). Everytime when I brought the car to the dealership, they attribute the problems to my driving pattern. But I owned three other cars before (all were less expensive), and never needed to replace brakes nor rotors. As posted in this website, there are 13 other complains, with virtually identical problems. I strongly recommend NHTSA engineers to analyze the 2001 Subaru Outback brakes and rotors. Not only it is a public safety issue, it is also a company responsibility issue: Subaru should be responsible for all repair cost, not to mention the inconvenience, our time, emotional stress caused to the vehicle owners.

- Clarkston, MI, USA

problem #13

Nov 152005

Outback 4WD 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 37,666 miles
Brakes require frequent servicing. Front rotors and pads worn after 37,000 miles, needing full replacement. Rear rotors turned and rear pads replaced at 30,000 mile service check. Service mechanic indicated problem in the design of the rotors for weight and wheel size of vehicle.

- Williston, VT, USA

problem #12

Oct 282004

Outback 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles
Unintended acceleration and braking, when depressing the gas pedal it takes right off, can take foot off the gas pedal and it still surges forward. It is hard to slow down the vehicle when hitting brakes. This problem got so bad that it wouldn't let consumer make a turn. Had to keep going forward inside. Railroads tracks were there and hit the mound. Had to replace brake pads and rotors. It was $1000 miles when it was done last June.

- Warwick, RI, USA

problem #11

Dec 182004

Outback 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,500 miles


The 2001 Subaru Outback seems to have an unusually high incidence of needing brake repairs. We are on our 2nd brake job in under 40,000 miles. The disc rotors have warped twice, resulting in strong vibration (not ABS) when stopping. The brakes also squeal in reverse, annoying, and possibly a symptom of an underlying problem. The dealer has preformed a pad replacement, even though there was adequate material remaining, and rotor turning 2 times. My on-line research, and the consumer reports documentation reports a significant percentage, over 14% have suffered similar problems. If this were occuring in a less critical component I wouldn't be as concerned.however this seems to be a very short lifespan for brakes in a non-high performance vehicle. Additionally the pads aren't wearing, but the rotors are failing.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #10

Mar 082005

Outback 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I own a 2001 Subaru Outback. I bought it new and over the last 4 years it has required 3 complete brake jobs (rotors and pads), so currently the car has it's 4th set of brakes. I have never owned any car that has required that many brakes jobs in such a short period of time. I have had all my repairs done at Subaru dealerships and have been told by the service technicians that the design and materials of the brakes cause the rotors to warp and wear out prematurely, requiring both the pads and rotors needing to be replaced each time, which is expensive. As the wear progresses, the steering wheel wobbles and the wobble gets worse very quickly over time. The first 2 brake jobs were covered under warranty. I had to pay for the last one. I have since learned that there are many other Subaru owners like me experiencing the same premature brake wear. For just one example of other testimonials, visit the website ww.autobytel.com/content/research/forums/index.cfm/action/posts/fid/1959 and you can see that I am not alone in my complaint. I believe the brake design is a factory defect. I think Subaru should redesign them and in the mean time be made to cover the cost of these repeated repairs. I have been in contact with Subaru of America about this problem but their position is that it is "a wear issue". I realize, like tires, certain items on cars do wear out over time and require replacement as part of the normal maintenance of a car. However, I do not agree that the problem with the brakes on my Subaru is simply a wear issue and apparently, neither do their own maintenance technicians.

- Webster, NH, USA

problem #9

Dec 012001

Outback 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 20,000 miles
Front brake rotors have been replaced 4 times in 60,000 mi. Rotors warp and cause front end shaking when brakes applied.

- Woodstock, CT, USA

problem #8

Jun 252004

Outback 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles


I have a 2001 Subaru Outback vdc. Since purchase I have had repeated problems with warping of the front brake rotors. The rotors have been turned twice, then replaced by Subaru in April 2003. The rotors have now warped again and are no longer under warrantly. This condition leads to uncontrollable wheel and front end shaking when braking at high speeds. There have been numerous other complaints for this vehicle.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #7

Mar 072004

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles
Front brake pads wore out at less than 36,000. Dealer replaced the pads under the warranty. Come to find out the rotors are warped too. We did not realize it until a little over 36,000 miles. Dealer will not fix rotors under warranty because we brought for service after warranty expired. A little research has identified that we are not the only people with this problem on this car. We are not at all hard on the brakes either. Only logical explanation for this failure is a.) car was manufactured with a defective part(s) or B.) Subaru has not designed / installed sufficient rotors etc. For this vcehicle. I'm guessing that option B is the problem here!

- Pepperell, MA, USA

problem #6

Aug 172003

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My brakes do not work properly when cold, ABS doesn't seem to engage; my rotors have warped on 4 different occassions and have been "turned" 3 times and replaced once. My vehicle is only 2 years old and has 37,000 miles. I have found several other people with the exact same vehicle and they have also experienced the same problems, especially the frequent warping of the rotors.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #5

May 162002

Outback 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,800 miles
Subaru 2001 ll bean 3.0 Outback. Front disc brake pads wore out at 13800 miles - squeaker was touching, pads were gone, and rotor was scored. Car was unsafe to drive so replaced pads and surfaced rotors at local shop on weekend. At about 20,000 miles had dealer inspect brakes - pads and rotor were worn again. Rotors were warped. Subaru refused to replace pads under warranty (we paid) but did replace rotors under warranty. At 31,600 rotors were experiencing shaking at brake initiation. Took car in, rotors were "warped due to heat" and pads (front and back) were again worn out. Dealer replaced front and back rotors and pads. Said that our "driving" might be the problem - using the brakes too much and should shift down on hills. At 33000 miles front pads and rotors are again showing wear. After many calls and visits another dealer's serviceman intimated that really the "rotors are too small" for the new 3.0 liter engine weight. Summary - brakes wear out every 10-12,000 miles and rotors are sensitive to any heavy or prolonged braking (for example - going down a long steep hill). Dealers have been helpful and sympathetic but cannot fix the problem.

- Rough And Ready, CA, USA

problem #4

May 052001


  • 22,000 miles


There is a pulsation in the steering wheel when brakes are applied, due to brake/rotor failure. These part are continuously replaced. The dealership indicated that due to the size of the tire a thinner brake pad was used to compensate.

- Salem, NH, USA

problem #3

Mar 152002


  • miles
The brake rotors wore and caused the vehicle to experience extended stopping distance when braking.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #2

Jan 212003

Outback 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,111 miles
During cold weather (today was 15 F), brakes do not work on first application from a cold start. Brakes have been service twice (pads replaced, rotors turned) but dealer cannot replicate problem since the car has warmed up.

- Newton, MA, USA

problem #1

May 152002

Outback 4WD

  • miles
I purchased my 2001 Outback sedan in Sept of 2000 and have had it into the dealer for repair 7 times now for front brake rotor warpage, they have turned the rotors till they couldnt be turned anymore, then Subaru of America authorized a new set of rotors and they too have warped and cause severe side to side shaking of the steeering wheel in all braking.after speaking with all Subaru of America reps they have said they will do no more to the car, and agreed that they are seeing it other identical Outbacks and it is a problem but they refuse to accept responsibility that the rotors are not adequet for the stopping power of the car. They have told me that I need to not drive in the city with it, and when I do to release my foot from the pedal when at stop lights, traffic etc so as not to heat the rotors up. Numerouse Outbacks have been having the same problem and this is a major saftey issue since this car was designed pariticulary for the winter elements, snow driving etc. When you go to brake in any element the car shakes extremly bad and they have been in the car and seen what it does, but continue to blame the problem on the drivers.the brake rotors I am told are being manufactured smaller and thinner therefore do not disapate heat and then warp. This problem began at 4000 miles and it has been a major saftey issue as I do extreme mountain pass driving in all conditions. I am asking for help not only for myself but for the other owners of Subaru with the same defect.they refuse to honor the warranty work and say that the rotors are not defective, even though they have replaced them under warranty once, and have turned them under warranty time and time again and now they will not do anything. There are reports of owners modifying the front ends to allow more air to cool the rotors. This I find unacceptable. Is there any help out there if so please help us.

- Bremerton, WA, USA

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