2008 Subaru Outback seat belts / air bags NHTSA complaints: Air Bags

NHTSA — Air Bags Problems

2008 Subaru Outback (Page 3 of 4)

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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,981 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2008 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #34

Nov 012014


  • miles


Air bag light intermittently comes on while driving and stays on. I notice this more in the early morning when it's cold but it's been happening on a more frequent basis now. I've been told the airbags would not deploy in an accident if the light is on. This is a serious safety issue that Subaru is fully aware of.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #33

Sep 022013


  • 60,000 miles
Air bag sensor light periodically turns on when a passenger sits in the front passenger seat. Sometimes it turns on, sometimes not. You can reset the sensor and it goes away, for days or weeks. Numerous similar complaints found online. Mechanic can not find problem.

- Bethesda , MD, USA

problem #32

Oct 012014


  • 55,000 miles
The airbag warning light is frequently on for extended periods of time (days, weeks, months). The issue and Subaru's unwillingness to address it are well documented in complaints filed with NHTSA by other Subaru owners and on various Subaru owner websites. For example, see there is conflicting advice on whether illumination of the dashboard warning light means the airbags are disabled or not. Either way, this is a serious safety hazard that needs to be addressed immediately.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #31

May 042015


  • 150,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Subaru Outback. While reversing at more than 25 mph, the air bag warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was unable to be determined. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000.

- Avon, CT, USA

problem #30

Jul 272015


  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that the air bag warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician diagnosed that the map light air bag unit needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 84,000.

- Easthampton, MA, USA

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problem #29

Jun 162015


  • 103,000 miles
I am following on this complaint from many Subaru Outback owners about the airbag light malfunction I think should be addressed, definitely a recall issue that should be taken care by Subaru.

- Delmar, NY, USA

problem #28

Mar 252015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 50,303 miles


2008 Subaru Outback. The dash instrument panel airbag warning light would intermittently come on and stay on for extended periods of time. The red airbag light would occasionally turn off but for the most part it was on continuously. Dealership advised that when the red airbag warning light is illuminated the airbag system is inoperative. The vehicle was taken to our local dealership on 3/30/2015 and the service report indicates a scan noted airbag code 26 -passenger side indicator failure. The dealership recommended correction was the replacement of the map light assembly (part #92151ag13aor) for a cost in material of $163.95 and labor of $34.52, plus the diagnostic labor of $35. Cost to correct the problem was not covered. The service manager was very familiar with this type of airbag system failure in Subaru of this specific model year and also vehicles manufactured within the same time period. Research indicates that the airbag warning light problem is located within the overhead map light module and the failure of soldering at the led lights within this assembly. A new map light console was ordered and has been replaced which has, at this time, corrected the problem. This specific issue is well documented with the N.H.T.S.a. on line complaint data (54 complaints along similar console light panel failure). Air bag systems have been mandatory on vehicles for both front seat occupants since September 1998. Airbag systems are not optional equipment, and with the combination of seat belts, represent the critical components of a passenger safety system. This specific type of failure indicates a problem that has not been voluntarily recalled or addressed by the manufacturer. Because this defect involves a vital safety system, and in order to protect the consumer, an investigation and recall should be commenced.

- Davenport, IA, USA

problem #27

Dec 022013


  • 80,000 miles
The airbags light is on intermittently. The tech at the Subaru dealership said it was a problem in the connection in the map light console. He indicated the airbags would deploy correctly. It appears to be a common problem with 2008 Outbacks and other posters have indicated the airbag system will not work if dashboard airbag light is illuminated. Apparently many folks have found a weak/aged solder point to be the cause of an intermittent connection. Given the large number of owners encountering this problem, Subaru should initiate a recall based on the safety concerns of a an airbag system failure in the event of an accident.

- Sand Lake, NY, USA

problem #26

Feb 172015


  • 55,000 miles
Having airbag light coming on intermittently along with passenger airbag light. Mechanic said airbags probably are not functioning properly. Cost for repair would be between $350-$400. From reading other complaints, this is an easy and cheap fix but dangerous if it's not repaired. This should be a recall!

- Caledonia, MI, USA

problem #25

Mar 102015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 59,570 miles
Red "airbag" dash light comes on and stays on. This renders airbags inoperable and creates an unsafe driving condition. An accident without airbags is a safety issue. The overhead passenger side airbag indicator assembly failed and needed to be replaced for $333.24. Research indicates that poor soldering on the airbag circuit board causes the indicator assemble to fail. Based on the number of complaints, and the fact that this could result in serious injury in the event of an accident, this should be a recall situation.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #24

Feb 042015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 60,500 miles


Airbag light comes on intermittently on my 2008 Subaru Outback. I?M not sure under what specific conditions, sometimes the light stays on for days. And recently it has been on continuously. The airbag led indicator for the passenger seat does not work. I took the Outback to the Subaru dealer, and they said I needed to replace overhead console module due to shorting and charged me $117 for the inspection, $137 for the part, $148 for service and tax. The total will be $402. I researched the problem online and found many people had solved this problem with simply soldering the connection for almost no cost. The Subaru dealer service never offered to try soldering, only warned me that the airbag wouldn't work when light was on. The sheer number of complaints filed and subject discussions online show that this problem is predictable and could be solved cheaply. Subaru must make better soldering, especially when lifesaving air bags are at stake.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #23

Feb 032015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
I'm updating my 2/3/15 complaint 10680982. I contacted Subaru directly on the same day and included a copy of the complaint I filed with NHTSA and my bill for the replacement of the overhead airbag control module. In the report the Subaru tech said the unit was shorting out, showing code "26 for passenger?S airbag indicator failure and S8 airbag light on." I also gave Subaru my tally of my first cursory search of the NHTSA complaints database on the word "airbag" for all models of Subaru from 2000 to present. The search resulted in 145 complaints. After I looked through the first 60 complaints I found 45 of them that seemed to be about this exact problem - the airbag warning light on the dashboard and/or passenger side airbag overhead indicator going on and off intermittently. These complaints were across every model of Subaru and years from 2003 to 2013. My 2008 Outback had the most complaints - 13. Other searches for different key words and spellings of airbag resulted in many hundreds of results, too many for your database to display, probably many of them were about the recent airbag recall issue. Subaru's customer service department responded immediately and on 2/12/15 they promised to reimburse me for the entire $352, the total cost of parts and labor to replace the module. I urge all Subaru owners to test their passenger airbag lights and those with problems to lodge a formal NHTSA complaint and report it to Subaru. Since the airbag doesn't work when the light isn't working properly this is a very dangerous problem! enough complaints to the NHTSA will help pressure Subaru to finally let all potentially affected owners know about it.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #22

Jan 102014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 64,100 miles
Air bag warning light turns on intermittently on dash and overhead. Not sure airbags are working. Dealer service department cannot find problem.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #21

Feb 012015

Outback 4-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
Airbag light comes on intermittently on 2008 Subaru Outback, not sure under what specific conditions, sometimes the light stays on for days. Dealer service said I needed to replace overhead console module due to shorting and charged me $350. After researching the problem I found many people had solved this problem with simply soldering the connection for almost no cost. Dealer service never offered to try soldering, only warned me that the airbag wouldn't work when light was on. The sheer number of complaints filed and subject discussions online show that this problem is predictable and could be solved cheaply. I would like to see Subaru held accountable for all the money owners have spent on this avoidable and simple problem.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #20

Jan 022015

Outback 4-cyl

  • miles
Air bag warning light stays on, and the air bag system is disabled while the light is on. This is a very well known and documented problem that can be cured; however, because of the cost it has not been remedied. The part used is the primary culprit and regrettably has been installed in Subaru vehicles across several model years. Subaru the manufacturer has failed to respond responsibly; ergo, NHTSA action is needed to bring Subaru to task and compliance to ensure all necessary repairs are performed for safe deployment of all Subaru cabin air bags. When working properly, air bags save lives.

- Madison, AL, USA

problem #19

Nov 172011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Dash airbag light comes on intermittently, and this disables the airbag. Dealer states this is a known problem, but can only fix by trial and error replacing (expensive) components. It happens most on cold wet weather days, often goes off when car warmed up, so probably electrical. Has continued for years now, still happening at 105,000 miles. Many many examples on internet boards of people with this same problem. Should be a safety recall!

- Jaffrey, NH, USA

problem #18

Oct 292014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
The airbag light on the dash illuminates due to a flawed part in the system. This is a common problem with this series of Subaru and disables the airbags while the car is in use, a very dangerous and possibly deadly problem. Subaru has been aware of this problem for years but refuses to do anything about it. The part and its replacement are expensive and often does not get repaired because it is at the owner's expense. My feeling is that safety equipment should be warranted by the manufacturer for the reasonable life of the automobile. The flawed part has been used for years with Subaru's full knowledge that the part is flawed.

- Sauk Rapids, MN, USA

problem #17

Nov 142014


  • 44,000 miles
Air bag warning light intermittently turns on. Likely due to a faulty electrical connection behind the map light console. Airbags will not deploy in the event of an accident! this is an incredibly common problem and Subaru refuses to address it.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #16

Sep 012014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
Airbag light is intermittently coming on while driving. Checked online and found out this is a very common problem. When light is on vehicle air bags will not deploy in an accident. I don't understand why this problem was not handled by Subaru as a voluntary recall. This is a serious safety issue.

- El Sobrante, CA, USA

problem #15

Sep 052014


  • 60,000 miles
Airbag dash light on rendering airbags inoperable. No crash. Fault in part. Significant safety issue. Why no recall.

- New Hartford , CT, USA

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