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Automatic Transmission Problems of Subaru Outback - part 1

Subaru Outback owners have reported 48 problems related to automatic transmission (under the power train category). The most recently reported issues are listed below. Also please check out the statistics and reliability analysis of Subaru Outback based on all problems reported for the Outback.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2010 Subaru Outback 1
Failure Date: 08/01/2011

I took my 2010 Subaru Outback to my dealer to have my front brakes checked. It felt like they were grabbing, and I wanted to check the wear. They checked the brakes, cleaned them up, and stated they were at normal wear for 35,000 miles. In the next breath, they stated I needed a new transmission. I still have not gotten an exact reason why my two year old car needs a new transmission. I have a cvt automatic/manual transmission. The dealer was very vague as to what happened. They stated it was the first one they've seen this happen to.

See all problems of the 2010 Subaru Outback.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2010 Subaru Outback 2
Failure Date: 07/15/2011

Engine idle drops 200 rpm below normal under braking at low speeds. Sometimes this results in an engine stall in traffic. Subaru of America suggested a transmission "retraining" which seems to have cured the issue.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2009 Subaru Outback 3
Failure Date: 04/01/2011

About a month ago (April 2011) while moving forward at around 5 to 10 mph I reached for the glove box and my shirt cuff caught the shift handle and thru the transmission into reverse. While I was lucky and there were no injuries this appears to be a serious safety defect that should be adressed by Subaru of north America. There are no built in safety locks or mechanisms to prevent the transmission from being moved from reverse to drive or drive to manual shift option. Actually you can shift anywhere from reverse to manual auto by bumping or pulling the shift handle with very little effort. Someone could have been serously injured or killed. Is there a recall available to correct this condition. Every american made car I've owned had a built in mechansim that required that you push down / pull up and push forward or pull backwards at the same time thru some type of manual locking mechanism. . . . . . Thanks I'm still driving the car but damage to the transmission is unknown.

See all problems of the 2009 Subaru Outback.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2009 Subaru Outback 4
Failure Date: 07/03/2010

The contact owns a 2009 Subaru Outback. The contact was driving at 45 mph when every service warning light illuminated. The vehicle began to jerk abnormally while changing gears. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the contact was informed that there was a miscommunication between the speed sensor and transmission. The dealer made repairs to the vehicle. The warning lights were no longer illuminated. Two hours later, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where another repair was performed on the vehicle. The failure persisted intermittently after the second repair when driving between 25 and 35 mph. The failure mileage was 13,357 and the current mileage was 14,800.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2010 Subaru Outback 5
Failure Date: 04/12/2010

My husband has tried contacting both Subaru north american corporate office and the eastern regional office regarding the several recalls he has received on his 2010 Subaru Outback. He went to the top because the people at the dealership are - well - stupid; and he his concerned about their ability to "fix" the car properly. He asked the dealer about TSB's and was told there were none; when in deed there are four (4). The people he has contacted are at the vice president level of management. He has also tried to speak to someone in the president's (thomas doll) office. Everyone refers him to an 800 customer service number. The people at this number know nothing about cars; all they do is read off what is ever written on their computer screen. Of course, Subaru has no plant manufacturing problems; their problems are all caused by the companies they get their components from. My husband does not want to be "put-off"; he wants someone from Subaru's upper management to give him a call right away.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2010 Subaru Outback 6
Failure Date: 01/31/2010

The contact owns a 2010 Subaru Outback. While driving approximately 30 mph he applied pressure to the brake pedal. He took his foot off of the brake pedal before reaching a stop sign and attempted to accelerate. The vehicle momentarily hesitated before accelerating. The failure recurred while driving approximately 30 mph whenever he attempted to accelerate after applying the brakes. He also stated that while driving approximately 75 mph he took his foot off of the accelerator pedal but the vehicle did not begin to decelerate for approximately 4 seconds. This failure also recurred whenever he was driving approximately 75 mph. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where he was informed that the vehicle was manufactured to operate in that manner. The failure mileage was 2,000 and the current mileage was 8,000.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2005 Subaru Outback 7
Failure Date: 01/19/2009

I have a 2005 Subaru Outback wagon. This weekend, on hard packed ice roads, the back wheels would "float", sway out from under my vehicle. This has happened previously in black ice conditions. I was traveling 20 mph slower than the rest of traffic to maintain control of my vehicle, and thus creating an additional hazard to the vehicles that could handle the conditions. The below email thread is a good description of what I have experienced in the past and other Subaru Outback owners are experiencing as well. The vehicle has new tires and the alignment was recently verified. . Read more...

See all problems of the 2005 Subaru Outback.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2006 Subaru Outback 8
Failure Date: 12/24/2008

I am in my third season driving my 2006 Subaru Outback to lake tahoe for winter ski season. I've always felt confident driving on snowy or icy roads until my last two trips--christmas 2008, and new year's 2009. On these trips, I experienced very disturbing fishtailing that everyone in the car noticed, and I had to fight to compensate for. This occurred even on long straight sections. Each time I had to slow down well below the flow of traffic, and the speed of previous trips. This issue made me wonder about improper tire inflation pressure, so we called the tire dealer, who confirmed this was not the cause. It felt as if the rear wheel traction was overcoming front wheel traction, that made me also wonder whether the all-wheel drive was functioning properly. I also considered weight as a cause, because one day I drove from reno to tahoe with only one passenger, and little cargo, and did not experience the problem. But, the fully loaded vehicle was no different than many trips the previous two seasons, when the fishtailing did not occur, and I could maintain sufficient speed to stay with the flow of traffic. Same vehicle, same tires, same loads, same road, same conditions, yet much different performance. I noticed other similar complaints, some of which refer to "ghostwalking. " please work on identifying the cause and solution for this issue, to prevent serious accident/injury. Thank you.

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car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2000 Subaru Outback 9
Failure Date: 06/02/2008

The contact owns a 2000 Subaru Outback. When the contact starts the vehicle and attempts to change gears, the vehicle jerks very strongly. The dealer stated that the transmission was the cause of the failure. The transmission fluid was changed, but the failure persisted. The dealer recommended that the transmission be rebuilt. The failure mileage was 83,000 and current mileage was 93,000. Updated 4/23/09 updated 04/27/jb.

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car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2008 Subaru Outback 10
Failure Date: 04/06/2007

2008 Outback Subaru - drove the car for over 1 year with the transmission jerking into gears. I had the dealer/mechanics check it 4 times within the first 2 months of the purchase. They could not find the problem. I have had the 3,000 mile oil change serviced by the dealer - 6x and complained about the transmission. On 10/9/08 took to the dealer again for a oil change and the transmission. They find the problem - I think they called it - a reflash - a computer adjustment. The car now drives great. Why did it take so long for this adjustment? I think that Subaru should have called a recall. I am also concerned if it did any damage to my transmission.

See all problems of the 2008 Subaru Outback.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2000 Subaru Outback 11
Failure Date: 01/10/2007

Transmission will intermittently fail to go into drive from park or reverse. Happens at random. Engine can be cold or warm and it still hesitates. Sometimes takes over a minute to get the transmission to engage. Only a matter of time before we get stranded. Took car to dealer and they topped off the transmission fluid and said the delay was normal. Issues began at 65k miles and have progressively gotten worse. Car now has 77k miles and only option given has been to replace the transmission.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2005 Subaru Outback 12
Failure Date: 11/25/2006

The contact owns a 2005 Subaru Outback. Intermittently, the rear of the vehicle loses control in slick road conditions. The contact stated that there was mechanical failure with the electronics in the all wheel drive. The failure occurs while driving between 20-45 mph. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The tires were replaced twice. The vehicle was realigned, but the failure still persists. The current mileage was 25,800 and failure mileage was 12,000.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2003 Subaru Outback 13
Failure Date: 11/03/2006

: the contact stated while driving 40 mph on wet roads, the vehicle ran rough, and did not accelerate properly. The vehicle began to buck, and the check engine light illuminated constantly. The vehicle was taken to a private repair shop, where the transmission fluid was found to be empty, and was refilled. The problems persisted, so the vehicle was taken to a service dealer several days later, where the problem was unable to be determined.

See all problems of the 2003 Subaru Outback.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2005 Subaru Outback 14
Failure Date: 06/21/2006

I have been experiencing a problem while accelerating from a stop or from coasting, such as when a red light has just turned green. I begin to depress the accelerator and the engine just about dies. This has nearly caused me to get "t-boned" at intersections numerous times. I have brought it to the attention of two different Subaru dealers and they say that nothing is wrong with it. I have heard that other Subaru owners are having this problem but Subaru will not admit that this is a safety issue.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2000 Subaru Outback 15
Failure Date: 09/01/2005

Automatic transmission has delay in engaging from a stop into any forward gear from any gear.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2000 Subaru Outback 16
Failure Date: 03/19/2005

Vehicle approximately 9 months ago was experiencing a slight delay in engaging automatic transmission from any gear into drive. Had dealership look at it and do a transmission flush of all fluid. The problem really didn't get better until finally on 3/19/05 at only 51,800 miles the transmission would no longer engage in drive at all. A transmission shop looked at it and said an 'o' ring failed causing the entire transmission to need to be rebuilt and catalytic converter to be replaced. Cost was $2,644 and was only 6 weeks past expiration of the warranty.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 1999 Subaru Outback 17
Failure Date: 01/27/2005

Approximately 6 months ago automatic transmission started having trouble shifting from reverse to drive. Car would hesitate and finally lurch forward. Took it to the dealer and was at first told they couldn't find anything, then was told I needed a new $3400 transmission. I was told to baby the car for as long as I could. 4 months later car became stuck in reverse and would not shift to drive. Took it to another service center (not the dealer) that specializes in Subaru's and was told this was a common Subaru problem with automatic transmissions. I was also told that I could have gotten at least 15 - 20,000 more miles out of the transmission is the transmission filter had ever been replaced and the fluid flushed. (up until this time I had always had the car serviced under warranty at the dealer). I am being told now that I will have to get a new transmission. This seems ridiculous being that the car is only 5 years old.

See all problems of the 1999 Subaru Outback.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 1996 Subaru Outback 18
Failure Date: 11/17/2004

I drive a 1996 Outback with 116,000 miles on it. I've read about possible recalls pertaining to the transmissions binding in turns, which is what I'm expereincing now. I've been told that if it gets too bad, it may break an axle or something. If it is a recognized problem/mistake, I'd really like to see a recall.

See all problems of the 1996 Subaru Outback.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2004 Subaru Outback 19
Failure Date: 10/18/2004

Auto started running rough. Transmission shifting abruptly. Throttle would remain open after foot taken off accelerator. Car would maintain last speed before foot off accelerator. This would continue on level ground and even uphill to a large extent speed would be maintained with no input from driver. Cruise control was off. No codes generated and no check enging light. Dealer notified. Could not duplicate. This occurred on three separate occasions before dealer replace throttle positon sensor.

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car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 1999 Subaru Outback 20
Failure Date: 10/18/2004

99 Outback - tranny wont engage when shifting into drive from park, nuetral, or reverse. Rev the motor and then c-lunk into drive after long delay. Got worse over time. Subaru and other service shops say it's common on 99's, probably the main pump seals, and the tranny has to come out to fix or replace. I changed the fluid twice in a week to "flush" it - much better now, almost "ok" (compared to $2500 fix) but still not "normal".

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2000 Subaru Outback 21
Failure Date: 06/01/2004

Consumer complained about a transmission problem. Vehicle delayed when it was put into drive. Also, consumer would be driving and suddenly the transmission would go into neutral without changing gears. Consumer contacted the dealer, who recommended that the transmission needed to be replaced. . . . . . . Initially, dealer could not find a problem. After 2 mor evisits to dealer, it was determined that transmission needed to be replaced.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2000 Subaru Outback 22
Failure Date: 05/19/2004

Consumer states that vehicle is unable to shift into drive intermittently. The dealer indicated that transmission needed to be replaced due to an internal failure. When the computer diagnostic was done no codes registered, according to the diagnostic machine the vehicle was not in need of repair.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 1998 Subaru Outback 23
Failure Date: 10/04/2003

Intermittently, automatic transmission will not shift into second gear. It goes into neutral and will continue to rev up to anywhere between 5500 rpm and redline before it shifts. This has been an ongoing problem for the past year. It usually happens at least once each time it is driven. We have taken it to Subaru of santa cruz in the past and they could not identify a problem. When the 'check engine' and 'at oil temp' lights came on, we took it to Subaru of santa cruz. The diagnostic computer indicated that the speed sensor needed to be replaced. Once replaced, the problem did not occur for about 5 days, but then began occurring again.

See all problems of the 1998 Subaru Outback.

car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2001 Subaru Outback 24
Failure Date: 09/16/2003

The vehicle was parked and off. Please provide any further information. The vehicle moved forward towards the fence.

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car image   Automatic Transmission problem of the 2000 Subaru Outback 25
Failure Date: 08/31/2003

The vehicle experienced a delayed response when changing from one gear into another. The vehicle was stopped on a steep slope and put into reverse. The driver took his foot off the brake and onto the accelerator then the vehicle rolled forward. The consumer believes this problem is called shift lag.

Other Common Power Train related problems of Subaru Outback