2019 Subaru Outback Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, windshield cracking and steering issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The Subaru Outback has been around since the 90’s and has earned a substantial following. Enthusiasts have trusted this model to provide reliable transportation. Even the 2019 Subaru Outback came with the tagline, “Built to take you to the place you’ve never been.” Consumers agree with this, in terms of visiting the dealership more often. This particular model features faulty steering, electrical glitches and poor visibility.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2020   2021   2022   2023   2024

Problems with the Steering

The Outback is designed for on and off-road travel. It must contain a strong and reliable steering system in order to make the consumer feel comfortable and confident. Sadly, most people feel this vehicle is out of control, even with the smallest bump or maneuver.

One driver wrote this on the NHTSA website, “Beginning in March of 2019, I began noticing that the steering felt “wobbly” above 40 mph, as if the car hit a patch of ice or was struck by a sudden gust of wind. Driving feels very unsafe. This is our third Subaru Outback, going back to 1998, so we are familiar with driving this car (or at least older model years). Further, by turning off the new ‘lane departure switch’ this problem is minimized. We just moved from Florida to Connecticut and I am not looking forward to driving this car in the winter. These cars need to be recalled and fixed before someone has a serious accident.”

Despite there being numerous complaints that all sound the same, there are no service bulletins from the company related to this issue. Some owners claim the problems begin while hitting a bump while others express that it happens during a turn. Either way, it’s unsafe and dangerous. No one expects to drive an AWD Outback and not have the control or steering needed. If that’s what they wanted, they could enter the Soapbox Car Derby instead and possibly win a prize.

2019 Subaru Outback Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Visibility/wiper
319
319
Electrical System
307
307
Unknown Or Other
172
172
Visibility:windshield
58
58
Steering
32
32
Engine
31
31
Structure:body
24
24
Vehicle Speed Control
21
21
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
19
19
Fuel/propulsion System
17
17

Problems with the Electrical System

With quality as a foundation for the Subaru brand, it’s disappointing to see the lack of care when it came to putting together an electrical system. Numerous complaints exist regarding the glitches and downright dangerous situations owners are in.

Just check out this one review from the NHTSA website. “Recently purchased 2019 Subaru from a similar 2017. Cruise control speed settings have changed, which now require you to take your eyes off the road to watch for speed settings to change. On the 2017 and all other vehicles I have owned, to increase your speed setting by one mph, you push once and release. To increase by 5 mph, push and hold until it sense the increase. Now…a quick push of the button results in a 5 mph increase while you have to hold the button and watch the dashboard indicator as it slowly increases your setting 1 mph at a time. This is dangerous since your eyes are no longer on the road but on the dash area. Everything else I own, thermostats, keyboards, TV remotes…all move up or down one degree or channel at a time unless you hold the key press longer, then you get a faster repeat. I feel that taking my eyes off the road to watch my speed selection change is akin to texting. Downright dangerous. The dealer from whom I purchased the new vehicle responds by saying, ‘Things change, get used to it.’ I find this situation unacceptable.”

Out of 18 manufacturer communications related to the electrical system, nothing is mentioned regarding the cruise control settings. Sure, they discuss trouble with the radio, backup camera and navigation system, but nothing crucial or vital to the extent of the vehicle’s speed control. It seems the automaker feels that all a driver needs is access to these other technologies. As long as someone doesn’t need to change their speed for any reason, all should go well.

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Problems with the Windshield

What else is required for safety? The windshield and proper visibility. Whether it is a fault with the wiper or the glass itself, owners of the Outback seem to face lots of problems in this department as well.

Here is one review (out of many) on Edmunds describing a common problem. “Windshield cracked after only 4 months!  It happened on its own in our driveway and it was a major crack.  Read up on older Outbacks and there have been thousands of problems with windshields on the Outback.  We are beyond disappointed and will be getting rid of this car.  It will be very expensive to fix.  Subaru let us down! “

While there is a service bulletin related to visibility problems, it doesn’t actually deal with this particular concern. Service Bulletin #07-152-19R talks about new power window assemblies that addressed several issues, including inoperative switches. As far as the structure goes, the automaker issued a recall labeled with NHTSA Campaign Number 19V493000. This problem relates to an improper weld below the cowl panel that reduces the vehicle’s strength. To handle this, Subaru even offered to purchase back affected cars if they couldn’t be repaired. By the time many consumers got to this point, they were probably happy to have to turn their vehicle back in to the automaker.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Subaru pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
11 COMMENTS
  • Steve B

    2015 Outback has been reliable. Had 3 factory recalls….just under 100,000. Runs fine….2022 Outback has been reliable…zero recalls so far…just under 10,000….anyway overall like both of them. 22 rides and steers much better than 15 which you would expect for 8 years of technology change…can’t stand the big screen versus the simplicity of the 15…Subaru makes a decent vehicle but the design change in the newer ones interior versus the 15 thru 19 I feel is not user friendly…but I’m satisfied with both of them…15 and 22 are 2.5 Limited….

  • S B

    2019 Outback – Purchased Feb. 2019 as new from Bob Baker Subaru in Carlsbad. These are the problems I have experienced.
    1. Front passenger window goes up and down on it’s own or stuck.
    2. Frequent dead battery – replaced once. It was misdiagnosed a few times by Kearny Mesa Subaru until I showed them the class action lawsuit about the battery.
    3. Faulty DCM – excessive draw from battery
    4. Front Driver Axle noise – needing replacement
    5. Cam Carrier Leak – Oil consumption.

  • Vickie

    I had a 2012 subaru outback and did not have issues and that car went to my niece for her 16th birthday which is why I bought a brand new 2019 Subaru outback. Unfortunately I have had ongoing issues from day one. Initially the windshield cracked on its own for no reason. My front passenger window regulator does not work so my window will not roll up normally. The head gasket has been replaced in year two. I have had an ongoing oil consumption issue ever since. The car has had the fuel pump replaced. My tires were bridgestone and were “feathering”…so they had me replace them in year two with Yokohana…then my tire got a nail in the side wall in the first month and they told me that only their dealership could honor the subaru dealer tire warranty….then my back right wheelbarring went out. Sometimes my rear tailgate won’t go up and a couple of times it wouldn’t go down without me manually doing it. The dealer told me nothing is wrong with oil consumption although the engine oil light comes on and has come on three times in long trips in which I made sure the oil was full upon departure. I end up having to add oil and monitor so I don’t end up burning up the engine. The dealer told me my car likes the expensive oil. The car has 74,000 miles.

    I have continued to pour time and money into that car! They have also told me that my car is cursed as normally 2019’s don’t typically have problems maybe that’s true but this car has cost me way too much money and I’ve had to miss work to get it fixed as major issues cannot be done at the dealership on Saturdays. I understand all cars can have problems as they are a machine but I feel that I’ve purchased a definite lemon. As a result I am trading in this car for a Honda. I caution anyone considering a Subaru to reconsider! Goodbye Subaru.

  • Bradley N

    We have a 2019 outback and we are having issues with the windows. It started with the front passenger window going up and down on its own while we were driving. Took it in to the dealership they never found an issue. Then we had an issue with the back windows not working at all. Took it in no issues found they just reset the window switches. My car is currently at the dealership due to the back windows just going down on their own while the car was parked and locked and engine was off. Previously we had it at the dealership for an odd noise when starting it was found to be an intake issue and that was repaired. We also had to get the drivers seat replaced due to the stitching came out of the leather and the seat split. We love the car but these issues are getting to be a bit much.

  • Leslie M

    The passenger window rolls up all the way then halfway down when I try to automatically control it from the driver side.

  • Tracy

    2019 outback currently 20k, purchased with 14987. Car has been in the shop 4 times since purchased in late February. Steering noise, brake noise. April 2021 driveshaft replaced, since then I have had steering noises and brake noise, dealership claims can’t duplicate, vehicle inspected elsewhere shows tires have cupping were inside, brake caliper hanging up, vehicle steers out on its own. I am due in the dealership again tomorrow, I already regretting this purchase

  • Carla

    I have had my Subaru Outback since December, 2019 which I purchased brand new from the dealership’s showroom. I have not experienced any problems as mentioned, or any others thankfully. This is my 3rd Subaru and so far I stand pleased behind this product.

  • Necee

    Electrical issues with my brand new 2019. Subaru outback.
    Before this …oil pressure lite came on… barely any oil…and I have regular oil changes only with subaru…I wonder how many hundreds of miles driven before lite came on …with barely any oil!

  • Daniel t

    Similar to first poster, I’ve had several electrical issues: 1) accelerated battery drainage w/o valid reasons 2) the passenger window rolls up all the way then halfway down when I try to automatically control it from the driver side 3) random gps screen glitches

  • Bob N

    We bought a 2019 Subaru in August of 2019 with in 2 weeks we have had a problem with the front passenger window. When you let the window go up with one touch of the window switch, the window goes up & half way down. The car has been to the dealer 4 times & they say it’s the natural of the beast. Know our car is in the garage & we went to use the car & both fobs will not unlock the car. Nothing was left on & the car was drivin the day before yesterday

  • Dale W

    I purchased a 2019 Subaru Outback on January 4th, 2019. I was back to the dealership the following day trying to find out what I was doing wrong, why it wasn’t connecting to my phone like it was supposed to be doing. It’s been very distracting while driving and frustrating experience owning this car for the 10 months I have had it.
    I’ve had 2 audio computers to this point and at least 2 updates. It’s been bad since day one and since the newest update yesterday now the screen is worse. I also have something running when the key is off and draining the battery that I’ve had to jumpstart it twice.

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