2013 Subaru Outback steering NHTSA complaints: Steering

NHTSA — Steering Problems

2013 Subaru Outback (Page 1 of 2)

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2013 Outback has a problem with excessive oil consumption.

A class action lawsuit is pending that alleges Subaru's "FB" engine has defective piston rings which causes oil to leak past the rings & burn up at an excessive rate. More information about the class action is available here.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
6,144 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.

2013 Subaru Outback steering problems

steering problem

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2013 Subaru Outback Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #26

Feb 132016


  • 28,000 miles


We purchased this vehicle 2-7-16 used with 28,000 miles.when driving on the highway over 50 vehicle wandered all over the road we constantly had to correct the steering to keep between the white lines.dealer said this was the way rack and pinion stealing worked.after doing some investigation on your web site this seems to affect many of these vehicles.seems that Subaru has denied any problems with the 3013 Outback.we put up with this problem for two weeks and traded this lemon in at the same dealer that sold us this junk.we lost about 5 K in this transaction but our safety is much more inportant then the money.in 40 years purchasing and driving all types of vehicles this is by far the worst ever.we will never look for a Subaru again. Hopefully our government will look into this serious safety situation.

- North Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #25

Nov 162015


  • 37,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Subaru Outback. While driving approximately 30 mph in inclement weather, the vehicle began to slide while driving downhill. The contact attempted to control the steering, but it would not move. The vehicle did not respond and struck a delineator post, slid in the opposite direction towards a concrete wall, and suddenly stopped. A police report was filed. There were no injuries. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 37,000.

- Durango, CO, USA

problem #24

Jul 012015


  • 10,014 miles
Steering on this vehicle is so heavy that it causes orthopedic problems. The steering drag tension is set so high that it is difficult to control the vehicle at highway speeds, and difficult to maneuver the vehicle into parking places at low speeds. Parallel parking is painful. I had other people drive it to eliminate my subjective view of this, and every person thought it was hard to drive. Subaru thinks this is normal, and refuses to allow its service departments to adjust the tension if it's within it's "specs" even when the driver of this expensive vehicle does not feel safe driving it. Subaru service department's reasoning was that "it felt like every other Subaru Outback." This doesn't make it ok; it just confirms that Subaru is selling more than one dangerous car. This is an unsafe condition that Subaru is allowing to persist rather than actually addressing the other issue the unreasonably tight tension is masking - steering wheel shakes. This is my second Subaru and is the last one I will ever purchase - not because the car couldn't otherwise be a good vehicle, but because this is a legitimate safety issue that Subaru is ignoring and will continue to ignore until forced to change, probably after a large lawsuit brought by the estate of a Subaru owner who was killed in their vehicle. And, because Subaru has such terrible customer service that it thinks it's fine to tell someone who just bought a $30K+ car that they just have to live with an unsafe condition because Subaru doesn't see fit to fix it.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #23

May 292015


  • 58,600 miles


Steering was making a noise (as if steering wheel was turned all of the way to one side) with only slight movement but it worked. This noise occurred with every turn. After running an errand with approximately 5 miles of use, I returned to the parked car and backed out of parking to find that the steering wheel was turning but the wheels were not! I had the vehicle towed to dealership. Note: A recall of the steering was done by the dealership in Oct 2013 and no issues had occurred with that repair until now.

- Holden, MA, USA

problem #22

Jun 112013


  • 5,000 miles
Wonders from side to side. Took back to dealer they check alignment. Said everything was in spects. There was no charge this time for alignment but would not do it again for free. We purchased extended warranty at time of purchase. What a waste! my daughter and son-in-law borrowed it last summer. Put 8000 miles on it driving across country. Had a terrible time keeping it on the road. They where going to buy a Outback but quickly changed their mind. Called dealer again and the service manger told me to change tires and cross rotate them. I told him we already did that and my husband cross rotated them. He said that there would be a charge to look at it. Since they didn't do anything the first time why pay them more to tell me it is in spects? I think they are waiting for someone to get killed or be killed. This is most definitely a safety issue.

- Bellaire, OH, USA

problem #21

Jan 012013


  • 2,500 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that the steering wheel drifted to the left and had to be constantly turned to the right in order to keep the vehicle in its appropriate lane. The failure occurred while driving 65 mph and also at local speeds. The dealer inspected the vehicle and stated that the steering wheel was operating as designed and the alignment was normal. The dealer did not replace any parts. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 2,500. Updated 10/22/14

- Buffalo , NY, USA

problem #20

Jul 012013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 500 miles


While driving at speeds over 40 it is very difficult to keep the car centered in a lane. The dealer checked and corrected the alignment with little or no improvement. The service rep did admit that Outbacks do wander. Email sent to Subaru has apparently been ignored. This is an unsafe condition in our crowded interstates.

- Flemington, NJ, USA

problem #19

Nov 022013


  • 2,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that the steering wheel was extremely unstable and needed constant adjustment. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure, but performed a four wheel alignment and increased the tire pressure. The failure recurred. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 13V194000 (steering). The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 2,000.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #18

Nov 142012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Subaru Outback. The contact stated the he purchased the vehicle 2012. He noticed his steering wheel would drift while driving. The contact took his vehicle to a Subaru dealership for a diagnosis and the dealer stated that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. The problem persisted after the diagnostic test was performed. The contact located recall NHTSA campaign number: 13V194000 (steering); however, his VIN was not included in this recall although is experiencing the same defect listed. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 1000 miles. The vehicle was not repaired...updated 04-23-14 the consumer stated the vehicle was to be repaired under waranty. Updated 04/25/2014.. updated01/20/15

- Schenectady, NY, USA

problem #17

Nov 152012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 2,500 miles
Shortly after I purchased vehicle I noticed difficulty keeping it centered in lane. Continuously having to correct steering and hard steering. I drive on interstate often and I have checked tires continuously and no difference in the handling of the Outback. On first service I told the service rep about it and said they would check it out, I believe they checked the alignment, when picked up the vehicle and was told everything was normal. Is it unsafe, yes. Now I have 25000 mile on it and still continues. Still mention it at service time but they don't really even respond anymore.

- Fairview, OK, USA

problem #16

Jul 272013


  • 100 miles


The new Outback is exhibiting lane wandering as others described in good detail. Other vehicles I've driven go in a (more-or-less) straight line with minimal effort and minimal corrections. The ob is all over the road, able to stay in the lane with a lot of effort and correction. There is a big flaw in the steering (maybe not all but a lot of them) and it is a safety issue. Is it going to take a major accident and/or a death before NHTSA and Subaru takes a look at this issue??

- Bangor, ME, USA

problem #15

Sep 152013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
I have owned over 20+ cars ranging from 4runners, S2000, to lancer evo. My 2013 Outback is by far the hardest car to steer on the highway. It wanders to both directions at highway speeds and its difficult to correct it back to center. Some owners have been accused of driving drunk in a Outback, Subaru needs to fix this before loosing your most loyal owners! many 2012 2013 Outback owners have been calling this issue stiff, heavy, hard, not return to center steering. Here are my observations after some research: -2013+ new FB25 engine 2nd gen cvt returned suspension -I also own a 2014 forester with electric steering (drives normal), Outback has hydraulic steering -I test drove couple other 2013 Outback 2.5I same firm steering -I test drove a 2013 Outback 3.6R (steering feels normal much softer) -check steering effort should not have more than 6.6 lb (measured with scale) -some owners had success readjusting their gearbox backlash to less than 3 lbs go to: www.subaruoutback.org/forums/104-gen-4-2010-present/31638-ob-lane-wandering-122.html -on page 114 there are 3 picture attachments posted by J delman -steering column recall for 2013 legacy/Outbacks manufactured from 2012 feb15-jun15 (I don't think this will fix the wandering issue)

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #14

Sep 242013

Outback 6-cyl

  • 3,200 miles
2013 Subaru Outback 3.6R w/sap I am experiencing a heavy steering issue. Where the return to center does not happen unless I manually steer it back to center. Steering is so heavy that after 3000 miles. (purchased in June 2013), both of my wrists are in pain, my right elbow is in pain, and my right hand feels like it has carpal tunnel syndrome. Constant corrections are needed to keep tracking straight. I increased tire psi to 34/32, and it helped a little, but steering still does not return to center. Here are 2 links to similar issues: www.subaruoutback.org/forums/104-gen-4-2010-present/73034-need-return-center-test-2013-Outback.html www.subaruoutback.org/forums/104-gen-4-2010-present/31638-ob-lane-wandering.html

- South Park, PA, USA

problem #13

Aug 012012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
Steering issue. The car wanders, left and right. At freeway speed you must hold on with both hands and make constant corrections. The dealer verified that everything in the steering and suspension was tight, but this did not help the problem. I've had the vehicle for a year now with no change, except I've learned how to control it better. I found many similar complaints on the internet and gave these to the dealer. They did not seem to be aware of the issue previously. I've been to the dealer for scheduled maintenance just twice, and have had them look at the issue both times. I was hoping there would be a recall to fix whatever the underlying issue is. This is my second Outback (previous was a 2005) and my third Subaru (I also have a 2009 impreza).

- Snohomish, WA, USA

problem #12

Oct 012012

Outback 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Vehicle tracking issues same or similar to all the other complaints about this issue. The vehicle wanders from side-to-side at speeds of 40-70 mph requiring constant correction. It sometimes seems that it takes more effort (only slightly) than should be required to get it to correct at first but then goes quickly and easily. I noticed it the first time I had it on the highway and it has been the same ever since, 10 months later.

- Cortland, NY, USA

problem #11

Jun 222013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 92 miles
The steering of my new Subaru Outback seems to wander on the road. It is a challenge to keep this brand new vehicle between the lines or in a particular lane of the road. Vehicle wanders / drifts to left and / or right, will not track straight and does this when ever driving but is more noticeable above speeds of 35 mph. The driver has to make constant corrections while driving the vehicle straight, this causes fatigue in the arms and is exhausting to the operator. One can not safely operate a vehicle like this. A semi-tractor trailer rig was on the right side of my lane (we were in the number 1 lane of the highway) and my Outback wandered to the right, we almost went into / under the trailer of the "big rig". I later I contacted the Subaru dealership and arraigned to bring vehicle back to have them look at it. When I returned with the vehicle, they checked alignment and said it was ok. The vehicle continues to wander whenever I drive it and daily while I drive to and from work. Again, I drove the vehicle back to the Subaru dealership and they have been talking with Subaru of America, receiving different specs and the service department has been doing some work on the vehicle. I have never owned a vehicle, new or old (used) that handled this way. There are several forums with pages of information, data and complaints by people from all over the country. Please act now to resolve these issues before someone's looses their life due to the unsafe faulty vehicles.

- Peyton, CO, USA

problem #10

Dec 212012


  • 26 miles
Dangerous! the vehicle does not track well at highway speeds. It wanders side to side in the lane of travel requiring constant correction to stay in the center of the lane. On smooth road surfaces, the wandering is still very noticeable. High crosswinds experienced driving in the plains or crossing bridges with a grated decks makes the vehicle a challenge to control the wandering and staying within my lane. I took the car to the dealer and reported the problem. They inspected the steering, wheel alignment, wheel balance, and tires. They didn't find any problems. There is no technical service bulletin for this issue and the internet bulletin boards are full of complaints with the same type of issue. I personally feel the vehicles are not engineered correctly or they are leaving the factory with inadequate alignments or the alignment specifications are not correct in general. I love my vehicle until I drive faster than 45mph. Safety is my #1 concern and it needs to be seriously addressed. Long trips are way more fatiguing than they should be and interstate driving is scary for most of the drive. This is the link that discusses the same problems I've addressed here www.subaruoutback.org/forums/104-gen-4-2010-present/31638-ob-lane-wandering.html.

- Bellevue, NE, USA

problem #9

Apr 302013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 15 miles
Vehicle "wanders" constantly at speeds from 30 mph to 70 mph. I would imagine at higher speeds as well. Constant correction is needed to keep vehicle in proper lane. When even the slightest correction is made, it over-corrects. It doesn't seem possible to not over-correct. The vehicle will wander to the right and no matter how gentle the correction, it over-corrects and wanders to the left then back to the right and so on. It is a constant challenge to stay in your own lane. A small gust of wind significantly magnifies the problem. I believe just turning your head to look out your side window to check lane traffic could result in crossing a center line. I believe that this steering problem makes this vehicle unsafe and likely will result in some serious problems if it hasn't already. It is very tiring to drive any distance. The dealer has made a couple minor attempts to make it better, but hasn't succeeded. While the dealer worked on my car I used two different "loaners". both 2013 Subaru Outbacks. Both had the same problems.

- Silver Creek, WA, USA

problem #8

May 152013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
My 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5I wanders at highway speeds. Constant corrections are required as it will not track in a straight line even when their are no outside influences (ex: Wind). Small corrections add up to over correction requiring more correction. Staying in lane can be a challenge.

- Quakertown, PA, USA

problem #7

May 112013

Outback 4-cyl

  • 2,200 miles
The vehicle does not track well at highway speeds. It wanders side to side in the lane of travel requiring constant correction to stay in the center of the lane. On smooth road surfaces, the wandering is relatively mild. However, I became alarmed while crossing a bridge with a grated deck. The vehicle swerved side to side dramatically requiring significant steering correction and immediate reduction in speed to maintain the lane of travel safely. I took the car to the dealer and reported the problem. They inspected the steering, wheel alignment, wheel balance, and tires. They didn't find any problems except they recommended that we inflate the tires 5 psi above manufacturer's recommendations. The extra pressure improved the steering somewhat, but the problem persists. I have not yet driven the vehicle in challenging winter conditions such as standing water or slush on the highway. However, after my experience on the grated bridge, I am very concerned that this car would pose a safety hazard in these conditions. I feel this vehicle has a significant design or manufacturing defect that directly affects my safety.

- Eugene, OR, USA

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