definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,908 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2006 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #13

Feb 212010


  • 20,000 miles


My 2006 Subaru Outback begins to ghostwalk at about 50mph and is unsafe, smaller cars and vehicles can pass me with better control while mine fishtails at the back until speed is reduced at less than traffic speed.

- Lincoln, NE, USA

problem #12

Jan 242010


  • 72,000 miles
1. slick road conditions with moderate to heavy passenger or cargo load 2. rear of the vehicle loses control in any kind of slick road condition. Even happened on wet pavement with loaded car. Results are having to slow to unsafe low speeds to maintain any traction. 3. no parts or work done yet.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #11

Dec 302009


  • 83,200 miles
This past week in Minnesota we had cold enough temps so that road salt was ineffective on I-35 North of minneapolis. We had light snow at the time I was driving so that slippery ice formed on the wheel ruts in the right lane. Most of the other drivers ignored it. My Subaru, however, began fishtailing immediately when it encountered an icy spot, so that I had to slow to 45 mph in order to maintain control. This has happened regularly over the course of the four winters I have driven the car. When on ice at highway speeds, it begins fishtailing out of control. It happens with all loads. This is the second set of tires (not the same as the first). I have been driving on Minnesota and Wisconsin winter roads for 45 years. This car is (and has been since it was new) very dangerous on the highway in icy conditions.

- New Brighton, MN, USA

problem #10

Nov 272009


  • 88,600 miles


2006 Subaru Outback 2.5I base with automatic transmission. My vehicle has a noticeable erratic stability handling problem on the rear of the car when it has a little extra weight (like a couple medium dogs, or a few normal weight passenger in the back seat) when driving on ice conditions, the car rear of the car will sway left to right as if someone is pushing the back sides of the car left to right. This is uncontrollable side to side motion is very scary. All my other Subaru 83 gl, 85brat, 92 ss, 92svx, 94 tw, never had this issue on the same types of roads. The older scoobs were rock solid, stable as a snowmobile on all conditions, and they never had dedicated snows, and could be loaded to the hilt, or not loaded at all, but the 06 Outback cannot maintain a speed of 40 safely while truckers, Yugo, neons, and those with worn summer tires pass going 55 not having trouble. When it happens, it like the whole back end, both rear tires, are on marbles with someone pushing the car left to right on the back windows. Driving slower is not the solution, when you are already at 40mph and the car is doing weird motions in the back, and 99% of the others on the same road, same lanes, are not having control issues, they are cruising at 55-60 and almost all the cars are mashing the brakes to not rearend granny in the uncontrollable swaying Outback. Ah, so you say get dedicated snows. My other older soobs did not need them to be controllable, the other cars on the same icy road do not have dedicated snow and they have no problem. Something in the back end design, and yes they did have a tsb alignment update, still is not allowing the vehicle to be as safe on ice as other cars are.

- Malcom, IA, USA

problem #9

Dec 152009


  • 69,000 miles
I have a 2006 Subaru Outback limited wagon. Driving on wet roads, not even icy, the most minor bump in the road, or frost heave, will send the vehicle's rear end swaying, almost out of control. This is supposedly known as ghost walking. This is extremely dangerous, as it happens at highway speeds, on straight roads, and causes the vehicle to sway back and forth across the lane. Tires have been replaced as well as Subaru dealership performing a full alignment. This is supposed to be AWD, so rain should not be a factor. I also notice this swaying happen on dry pavement, but not as threatening. Seems like there is play in the rear end, but car was fully safety checked by Subaru and passed all points. Seems to be a major flaw in the AWD, namely the limited slip differential in the rear end. I'm afraid to drive this vehicle in winter conditions, yet that's what Subaru's are known for.

- Durham, CT, USA

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problem #8

Oct 262009


  • miles
2006 Subaru Outback auto trans. On many occasions the vehicle's rear-end side-steps or oscillates on icy/snow-packed road conditions. This has also been described as "ghost-walking" where it feels like the AWD system in the rear is over compensating, leading to the vehicle being uncontrollable. The behavior seems to happen in the 30-40mph range. Although, I prefer not to drive any faster than the road conditions allow, it can be very frightening when other 2wd cars and trucks are passing you going 20mph faster and it's difficult to even keep the car on the road or in a straight line. I have had the alignment checked and had brand-new all season tires installed, with no resolution. The dealer has not found anything wrong.

- Westminster, CO, USA

problem #7

Dec 242007


  • 25,000 miles


2006 Subaru legacy Outback 2.5I with 44K miles. On hard pack snow/ice/slush this vehicle has a very noticeable tendency to lose control at the rear wheels. This problem continues anytime I encounter the identical conditions. I have had this vehicle aligned as suggested by my local shortline Subaru dealer at my cost. The problem continues. I have lost control of this vehicle at less than 30mph while tracking straight. There is something seriously wrong with this vehicle. As this vehicle is all wheel drive drivers will have a tendency to use this vehicle in the above conditions. Please investigate and test this vehicles rear suspension.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #6

Jan 242009


  • 39,000 miles
I have a 2006 Subaru Outback 2.5I. Occasionally, while driving on snowpacked/icy roads the rear end begins to sway abruptly back and forth, even on straight sections of road. It causes the car to become almost uncontrollable as it wants to start fishtailing. The only way to stop it is to slow well below a safe speed and the speed of traffic, creating another potentially dangerous situation. It appears to happen more frequently when the car is loaded with 3 to 5 passengers plus ski gear. I do a lot of driving in winter conditions in the mountains of co and have never experienced anything like this. I just had my car in to the local Subaru dealership (for the 2nd time) and they could not recreate the problem or find anything wrong with the vehicle. The technician did acknowledge that other customers had the same complaint and they couldn't find anything wrong with their vehicles either. His only recommendation was to go to a more aggressive snow tire. I don't believe this would address the problem of why the car is swaying back and forth in the first place. It would just create more friction on the road surface to keep the car from sliding side to side. This needs to be addressed as it creates an extremely dangerous situation with a possible loss of control while traveling at safe speeds for the conditions. There is no reason a vehicle should be trying to fishtail while traveling on a straight section of road, regardless of how slippery it is.

- Durango, CO, USA

problem #5

Dec 282008


  • 27,000 miles
I own a 2006 Subaru Outback 2.5I with automatic transmission and about 28,000 miles. It is an all wheel drive vehicle. On "black ice", regular ice and hard snow pack, it weaves side to side on its own. The driver basically loses the ability to control the vehicle. The experience would be similar to be driving with a strong side wind which moves your vehicle on you. The difference is with the wind you can take corrective action and steer into the wind to counteract its effect. In this case, you are captive to wherever the vehicle takes you and can do nothing about it short of slowing down or stop driving it altogether. This is unnerving to say the least and frightening otherwise. The only way to stop the vehicle from moving by itself is to slow down to 35mph or less. While I have not been in an accident (yet), while driving it under these conditions, it is very nerve racking. Subaru is well aware of the problem and has chosen to do nothing about it to this point. They must be waiting for fatalities or lawsuits before they feel a "fix" is necessary. Please investigate this problem. It is real and could be very dangerous if not fixed.

- Traverse City, MI, USA

problem #4

Dec 242008


  • 67,000 miles
I am in my third season driving my 2006 Subaru Outback to lake Tahoe for winter ski season. I've always felt confident driving on snowy or icy roads until my last two trips--christmas 2008, and new year's 2009. On these trips, I experienced very disturbing fishtailing that everyone in the car noticed, and I had to fight to compensate for. This occurred even on long straight sections. Each time I had to slow down well below the flow of traffic, and the speed of previous trips. This issue made me wonder about improper tire inflation pressure, so we called the tire dealer, who confirmed this was not the cause. It felt as if the rear wheel traction was overcoming front wheel traction, that made me also wonder whether the all-wheel drive was functioning properly. I also considered weight as a cause, because one day I drove from reno to Tahoe with only one passenger, and little cargo, and did not experience the problem. But, the fully loaded vehicle was no different than many trips the previous two seasons, when the fishtailing did not occur, and I could maintain sufficient speed to stay with the flow of traffic. Same vehicle, same tires, same loads, same road, same conditions, yet much different performance. I noticed other similar complaints, some of which refer to "ghostwalking." Please work on identifying the cause and solution for this issue, to prevent serious accident/injury. Thank you.

- Windsor, CA, USA

problem #3

Dec 242008


  • 18,000 miles


Rear tracking begins oscillating dangerously in winter driving conditions. Extremely dangerous. Going 30 mph and being passed by every car on the road while I am fighting to keep from crashing. Rear wheels seem to transfer traction to tires that are slipping, oscillating back and forth, causing rear end to fishtail at any speed. Replaced tires and same thing. This is the scariest thing I have ever experienced. Been driving in Wisconsin winters for 35 years. I have never experienced anything like this. Many similar complaints on NHTSA website and on internet postings. I am serious - this is really dangerous. When are you going to make Subaru accountable?

- Wisconsin Rapids, WI, USA

problem #2

Dec 152008


  • miles
'06 Subaru Outback(auto) seems to have handling issues caused by AWD system. Some have described it as "ghostwalking", where the rear end of the car shifts side to side when the AWD kicks in. Please investigate this problem. Have replaced tires and checked alignment, problem still exists.

- Westminster, CO, USA

problem #1

Jan 192008

Outback 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles
2006 Subaru Outback wagon 2.5I rear-sway side-stepping and what I have seen described as "ghost-walking" on icy conditions. The AWD system on the car seems to cause the vehicle to shift side-to-side making it very difficult to control.

- Thornton, CO, USA

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