Steer Clear: Subaru Outback’s Risky Model Years

The Subaru Outback is a reliable and versatile vehicle, known for its off-road capabilities and spacious interior. However, there are a few model years that should be approached with caution. From 2013 to 2015, some Subaru Outbacks experienced issues with their continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), leading to potential costly repairs. Additionally, in 2010, there were reports of head gasket failures, which can result in engine damage if not addressed promptly. Despite these concerns, it's important to note that Subaru has taken steps to address these issues in subsequent model years, making them more reliable options. If you are in the market for a used Subaru Outback, it's recommended to focus on newer model years such as 2016 and onwards, which have seen improvements in transmission and engine reliability. Overall, the Subaru Outback remains a popular choice for those seeking a capable and spacious vehicle, but it's crucial to be aware of the potential issues associated with certain model years in order to make an informed decision.

Which Subaru Outback model years should be avoided?

Years of Subaru Outback to Avoid

Model Year Issues Expert Recommendation
2000 Potential head gasket failure Avoid purchasing this model year as head gasket repairs can be costly and time-consuming.
2005 Transmission problems Consider looking for a different model year as transmission issues can lead to expensive repairs and reduced reliability.
2008 oil consumption It is advisable to avoid this model year due to the frequent need for oil top-ups, which can be an inconvenience and potentially lead to engine damage.
2013 Electrical system glitches Exercise caution when considering this year as electrical problems have been reported, causing issues with various components such as the radio, lights, and power windows.
2018 CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) issues If possible, opt for a different model year as the CVT in this particular year has been prone to failures and may require costly repairs.
As an expert in Subaru Outbacks, it is essential to be aware of the model years to avoid when purchasing a used vehicle. The table above highlights some problematic years and provides expert recommendations to guide your decision-making process. Avoiding these specific model years will help you steer clear of potential issues and ensure a more reliable and enjoyable Subaru Outback ownership experience.

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What Years of Subaru Outback Should You Avoid?

If you are considering purchasing a Subaru Outback, it is crucial to do your research and understand which model years have had notable issues. While the Subaru Outback has long been known for its reliability and off-road capabilities, there have been a few specific years that experienced significant problems. In this article, we will discuss the years to avoid and provide you with the necessary information to make an informed decision.

1. 20052009

The first generation of the Subaru Outback, produced from 2005 to 2009, is generally considered to be the least reliable. These models were plagued with head gasket issues, which could lead to significant engine damage if not addressed promptly. The head gasket problems were prevalent in both the 2.5L four-cylinder and 3.0L six-cylinder engines. Additionally, some owners reported transmission failures and excessive oil consumption.

If you come across a Subaru Outback from this era, it is crucial to thoroughly inspect the vehicle's maintenance records. Ensure that the head gasket has been replaced or repaired and check for any signs of transmission issues or oil leaks. While some owners have reported trouble-free experiences with these models, the overall reliability of the first-generation Outback is inferior compared to subsequent years.

2. 20132014

The 2013 and 2014 Subaru Outbacks were affected by a widespread issue involving their transmissions. Many owners reported shuddering, jerking, and hesitation during gear shifts, particularly in the CVT (continuously variable transmission) models. This problem was a result of faulty software and required a transmission module update to resolve the issue.

If you are considering a 2013 or 2014 Subaru Outback, it is crucial to ensure that the vehicle has received the necessary software update. However, despite this transmission issue, both model years still have a generally positive reputation for reliability and are considered solid choices overall.

3. 20152016

The 2015 and 2016 Subaru Outbacks suffered from a problematic audio system. Many owners reported issues with the system freezing, losing , or producing distorted sound. Subaru acknowledged the problem and released a software update to address these issues.

If you are considering purchasing a 2015 or 2016 Subaru Outback, ensure that the audio system has received the necessary software update. While this issue may be an inconvenience, it does not affect the overall reliability or performance of the vehicle.

4. 20182019

In 2018 and 2019, the Subaru Outback faced issues related to its infotainment system. Owners reported frequent freezing, unresponsive touchscreens, and connectivity problems. Subaru has released software updates to rectify these issues, and later model years have seen improvements in the infotainment system's reliability.

If you are considering a 2018 or 2019 Subaru Outback, ensure that the infotainment system has been updated with the latest software. It is worth noting that these issues are primarily related to the infotainment system and do not affect the vehicle's overall reliability or safety.

5. 20202021

The most recent model years, 2020 and 2021, have been relatively trouble-free for the Subaru Outback. However, some owners have reported issues with the adaptive cruise control system. They noted that the system can be overly sensitive, resulting in abrupt braking or slowing down when there is no immediate danger. Subaru has released updates to address these concerns, so be sure to check if the vehicle has the latest software installed if you opt for a 2020 or 2021 model.

While it is essential to be aware of the potential issues with specific model years, it's important to note that Subaru has generally addressed these problems through software updates or recalls. Additionally, many Subaru Outback owners have had positive experiences across various model years, enjoying the vehicle's versatility, safety features, and all-wheel-drive capabilities.

Ultimately, when considering a used Subaru Outback, it is best to consult with a trusted mechanic or conduct a thorough inspection to ensure the vehicle's condition meets your expectations and preferences. By being well-informed, you can confidently choose a Subaru Outback that suits your needs and provides years of dependable transportation.

Years of Subaru Outback to Avoid:

  • 2001
  • 2005
  • 2013
  • 2018
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Which years of Subaru Outback should I avoid?

    The Subaru Outback has had consistently good reliability ratings over the years, but there are a few models that have had more issues than others. One year to consider avoiding is the 2013 Subaru Outback. This model year had problems with the transmission and electrical systems. Another year to be cautious of is the 2014 Subaru Outback. This year had issues with excessive oil consumption and a faulty CVT transmission. Finally, the 2015 Subaru Outback is another year to avoid. It had problems with the steering and suspension components. Overall, it's recommended to avoid the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Subaru Outback models.

    What are the common issues with the 2013 Subaru Outback?

    The 2013 Subaru Outback had a few common issues reported by owners. One of the main problems was with the transmission. Many owners experienced issues such as rough shifting, delayed engagement, and even complete transmission failure. Another common issue was with the electrical systems. Some owners reported problems with the battery draining quickly or the car not starting due to electrical issues. It's important to note that not all 2013 Outbacks had these problems, but they were more prevalent compared to other model years.

    What problems are associated with the 2014 Subaru Outback?

    The 2014 Subaru Outback had a few notable problems reported by owners. One of the most common issues was excessive oil consumption. Many owners reported that their Outbacks were burning through oil at a higher rate than normal, requiring frequent top-ups between oil changes. Another problem was with the continuously variable transmission (CVT). Some owners experienced issues such as jerky acceleration, slipping gears, and even complete transmission failure. These problems were more prevalent in the 2014 model year compared to other years of the Subaru Outback.

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