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Since it was first introduced for the 1995 model year, the Subaru Outback has been a popular SUV. And while this Japanese automaker does have a reputation for reliability, Outback owners do have some complaints about their vehicles. These are the three most common Subaru Outback complaints by hundreds of real owners. 

Is the Subaru Outback reliable?

At least for 2023, the Outback SUV is considered fairly reliable. Of course, your mileage may vary, but plenty of folks do opt to make the Outback their vehicle of choice. Whether it be the 2023 Subaru Outback Wilderness or a different trim. This is a versatile SUV. 

According to U.S. News, the 2023 Outback does have an average reliability rating. And while that might not be the highest ranking, it is also not considered the least reliable SUV. However, here are three big complaints that actual owners have had over the years. 

3. Subaru Outback O2 sensor recall

The O2 sensor is part of your vehicle’s fuel system. It has to do with emissions as well. Across 15 model years, the Subaru Outback did have problems with the front oxygen sensor. Apparently, it can develop a crack, and that will cause your check engine light to illuminate. 

A white 2023 Subaru Outback that has one of the best resale value.
2023 Subaru Outback | Subaru of America, Inc.

While this problem is not the end of the world, nobody likes to see a check engine light. And Subaru has issued a recall that impacts various models. The recall was not government-mandated, but it is possible that your Outback is impacted. The issue typically arises once you hit 140,000 miles or more. 

2. Subaru head gasket failure

If you are familiar with Subaru, you likely know about head gasket issues. For years, Subaru engines have been plagued by this problem. But, in recent years, the brand has taken design steps to mitigate the problem. 

Head gasket failure is one of the Subaru Outback common complaints that it faces.
2017 Subaru Outback | Sjoerd van der Wal via Getty Iamges

Because of problems with the cooling system, the Outback’s engine can experience premature failure. So, if you own an older model or are looking at one, you will want to be sure you stay on top of maintenance. The last thing you want is to be driving and then have a head gasket fail. 

1. Vibration or shudder during acceleration

From 2000 until 2017, Subaru Outback owners have reported vibration or a shudder during acceleration. According to RepairPal, this is one of the most common complaints about this Subaru SUV. Now, this problem could be caused by multiple things. 

A 2023 Subaru Outback sits in a field. Some owners have complaints about this SUV.
2023 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

If it happens to be the transmission torque converter, there is a revised part that can be installed in order to fix the vibration. The problem looks to arise at an average of 112,000 miles. So, if you have a newer Outback model, it might not be something that you have experienced yet. 

Even with these three common Subaru Outback problems, this does remain a popular model. It comes with standard AWD, and it has a spacious interior. Plus, for new models, you get a host of standard and available safety features. Which is something that SUV drivers tend to appreciate.