really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,680 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #8

Dec 012011


  • 165,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that the vehicle was parked and he noticed that both front sent belts would not properly retract, leaving a lot of slack between vehicle occupants and the seat belts. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed or repaired. The contact also stated that the engine was leaking oil onto the exhaust manifold. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic and the contact was informed that the rear main entrance seal on the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failures, but offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 165,000.

- New Prague, MN, USA

problem #7

Sep 282006

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
2001 Subaru Outback leaks fuel in cold weather. Read on the web about hundreds of owners with this complaint. Live in Massachusetts and when the weather gets below about 25 degrees fuel smell fills the passenger cabin. Appears to come from under the engine manifold. Hope to not pass out from fuel vapors. Haven't had a fire yet. 2nd issue is head gasket leak which was a $1500 repair. Also appears to be a common issue with Subaru.

- Hopkinton, MA, USA

problem #6

Feb 012005

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that the engine light continues to illuminate on the instrument panel and the engine seized two weeks ago. She notified the dealer and the manufacturer and they requested that she send the invoices from the dealer, where they would mostly likely replace the engine. The contact stated, however, that the invoices and repairs were done somewhere other than an authorized dealer. The failure mileage was 30,000 and current mileage was 54,500.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #5

Nov 012006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2001 Outback had a head gasket problem that needed to be replaced. The consumer was informed by customer service that a recall had been issued regarding the problem they were having, and the vehicle needed to be taken to an authorized service dealer. The consumer had already had the work done by his local repair shop. The consumer was then told to take the vehicle to an authorized dealer to have them verify that the work was done. The consumer learned that the head gasket had been replaced prior to him purchasing the vehicle. The consumer also discovered the head gasket used was 3 pieces and the work done previously only 1 piece was replaced, which was opposite from the # cylinder. The local repair shop that replaced the head gasket for the third time, told the consumer he utilizes only a solid one piece gasket and had the been done originally, the consumer may not have had any problems.

- Trumansburg, NY, USA

problem #4

May 192005

Outback 4WD 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 74,000 miles
In 2003 at 74,000 miles the left gasket was replaced on 2001, Subaru Outback ltd. Wagon. In 2003 at 94,000 miles right gasket was replaced. 20 months later left gasket was blown out again. Two independent mechanics told consumer that right gasket was defective as well although the dealership told consumer no. Subaru of America paid for the repairs of both of the initial gasket replacements, but due to the mileage on the car they refused to cover this defective part. In 2004 car was recalled to receive a sealant additive to address the gasket problem. Clearly it didn't work. Many of consumer friends and neighbors are Subaru Outback owners, and 2 others I have spoken with have had blown gaskets on fairly new vehicles.

- Accord, NY, USA

problem #3

Mar 282002

Outback 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
We have a 2001 Subaru Outback with the H6 engine. When going very slowly, such as parking in the garage, the engine will suddenly surge. You must keep one foot on the brake to prevent a sudden unintended acceleration. I have been told by the dealer that this is just the way it is with the computer control and the H6 engine. I have not had an accident, but it is a potential hazard. A sudden lurch could damage another vehicle in a parking lot or a person in front of the car. I have lived with it, but someone wrote to click and clack complaining about the same problem. So, I decided to contact your Agency to also voice my concerns. Thank you.

- Hollister, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 072004

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,242 miles
I have gone through one head gasket on Jan 2003. The head gasket went out in Dec of 2003 and the whole engine had to be replaced. In January of 2004 I had the overhead camgaskets go out on the car as well as the the oxygen sensor. I have had more issues but it would be a small book. Subaru has been relativly unresponsive even after many phone calls and letters to my concerns. Every part was replaced however there seems to be a poroblem with my new engine since there is now an investigation within Subaru. They refuse to pay the dealership for the new engine replacement which raises the question of was this a new engine or what is wrong with the new engine.

- Bloomington, MN, USA

problem #1

Nov 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
Odor most likely described as heated antifreeze, also rotten egg odor - at least ten different attempts to identify odor and find cause. Car now has 59,000 miles.

- Mt. Sinai, NY, USA

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