2011 Subaru Outback steering NHTSA complaints: Steering

NHTSA — Steering Problems

2011 Subaru Outback (Page 1 of 2)


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,888 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2011 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Dec 182016


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owned a 2011 Subaru Outback. While driving approximately 30 mph, the steering lost power without warning. The vehicle was pulled to the side of the road and smoke appeared underneath the hood. The contact quickly exited the vehicle. Within a couple of minutes, the vehicle became engulfed in flames and was destroyed. A police report was filed. The fire department arrived and extinguished the fire. There were no injuries sustained. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000.

- Menands, NY, USA

problem #23

Apr 252016


  • 73,000 miles
I can not keep the vehicle centered on the highway. The cars wanders right or left and requires constant adjustment. The car does not return to center after a turn, steering adjustment is required. This is a constant problem.

- Narragansett, RI, USA

problem #22

May 222015


  • 66,000 miles
Driving down a four lane road and went to take a legal U-turn and the steering wheel turned freely but the car went straight. The brake light was flashing and the tires did not move despite me turning the steering wheel. Awaiting an update from Subaru of America. Dealer says it needs a new steering shaft.

- North Andover, MA, USA

problem #21

Nov 182014


  • 107,000 miles


When applying the brakes hard at the a stopping point of the car it kills the engine leaving you dead in the street. Emergency pressure hard! other than that the brakes work great. Now if you push trans into neutral and brake hard as you will the engine is not effected and keeps on running. This is a automatic but it feels like you did not depress the clutch on stopping the car if it were a standard stick shift trans. There is a bucking at stopping then the engine is dead in the street. If you let up the brake before this kills the motor then it keeps running or if just light braking that is normal needed no problem. Other than that dangerous condition in city traffic the car runs great. This has to be a defect in design of the system never in 30+ years of auto mech trade have I run across this in any world brand name cars.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #20

Jul 082014


  • 45,000 miles
Subaru Outback vibrates in steering wheel and seats at speeds from 60 to above. There is a service bulletin which states the steering column and steering wheel gets replaced. Have not found any information that this rectifies the issue or that it makes the car any more safe or pleasant to drive. Postings suggest that this repair does not improve the issue.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #19

Apr 152011


  • 600 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the steering assist failed without warning. The failure recurred on several separate occasions. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis but they were unable to duplicate the problem. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 600.

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #18

Jun 212011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles


High winds caused a loss of steering and the entire car was moved and I almost blew into a semi.this always happens in high winds (25- 30mph and above ). internet bloggers call this " lane wandering" Subaru refuses to address this problem. I filed a claim with Subaru of America and their response was "it has been determined that the vehicle is operating as designed". I am past the date of being able to use the lemon law. The only option Subaru has given me is to trade-in the car with a $1500 discount toward a new one. I hesitate to do business with them again as there is a trust issue and I cannot, in good conscience, sell the car to someone else. It is very dangerous and I am afraid to drive it.I did speak to a gentleman with the same problem and he said Subaru bought back the car from him, however they refused to do that for me. I have been trying to resolve this problem with Subaru for a couple of years with no satisfaction. Here is a link that may be helpful. Http:/www.subaruoutback.org/forums/104-gen-4-2010-present/31638-ob-lanewandering.html.

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #17

Aug 012011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 10,500 miles
Even after all the soa (Subaru of America) "fixes" / service bulletins I still have a vibration issues at highway speeds, feel it in the seat and in steering wheel. It gets worse at highway speeds if your going around a curve on it tends to get worse. Even after through the curve.. also noted it doesn't matter weather conditions hot, cold raining or dry.

- Randolph, NJ, USA

problem #16

Mar 232011


  • 8,022 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the steering wheel started to vibrate and shake. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who replaced the steering column, brakes, tires, lower control arms and a tire alignment was performed. The remedy failed to repair the problem. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was not further repaired. The failure mileage was 8,022 and current mileage was 23,000.

- Auburn , CA, USA

problem #15

Nov 232011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
Steering wheel shakes from the left to the right at different speeds. It happens when steering away from center position. It also pulls in a turn to the opposite direction being steered.

- Howard, OH, USA

problem #14

Aug 302011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 4,710 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Outback. While driving approximately 50 mph, the steering wheel became stiff and difficult to maneuver. The contact stated that the failure recurred intermittently when driving at different speeds. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostics where the technician stated that the power steering rack assembly, gear box assembly and power steering fluid would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure persisted. The vehicle was not further repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 4,710. Updated 10/27/11 the consumer stated the steering was stiff all the time. He stated the faster he drove, the harder the steering became, as if there were no power steering. Updated 11/07/11

- Glyndon, MN, USA

problem #13

Jul 102010

Outback 4-cyl

  • 1,200 miles
Purchased my 2011 Outback in July if last year. I have taken it to the dealer on several occasions due to a vibration in the steering and thumping in the tires...almost like there was flat spots in the tires. They first told me it was flat spots and it may take up to 3000 miles before it would quit, however it never did and got worse. I took it back 2 more times and they finally did a force balance and put a vibration kit on the steering. My steering wheel does not vibrate/shimmy any longer, however the rest of the car still does. They had to replace 2 of the tires after several force balances. I have told them that the car still has the thumping...you can"T hear it, but you feel it, and the vibration is still there. You don't notice it as much at a lower speed, but when your speed increases you sure can. They are telling me there is nothing else they can do. How is that? it was a brand new car, and I called them and let them know of the problem right off. They have tried to fix the problem, but it's still there. This is a $30,000 vehicle, and is a lemon. I need to know what I can do. I know it's been almost a year, but as I said every time I mention it at my oil changes they tell me there is nothing more I can do. I have listed my personal information below. Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. [xxx]- car is in my husband name [xxx] [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Norton, VA, USA

problem #12

Nov 172010


  • 500 miles
Vibration and shaking (pulsing) of steering wheel at speeds over 65 mph. Vibration thorough floor of drivers side vibration through seat of drivers side. When going through turns steering wheel can pulsate (feels like something is catching). This can happen on a ramp where it is necessary to correct steering or a sweeping turn on the highway at speed. Driving on the highway there are times when the car will loss control momentarily, almost like hitting a patch of ice.

- Concord, NH, USA

problem #11

Dec 152010


  • 12 miles
2011 Subaru Outback: I informed the dealer that there was a shaking after 45 mph and a tramping effect at lower speeds. They did a road force balance and it was better but still felt annoying and unsafe. They put on new steering wheel and now it was worse. I finally took it to another tire/service dealer and they improved the shaking quite a bit but I would still like it fixed. Subaru states there will be a fix in a few weeks but reading all these old complaints makes me doubtful. Subaru seems to be aware cars are defective and ships them to dealers anyway hoping a fix will be found. I now would like a buyback from Subaru.

- Springfield, IL, USA

problem #10

Nov 302010


  • 125 miles
I purchased a 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5I limited on Nov 30 2010. On the drive home from the new car dealership the steering wheel had a shimmy and the entire car was vibrating. The vibration began 45mph and had gotten worse at 65/70mph. I contacted the dealer the next day and they determined by test driving the car that the four Continental pro contact tires were defective. Eventually they replaced all four tires with new Continental pro contact. The car is riding much better and smoother. The dealer wanted to install a vibration damper kit on the steering wheel and I declined. I prefer to know if there is a problem rather to cover it up. I hope this may help anyone having the same problem.

- Port St Lucie, FL, USA

problem #9

Dec 152010


  • 500 miles
2011 Subaru Outback 3.6R - car has vibration that can be mostly felt in the steering wheel at highway speeds. Vibration can also be felt in the seats and floor. Vibration comes and goes at various speeds.

- Ringwood, NJ, USA

problem #8

Oct 072010


  • 110 miles
2011 Subaru Outback 3.6R limited purchased new in October 2010. Vehicle had steering/handling issues from the start. Excessive steering wheel/tire vibration/shimmy at highway speeds was immediately evident. In addition the car had a pulsation in the steering assembly when making slow turns. At highway speeds the steering had a "stick-slip" phenomenon while negotiating curves in the road. The dealership performed a series of fixes recommended by Subaru of America (soa) including new tires with road force balancing, steering box replacement bushings, steering hydraulic pump replacement, replacement steering wheel, and replacement of steering rack assembly. At the conclusion of the various fixes the tire vibration was essentially eliminated. However, the steering pulsation/sticking was only ameliorated. The dealership informed me that soa was aware of the steering issue and was working on a solution, but that nothing further could be done with my vehicle at this time. The condition I have described is, in my opinion, a dangerous one. While driving winding country roads in the rain there is a distinct loss of feel for the road, similar to encountering a momentary patch of ice. Because of the varying resistance felt through the steering wheel the car tends to oversteer and understeer in the turns. It is clear that soa's piecemeal replacement of parts to "fix" the problem is not the solution. There is more likely a design issue with the steering assembly that is mitigated but not corrected when major parts are replaced, perhaps due to component tolerances. This issue must be resolved by soa and a vehicle recall issued.

- Bumpass, VA, USA

problem #7

Nov 292010


  • 260 miles
1.) 2011 Subaru Outback premium - new car purchase - with less than 300 miles on it. 2.) the car loses control at upper speeds (65mph+) where it sways out of control as if an icy patch was hit. The steering wheel also shakes at a rapidly low frequency creating a numbness in the driver's hands and forearms making it difficult to hold the steering wheel. This occurs every day when above 65mph. 3.) Subaru dealerships have said they can not repeat the issue (however they do not take the car outside the city, therefore they are not driving beyond 65mph). No parts or repairs have been provided although tires were checked over for balance. This is an on going issue with Subaru owners for the 2010 and 2011 model. I know of other Subaru owners who have had tires rotated, balanced, etc and nothing has changed. Thousands of forums are now online in regards to this.

- Augusta, GA, USA

problem #6

Jul 312010


  • 200 miles
Purchased new Subaru 2011 Outback on 07.31.10. Immediately noticed vibration in steering beginning at 60mph and gradually get worse at 70mph. Contacted dealer and was advised to have car looked at. On 08.23.10 the dealer test drove vehicle and confirmed slight vibration in steering wheel. They adjusted tire pressure but didn't correct problem. On 08.27.10 left car at dealer to have tires road force balanced. After road force balancing the steering wheel vibration is better but still noticeable. The service manager claims some vibration is normal for Outback. Still believe there is a problem but will drive care for several hundred miles before returning to see if problem gets worse. Opened case with Subaru. Extremely disappointed in response from dealer and Subaru to this problem since it's a very expensive auto.

- Longmeadow, MA, USA

problem #5

Aug 102010


  • miles
2011 Subaru Outback 2.5I limited purchased Aug 10, 2010. Noticed steering wheel vibration from time of purchase, assumed it was just me getting used to driving the car. A week later even more noticeable, brought to the attention of the dealer. Checked balance, found two tires out of round. Replaced those tires (tsb 05-50-10), rebalanced - vibration still there. Dealer then installed vibration kit (tsb 05-48-10), vibration persists. Head of service stated he did not notice vibration at 65mph, tech taken for ride with this owner (owner drove car - average speed 70-75mph). Tech observed vibration, stated "this shouldn't be like that on a new car." Awaiting response from service manager on next steps. In the course of a month, my car has spent 5 days at the dealership! very disappointed in Subaru at this time!

- Hampton, NH, USA

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