2008 Subaru Outback electrical NHTSA complaints: Electrical System

NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

2008 Subaru Outback (Page 2 of 2)

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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,961 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #5

Jul 192014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles


Vehicle started showing signs of electrical problems 2 months ago when the rear view mirror homelink would only have power intermittently. Problem progressed to the reverse lights and now affects the headlights. The headlights went out at night as I was leaving a parking lot, a definite hazard. Have researched the problem on Subaru online forums and discovered that the problem is that individual wires in the wiring harness have a tendency to crack and break at the joint between the body and the liftgate. This vehicle has 2 completely broken wires and most others with breaks in the insulation. Other owners describe similar problems.

- Moorhead, MN, USA

problem #4

Jan 232013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
The radio and heater, A/C and defroster controls are all one piece in my car. The display screens on both go blank without warning. When this happens nothing works, most importantly the defroster when you bad weather while driving. The output temperature and fan speed cannot be changed and the defroster cannot be turned on or off. The factory radio-A/C control unit went bad and was useless. Subaru was unable to provide service parts since it is no longer available new, only as a rebuilt unit, and Subaru has no cores to rebuild nor do they know when they will get one. I bought a used radio-A/C unit from a junkyard and installed it about a year ago. Now this unit is starting to go bad. I have contacted panasonic to find an authorized repair facility and they cannot identify my radio even with the numbers on the tag that says made by panasonic, so they cannot tell me where I can get it repaired. Subaru has been just as useless. I can live without a radio, but when my windshield fogs up at 60 mph and I cannot turn the defroster on or it's 20 degrees out and I cannot turn the heat on, this becomes a safety issue. I checked a Subaru owners website and found numerous people with 2005-2008 models saying they had the same problem. I have owned the car since new and besides changing the oil myself, all other repairs on the car have been done by a Subaru dealer. The dealer even installed the junkyard radio. The last contact I had with the Subaru factory, they are blaming the problem on me using an aftermarket radio. My local Subaru dealer confirmed thru serial numbers that the radio from the junkyard is the exact same radio-A/C unit that came in my car when new. Since Subaru no longer uses panasonic radios, they are no longer providing any product support on panasonic products. Subaru is required by law to provide service parts for at least 7 years and they are not doing it.

- Laurel, DE, USA

problem #3

Aug 292013


  • miles
Wires in the rear hatch break repeatedly. Wiring harness comes from the roof and into the rear hatch; most of the wires worn and mechanic has spliced more than half including the antenna wire.

- Mechanicsville, VA, USA

problem #2

Jun 012008

Outback 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
Since the car was nearly new the airbag warning light comes on intermittently and now stays on continuously, rendering the airbag system inoperative. The vehicle was brought to the dealer the first time it happened but the dealer said no fault code was found. In December 2012 the warning light came on continuously. I brought it to the Subaru dealer to diagnose and service the problem. The service manager stated that the problem is with the light in the maplight module, and if something in the module goes bad the airbag warning light will come on and prevent the airbag from deploying. Consequently I have to replace the entire maplight console at a cost of $510 ($110 to read the code plus $400 for the light module) to fix a dangerous safety defect and design flaw that should be the responsibility of Subaru.

- Derwood, MD, USA

problem #1

Jun 242012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 116,100 miles
One wire leading to the rear cargo hatch (right side) broke and 3 others had cracked insulation due to a lack of resilience after flexing. These wires are flexed every time the hatch is opened and closed. All electrical parts on the hatch travel though this wiring harness (wipers, lock, etc.). had the failure of the lock not been noticed, further wear could have caused a short and a fire. The vehicle is only 4 and a half years old. Many other people have had similar problems going back to at least the 2005 model.

- South Dartmouth, MA, USA

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