2009 Subaru Outback suspension NHTSA complaints: Suspension

NHTSA — Suspension Problems

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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
28,650 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.

2009 Subaru Outback suspension problems

suspension problem

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2009 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #4

Jan 012014


  • 62,500 miles


Driving on straight, semi-icy roads between northern Michigan and northern Wisconsin at speeds from 40mph to 50mph the 2009 Subaru Outback loaded with approx 500lbs of cargo and passengers (driver included) would suddenly swerve back and forth ( referred to as ghost walking ). would have to reduce speed and pull over to shoulder numerous times and allow all traffic behind vehicle to pass since no one else was having any handling problems. Vehicle would regain stability and would handle fine for some time and then would repeat the ghost walking situation once again. This happened approx 6 six times for a total drive time of 35 minutes. Called 4 different Subaru dealerships and spoke with their service department and all technicians told me they have never heard of such a problem. Researched the issue with numerous Subaru website forums and found many complaints of what appears to be the exact same problem.

- Bayfield, WI, USA

problem #3

Dec 192011


  • 22,400 miles
Driving on slick road conditions ice/snow on freeway with lightly loaded Subaru Outback (4 passengers, which included 2 females in back seat and light luggage for four). The rear of car began "ghostwalking" oscillating side to side about 3-4" at approximately 30 miles/hour on straight road. Passed by numerous 2 wheel drive trucks and cars traveling at much faster rates. Needed to pull to shoulder because the care felt too unstable/unsafe. This did not appear to be related to driver error, slick road surface or tires. This was a first experience for me and first time on slick surface with vehicle loaded. Many other people report same experience with this phenomenon. Spooky and very scary is best way to describe. This is not safe!

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #2

Feb 212011


  • 26,000 miles
Road conditions: Poor, icy. Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Outback wagon loaded with 4 passengers (2 adult, 2 teen, plus "light" luggage). When the vehicle passed over an icy patch, the car swayed from side to side violently. On Subaru forum websites, this type of loss of control is termed "ghost walking" which is an odd but accurate term for the feel of the situation. I have seen multiple entries on the owners' forum websites describing this phenomena, and it apparently affects several model years. My dealer offers to re-align the back tires which may fix the instability problem (which is attributed to "load") but which will cause another problem: Excessive tire wear. This is a dangerous situation. As Subaru markets the car for the winter driving market, it needs to fix this dangerous design flaw before someone is killed over compensating for the system-driven fishtailing. Please note: Although Subaru attributes this to "loading" of the vehicle, the car was not loaded beyond strictly normal use for a station wagon. This is as dangerous as "sudden acceleration" in Toyota.

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #1

Dec 222008


  • 3,700 miles
I recently purchased a 2009 Subaru Outback 2.5 special edition. While driving on I-35 near cloquet, mn, the car exhibited dangerously unstable handling that has been described by other Subaru Outback owners. The road conditions were icy and even with greatly reduced speed the car would slide/drift sideways on straightaways. This was very unnerving as I could do nothing save reducing my speed to a crawl to avoid this drifting effect. At this point I was being passed by all other traffic on the highway (semis, fwd and rwd cars, etc.), which did not seem to have the handling issues I was having. The car is new (3700 miles) and I had just taken to a shop that morning for an oil change and everything checked out ok. I believe the Outback has a dangerous handling issue that appears to manifest primarily when fully loaded (I had 2 passengers and gear) and on smooth and slippery roads. I am scared to drive this car in snowy conditions, which is unfortunate given I live in mn and bought this car for winter driving and its AWD properties. I have never had a car handle so poorly in my 16 years of winter driving.

- Rochester, MN, USA

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