really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
121,564 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.

2006 Subaru Outback engine problems

engine problem

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2006 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #51

Aug 202015


  • 95,000 miles


I was driving at approximately 55, miles per hour the eng went to ide speed, the check eng light came on. I drifted off the side of the road, the throttle was unresponsive. Read the code out and it was for throttle pedal position sensor. It has happened twice since, this could be dangerous if in major traffic such as on a freeway. It could cause a crash. This seems to be an issue with Subaru, I have researched it and many people report this in forums on the internet.

- Morgantown, WV, USA

problem #50

Jul 282015


  • 124,356 miles
When driving on the highway at 75mph the engine light and cruise control light came on and the accelerator became unresponsive. After pulling over and restarting the car it worked fine. This has happened 7 times so far and after reading many posts on Outback forums it seems that this is a very common and dangerous problem that needs to be figured out by Subaru.

- Ventura, CA, USA

problem #49

Jun 152015


  • 75,000 miles
Sudden loss of acceleration while driving; connection between gas pedal and engine control is faulty. Forces driver to coast to a stop and turn off car. No ability to use gas to get out of the way faster.

- Altadena, CA, USA

problem #48

Jun 072015


  • 118,724 miles


Was driving at approx 55 mph when all of a sudden check engine light came on, cruise light was flashing, and sport light was flashing, car slowed down to 10 mph and could not go any faster. It was revved up to redline and there was no response with the gas pedal. I was only 2 miles from my destination, so I limped it there and shut it off. I had it scanned with a code scanner and code "P2138" (throttle position sensor) came up. After much research I found it usually is related to gas pedal assy. It has not yet happened since clearing the code and making sure the plug on the pedal was tight.

- Dayton, ME, USA

problem #47

Mar 172015

Outback 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
I was stopped at a traffic light, when the light changed I attempted to give the car gas to begin moving and there was no power in the pedal. All the lights on the instrument panel were on and the radio was playing. I had some power and was able to move out of the flow of oncoming traffic. I parked but did not turn the car off. I turned on my hazards and tried the pedal again. Nothing! I turned the car off and restarted the engine. At this point the check engine light came on and the cruise control light began flashing. I attempted and this time there was power in the pedal. The check engine light remained on and the cruise control light is flashing. I have dropped the car off at my mechanic. This was scary with traffic bearing down on me at rush hour and no where to go initially. I am just very thankful I was not traveling at a high rate of speed when this occurred.

- Hendersonville, NC, USA

problem #46

Jan 282015


  • 49,296 miles
I was traveling on a 3-lane highway at the posted mileage (60 mph). Simultaneously the check engine light came on and the gas pedal lost all power. The cruise light was also flashing. I tried flooring the gas pedal, but the vehicle continued to lose power and the speed rapidly decreased to less than 20 mph. This happened with absolutely no warning and no time to get off a busy thoroughfare. This occurred at approximately 3:00 pm, so fortunately the traffic was not extremely heavy. I was able to cut across 2 lanes of traffic that was going 60 mph +, exit on an off-ramp, and get to a safe location to call for a tow truck to take the vehicle to dealership for repair. The outcome was code P2138 (accelerator sensor). The sensor was replaced at a cost of $340. I purchased this vehicle new in 2006, and have kept it well maintained at the dealership per their service schedule. However, until this problem occurs, there?S no doubt it would have ever been caught by the dealer to repair. This is extremely dangerous because it could have caused a serious injury to me and other drivers. If it had been at another time, I could have been rear-ended by drivers going the posted speed limit.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #45

Feb 242015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 100,265 miles


P2138 code - throttle issue --- today as I was driving to work, luckily on a side street, when the check engine light came on and the cruise control light began to blink. Then I lost power to the engine while it was still running. I normally take the highway to work but this day there was snow and ice so I decided to take the side streets instead. I pressed the gas pedal with no response. I coasted to a side street and turned in with no incident, thank god. I was near a Toyota dealership and I asked for their help but they said they did not work on Subaru. I was just about to call aaa when I thought to restart the car to see if it would go so I could take it somewhere else. I gave it gas and it went. The check engine light and cruise control was still on. I drove slowly to another service place and they found the code P2138 and said I could drive it but to get it to a dealership as soon as I could. The Subaru dealerships are not located in my town and takes 20-30 by highway to get to one of them. I am very unsure of driving on the highway now and have this happening again. I drive the highways a lot in order to fit my daily schedule. This is especially true for me to see elderly mother who lives 30 minutes away by highway. I love my Subaru even after having had the typical 2006 problems like head gasket leak and such which I consider acceptable for the mileage I have on her. I had planned on getting another Subaru in the future but not having power is extremely scary and will make me shop elsewhere if this is typical. Updated 4/21/16

- Huntersville, NC, USA

problem #44

Feb 022015

Outback 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
Vehicle is a 2006 Subaru Outback sedan 'll bean edition. Upon traveling to work at 5:30am, going up hill at 40 mpg, the gas pedal stopped working but the engine was at high RPM. The check engine light came on steady with cruise control light flashing. Had to shut the car off, put on hazard lights as this was a dark road. Tried unsuccessfully twice to get the car to start. On the third try it started and pedal did work but the check engine light stayed on with the cruise light flashing. Drove slowly to work which was a mile away and the safest place to park the car. Upon getting it to my garage later that day they scanned the codes from the computer and it showed a P2138-throttle /pedal positioning sensor. Had to get the complete gas pedal with sensor from a authorized Subaru dealership and replace it. Was fortunate I was not in traffic or a major highway. This is a safety issue and needs to be addressed!

- West Newton, PA, USA

problem #43

Feb 032015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
While traveling down a residential road, my 2006 Outback sedan lost acceleration control and went into limp mode in which it was only idling and had no control from accelerator. The check engine light illuminated and the cruise control light began blinking. I turned the engine off from drive, moved the shifter to park and restarted the vehicle after a minute or so. It started up fine but seems to be idling low, sputtering and hesitating a little. Especially when reversing slowly or pressing the accelerator very lightly from idle. A mechanic nearby said the problem code was reading "bad throttle position sensor." I believe the error code was P2138. Upon researching the issue and as others have suggested, this is supposedly a common problem yet no real reason for the failure can be identified. Some have said that replacing the throttle body which includes the aforementioned sensor helped the situation. Other said that replacing the accelerator pedal assembly which includes the accelerator pedal position sensor has helped. In a few cases with both repairs, the problem recurred. I am bringing my vehicle to the dealer to read the history of failure codes and repair the problem. A note to fellow complainants out there, please update your post if you had a repair done which solved the problem and how long it has been since an recurrence if any since the repairs were made, it really would help the rest of us out there who don't want to let the dealerships scratch their heads and charge us for unnecessary repairs.

- Merritt Island, FL, USA

problem #42

Jan 172015


  • 100,000 miles
While driving home the check engine light came on and the cruise control light began flashing. The car began to decelerate and the accelerator pedal became unresponsive. Vehicle continued to idle normally, but depressing the accelerator had no affect on the engine. Searching forums returns that this is a very common and dangerous issue with the drive-by-wire throttle of these vehicles. Had it happened on the freeway as opposed to a 30mph residential street, it would probably have resulted in an accident.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #41

Dec 222014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 114,210 miles


My wife was driving our 2006 Subaru Outback. She was driving in winter conditions. She was driving the 2 mile bridge to our home when the acceleration suddenly failed and the vehicle abruptly slowed from 55 mph to 35 mph. The roads had snow and ice on them. The vehicle behind her closed in on the rear of our Subaru and began honking and flashing its lights. The check engine light in our car came on and the cruise control flashed. She was scared by the misfunction. The car revved up above 4000 rpms when she put it into park. She shut the vehicle off and I checked and found an error code. P2138. The accelerator has 2 circuits that relay the desired speed to the car's computer. When the circuits don't match the computer cuts the speed out of the vehicle. I think that the engineering behind this system needs to be re thought so that this doesn't occur. I read other reports online of people in heavy traffic who had near accidents.

- Sagle , ID, USA

problem #40

Dec 022014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 183,400 miles
While coming to a stop at a traffic light, the check engine light came on along with a flashing cruise control light. When I started up there was no response from the gas pedal. My car started to roll and got up to 10 mph ( the speed limit was 45 mph). The RPM gauge stayed at 2000 rpms. I pulled on to a side street with my flashers on and parked. I turned off the engine and started it. Still no response from the gas pedal. I turned the car off a second time. This time the engine didn't start. I tried again and it take a long time (10 seconds) but it finally started. Now the gas pedal responded. I drive my car home without incident but the check engine light stayed on and the cruise still flashed. I went to auto zone where they said the code was P2138. Thank goodness the traffic was light when this happened and I was able to find a side street. Updated 12/21/15

- Williamsville, NY, USA

problem #39

Nov 172014


  • 56,400 miles
Slowing at intersection to make a right turn when check-engine-light came on. Cruise control light started flashing (vehicle was not in cruise control at the time) accelerator pedal became unresponsive (could get no acceleration out of the car when pressing the pedal) and was barely able to get through intersection to turn. After a minute or so was able to get enough power to run at about 10mph tops with hazards on to get a location where I could pull over out of traffic. Car would not start immediately after (three cranks with no response) after a few minutes, though, it restarted and seemed to operate normally, no problems with speed. Diagnostic code was P2138 (throttle/pedal position sensor/switch "a"/"B" voltage correlation.

- Laramie, WY, USA

problem #38

Nov 072014

Outback 6-cyl

  • 93,218 miles
While driving on the highway, the check engine light came on and I immediately had no throttle response. Thankfully it was 10:30pm and there was a lower volume of traffic. I coasted off to the shoulder. Turned the vehicle off, restarted, and still no throttle response. Turned off again for about 15 minutes. This time there was throttle response, but cel was still on. The following day, the cel light was off and vehicle running fine. Now, a week later, it happened again. It is a very dangerous situation to all of a sudden have no power while driving. Especially when there is traffic around. The fear is being run into from behind, or being stuck on the side of the road and become prey for the unsavory. This situation needs to be remedied before someone dies.

- Bel Air, MD, USA

problem #37

Oct 302014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 42,100 miles
Vehicle suddenly lost power, would not accelerate when accelerator pedal was depressed. When car was turned off and ignition turned, the vehicle was idling at a high RPM. When placed into drive vehicle would move forward at 15 mph, but there was no response from the accelerator pedal. Engine light went on, as did the cruise control light. Depressing the cruise control on/off button did not change cruise control indicator. Took into the dealership and they cleared the code and returned the vehicle back to me. The same thing occurred several days later. When I took it into the dealership, they told me the accelerator pedal assembly was malfunctioning and they charged me $403.88 as a replacement. I see now on the web that others have had this problem. This is a very dangerous fail and could have caused a serious incident. It is also very frustrating because it all occurred within a few days of having $2400 of service already on the vehicle (engine head gaskets replaced, timing belt, trans fluid flush, tire rotate), and I had to take it back to the dealership 3 times in order to get issues dealt with (twice with the accelerator issue, once because they had failed to properly tighten the power steering belt).

- Missoula, MT, USA

problem #36

Aug 222014


  • 100,000 miles
Subaru Outback/legacy 2006 - intermittent issue over a few months. The check engine light comes on, cruise control flashes and car goes limp, gas pedal stops working. After car goes limp, engine needs to be turned off, but once car is put in park for it to be turned off, the engine revs to approx. 2000 rpms on its own. The car then has to sit for a few minutes to attempt to turn the car on and the gas pedal to work again. This problem has thrown the code P2138. This is a serious safety issue, even more so as it has happened while on the freeway, where the car will lose speed due to the accelerator pedal not working and the car has essentially become a roadblock in the middle of fast oncoming traffic. This could have potentially caused serious accidents. After researching this particular problem online, it appears that many others with this exact car make/year have had the same issue and it is prevalent to this particular car. Subaru needs to conduct an investigation and offer a safety recall of this vehicle - at the very least, the cost of repairs to fix this known and prevalent issue with this car needs to be covered by the manufacturer.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #35

Oct 172014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 117,987 miles
While driving down I-25 the car lost all power and had no acceleration. The car would only idle, I noticed a check engine light on. I had the car towed to a repair shop and when the code was read a P2138 that had to do with the accelerator the mechanic said it happens alot with this year Subaru. He told me by just shutting the car off and waiting a few minutes it would have driven normal, when he started it again it did drive normal. He sends them to a Subaru dealer and tells the people that if enough of us complain or fill in a report then something may be done. This is a very unsafe car if it loses all power driving down the highway!

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #34

Oct 112014

Outback 6-cyl

  • 96,105 miles
Driving on the highway, the check engine light came on soon followed by the flashing cruise control light. At the point, the car became no longer responsive to the accelerator. I was forced to pull over because after breaking, I couldn't speed back up. Turning the car off and on again did not solve the problem. When I turned the car on the engine revved at a high speed with the cruise control light still flashing. I eventually had to get the car towed.

- Fair Oaks, CA, USA

problem #33

Oct 042014


  • 149,000 miles
As I was driving on the freeway, suddenly the check engine light came on, I lost thrust even though the engine was still turning at 2000 RPM, and my car started to slow down. Luckily I was already in the right lane, so it was easy to pull off the road. I went to autozone to have them read the code. The code was P2138 which is the pedal position sensor.

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #32

Jul 022014


  • 70,000 miles
Drive-by-wire throttle receives signal error (P2138) and ECU cuts off throttle function. This presents a serious and dangerous condition as the driver is then entirely unable to modulate speed. This error has occurred three times with no warning on the same vehicle, and at various speeds and situations. The latest one occurred on a highway at approximately 60mph where collisions due to disabled throttle were narrowly avoided. This error and the vehicle's ECU response could kill someone.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

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