2008 Subaru Outback drivetrain NHTSA complaints: Power Train

NHTSA — Power Train Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,622 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.

2008 Subaru Outback drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #7

Sep 102007

Outback 4-cyl

  • 25 miles


Carpet had bad spot upon purchase, told by dealer defect and nothing could be done. That spot is now a hole in the carpet. Seat material is very cheap and low quality started to wear before 1K. That too has left a hole in the seat. At 37K passenger cv boot went due to thin rubber boot followed by driver boot at 38K. Boot rubber is extremely thin compared to other manufacturers. When they go, they go quickly without warning the smell is horrific and the sticky residue left behind under the hood visually unappealing. As to the boots, our weather rubber car mats are thicker and certainly less expensive! at 68K clutch went; power-steering pump was leaking and A/C / alternator belts were cracked. This car has never missed a maintenance and has been immaculately cared for so imagine our disappointment. The clutch resulted in the car stalling in rush hour traffic. This car did not live up to the Subaru reputation of safety and quality. I would not entertain the thought of every purchasing another Subaru.

- Altamonte Springs, FL, USA

problem #6

Nov 292011


  • 52,000 miles
Informed at shop when getting oil change that left front wheel bearing needed replacement. Contacted local dealer and they confirmed and replaced it under powertrain warranty. Heard no noise and felt no unusual performance to alert me of this powertrain failure. Dealer stated all the other wheel bearings are ok. 2 years later at 70,000 miles right rear wheel bearing failed with no notice or noise just sudden grinding and swaying at about 50 mph. Had it towed home and took it to dealer who confirmed the other two wheel bearings are failing. Dealer covered cost of new bearings but we traded it in. No confidence in Subaru. Dealer stated this is a common issue, it should have been recalled or all replaced at first failure.

- Farmington, NY, USA

problem #5

Jun 182012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
Vehicle overheated, drove to nearest service station. Radiator flushed and tested for leaks, none found. No other determination made. Car overheating, slow coolant loss. Subaru diagnosed major head gasket failure probably occurred prior to 73000 miles, but beyond power train warranty. Subaru hq declined to help with cost considering the service tech mgr stated a 2008 model car should not have this failure. Previously owned 1998 Subaru Outback with similar gasket failure some time after power train warranty expired. Costly repair.

- Nanuet, NY, USA

problem #4

Nov 132012


  • 80,000 miles


I purchased the 2008 Outback 2.5 limited used with 32K miles. At 41K miles the right front wheel bearing went out. Was making a very loud rubbing noise when turning and on the highway. The bearing was replaced under powertrain warranty. Yesterday I was informed that my left front bearing has gone out, now at 80K miles (all highway mileage). Now it is out of warranty. The 2 shops I spoke to regarding the issue stated this is actually very common on these Subaru models and they generate quite a bit of business. Subaru needs to provide a tsb and fix the issue as they have spec'd faulty wheel bearings.

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #3

Apr 092012


  • 50,284 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning while driving at low speeds. The contact also stated that the transmission fluid leaked and the vehicle smoked. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The contact was informed that the transmission hose fractured and created the leak. The contact was also informed that the radiator was defective. The dealer replaced the transmission hoses and the radiator. The vehicle was repaired. The failure and current mileages were 50,284.

- Queens Village , NY, USA

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problem #2

Feb 102012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 63,046 miles
Vehicle started running bit rough while idling at intersection; upon acceleration, check engine light and other instrument lights started flickering and car stalled. Restarted normally.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #1

Jan 012009


  • 1,000 miles
Complaint for a 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I with a manual transmission. Under certain conditions, the vehicle has a major stability control issue and is unsafe to drive. While driving at constant speed (constant and low throttle position) on a flat, good road, with the steering wheel pointed straight ahead, the back end of the vehicle tends to oscillate from side to side or "ghost walk" when the road has ice on it. The vehicle does not ever lose traction per SE; it just steers itself all over the road. Tires are at the proper pressure, tires are all brand new (although the problem has happened for the life of the vehicle with different sets of tires. The issue is not traction on deep snow, nor is it a problem when cornering, braking, or accelerating. I am a very experienced driver in snow/ice and have owned several Subaru. This particular model has major problems with driving on ice and very hard-pack snow. Note that having additional weight in the cargo area or rear passengers makes the problem much worse. I have been forced to drive on the interstate at 20 mph with rear-wheeled drive cars blowing by me because of the ghost walking issue. I have had several near-accidents because of this issue. This vehicle. Is unsafe and should be recalled immediately.

- Boulder, CO, USA

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