hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
96,482 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 Outback electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Dec 122016


  • 112,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while driving 25 mph on numerous occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 112,000.

- Bethelhem, PA, USA

problem #23

Feb 102016


  • 87,000 miles
Rear hatch harness wires are broken/ frayed. Backup lights do not work, and the rear wiper works intermittently. Every now and them rear defroster doesn't work. Hazard a lot of 2005-2009 Outbacks have.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #22

Jan 142015

Outback 4-cyl

  • miles
The wires that pass through the body to the liftgate that operate brake lights, tail lights, rear wiper, defroster, lock break and make a short or open circuit. Many Subaru have this issue.

- Oceanside, NY, USA

problem #21

Aug 012014

Outback 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles


Rear wiring harness that passes from cabin to hatch door has several wires broken causing rear door lock and lights failures.

- Mount Olive, AL, USA

problem #20

Feb 012015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
Rear hatch wires on wagon liftgate that go thru rubber boots have defective insulation causing wires to break in multiple places. Systems include : back up lights, license plate, wiper.

- Montrose, CO, USA

problem #19

Feb 112015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 178,000 miles
The wiring for the license plate lights failed in the upper right hatch hinge boot causing the license plate lights to not operate. The purple wire had broken inside the boot area. The purple wire is extremely small gauge for a location that is opened and closed often.

- Oakton, VA, USA

problem #18

Feb 102015


  • 93,781 miles


Wiring located on the rear passenger side between the hatch door and body (in the protective boot) was severed as a result of poor quality wiring and design. Wires were stress-severed and nearly severed by normal operation of opening/closing the wagon rear door. Apparently this is a common issue as discovered by visiting online forums.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #17

Nov 282014

Outback 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
While driving on the highway at 65 mph, the car would not accelerate. The check engine light came on and the cruise control light flashed. Once the car was turned off and restarted, the accelerator again engaged. This is an extremely dangerous (and common in Subaru) malfunction. I was fortunate enough to be able to pull over on the side of the highway without incident.

- Sebastopol, CA, USA

problem #16

Nov 012010

Outback 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
The rear windshield wiper stopped working due to a bad electrical connection that occurs where the hatchback opens up. The wires fray and break from normal usage of the hatchback, causing loss of power to the rear windshield wiper, defogger and backup lights. I have experienced this problem and there a numerous blogs and videos on the internet showing this problem, this should be recall item for all 3rd generation Subaru Outbacks (2005-2009).

- Golden , CO, USA

problem #15

Oct 062014

Outback 6-cyl

  • 152,000 miles
Wires passing through rear hatch to rear lift gate crack and break from opening and closing. Rear lift gate lock not working, wire is broken in two. Wires for rear lights are cracking and about to sever as well.

- Mount Olive, AL, USA

problem #14

Jul 172014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 112,000 miles


Just after getting off I-43 near sheboygan on frontage road my car lost all power and no acceleration on gas pedal. Check engine light came on and cruise control light was blinking. I had to shift to neutral and pull over to a shoulder. Turned the car off for couple of minutes while I check under the hood. Started the car just fine but check engine light was still on and cruise was blinking. Subaru mechanic read error code P2138 throttle/pedal position sensor/switch D/E voltage rationality. They said it was caused by bad contacts on tps sensor by the gas pedal. He reset the code and it has not appeared again for almost a week. I am afraid of it going off again while my wife and kids are driving it on the highway. Does someone need to die before Subaru takes action on this.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #13

Jun 162014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 110,812 miles
Subaru Outback 2005: The wire harness to the rear tailgate failed and shorted out the brake lights and reverse lights, creating a safety hazard while driving.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #12

Mar 012013


  • 92,000 miles
Low beams replace several time, replaced both recently and both went out at the same time in the dark on they way to work. Lights in dashboard constantly flashing on and off, ABS, battery, brake. Speedometer jumping all over the place. Been happening over a month or so. Very upset can't figure out what it is.

- Geneva, NY, USA

problem #11

Feb 132014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
While traveling in heavy flow rush hour multi-lane traffic at around 65 mph and at merging point of multi higher exchange with near zero shoulder or stopping lane, the car suddenly lost response from accelerator pedal. I manage to coast to a stop just between the triangle space separating two of the major highways varying two separate direction with very heavy traffic at high speed on both sides (nearly getting smashed several times before coming to the only possible yet dangerous place to stop). The car remain idling but very limp; afraid to Venture to continue to the next exit because there would be no shoulder area to pull over, I called for help thinking the car had ran out of gas and was just running on fume. After enduring several minutes of near death moments of being crashed into by on-coming vehicles at high speed merging traffic coming from a curving road, I dangerously ventured to open doors into flowing traffic to fill the tank escaping death many times. The car started and was able to get off highway to fill tank. Same limp pedal repeated again two days later coming off a two lane {two-way) bridge with absolutely no shoulder. I was able to coast to the end of the bridge to turn into a business parking without being plowed by the heavy traffic around. Obd reading of the car indicate P2138 pointing to faulty fly-by-wire defect in the accelerator position sensor which is part of the accelerator assembly. I manage to escape death with this manufacturer defect. I just wonder how many crashes and deaths have resulted and will continue to result because of this very well reported issue with these Subaru Outbacks before the accelerator assembly units are recalled?

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #10

Jan 152013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
Rear wiper failure was first noticed followed by failure of the license plate light, the wiring harness in the rear lift gate has multiple broken wires where the door hinges. Appears that the wiring insulation becomes hardened and brittle, and will break instead of flexing. There are several other wires in the harness that are showing bare wire but have not yet broken. This is what all the harness enables and will eventually fail: Rear wiper motor license plate light rear gate latch switch rear gate lock actuator rear defogger back-up light rh rear defogger back-up light

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #9

Jul 122013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 121,985 miles
Soon after purchasing the car, I realized that the rear wiper was not functioning. After checking an online owners forum I found that there is a common problem with the functions in the rear lift gate such as inoperable brake lights, rear wipers inoperable, and other items. This problem seems to be caused by the degradation of wire insulation and breakage of wire. Upon further investigation I discovered my own vehicle has a severed wire located in the accordion boot on the right (passenger) side near the hinge for the lift gate. This could result is serious safety issues. As with any faulty electrical wiring there is also a risk for fire associated with this issue.

- Ozark, AL, USA

problem #8

Mar 012013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Without any accident, under normal usage, the vehicle's license plate lights failed. The problem was traced to a break in a conductor (wire) contained in a wiring harness that connects the vehicle to the rear hatch through a rubber bellows. Once the bellows was retracted, the broken wire was found along with twelve (12) other wires that were all nearly broken: Their insulation was cracked and several wires ultimately broke completely upon further flexing. These other wires fed the brake lights, turn signals, running lights, hatch lock, and all other electrical circuits on the rear hatch. It appears that the insulation on this wire does not hold up in this environment and will ultimately fail in the course of several years. This poses a safety problem as the vehicles rear lights (turn signals, brake lights, etc.) can fail at any moment.

- Belmont, MA, USA

problem #7

Apr 022013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 153,000 miles
My back up lights and license plate lights were not working. Found the wires between the light gate and body of car were breaking one by one. Also my antenna wires were broken on other side same location. Was surprised to see this. Wires usually don't wear out like this I wouldn't think.

- Indianapolis , IN, USA

problem #6

Nov 012012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
While driving my Outback lost suddenly lost all acceleration. The check engine light immediately came on and the cruise control light began to blink. The car continued to move forward but decelerated to about 15 mph which nearly resulted in my being rear ended. I was able to get to the side of the road where I turned the car off and turned it back on. After doing this the car behaved normally expect the check engine and cruise control lights stayed on. After about an hour, both lights went off. Since then, this problem has recurred multiple times. I recently took the car to be repaired where the problem was diagnosed as a bad pedal assembly. However, I'm concerned that this problem will reoccur at speed and cause an accident.

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #5

Oct 012009

Outback 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
I have been having a problem with my car for the 2-years and has been getting worse. The throttle pedal at times will become non-responsive and the engine idle cannot be controlled. At this time the check engine light is on with a code. P2138. I have taken the car to the dealer with no luck they could not find anything wrong. The car has left me stranded several times and I had to limp or be towed home. The RPM can be anywhere from idle to 3000 RPM and as I said the pedal has no control. I have replaced the accelerator pedal assembly and the problem was gone for the past six months. It has now failed again.

- Ellenton, FL, USA

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