2010 Subaru Outback electrical NHTSA complaints: Electrical System

NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
25,286 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.

2010 Subaru Outback electrical problems

electrical problem

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2010 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #14

Jun 092010


  • 3,000 miles


Center console completely shuts down. Ongoing- still as of 6/15/15 repeated servicing and contacts with dealer and Subaru national have failed to resolve problem concerned whether other problems will occur

- New Preston, CT, USA

problem #13

Mar 302015


  • 108,108 miles
I recently purchased this car used and noticed the steering wheel radio controls did not work. After doing some research I discovered there was already a recall on this car and this car has already had the recall work performed on it in December of 2010. The affected part is the steering wheel roll connector. This part also allows for the contact of other electrical signals from the airbag, cruise control and paddle shifters to the car's computer. I called Subaru and they said the recall work was done. I purchased the part from the Subaru dealer and installed it per the service manual instructions. Upon installation of the roll connector and completion of the total repair the steering wheel radio controls functioned as they were intended. I think this is a concern because Subaru has replaced a known defective part with one that after a little over 4.5 years has failed again. According to the information on the initial recall the steering wheel radio controls were only the first symptom of the eventual total failure of all the connections of the steering wheel roll connector. Which could also lead to the airbag not performing as it should during a crash.

- Willoughby, OH, USA

problem #12

Nov 182011


  • 27,290 miles
The outside bulbs constantly burn out, it can be a headlight, (high beam, low beam) license plate light, brake lite, running lights....the inside lights have been ok this bulb issue started at 27,000 miles and has been a constant problem since. Out of 24 service orders, nine of those orders have needed to have one or more bulbs replaced. I live in the foothills of calaveras county, California and the excuse the dealership gives me is that we have rough roads in these hills. Well, I say, what a line of poop, I drive a Subaru, it's made for our area. Either I have an electrical problem that obviously started when the car was under warranty or that the bulbs that are being used are totally of bad quality.

- Murphys, CA, USA

problem #11

Oct 072014


  • 103,500 miles


Headlight went out after replacement a year and 3wks ago. This is the 3rd headlight replacement on a 2010 vehicle since purchase 3yrs ago at 29,500mi as a certified used Subaru from the dealer.

- Janesville, WI, USA

problem #10

Apr 132014

Outback 4-cyl

  • miles
On approximately 04/13/2014 approximately at 6:00 pm et, my suburu Outback 2010 rapidly accelerated when my foot was centered on the brake petal and I moved the gear from neutral to drive. The vehicle lurched forward, engine highly revved. I pushed hard as possible on the brake and shoved the gear back into neutral. The engine was racing and I switched off the power. I powered back up and the temperature gauge, gas mileage calculator, etc. Was out. The ac/heat temperature and control screen was out. The fan control only would work and put out extreme heat. The outside mirror motors would not work. For the next 30 minutes on the way home I stopped several times and experienced the same electrical conditions upon restart. On April 14, 2014, all systems were normal when I started the engine. I took it to the dealer was told they would replace the switch (keys) but had no information on rapid acceleration out of control. I am concerned this will happen again and result in wreck and/or injury to myself and/or others. No mats were in the car at time of incident.

- Peacham, VT, USA

problem #9

Dec 242012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Headlights burn out in tandem. The first occurrence was in 2012. It happened again almost exactly one year later. Headlights shouldn't burn out after less than one year of regular use. There are few miles on this vehicle and it does not have excessive use (either night driving or leaving the headlights on during regular use). My mechanic feels this is a sign of a larger issue and it looks like it's fairly widespread. My mechanic also verified with a Subaru mechanic there is no difference between bulbs supplied by his shop and a Subaru dealership. They are both phillips bulbs.

- Edina, MN, USA

problem #8

Oct 062010

Outback 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles


Low-beam headlights are failing every 6 months. This is not normal and is a safety issue.

- Rosemount, MN, USA

problem #7

Jul 182013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
Followup to NHTSA id number: 10525592 the effected lot number is 0423sd (year 2010, April 23, location sd) this is different from the original effected location of 9X13A or earlier (Oct 13, 2009, location a and earlier). Exhibits the same symptoms. Original complaint: Vehicle paddle shifter function, cruise control, horn control are intermittent and vol up and mute radio functions do not work on the steering column. This is very similar to NHTSA campaign number 10V283000. I will have the dealer provide the steering roll connector lot number to determine if my VIN has an older steering column on tues. My VIN is outside of the effected range of a*310001 to a*377827.

- Spokane, WA, USA

problem #6

Mar 172010


  • miles
We purchased our 2010 Subaru Outback in December 2009. By spring of 2010 I have noticed that at random times I will turn the car on and my interior lights will not work, my heating/ac will be blasting hot air at me from the dash vents when it is in the off position, radio will not turn on and can not see my mileage display. Also at random times my gauges will not register. I have taken it several times to the dealership. Each time they have informed me that nothing is wrong with it, they can not recreate it and to next time drive it there when it does it so they can see it in action. Each time if I shut off the car and turn it back on it goes back to normal. I have also had instances where I have felt like I was going to stall. I must say I am extremely disappointed in this car. I was finally in a position where I could afford one and it ends up being worse that the crappy car I had in college. We purchased a Subaru because of its reputation for service and safety. I felt more safe in my Saturn that I do this car. It does not help that the dealer ship looks at me like I'm nuts when I take it in. I feel like they don't want to honor my warranty. Now it summer 2012 and it is doing this several times a week and still I am getting no where with the company. Will never own one again. I should not be looking at trading in a 2 1/2 year old $30000 car this should be lasting me years and I am afraid to keep it past the extended warranty period.

- Whitney Point , NY, USA

problem #5

Jan 082012


  • 22,262 miles
I bought my Outback in March 2010. I noticed my dash lights flickering early in my ownership, but I thought they flickered because maybe I went into a shadow and a sensor caused them to go off and on. The feeling the car is going to stall has happened before, but it was and would only happen every now and again. On a recent trip, January 8, 2012, it did it every time I slowed down for 4 or 5 traffic lights. That really got my attention. I thought maybe my brakes were catching so I took it into my dealer on January 12, 2010. They told me the brakes were fine. After I thought about it, I decided the "catching feeling" actually felt more like L had not depressed a clutch when slowing down and the car was going to stall. The only problem with that theory is that I have an automatic I spoke to my-son in-law about the feeling that the engine is going to stall when I slow down at a light. He mentioned that he had noticed the flickering lights last winter when he drove my car. He explained to me that it was not normal for the lights to do that. He told me to have the alternator checked out. I took it back to the dealer on January 27, 2012. They ran three different diagnostic test and everything checked out fine. I am so afraid the car will cut out on me and I will lose control on the road. I thought I was the only one having this problem, but after my son did an internet search he found a lot of people having the same problem. From the complaints I read most people have a manual transmission.

- Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #4

Feb 172011


  • 17,400 miles


Bought new, May 2010. The vehicle stalled and all of the lights on the dashboard illuminated flashing- brake light, check engine light, cruise, oil light, etc. Upon restart the vehicle operated as normal only all the lights on the dashboard were still illuminated and flashing. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, my auto imports in muskegon mi, where they were unable to diagnose the failure. This failure has occurred approximately six times in the past. The authorized dealer was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. It is going back in tomorrow after the flashing dashboard lights have been on for 6 days. The stalling happens more often when accelerating to accommodate a turn or start up from a stop sign/signal.

- Montague, MI, USA

problem #3

Jun 232010


  • 4,000 miles
Sudden acceleration disabling the cruise control to slow down and then hitting the resume button caused the car to surge. The RPM increased from 2000 to 6000 RPM. This occurs whenever the set speed is 20mph greater than the current speed. The dealer could not correct this, claiming that the full acceleration is by design. Wide open throttle is not a good practice since it makes the car hard to control. What belongs on a race track not on a highway.

- Arvada, CO, USA

problem #2

Jun 252010


  • 650 miles
Vehicle has repeatedly stalled during deceleration once clutch is depressed or taken out of gear. Other times it will rev down to about 400 RPM and then catch itself prior to stalling, but momentarily removing all power assists. Has been to dealer once, problem was duplicated and ECM was reprogrammed, problem has been better since, but not resolved.

- Pine Hill, NJ, USA

problem #1

May 182010


  • 3,800 miles
5 months after the car was purchased new I started using the air conditioner. Within the first week as I was slowing make a right turn into a parking lot from the street I engaged the clutch to shift from 3rd gear to second and the car died and I had no power steering or power brakes. I didn't use the air conditioner all the time. Two times the following week the same thing occurred again, both times slowing down and engaging the clutch and down shifting. I took the vehicle in to have it looked at on 6/2/10 and they tested all the sensors and checked it on their computer and they found no problems and asked that I keep a log of each time it happens and if I notice any patterns. I noticed that the majority of times as I would engage the clutch to down shift the tack would drop and the car would shutter and the tack came back up. The times when the tack dropped and then died it did not shutter. The problem only happens when the air conditioner is on. I then had a near collision shifting from 4th to 3rd in a busy T-intersection and called service the next morning, 6/10/10 and scheduled to take the car in on 6/14/10 and did not use the air conditioner at all. The service department duplicated the problem and had a Subaru engineer look at it. They erased the car's memory and will have a program written to hopefully fix the problem. Since the program will not be available for a long time they are giving me the car back to drive and believe that since they erased the car's memory that may fix the problem. They believe it may be an electrical or computer problem.

- Nixa, MO, USA

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