really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
71,633 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2005 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #11

Nov 292010


  • 60,000 miles


I have experienced what is referred to as "ghostwalking" in my 2005 Subaru Outback. While driving in winter conditions such as slush, snow and ice mix, and black ice the car fishtails in the rear wheels making it impossible to safely drive this car. However driving on hardpack snow and hardpack powder the car handles fine. The car fishtails much worse when even a little weight is loaded in the rear. I do have dedicated snow tires, with studs. I am a very experienced driver in winter conditions, I do not drive too fast in poor road conditions. This is a serious problem that apparently many people have experienced. I have multiple friends who drive older Subaru's who have never experienced such an encounter with their cars. Bottom line this car is not safe to drive on winter roads, I have literally feared for my life on several occasions. Please do something about this.

- Springfield, OR, USA

problem #10

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 #9

Jan 122012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 162,516 miles
I have owned and driven this Subaru since July 06 and have driven it through 5 northern Illinois winters. Today was our first snowfall this season and for the first time I have noticed that the car exhibits very "un-nerving" handling qualities in very light snow road conditions. Something has changed to make me feel like I will loose control of the vehicle. The car feels like it wants to fishtail out of control at any speed over 30 mph. Strange "wandering" best describes it.it feels like I'm driving in deep ruts of heavy road snow that wants to pull the car into the ruts but the road is barely covered. On two lane roads it feels like the car could easily cross the center line because of this odd steering feedback I feel on slick snow covered road conditions. I don't feel it in rain conditions. It has "never" felt like this before. The rear struts were replace last summer with oem struts. The car has never had an alignment but has always tracked down the road very straight. Tire wear is even and tires have been rotated multiple times. Tires are Bridgestone turanza serenity with 66K and been through 3 winters before with no handling issue. Once I noticed on this site that many Outback owners are experiencing the same symptom, I knew I needed to get this posted in case of an accident. I'm now at least on record with my "handling concern complaint" and Subaru of America can't say my concern was never addressed with the NHTSA. A car should never display the kind of handling issues that makes it feel unsafe to drive in light winter conditions. P.S. I took my son's Honda CRV with 198 K for a test drive in the same conditions today, on the same roads and found its handling very predictable. What is going on with these Outbacks ?

- Caledonia, IL, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Dec 012011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 91,000 miles
Failure of 2 rear wheel bearings and right front wheel bearing.

- Chanhassen, MN, USA

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problem #6

Jan 132011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
Car is not safe on packed snow or icy roads. All road feel is gone and it feels as if the car could spin out of control at any moment. Most other cars seem to pass without issue. For a AWD car this is unacceptable. You must slow down to 40 and below to have any hopes of keeping the car in a straight line. I have put nokia snow tires on the and car drives perfect in fresh snow but still cannot drive in slippery conditions. I have not noticed this on wet pavement. Subaru feels like an alignment will correct the problem. Going in for one in a week. If it does not fix the issue I will sell the car. I found many owners with the same issue on subaruoutback.org.

- Traverse City, MI, USA

problem #5

Jan 202006


  • 10,000 miles


2005 Subaru Outback will not track straight in slippery conditions at all. The term żghost walkingż is being used for this and is very accurate. I do not feel secure driving in any snowy conditions in this vehicle. I had a 1995 Subaru before this that was rock steady in snow, this car is very unpredictable. Tire changes do not solve problem nor does alignment to oem specs. Has been on going since I bought the car new.

- East Kingston, NH, USA

problem #4

Feb 022008


  • 12,400 miles
2005 ob sw mt. Car is very unstable in slush or snow. Car weaves from side to side resulting in driving very slowly to minimize instability.

- Ketchum, ID, USA

problem #3

Oct 272009


  • 61,000 miles
2005 Subaru Outback sedan driven on icy/snowy road conditions experiences extreme slippage in the rear of the car. Have experienced this on at least two other occasions with this vehicle in similar conditions. AWD does not appear to be keeping the rear of the car on the road or in line. Vehicle fishtails or ghostwalks on the road surface in these conditions. Each time this was experienced was while driving on highway at speeds between 30 and 70 mph in icy/snowy conditions. I have a 1996 Subaru legacy sedan as well that does not exhibit this type of unnerving wandering on the road when driven in exact same conditions. This wandering makes vehicle feel extremely unstable and the back of the car feels as though it wants to spin around or off the road.

- Laramie, WY, USA

problem #2

Feb 232008

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,500 miles
Car is very unstable on snowy road surfaces and fishtails from side to side. Other vehicles on the road do not experience this problem. This incident has occurred many times during winter driving conditions. We have new snow tires and four wheel alignment yet the problem persists. Car instability is very dangerous and we are concerned for our safety. We have contacted the Subaru dealer and Subaru directly yet no one seems to know what the problem is.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #1

May 292006

Outback 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,000 miles
Excessive rear tire wear, Bridgestone potenza RE92, 225/55/17 installed on 2005 Subaru Outback. Normal tire wear through 19K miles. Rear tires completly worn out after 2K road trip with moderate vehicle loading. No signs of mis-alignment or over/under inflation. Front tires remain serviceable.

- Richland, WA, USA

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