Which model years of Subaru Outback are the most problematic?

Hello, neighbor! I’m really glad you stopped by with questions about common issues with the Subaru Outback. Yes, it’s a good Japanese car and is generally considered reliable, but it’s not without its problems, like any other mechanical device. Let me tell you about the main issues with the Outback based on my experience as a mechanic.

I’ll start by saying that the Subaru Outback does have issues with its engines, transmission, suspension, and electronics. The most problematic years are considered to be 2011-2012, 2014-2015, and 2017-2018.

Neighbour! Don’t forget that the surest way to keep your car in excellent condition is regular maintenance your Outback. Wu already talked about this once, you can watch it again.

According to reviews from my car service clients, the most common Subaru Outback problems are:

  1. Engine Problems: Subaru Outback uses horizontally opposed engines, which are generally considered quite reliable, but they do have a few potential problems. One of them is oil leaks, which can lead to a decrease in engine power and even engine failure. Another issue is engine overheating, which can be caused by clogged radiators or other malfunctions. To avoid engine problems, it is better to choose more reliable motors. We already talked about this once.
  2. Transmission Problems: The Subaru Outback is equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is generally considered reliable, but it has its weak points. One of them is chain wear, which can result in jerky gear shifts or even complete transmission failure. Another problem is transmission overheating, which can occur during extended mountain drives or at high speeds.
  3. Suspension Issues: The Outback’s suspension is generally considered reliable, but it has a few potential problems. One of them is ball joint wear, which can lead to noise and vibrations while driving. Another issue is shock absorber wear, which can result in a deterioration of vehicle handling.
  4. Electronics Problems: The Subaru Outback is equipped with a multitude of electronic systems that can be sources of problems. One of the most common issues is the EyeSight system malfunction, responsible for features like automatic braking and collision warning. Another problem is electrical leakage, which can lead to battery discharge.

Based on owner reviews, the most problematic years for the Subaru Outback are 2011-2012, 2014-2015, and 2017-2018. During these years, there have been numerous complaints about engine, transmission, suspension, and electronic issues.

I talked about whether Subaru Outback is expensive to service or not in this topic, come and have a look if you are interested.

Furthermore, when considering a used Subaru Outback, it’s wise to invest in a thorough pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic. This inspection can help identify any hidden issues and give you a better idea of the vehicle’s overall condition.

Be sure to ask if the engine oil is changed on time and how long ago the Outback transmission was serviced. Pull out the dipstick and look at the color of the engine oil for yourself.

In conclusion, while the Subaru Outback is generally a reliable car, it’s not exempt from problems, especially in certain model years. Being aware of these common issues and taking proactive steps to address and prevent them can help ensure a positive ownership experience with this popular Japanese vehicle. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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One thought on “Which model years of Subaru Outback are the most problematic?

  1. I’m very glad that you came to me to ask how I’m doing! Don’t be shy, if you have any questions (any) about the Subaru Outback – ask in the comments!

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