2011 Subaru Outback Problems – All You Need To Know!

2011 Subaru Outback Problems – All You Need To Know!

2011 Subaru Outback problems are something that has troubled some of its owners. Subaru is known for its reliability and the high mileage engine that they produce and the Outback is not any different. It was one of the best cars produced in 2011. Like every other car, the Outback is not perfect. It has its pros and its cons.

The Outback was one of the best cars of 2011 and Subaru did not disappoint. The Outback was known for its all-wheel-drive system and excellent handling. Subaru wants to have a competitive edge when it comes to the Outback and that is why Subaru keeps upgrading and modifying the Outback. Here is all you need to know about the 2011 Subaru Outback problems.

Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback, also known as the Subaru Legacy to some, has made a name for itself in the SUV market. The Subaru Outback is considered by many to be one of Subaru’s most reliable cars and this car has roots that are about thirty years old.

The first generation of the Outback made its debut in 1989. When designing the Subaru Outback. The automakers at Subaru took inspiration from the AMC Eagle, which had a four-wheel-drive system that allowed the convenience of a passenger vehicle and the ability to go and have some offroading fun.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems

The Subaru Outback was Subaru’s way of showing the ruggedness and capability that they as a manufacturer can offer. The Outback was made to perform beautifully off the road and drive like a dream on the highway. The intention behind the design of the Outback was to enter the sport utility vehicle market. Alongside that, they wanted to capture the SUV market which has become the new trend in the buyer’s market.

The Subaru Outback soon became the flagship vehicle of Subaru. Throughout the two decades that the Outback has been selling, it has evolved severely. Subaru likes to keep its car in a high-ranking position in the SUV market. Hence the car keeps receiving upgrades and modifications in response to the demands of its customers.

Subaru Outback History

There are 6 generations of the Subaru Outback that have been available to the market. Here is an introduction to all of the generations of the Subaru Outback.

1st Generation Subaru Outback (1995-1999)

The first generation of the Subaru Outback was introduced in 1995. The 1995 or the first generation of the Outback was just the Subaru Legacy in better clothes. Firstly, the Outback received a full plastic body which was lighter than the Legacy. Alongside that, the Outback also had better interiors which gave it an edge over its brother.

Secondly, The Outback also received a much-needed suspension lift in 1996, which made the Outback even more desirable. The first generation of the Subaru Outback came with two engine options. A 2.2-liter engine develops about 135 horses and a bigger more powerful engine, a 2.5-liter engine produces 165 horsepower. The Subaru Outback had created a name for itself and captured the hearts of many SUV enthusiasts.

2nd Generation Subaru Outback (2000-2004)

The first generation of the Outback was a sportier and better version of the Legacy. It was only with the introduction of the second generation of the Outback that Subaru decided to separate the two cars officially. Although both the Outback and the Legacy still share the basic architecture of the car.

The new Outback received huge cosmetics upgrades. It was longer and wider than its predecessor. Subaru offers two engine options to choose from in the second generation of the Outback. The smaller 2.5-liter flat-four engine produces up to 165 hp and a larger 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine produces 212 hp.

3rd Generation Subaru Outback (2005-2009)

The third generation of the Outback was a huge upgrade from the previous generation. Subaru not only changed the exteriors of the car, but it also received a lot of upgrades inside the car. Subaru got rid of the soft lines and gave the car a more aggressive look.

The engine also received a huge upgrade in the third generation of the Subaru Outback. The 2.5 liter flat-four now produced 175 horses and the 3.0 six-cylinder engine 245 horsepower. Subaru introduced a new engine option with the third generation of the Outback. The third engine option was a turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four engine that produced 250 hp and 250lb-ft of torque.

4th Generation Subaru Outback (2010-2014)

The fourth generation of the Subaru Outback might be the generation that received the most number of upgrades. Subaru decided to give a cosmetic glow up to the Outback. The fourth generation of the Outback was bigger than the previous generation.

The wheelbase was increased by 2.8 inches and the width of the car was upgraded by 3.6 inches. This allowed the interior of the car to be more spacious and better than its predecessor. The 2010-2014 Outback had won over the market and was called the best SUV in 2010.

The turbo engine option was removed and the car once again was left with two engine options, the flat-four, and the flat-six. The six-cylinder option of this car was upgraded to a 3.6-liter engine rather than the old 3.0-liter. The 2011 Subaru Outback problems are discussed later in this article.

5th Generation Subaru Outback (2015-2019)

The fifth generation of the Outback came with an increase in the dimensions of the car. This also allowed some extra room inside the cabin, making it more family-friendly. The engine options in the fifth generation of the Outback remained the same. The only difference was that they were tuned for better fuel economy and better efficiency.

The CVT transmission was the only one available in the fifth-generation Outback. Subaru decided to get rid of the manual transmission. There were also several safety and infotainment systems that came with this generation Outback. The Outback came equipped with several features and a new Starlink infotainment system.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems

The Subaru Outback was one of the best cars that were introduced in 2011. The Outback was known for its well-balanced handling, the all-wheel-drive system, and large cargo space. The 2011 version of the Subaru Outback was not the best when it came to fuel economy, especially when compared to the other vehicles in this segment.

The highlight upgrade of the 2011 Outback has to be the new infotainment system. The 2011 Outback came equipped with a new backup camera and satellite radio. Even though the Subaru Outback was top-rated and had several new features, it had several problems reported by the owners.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems #1: Lighting Problems

There are usually two 2011 Subaru Outback problems related to the headlights of this car. Either the headlight gets burned or the light bulb gives out. For example, the majority of the reported complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the Outback are related to the burned headlights.

On average a new set of 2011 Subaru Outback headlights cost around $110 to replace. Burned headlights are considered a significant problem.

The second most reported complaint about the Subaru Outback lights is related to the bulbs. This problem can easily be tackled just by replacing the bulb. This costs around $50 for the replacement of these bulbs. Burned bulbs are considered to be a bad problem and they should not be ignored.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems #2: Transmission Failure

Getting a transmission fixed can be extremely expensive on the pocket. The Subaru Outback was not an exception. Transmission problems are one of the most common problems when we talk about the 2011 Subaru Outback Problems. Most of the 2011 Subaru Outback transmission problems deal with transmission failure, shuddering, transmission jerks, and transmission clunks.

Transmission failure can be extremely stressful and no car owner wants to hear the news of a transmission failure for their car. For the 2011 Subaru Outback transmission failure is considered to be a terrible problem. This is because it requires a full transmission replacement. The cost to replace the transmission of the Outback is $4,200 on average.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems #3: Transmission Shuddering And Jerking

There have been several cases of transmission shuddering reported by several owners of the 2011 Subaru Outback. In most of the cases experiencing this problem, usually instead of changing the whole transmission changing a simple part can be the solution. Parts like the torque converter, the celluloid, etc. On average, people who have faced this problem have reported that solving the transmission shuddering problem costs about $3,250.

Another one of the Subaru Outback Transmission problems has to be the jerking of the transmission. The issue is considered to be extremely problematic. In order to solve this problem, the reprogramming of the transmission control module. Reprogramming the control module will cost about $150 on average to get rid of this problem.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems #4: Engine Problems

Another problem that is faced by the 2011 Subaru Outback has to be related to the engine issues. There are several complaints that are reported against the 2011 Subaru Outback engine issues. Most of them are cases of the engine stalling, too much oil consumption, and rough acceleration.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems

Engine stalling is one of the most common problems that has contributed to the 2011 Subaru Outback problems. Usually, this problem is caused by a malfunctioning torque converter. Replacing that part can help solve the problem. In this case, the engine stalling problem can cost about $2,200 to solve.

A few of the 2011 Outback owners also have reported excessive oil consumption. Alongside that, the rough idling also has troubles some owners. However, there is no information that helps solve this problem.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems #5: Electrical Problems

There were several complaints that have been received related to the 2011 Subaru Outback electrical problems. The majority of these complaints are related to the warning lights on the dashboard and the backup camera.

These warning lights were related to the gas cap. The problem can be solved by just replacing the part. However, the same problem reoccurred with many different 2011 Subaru Outback owners.

There were several complaints related to the backup camera not working also. This problem can only be solved by replacing the camera altogether.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems #6: Brakes Issues

There are several complaints reported about the 2011 Subaru Outback problems related to the brakes. Most of these complaints are related to brake locking, electronic parking brake failure, service brake warning lights, and certain issues with hydraulic brakes.

There were a few reports that have been filed that have stated the locking of brakes while driving. There has been a report of the locking brakes issue, which caused an accident. This report is one of the more severe ones that educate us about the 2011 Subaru Outback problems.

Another one of the 2011 Subaru Outback problems has been related to the electronic parking brakes. When the electronic pranking brakes were introduced, there were several owners who disagreed with this system. They believed that it could be extremely dangerous to depend upon battery-operated brakes. Any issues with the electrical system can put the life of the drivers in danger.

There were also some complaints about the brake control module that contributed to the 2011 Subaru Outback problems. There have been a few complaints of some crashes due to a failed control module that resulted in a malfunctioning anti-lock system.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems #7: Suspension Issues

The 2011 Subaru Outback, like other vehicles, was not exempt from suspension-related problems. Many owners voiced concerns regarding excessive and premature wear of the wheel bearings. A failing wheel bearing often manifests as a humming or grinding noise which becomes more pronounced with speed. The average cost to replace these bearings hovers around $400.

In addition, some owners experienced issues with the front struts leaking or failing prematurely. When struts are compromised, you might notice a rougher ride, increased bouncing, or even clunking sounds over bumps. Addressing strut issues typically costs upwards of $700.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems #8: Air Conditioning and Heating Concerns

Climate control in a vehicle plays a significant role in the overall driving experience. Unfortunately, a few 2011 Subaru Outback owners reported problems related to both the air conditioning and heating systems. Some faced issues with the AC not cooling effectively, while others mentioned the heater failing to produce warm air. Additionally, AC compressor failures were not uncommon. Replacing a compressor can set you back around $1,000 to $1,500.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems #9: Excessive Road Noise

A quieter cabin makes for a more pleasant driving experience. However, several owners of the 2011 Subaru Outback pointed out excessive road noise, especially on highways. While not a direct mechanical failure, this can diminish overall driving satisfaction. In some cases, it might be attributed to the tire choice or wheel alignment, but other times, it’s a design quirk of the vehicle.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems #10: Fuel System Issues

Some Outback owners encountered problems linked to the vehicle’s fuel system. The concerns ranged from the fuel gauge giving incorrect readings to instances of the car stalling due to fuel pump failures. An inaccurate fuel gauge can be unsettling, as you might unexpectedly run out of fuel. On the other hand, a failing fuel pump can lead to erratic engine behavior, reduced power, and in severe cases, engine stalling. Replacing a fuel pump usually costs between $400 and $600.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems #11: Steering Difficulties

A small percentage of 2011 Subaru Outback owners faced steering challenges. Some of these concerns revolved around power steering failure, which makes the vehicle harder to steer, especially at low speeds. Others reported hearing a whining or groaning noise when turning the wheel. Typically, power steering problems arise from issues with the power steering pump or fluid leaks. Addressing these problems might cost anywhere from $300 to $800, depending on the specific concern.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems #12: Interior Issues

The final notable problem pertains to the vehicle’s interior. Some owners cited issues with the seat fabric wearing out prematurely. Others mentioned electronic glitches with the infotainment system, like random reboots or the touchscreen becoming unresponsive. While these might seem minor in the face of mechanical issues, interior problems can significantly impact the day-to-day enjoyment of the car.

In conclusion, while the 2011 Subaru Outback offers an array of appealing features, it’s crucial for potential buyers or current owners to be aware of the aforementioned problems. Regular maintenance and timely inspections can mitigate some of these concerns, ensuring a smoother ride for all.

Subaru Outback Problems

The Subaru Outback is one of the most reliable vehicles in the market. Irrespective of that fact, the Outback comes with its fair share of problems. Subaru enthusiasts are extremely loyal to the brand. The cars that they buy stay in the family for years and years. The Outback is extremely fun to drive and an iconic machine. This is why there is a good chance that a lot of Subaru Outback owners shared some common complaints.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems

The Subaru Outback is a reliable vehicle and has scored a 3.5/5 reliable rating on the website, RepairPal. The Subaru Outback has ranked 14th out of the 32 cars that were available in the same category. Subaru engines are extremely reliable and famous for being long-lasting. The Outback is has a good reputation in the high mileage club. The Outback engine, if maintained and serviced timely, can easily cross the 200,000-mile mark.

Subaru Outback Problems #1. Denso Fuel Pump Failure

The Subaru Outback uses a fuel pump from a company named Denso. In the Subaru Outback, some of their cars usually use two fuel pumps; a low-pressure fuel pump located in the tank, and a high-pressure pump attached to the fuel line.

The low-pressure pump has a rotating plastic disk inside it called the impeller. The impeller pushes fuel from the tank to the high-pressure pump. If the disk has a problem rotating, it will not be able to push the fuel forward. Unfortunately, the Denso fuel pump faces this problem.

The fuel pump manufactured by Denso usually fails because of an internal defect. Most of the cars manufactured by Subaru have these fuel pumps. The basic work of a fuel pump is to manage the flow of fuel from the tank to the engine. The problem is that Denso’s pumps use a low-density impeller. This causes the impeller to crack, absorb fuel, and break. This further deforms to the point that there is a problem with the flow of the fuel.

Due to an unreliable stream of fuel, the engine will slowly start running rough and become difficult to start. This might also cause the car to stall in the middle of the road.

Subaru Outback Problems #2. Cracked Windshields Problems

Another one of the common Subaru Outback problems is that the windshield cracks spontaneously. Subaru introduced a new acoustic glass in 2015, which had several complaints of cracked windshields.

Usually, a normal windshield can crack due to pressure caused due to a pebble or a stone. Usually, at high speeds, it is a possibility that a stone or a pebble might hit your windshield at a high speed. This might cause the windshield to crack.

The main focus of these acoustic windshields was to dampen the road noise inside the car.  These windshields reduce the noise of the engine, the road, and outside driving noise. An acoustic windshield has more sound-damping capabilities than a regular windshield.

A chipped windshield starts to crack from the point of impact and it slowly spreads over time. The acoustic windshield on the other hand starts developing cracks quickly that often start at the bottom where the windshield wipers are located (with a bit of help in how to change windshield wipers). There are several complaints regarding these windshields and there have been some recalls as well.

Subaru Outback Problems #3. Subaru Starlink Problems

Subaru had introduced a new infotainment system called the Starlink infotainment system. They introduced this system in its 2016 models. One of the Subaru Outback problems was its Starlink system. It wasn’t a Subaru enthusiast’s favorite.

The outdated infotainment systems have always been a source of criticism for Subaru. In response to the criticism, they introduced the improved Starlink system in 2016. The Starlink system came with several new safety and connectivity features. Subaru introduced features like wireless Android Auto and Apple Play, collision avoidance, roadside assistance, etc.

The Starlink system was popular but short-lived. It uses a defective Harman Gen 3 audio system and navigation head units. Alongside that, it uses a buggy software that has a freezing problem making the infotainment system very difficult to use. The only way to get rid of this problem is to start the system all over again.

Here is a list of problems in the Starlink system.

  • The backup camera freezes or shuts down.
  •  The malfunctioning head unit causes the system to glitch. The main problem is that the audio and the radio controls get disabled.
  • The display might go blank or freeze.
  • A technical glitch causes the controls like the volume adjuster and the off button to stop working.

Subaru Outback Problems #4. Unintended Acceleration

One of the more troubling of the 2011 Subaru Outback problems is the unintended acceleration. There have been several complaints that some of the Subaru models have unintended acceleration. This problem has been there in several Subaru cars and is most common in the 6th generation of the Outback.

There are a few plausible explanations for what might be causing this problem. The primary cause of these unintended acceleration problems in the Subaru is the increase in sensors available in all the new Subaru cars. This excessive new technology might be causing the car to behave in this way.

These multiple sensors and modules include things like the throttle position sensor and the throttle body assembly. If any of these sensors malfunction or have a defect they can be the root of this problem. The power control module might be a reason for causing the unintended acceleration problem.

Subaru has denied any problems with any of these sensors. They hold a firm belief that it is the driver’s fault or a fault with the placement of the mats.

2011 Subaru Outback: Need-to-Know Facts

  1. The 2011 Subaru Outback is a reliable used SUV, with good owner reviews, high-quality interior materials, and low ownership costs.
  2. The Outback has some issues with burnt-out headlights, stalling while braking, and rare transmission failures, but regular maintenance costs are average.
  3. The base engine is weak, but the optional V6 engine provides better performance.
  4. The Outback is a safe SUV, receiving four out of five stars in government crash tests and earning a Top Safety Pick Award.
  5. The 2011 Outback lasts up to 300,000 miles with proper maintenance and has similar longevity to competitors like the Highlander.
  6. Kelley Blue Book prices range from $9,117 – 11,484, making the Outback a good value for its build quality and dependable engines.
  7. The Outback has three main models – 2.5i, 2.5 Premium, and 2.5i Limited – each available with either the four-cylinder or V6 engine.
  8. The standard engine is a 2.5L four-cylinder with 170 horsepower, while the optional V6 has 256 horsepower.
  9. The 2011 Outback has an average passenger room and cargo space compared to rivals, with 34.3 cu. ft. of room behind the seats and 71.3 with the seats folded flat.
  10. The Toyota Highlander and Ford Flex are competitors, but the Highlander has better technology, and the Flex offers more seating and cargo room, while the Outback is more reliable and capable off-road.

2011 Subaru Outback Problems: In Conclusion…

Subarus have always been extremely reliable and comfortable to drive cars. These are cars that can cross the 200,000-mile mark if maintained properly. The Outback was one of the best cars of 2011. Like every other car out there, the 2011 Subaru Outback has problems that do exist.

These problems were usually regarding the electrical system, the transmission, some engine problems, and many more. The Subaru Outback is a fun-to-drive and easy-to-handle family SUV and has won the hearts of many Subaru enthusiasts out there. The 2011 Subaru Outback problems are something an individual needs to look into and explore if you are planning to maintain one.


  1. I love my 2011 Outback but started pinging on regular gas & also occasionally all the dash lights come on . Garage computer says ignition fuel etc. any suggestions?

    1. Harry Gibson

      If the problem is occasional and isn’t affecting the drive. I would buy a cheapish code reader off Amazon and monitor the codes yourself.

      Write down when comes up and when and hopefully over time this will help narrow down what the issue is.

  2. Nelson

    I like my 2011 outback that I own from new, it could be much easier if the dealer service be reliable and give more support for the customer! I won’t purchase another Subaru just because that reason! Easy fix to a leak from sunroof that I have to find the issue my and zero cost to fix , self the same with transmission problem ( they diagnostic with $ 1500 plus I fixed with $150 , compass/ garage remote opening never worked and backup camera stop working , no dealer support on information related , and many other issues!

    1. Harry Gibson

      Hi Nelson, thank you for sharing your experience with your 2011 Subaru Outback. It’s great to hear that you like your car overall. I understand how frustrating it can be when dealer service isn’t reliable and lacks proper customer support. It’s important to have a trustworthy dealership that can assist with any issues that arise.

      Regarding the leak from the sunroof, it’s unfortunate that you had to find the issue yourself. It’s always more convenient when the dealer can identify and fix such problems. On a positive note, it’s great that you were able to resolve it at zero cost.

      I can understand your disappointment in the transmission problem as well. It’s disheartening when the diagnostic cost seems excessive, especially if the actual repair turns out to be much less expensive. It’s commendable that you were able to find a more affordable solution.

      As for the compass/garage remote opening and backup camera issues, it’s unfortunate that the dealer didn’t provide the necessary support or information. It’s essential for a dealer to be knowledgeable about these features and assist customers in resolving any related problems.

      It’s understandable that these issues have left you hesitant about purchasing another Subaru. Reliable and supportive dealer service is crucial for a positive ownership experience. Hopefully, Subaru takes customer feedback into consideration and improves their support system in the future. Thank you for sharing your insights, and I hope your future car ownership experience is more satisfactory.


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