Common 2010-2014 Subaru Outback Problems

Some of the worst issues 5th generation Outback owners have to deal with.

  1. Lineartronic CVT Reliability

    Once praised for its design, Subaru's CVT is showing problems with age. It can shake occupants back and forth as it wobbles its way though gears. In extreme cases it can hesitate so much it causes the engine to stall, forcing Subaru to exte…

    Continue reading article "Lineartronic CVT Reliability"
  2. Leaky Head Gaskets

    Why can't Subaru build a decent head gasket? The automaker has had issues with leaky gaskets in their 4-cylinder engines since the 1980's. And repairing the issue is expensive as it requires the engine to be removed.

    Continue reading article "Leaky Head Gaskets" A close-up of a clean black head gasket above two silver pistons.

What Owners Complain About

Sometimes it helps just to tally up the complaints and see where the biggest stacks are. Use this information to learn about troublespots or to run for the hills.

What Breaks the Most

Years to Avoid

5th Generation (2010–2014) Outback Key Numbers

  1. 5 model years

    Grouping all models by their year can reveal some baddies.

  2. 328 complaints

    Running tally of owner grievances filed to

  3. 37th in reliability

    Overall reliability rank out of 38 eligible generations.

Recent Lawsuits for 5th Generation Outback Owners

Recent 5th Generation (2010–2014) Outback News

There's a lot of news out there, but not all of it matters. We try to boil down it to the most important bits about things that actually help you with your car problem. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts over at

  1. Subaru is recalling 27,000 model year 2010-2014 Legacy and Outback vehicles because the electronic parking brake might not engage. All the recalled cars have manual transmissions.

    The automaker found a capacitor on the circuit board and/or the actuator stroke sensor magnetic ring located in the control unit of electronic parking brake may crack over time.

    Anyone else remember when parking brakes weren’t fancy and just worked? Those were good times.

    keep reading article "Subaru Recalls Electronic Parking Brake That Might Not Engage"
  2. After some prodding, Subaru has decided to extend the warranty on their Lineartronic CVT.

    A Subaru transmission warranty extension has been issued for 2010-2015 Legacy and Outback, 2012-2015 Impreza, 2013-2015 Crosstrek, 2014-2015 Crosstrek Hybrid, 2014-2015 Forester and 2015 WRX vehicles, all equipped with continuously variable transmissions (CVTs).

    However, it’s a limited time offer. Inspections or repairs need to be completed by July 31, 2018.

    keep reading article "Subaru Extends Their CVT Warranty, but it’s a Limited Time Offer"

What Outback Owners Say About This Generation

Questionable Reliability in Subaru's Lineartronic CVTs

Experienced engine hesitation after a near stop, not a complete stop, but a near stop. At least 5 times I have had very near accidents since the engine will not respond for at least 3 seconds. Especially dangerous when entering traffic trying to make a left turn entry.

2014 Outback Owner in TX

Subaru Takes a Crude Stance on Oil Consumption

I wrote letters, had a second test done, sent emails back and forth to a Subaru representative for 7 months with no avail. They told me to check my oil every time I filled up the car. I drive over 1,500 miles a month! Are you kidding me?

2013 Outback Owner

Why Do Legacy and Outback Headlights Burn Out So Fast?

This is about the tenth time I’ve had to replace headlights or other exterior lights in the past two years. There’s no easy way to do it so it takes about an hour each time and about $60 each time. I have three other vehicles and have not replaced a single exterior/headlight on any of them in the past five years.

2011 Outback Owner

Subaru Takes a Crude Stance on Oil Consumption

My car requires oil topped off every 1,300 miles or less. The [consumption] test's limit for oil consumption is 1,200. How ironic that my vehicle runs low on oil approximately 100 miles from the the set limit imposed by a class action lawsuit. This tells me that Subaru has figured out where the threshold is on the oil running low.

2013 Outback Owner in CA