2011 Subaru Outback electrical NHTSA complaints: Electrical System

NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

2011 Subaru Outback (Page 2 of 2)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,741 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.

2011 Subaru Outback electrical problems

electrical problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2011 Subaru Outback:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2011 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #19

Jul 202011


  • 15,345 miles


After owning this car for less than one year, I had to change the left headlamp. I do my own work and have never had as much trouble with changing a bulb than I have with this Outback. I had no idea that this would become a "routine" service, alternating from left to right headlamp(s). After changing out the 5th one (3 left headlamps & 2 right headlamps) I phoned the dealer to see if there had been a recall, tsb or if other owners of this Outback had the same trouble. I was told they could fix the problem at my cost. I was told they knew of a problem however there was no tsb issued and no recall for this issue. Just yesterday (26-Oct-2014) I have discovered the 3rd headlamp on the right side is out again (right on "schedule"). I don't remember how many low beam vs. High beam bulbs I have changed but know I have also changed out the fog light on the left side once.

- Moravia, NY, USA

problem #18

Sep 262014


  • 79,000 miles
Car was just inspected Sept 2014. Three light bulbs replaced. Prior to this, we have been replacing lightbulbs every few months. It is expensive because we cannot change the front lights ourselves....it had to go into the shop. We actually now store bulbs in the glove box because the headlights burn out so often. Our mechanic said Subaru has a problem with its wiring harness. Subaru needs to step up and address this as I see it is a common complaint here.

- Downingtown, PA, USA

problem #17

Jul 242014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
With no passenger seated, the seat belt chime started ringing. To try to stop it, I latched the passenger seat belt. Chiming continued. I notice the air bag warning light was lit. I drove the car straight to my Subaru dealer and was told the passenger side air bag sensor had failed. I was also told the only way to fix it was to replace the seat at well over $1000. I was still left with the problem of the seat belt chime. The dealership wouldn't disable the chime so I searched the internet for a solution. What I found is that this is a very common problem with 2011 Outbacks. I did also find out how to disable the seat belt chime. Because this is such a costly repair and a common problem, I have to believe there are many Subaru owners driving around with unprotected passengers having disabling their seat belt chimes and having no air bag protection. In fairness to Subaru, I contacted customer service and they offered to split the cost of the repair. It will still cost me $798 for what should be a simple repair but because of poor engineering, a replacement seat. I would appreciate you looking into this matter.

- Danbury, CT, USA

problem #16

Jul 202013


  • 52,000 miles


I was on vacation driving home. Was at about 300 miles into a 400 mile trip. Driving 68 mph on a divided highway. Temp approx. 85 degrees, sunny day. Attempted to pass a vehicle on a hill. Accelerated about max acceleration and vehicle completely cut off all power when acceleration attempt occurred. I had to pull over immediately w/O any power. Tried to re-start the vehicle without success. Car did turn over for about one second then shut off completely. Result was a need to tow the vehicle to a dealer. Vehicle sat overnight. When the dealer tried to start the vehicle it started. At this point I have not had any problems with this situation. But I have not been in a situation of being on a long trip, in 85 degree temp and attempting a hard passing acceleration on a steep hill.

- Williamsville, NY, USA

problem #15

Jan 102014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 47,500 miles
1st incident 1/10/2014- leaving a stop light car would not accelerate and vdc, cel and brake light flashing. Sat on the side of the road for about 1/2 hour. Husband came to pick us up and tried starting the car. The car started and was able to drive w/O further issue. Check codes and had misfire cyc 1,2,3,4. local mechanic could find nothing wrong cleared codes. Husband noticed both drl lights were blown. Replaced both and when the key was turned on (not started) heard a loud squealing electrical noise from the area of the alternator/power steering pump where the electrical harness is bolted to the top of the engine. Started the car and it drove fine for about 2 weeks. 2nd incident 1/14/2014 - pulling away from a friends house vdc and cel lights come on. Turn off car and sit for about 20 minutes. Start car all warning lights gone and car drove fine. Husband checked codes and found misfire cyc 1,2 only 3rd incident 1/30/2014 - leaving stop light and vdc light comes on and car will only go about 3 miles per hour enough to get it off road and engine stalls. No cel this time. Sit for about five minutes start car and it drives fine and all lights gone. Replaced the battery and had mechanic clean out the ABS brake sensors. Subaru America and our dealership where we bought the car are aware and can find nothing wrong.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #14

Apr 022013


  • miles
I received a recall from Subaru, on April 2013, that require to replace immediately my remote starter. I contacted twice the dealer, Subaru of evanston, skokie, ill and after 2-3 months they did nothing. Subaru of America has a web address where a customer can not reach them.

- Morton Grove, IL, USA

problem #13

Jul 012011

Outback 6-cyl

  • 4,000 miles


On June 30, 2011 at 11pm I looked out of my window and our entire garage was engulfed in flames. This building was not completed and had no electrical or heating system. I believed at that time that it was the car(Subaru) that started the fire.,as the intensity of the fire was on the side of the garage where it was parked.I had just had it detailed the day before the fire, as the dealership had done some extra electrical work and the car was returned to us filthy. I had always suspected that it was the Subaru that started that fire and a couple of weeks ago I received a letter form Subaru stating that the "puddle lights" wiring could over hear and start a fire. Guess where I had elec. Work done?I had the lighted floor board lights installed (right above the puddle lights) this fire has left my husband(still) very depressed as we lost all his tools and everything in that garage which included items to finish the construction and many valuable personal items. I realize this if after the fact, but after receiving that letter form Subaru, I feel that my suspicion is justified and think that Subaru should make this right.this building was erected for over five years and there wasn't anything in there that would of started that fire, other than that car. Please feel free to contact us.

- Otis, MA, USA

problem #12

Jun 052013

Outback 6-cyl

  • 43,578 miles
The navigation system and radio began to experience problems with the volume control. The system refused to change channels or allow you to control the volume. It either blasted to ear-splitting volumes or stopped working all together.

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #11

Apr 092013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 42,343 miles
This car is a Subaru Outback 2.5I manual 6spd transmission. While at a stop light with car idling, the RPM's get very low and car dies. Starts back up right away, but then after idling for 15-20 seconds, the car will die again. Concerned that this may happen while driving as I have read reports of many other models of the same car doing the same thing while driving. The dealer says there is nothing wrong and they will charge a ton of money to come back and tell me there is nothing wrong. It is a clear safety issue if the car cannot hold an idle and/or dies while driving.

- Redmond, WA, USA

problem #10

Jul 012011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
Subaru Outback low beam headlights going out is a dangerous safety issue. Purchased 2011 Outback in Nov 2010. July 2011 driver side low beam headlight replaced at dealer. Nov 2011 passenger side low beam headlight replaced at dealer. July 2012 driver side low beam headlight replaced at dealer. Dealer checked out lighting system and found no problems. Dec 2012 both low beam headlights out. Called Subaru corporate and they said they had no reports of this problem (even though there are lots of discussions online). Replaced at local mechanic because it was 17 degrees out and these bulbs are not easy or cheap to change (my cost was $40+ for 2 bulbs plus $38 for mechanic install). Identified that dealer bulbs removed were philips. Replaced with sylvania. March 2013 driver side low beam headlight out again. Called corporate again. They suggested taking to local dealer (45 minutes away) to have them check the car out. Corporate and dealer are sorry to hear of problem and will change the bulb... but that doesn't eliminate the safety issue. In addition, it doesn't take care of the hassle or the costs. If you need more examples of this same problem (to prove it is not just my car), check out these other cases listed on this NHTSA website: 2011 ------------------------- date of incident: 03/01/2013 NHTSA id number: 10500919 date of incident: 05/03/2012 NHTSA id number: 10487940 date of incident: 09/13/2012 NHTSA id number: 10475296 date of incident: 08/17/2012 NHTSA id number: 10471366 2010 ---------------------------- date of incident: 11/01/2011 NHTSA id number: 10498055 date of incident: 10/01/2010 NHTSA id number: 10486749.

- Delaware, OH, USA

problem #9

Dec 162012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 30,200 miles


I was driving at 65 mph with the cruise control on and all of sudden the cruise disengaged, check engine light, brake, and traction control lights lit up on the instrument panel. The car's loss of speed could have caused an accident as the loss of speed was fairly dramatic. Disconnected the battery to see if that would help, it did, but only for a day. It happened again today 12/17/2012.

- Frazee, MN, USA

problem #8

Nov 252012

Outback 6-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
As I was passing another vehicle the car made a loud clunk and I lost power to the engine. I was in the opposite lane of a two lane road and had to squeeze my way back into my lane before a head on collision with an on coming car. After I safely got to the side of the road it was determined that the car had no ignition connection. The car would turn over but not run. When the car was towed to the dealership and tested it was determined that the signal between the key and the ignition system had been broken. After the keys were reprogrammed the car ran just fine. However, I am very concerned that this could happen again and place my families lives in danger again. I have received no assurances that this will not happen again.

- Redding, CA, USA

problem #7

Aug 062011


  • miles
2011 Subaru Outback. Consumer states vehicle rolled down the street without the key in ignition and engine off the consumer stated the vehicle finally came to rest in his neighbor's yard. The consumer then noticed the gear shift was in drive. The consumer stated according to the manual, the key was not supposed to come out of the ignition, unless the gear shift was in park and the engine was off. The consumer stated on August 6, 2011, when he returned to his vehicle, he attempted to start the vehicle, but the engine would not turn over. The consumer contacted Subaru. The Subaru employee stated there may have been a problem the key or the security system. The vehicle was towed and a couple of days later, the consumer was informed the battery had been replaced and the vehicle was ready to be picked up. About two months later, the consumer experienced a similar problem, but after three attempts, the vehicle started. The consumer also stated the headlights would not go out, unless the key was removed from the ignition.

- Greenville, ME, USA

problem #6

Sep 132012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
I am on my third set of headlight bulbs car is 23 months old and bulbs keep burning out. Never had a problem like this. Many other owners have the same issue and no resolution has been found. This is the low beam bulbs that burn out. Not at the same time usually within 2-4 weeks of each other.

- Woodbridge, CT, USA

problem #5

Oct 262011

Outback 6-cyl

  • 8,766 miles
There is an interference with the car audio system. There is an 'am' type buzzing sound that comes thru the speakers at random times. Sometimes it is very low in volume and is sporadic. Earlier this month while driving out of town for a 3 hour drive, the buzzing was very loud and continued whether the radio was on am, fm, cd, satellite and even continued when we turned the radio off. This loud buzzing sound went on for over 1/2 hour and was extremely frustrating. Reported to my Subaru dealership 3 times now with no resolution. I am sure there is something that is not right with this vehicle and I expect the dealership to find it and fix it.

- Willow Spring, ND, USA

problem #4

May 102011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 606 miles
The passenger side airbag fails to activate or cycles on and off while the adult passenger remains seated in the proper position. Dealer claims no defects detected yet is unable to resolve the problem. Manufacturer representative is also unable to provide any assistance in the resolution of the problem even to the point of not acknowledging that a problem exists. I feel this is a serious safety issue as you cannot rely on whether or not the airbag will be properly activated or even deploy in the event of an accident.

- Campo, CA, USA

problem #3

Nov 072011


  • 14,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that the vehicle was parked when he noticed that the fuse box was filled with dirt. The contact expressed serious concerns about the possibly of the vehicle stalling or resulting in a fire. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and the contact was informed that the vehicle was operating as intended. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but offered no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 14,000.

- Montpelier, VT, USA

problem #2

Apr 072011


  • 50 miles
Front passenger seat airbag switch irregularly changes state with lighter occupant. The passenger side front airbag indicator light shows off even though occupant is within limits stipulated verbally by Subaru salesman. The indicator light changes state with occupant in seat, even though the occupant remained completely still.

- Sierra Vista, AZ, USA

problem #1

Aug 082010


  • 649 miles
Vehicle stalled out while in second gear. Lost all power, plus power steering and braking. This is the second time it has happened. It seems to happen shortly after turning vehicle on and air conditioning is on. This happened while I was about to make a turn. I quickly clutched and turned the vehicle back on to avoid crashing.

- Whitestone, NY, USA

Not what you are looking for?