2012 Subaru Outback steering NHTSA complaints: Steering

NHTSA — Steering Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,843 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2012 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #7

May 112014

Outback 4-cyl

  • 23,000 miles


Steering wheel locked-up while attempting to turn left in an intersection. The light turned green and my wife pulled forward about 10 to 15 feet and began turning the wheel for a left turn. However, the wheel would not budge to the left. She screamed out (to me) that the car would not turn left and we found ourselves perilously in the center of the intersection with cars blowing their horns. She did move the wheel to the right and we sort of circled in the intersection. Following this the car did resume normal steering and the problem did not repeat since. The next day (Monday) the car went to the garage where Subaru said they looked it over completely but could not find a cause or the problem. Despite my concerns they insisted all is well and to return if this occurs again.

- Cleveland Hts, OH, USA

problem #6

Apr 022012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 23,000 miles
Stiff/tight steering without much feel, and lane wandering, and trouble keeping the car centered in the lane due to bad center feel.

- Greenfield, MA, USA

problem #5

Nov 042011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 300 miles
This 2012 vehicle presented issues from the first day of ownership. After 4 repair attempts I worked out a replacement with Subaru of North America by sharing the depreciation loss out of desperation. We replace it with a 2013 Outback identical to the 2012 except for color.. the problem with the steering in the 2012 and the 2013 is that both the vehicle wander all over the road. You need to keep all your attention on keeping it following the road causing extreme fatigue. It is described by me as heavy, does not return to center and in even slight turns the car suddenly pulls in the direction you are traveling which is startling like hitting black ice. Taking your eyes to even the side mirrors for lane changes offers the vehicle to invite itself into oncoming traffic. This replacement 2013 I now have started presenting these symptoms after about the first 500 miles. There is a thread on the matter on the subaruoutback.org forum with over 450 replies on the matter. www.subaruoutback.org/forums/104-gen-4-2010-present/31638-ob-lane-wandering.html the responses on page 45 describe the problem pretty well. My responses are under joem. One response #442 was "and now, at 17 months & 25K mis, we still have a 'new' car that steers like a drunk pushing a shopping cart with a bad wheel..." how sad is that? please, look into the matter because if someone didn't get hurt already someone will. The last 60 mile drive was unbelievably exhausting. This is now my third Subaru so I am not new to Subaru and/or AWD. Or first was a 2006 forester and after 5.5 years and 60,000 it was flawless but we out grew its size. I offer your organization the opportunity to inspect and drive my vehicle to personally experience what I am describing. I can afford to trade this car at anytime but I do not want to see anyone to get hurt of lose their life. Thank you

- Milford, NY, USA

problem #4

Dec 292011

Outback 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles


I was driving on a interstate highway when the rear of the car started to wander from right to left, it acted like it was floating on the highway. I took the next exit to check for a tire losing air pressure or loose lug nuts. They were fine. I slowed down to 50 -55 mph for the rest of the trip. Every bridge and overpass I slowed down to 50 mph and yet the rear of the vehicle would jump side ways. The highway was wet from a recent snowfall, apparently there was some ice on the road. Other cars/trucks were going at 65 mph+.. I have never felt that "floating" in my 45 years of driving thru snow and ice.

- Tomah, WI, USA

problem #3

Mar 142012


  • 100 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, while driving over a bump the steering wheel would shake violently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and they stated that there was nothing abnormal. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who decided to send a technician to test drive the vehicle. The technician stated that the vehicle was fine. The failure mileage was 100.

- Thousand Oaks , CA, USA

problem #2

May 102012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
Wanders, very difficult to hold straight line at highway speeds. Dangerous, very touchy stering.

- Elizabeth, CO, USA

problem #1

Jan 202012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
While driving the car on a major highway the car was out of control. We had only 2 inches of snow during the day, the hwy. Was mostly clear except for some packed snow because of cold temps. But it was mostly clear. We could not keep the car going straight, it was constantly swerving. We could not go more than 45 mph. All the other traffic was going at normal speed. Nobody was swerving or spinning out. We were definitely a safety hazard on the hwy because everybody had to slam on the brakes behind us and then go around. We had to exit at the next off ramp. Even when coasting down hill the car was swerving out of control. I have never operated a vehicle like this before, we are very lucky that nobody rear-ended us or that we put the car in a ditch. This is a very severe problem. Also I mentioned this to 3 separate employees at the dealership, 2 are managers and 1 is a service tech and all 3 said they never heard of "ghostwalking". what a pile of crap!

- Grafton, WI, USA

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