really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
81,965 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2005 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #12

Mar 232016


  • 110,000 miles


I was pulling into a parking space and put on the brake. Vehicle didn't respond to braking and kept going, over the, curb, across the median and hit 5 parked cars before it stopped.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #11

Dec 252015


  • 169,500 miles
My 2005 Outback is very unsafe to drive under certain conditions. After extensive research online, I have discovered people use the term "ghost walking" to describe the issue. After driving over a bump or slick spot on the road, the driver momentarily loses control of the vehicle. The back end sways side to side and the car can jump several feet to the left or right. I have noticed this problem several times but it was drastically worse today. Driving on a straight, dry stretch of interstate, I drove over an icy patch under a bridge. My vehicle jumped to the left several feet and into the other lane. Had there been a car next to me, there most likely would have been an accident. I was traveling at approximately 40 mph as I had already experienced several incidents driving over large bumps. The issue seems to be worse when there is cargo in the back and on icy or bumpy roads. This seems to be a problem with numerous Outbacks model year 2005 through 2009. This is extremely unsafe behavior and it needs to be addressed. I do not intend to drive my vehicle much longer and I would hesitate to buy another Outback for fear of a similar issue.

- Erie, CO, USA

problem #10

Feb 102014


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Subaru Outback. While driving approximately 35 mph, the battery warning indicator illuminated and the steering wheel seized, which required excessive force. The failure recurred once. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who stated that the alternator bolt fractured. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #9

Dec 262008


  • 50,000 miles


I have a 2005 Subaru Outback. On several occasions, driving on hard-packed snow and/or ice/glaze on the highway I have found it nearly impossible to drive the car at traffic speeds without the rear end losing grip and sliding side to side. It feels like it's very windy, and you're about to lose control. Except that it's not windy. The car just seems to lose traction in the rear wheels. We've had to slow down to around 30 mph while semi-trucks, regular fwd and even rwd vehicles blew by us. I've driven in these wintry conditions for 35 years without this sort of issue. I've owned a 1997 Outback and never experienced this sort of issue. But this 2005 is scary if the road conditions are just right (wrong). This is a definite safety hazard and while I love the car in many other ways I will probably need to get rid of it.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #8

Dec 242012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 106,521 miles
While driving on straight, flat and level ice-covered northern Indiana road at 35 mph, my 2005 Subaru Outback xt ltd fishtailed (rear over-steer) repeatedly. This felt as if the rear of the vehicle was being quickly pushed from side to side. (this is often referred to as "ghostwalking" and is unmistakable once experienced.) there were two average weight adults in the front seats and one young adult (135 lbs) in the rear passenger seat. The vehicle received a four-wheel alignment two years ago and does not exhibit any alignment-related issues on dry pavement. I.e., doesn't pull to left or right, nor wear tires unevenly. The vehicle is equipped in winter with Bridgestone blizzak WS60 215/55 R17 tires with approx. 75% of their tread remaining. (these tires show no signs of abnormal wear or other defects.) I am a driver with 37 years of driving experience and believe this is a very serious safety issue with this vehicle. I've never experienced this degree of unpredictable instability in any vehicle that I've driven on ice. This vehicle gives the operator the impression that it is very sure-footed in any other condition, leading the operator to approach all road conditions with a level of confidence that can (and does) result in nearly out-of-control situations when the vehicle is driven on ice.

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #7

Jun 012012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 190,000 miles
Purchased 2005 Outback in April 2012 with approximately 190000 miles. Car felt very unstable when going over any uneven road surface. Replaced rear struts with no improvement. Tried different tires with no noticeable change. Decided it must be an odd but normal condition for the vehicle. Today, 9/18/12, drove car in light rain along a 2-lane road at approximately 50-55 mph and car was very unstable in the rear. The rear "steered" left/right and felt very unstable. There was a sense the vehicle was going to abruptly cross into the other lane. I have over 40 years of driving experience and realize this is not normal vehicle performance. I live in a central NY and purchased this vehicle for the safety of all wheel drive after owning a 1995 Subaru impreza and a 1997 Subaru Outback. Given the situation I had today, I am afraid of what will happen in ice/snow conditions common in NY. I began to research the issue online in an attempt to correct my situation before winter arrives. I found many online concerns regarding this issue. While I have not yet approached Subaru directly, I get an overwhelming sense from online comments that Subaru will not be very helpful. I am making this safety complaint in hopes that multiple complaints combined will expose what I feel is a very serious/dangerous handling issue with a 2005 Subaru Outback.

- Marathon, NY, USA

problem #6

Dec 282009


  • 70,000 miles


I reside in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California and experience snowy/icy driving conditions regularly throughout the winter. The Outback was purchased for its performance in these conditions and is equipped with blizzak studless snow tires. On several occasions, in both ca and co, while driving on packed snow at approximately 40 mph, the rear end began to fishtale out of control. This situation continued to worsen until the speed was reduced to below 30 mph. I have spoken to the dealer and of course, "they have never heard of such an event" and did not have any idea as to what may have caused this condition nor how to correct. There are too many reports of this identical out of control condition for it to be coincidental, Subaru needs to address this issue before someone is seriously injured or killed.

- Truckee, CA, USA

problem #5

Jan 112008


  • 15,000 miles
I am a very experienced driver in snowy and icy conditions. My Outback 2005 2.5I started wiggling out of control (especially felt the back end wiggle left to right) on a straight road with approx 1/2 inch ice and packed snow causing me to slow down from approximately 40 mph to 20 mph. Other 2 wd vehicles passed us at much higher speeds with no apparent problem to keep straight. Our car had 2 adults and 2 small children in it with skiing gear. Changed our winter tires immediately after. The problem occurred again on a few other similar occasions, for which I went to the dealer to get aligned, tire changed again. Went to dealer in 2010 after this occurred again on the highway with only slush and water. I had to slow from 55 mph to 30 mph to keep car in control. Remember this is on the highway!! went to dealer again to re-align the car which according to them was not aligned. The problem re-occurred again this winter. I am now fed up, this is a dangerous car and I am turning it in to buy a new car. I can't understand why Subaru is not recalling to fix the rear suspension.

- Lasalle, VT, USA

problem #4

Nov 252010

Outback 6-cyl

  • 48,686 miles
2005 Subaru Outback wagon extremely unstable on slippery roads. Unsafe to drive at any speed under certain conditions. Has been termed 'ghost walking'. this problem can be fixed / helped with wheel alignment, but should not be such a dangerous vehicle because of an alignment problem. Some other factors have to be contributing to the horrific handling of this vehicle on slippery roads. It is not a matter of just slowing down.

- Idaho Falls, ID, USA

problem #3

Nov 302010

Outback 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
While driving on snowpacked dirt roads to town, I reached a straightaway where, unknown to me, ice had formed over the snow. Driving straight at 30-35 mph, the back end suddenly began to track to the right. I turned the steering wheel to the right and pressed the gas pedal to correct, but this had no effect. I was unable to regain control, and the vehicle slid into the ditch, resulting in damage to the vehicle and minor injury to myself.

- Young, AZ, USA

problem #2

Jan 252009


  • 36,875 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Subaru Outback. While driving 40 mph, the rear of the vehicle began to sway from side to side. If the contact drove more than 40 mph, the vehicle would fail again. The vehicle is currently being inspected by the dealer. The cause of the failure has not yet been determined. The manufacturer stated that there were no current recalls on the vehicle; therefore, no compensation would be provided. The failure and current mileages were 36,875.

- Trout Run, PA, USA

problem #1

Feb 062008

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5xt has a bad rear end sway while driving over slick spots on the highway, feeling like the car is going to loose control.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

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