fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
13,575 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 Outback engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #5

May 292009


  • miles


Subaru Outback 4 cyl wagon engine cooling problems/head gasket failure. Car had to be turned off in traffic several times, extremely hot, fumes go in the car. Took it to dealer and it is past warranty by approx 10,000 miles. It is a 4,000. Job to fix.

- Grand Island, NY, USA

problem #4

Nov 272007

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles
Head gasket developed a coolant leak. It was less than 30 days from the warranty running out. The dealership did the warranty work but said they could not do the other head gasket because it had not failed and the warranty would not allow them to replace it. It only makes sense if the one side failed that the other side was right behind it.

- Cedar City, UT, USA

problem #3

Mar 152006

Outback 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles
: the contact stated after having the 30,000 mile service performed on the vehicle, it began having multiple problems. The gas mileage decreased 50 miles per tank. There was an oil smoke smell coming from the vents when the fan was on. A pinging noise could be intermittently heard coming from the engine. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer for inspection; however the problems could not be duplicated. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Ladera Ranch, CA, USA

problem #2

Feb 172003


  • 500 miles
Nar 03-27-2003 mr the car dies intermittently at speeds between 20-25 mph on deceleration. The power is completely lost with no power steering control. Additional items noticied.. shifting in transmission at low speeds, dashboard creaks and drivers window faulty.

- East Wenatchee, WA, USA

problem #1

Apr 172002

Outback 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 375 miles
Car keeps shutting off in infrequent intervals. First at 375 miles and by 9000 miles it did it 9 times. The car has been at the dealer 6 times and just now Subaru is admitting to having other cars with this issue. All 2003 6 cylinder engines. I was told after the 4th time at the dealer that they cannot fix it, end of story. Then after filing a complaint with the attorney general office they are working on it again. They are now starting to replace stuff and want to put a black box in. This car shuts off only at a stand still so far but this is very dangerous. Subaru admits to having more cars like this and they only could fix half of them.

- York, PA, USA

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