2012 Subaru Outback engine NHTSA complaints: Engine

NHTSA — Engine Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,688 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.

2012 Subaru Outback engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #4

Apr 152016


  • 60,000 miles


When the brakes are applied and the car comes to a stop light or stop sign, the engine shuts off ('stalls when idling or slowing down'). the vehicle then must be put into 'park' mode in order to re-start. This occurs nearly everyday of the week, and has created many, many dangerous situations for us and the drivers around us. We took the vehicle to the dealership in may concerning this issue, and they stated that they had not heard of this problem, and that nothing was wrong with the vehicle. We took the vehicle in for service again this week, and the dealership mentioned that a technical service bulletin had been issued for this problem. The tsb was apparently issued in Jan 2014, but customers were not notified in spite of the fact that the defect poses dire saftey risks. We are bewildered given that this item is clearly a recall-worthy defect that places the vehicle owner, and the cars around them, in foreseeable and considerable danger. We are very concerned that other customers are also being told by the dealership and manufacturer that there is 'nothing wrong with their vehicle' in spite of the tsb issued in Jan '14. A cynical person might conclude that an effort is being made to obfuscate this safety defect until customer's warranties run out. Similarly, the manufacturers tsb language appears to obfuscate the defect with euphemistic language. To be clear --- the vehicle shuts off in the middle of the road when slowing down for a stop light or stop sign. It would appear that an effort is being made to avoid a recall. According to the tsb, Subaru modified production in October 2013 to account for and cure this safety issue. Again, customers ho were sold vehicles with the safety defect hav not been notified.

- Gilroy, CA, USA

problem #3

Jun 232016


  • 87,000 miles
I purchased vehicle brand new, over the course of 4 years have had no problems until brake master went bad after 2 and a half years, oil not lasting until the next oil change and finally the head gasket. The vehicle's A/C died and was taken to the mechanic, he found the compressor had gone. We ordered a new one. Took the vehicle out the next day to return it to mechanic and in route, the vehicle began smoking profusely and died on the road 2 minutes after it began smoking. The vehicle is then towed to mechanic to find that the oil and coolant were mixing, the vehicle overheated and damaged head gasket. This make & model has also been found to have issues with "faulty brake masters & leaking oil leading to coolant and head gasket" issues. No recall, safety or advisement information has ever been sent or corresponded to us regarding this matter. There is however an open class action suit in New Jersey for the issue of leaking oil and cooling issues.

- Danbury, CT, USA

problem #2

Jun 152014


  • 28,000 miles
Coolant light then check engine light on. After driving 2 1/2 hours coolant appeared to be leaking so filled coolant to top with water.. 12 minutes later, while driving, lights back on/engine rev/engine dies/ smoke. Lifted hood/many flames from center /slammed hood shut and ran far away. Several small explosions as car burned. Voluntary fire dept. Finally arrived but car almost totally gone. Only back tires left usable.

- Huntertown, IN, USA

problem #1

Jul 192012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 3,750 miles
In early December of 2011 my wife and I purchased a 2012 Subaru Outback with a 4 cylinder engine, cvt transmission. We had to wait a day for our Outback because it was being repaired do to a brake system recall. Ever since purchasing the Outback we have had a serious issue when using the paddle shifters to slow down for a stop. When the tach slows to about 1100 RPM in first or second gear the engine then accelerates to up to 2500 RPM, slowing down and then speeding up again then repeating the cycle over even if you apply the brakes. Sometimes it would just run at 2500 RPM until you braked to a stop. I took the Outback to our dealer and the Subaru service advisor was very surprised when I drove it to demonstrate the very serious issue. It did exactly as I have described and even stayed at 2500 RPM. The service advisor and who I presume was the overall manager of the dealership took it for a drive without me. When they returned I was told that the way it operated was the way it was supposed to operate because of the engine needing to be more environmentally friendly. I stated I did not really believe that excuse and left. Since that first visit, the Outback has started doing the very serious acceleration issue also in automatic drive at low speeds. I returned on July 19, 2012 to get my first service done. I left the car for the service and tested an exact (except for color) 2012 Outback. This Outback had none of the very serious acceleration issues that my Outback has. When returning to pickup my Outback I told the service advisor of this outcome and he stated I would have to contact Subaru of America to elevate the issue. Respond as soon as possible as to where I can take the Outback for repair of this very serious acceleration issue. My wife and I will be traveling via the Outback very soon and need this very serious issue resolved before we leave.

- Lampe, MO, USA

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