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Overall, the Subaru Legacy Outback is well conceived. Its all-wheel drive powertrain is a major plus on slippery roads. The Outback rides comfortably and its interior is reasonably roomy and quiet. But the wagon has its shortcomings: Normally competent handling can become tricky at the limit, acceleration is a bit poky, and fuel economy is unimpressive.
Alerts
There are 5 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2000. ESC available in 2001, standard from 2009. Side air bags available from 2000, standard from 2005. Head protection air bags standard from 2005.
Road Test

Overall, the Subaru Legacy Outback is well conceived. Its all-wheel drive powertrain is a major plus on slippery roads. The Outback rides comfortably and its interior is reasonably roomy and quiet. But the wagon has its shortcomings: Normally competent handling can become tricky at the limit, acceleration is a bit poky, and fuel economy is unimpressive.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
wagon
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 4-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 2.5-liter 4 (165 hp)
  • 3-liter 6 (212 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2002 Subaru Outback owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

“The road noise when driving this car is incredible. The sound of air is so loud when you are driving - it seems like the windows are open when they are not”

Melinda W., NJ (2002 Subaru Outback Base 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Rain water leaks from roof over front passenger seat”

Anonymous, WA (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Sunroof leaks into the interior whenever it rains. Very expensive to repair, so am using tape to prevent leakage. In FL summers (rainy season) will need replacing frequently”

Gaye Hirz F., FL (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear brake light enclosures have started to let in, and accumulate, water after rains”

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Outback Limited Unsure)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

“Water leakage into tail lights”

Michael S., OH (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Dry weather-stripping contributes to wind noise”

Anonymous, FL (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear gasket failing, water collects inside back hatch after a heavy rain”

Kathleen T., TN (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Window air leak on driver side. Partially repaired”

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“weather stripping around driver's door has become unattached from the door in some places”

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Outback Limited Unsure)

“The rattling is caused by the exhaust system shield, which became a little loose”

Anonymous, NC (2002 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“heat shield rattles”

Michael F., NJ (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“moon roof very loud”

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“makes a grinding noise on acceleration, recently started rattling on idol”

Anonymous, AR (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure Unsure)

“Harmonic oscillator required replacing”

Anonymous, MI (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“While driving I could hear wind noise through the driver side window, and the rear driver side window. Most likely reasons is poor weather stripping”

Anonymous, NC (2002 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“The wind noise while driving in this car is awful. It sounds like the windows are cracked open when you are driving”

Melinda W., NJ (2002 Subaru Outback Base 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“The front windows have always been very noisy from wind passing and it must be an inherent problem with the window seals & basic construction”

Anonymous, CT (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“When driving over 25 mph you can hear the wind coming in the driver window even when the window is fully up. I can press the window upward with my fingertips to "help" the window up to lesson the noise”

Michael P., WI (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“windows very loud”

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“In a word .. "Brutal" but I don't blame Subaru at all. The car is just old. It has served me well and I'd purchase another any day”

Anonymous, QC (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“loud wind noise from seals in windows”

Anonymous, AR (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure Unsure)

“excessive noise around door seals at highway speeds”

Anonymous, OR (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Both front window seals leak and cause very loud noise and have leaked for years. Unable to find solution”

Kathleen B., OH (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Cylinder head

“My mechanic diagnosed a fault with the cylinder head and told me that Subaru would do the work under warranty. I took it to Subaru and they made repairs at no cost to me”

Jonathan S., NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Head gasket

“At about 106000 miles, oil on the garage floor. Took it to independent Subaru repair shop. Was told the car needed new head gasket, a common problem with this vintage Subaru. Cost $1,800”

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Very expensive to repair. Was told that this was a typical problem with this car/engine”

Jon C., CA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“this is actually the third head gasket: original + two replacements!”

Anonymous, CT (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“had to replace”

Anonymous, WA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Head gasket was replaced at 114000, now at 146000 it must be replaced again, along with major engine repair”

Anonymous, PA (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Head gasket was leaking significantly and had to be replaced. $2,500”

Joseph H., NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Subaru has had a notorious head gasket problem for years as noted by every automotive publication and on line automotive authority. Ask any mechanic working on Subaru's and they all confirm this fact”

Anonymous, PA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Did not know it was a recall--it didn't appear on carfax. I had an additional warranty and that covered it. Head Gasket”

Suzanne K., NY (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“mechanic has warned me that a small amount of oil is leaking - you can smell it after driving it; will need a new head gasket”

Patricia M., BC (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Gasket was leaking fluid. The problem was fixed”

Anonymous, MA (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Authorized Subaru dealer told we had a head gasket leak, so had it repaired. Hadn't noticed any performance drop before, or improvement after the repair”

Andy F., CA (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Head gaskets started leaking due to faulty design.Subaru installed a new short block and dealer installed faulty gaskets in the rebuild. Subaru waited 8 years to correct this very expensive problem. I now drive a Ford Escape!”

Don P., BC (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“head gasket is leaking coolant which has been a very common problem with Subaru vehicles even on newer vehicles. I'm very suprise they never addressed this issue, even today!”

Anonymous, NJ (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Have been told by repair shop that within next 4500 miles +/- that either the head gasket is leaking and repair cost will be within $800- 1500. We'll trade/ sell care in next few months hopefully,”

Anonymous, NC (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“I had to have the head gaskets replaced for the second time on this car about 180,000 miles. I think it is generally known that 2000-2003 Subaru's have a head gasket issue. It was covered by Subaru on the first repair years ago about 70,000 miles”

Anonymous, OR (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Scheduled timing belt replacement

“Had belt replaced as specified in owners manual. No problems during replacement”

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

“Tensioner pulley failed- resulted in engine stoppage, leaving us stuck - needed towed to garage”

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Engine knock or ping

“it goes away after the engine is warmed up”

Anonymous, CT (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Engine knock or piston slap is also very common on the 2.5 liter engine”

Anonymous, PA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel leaks

“fuel odor when weather is cold, otherwise no odor”

Anonymous, OK (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Had to replace both valve cover gaskets”

Anonymous, FL (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Subaru's leak. Don't panic”

Ralph N., CO (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“head gaskets needed replacement”

Anonymous, MN (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Leaking valve cover gaskets. Declined to repair due to excessive cost”

James S., NJ (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“cylinder cover gaskets”

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Oil pan leak separator plate transmission pan valve cover gaskets”

William-Irene R., CA (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“head gasket leak”

Anonymous, OK (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Related to head gasket problem”

Joseph H., NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“seals leaking. smells while/after driving”

Anonymous, WA (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Bad oil leak from engine, had it to service couple of times, continued to leak after few weeks, don't know if it's from the same area again, but the two previous were two different locations, valve cover seal, main rear seal, guess common on Subies”

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“began using oil heavily. switched to heavier, synthetic oil. really helped”

Anonymous, GA (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“There has been a seepage around the head gasket seal since I first purchased the car. Repair cost is around $2,000 and I decided to see how far I could get. Still can't afford the repair and there is no longer a drip spot under the car - but mechanics still tell me about the problem”

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“gaskets needed replacement This car owes me nothing, Love it Great driving .Just getting old ( !5 years) but looks new”

Anonymous, ME (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

“rust on both rear well wells where cladding is attached”

Anonymous, CT (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Black trim including around the trim on side mirror connected to A pillar and around the top of windows are all faded or flaked off showing the ugly grayish flat black plastic. Not one, not two but all black trim!”

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“The paint appears loose and about to flake off on the passenger side of the car”

Anonymous, PA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

“rust through inside drivers side rear door resulted in hole. rust along both rear fenders at seams”

Anonymous, RI (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Live in "salt belt", so took extra care to keep car washed. Rear wheel wells and door jambs rusted despite extreme care. Also rear sub-frame badly rusted despite rest-proofing per recall. SOA will not honor despite request”

Robert C., VT (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“My car developed rust under the paint over the rear wheel well on the driver's side. I have noticed rust in the same place on a number of other Outbacks”

Jonathan S., NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Massachusetts-based vehicle exposed to road salt. Corrosion had to be corrected to body and frame components in order to pass state inspection”

Alan L., MA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“This car has "lived its life" in Minnesota--land of long winters and salty roads. It has had rust repaired on the wheel wells many times by the previous owner. Currently it has new rust and bubbling on the rear wheel wells. Last year I discovered”

Anonymous, MN (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Rust has developed on both sides of the rear wheel wells, INSIDE the door. (The area of exposed/painted metal when you open the door.)”

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rust above the rear wheel wells. I've noticed this rust spot on other Subaru Outbacks in the exact same spot”

Michael P., WI (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear panels above the tires rusted out despite regular professional car washes”

Gene H., IN (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“20002 was a good year for Bordeaux wine but bad for Subaru rust proofing. The entire rear frame assembly has been repaired to the max and is now really on borrowed time. Rear area quarter panels and seals around windows are all but done”

Anonymous, QC (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Paint is bubbling due to rust at the upper front of both rear wheel wells, and some spots on the roof where paint is bubbling due to rust. The car spent the first 100,000 or so miles of its life in MA and NH”

A H., GA (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“driver's side rear panel above tire- rust hole”

Jonathan S., NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear fender area where trim meets body has rust in the corner right next to the wheel. I see it on almost ALL older Subaru's with same body. It's on both left and right rear areas”

Terrill H., AK (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

“check engine light on all the time. the code says "catalytic converter" and we had it replaced. When it came on again, the mechanic said it was really an O2 sensor. We replaced several of those. Had a warranty on the catalytic converter, so had it re”

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Second time that this had to be replaced (i.e., it is on its third CC) I am disappointed at the short life of this component”

Joseph G., CT (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Check Engine light turns on, stays on for a day or a week, the turns off. The high cost of replacing THREE catalytic converters means that I will wait until the system completely quits before replacing them”

Gloria B., NY (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Check engine light came on repeatedly. Code reader showed that the catalytic converter might not be working. After multiple erasures of the error code, I decided to get the catalytic converter replaced. Cost: $1356”

Patrick T., CA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Failed flexible joint ahead of cat converter required replacement of entire cat converter + resonator assembly”

Alan L., MA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“hole developed between exhaust piping and muffler. Left exhaust fumes in car. Was repaired”

Anonymous, WI (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Failed the Massachusetts inspection for 2017”

Anonymous, MA (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure Unsure)

“I answered the q”

Anonymous, VA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The heat shield over the years gradually rotted out, I finally had all vestiges of it removed when the Catalytic converter was replaced. I am disappointed that the heat shields rot out like this, well before other components of the car do”

Joseph G., CT (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“exhaust system/muffler finally rusted through, though there sounded like there were perforations for a couple of years”

Michael S., OH (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Muffler itself was OK, but flange (an integrated part of muffler) rusted/broke at connection to tail pipe necessitating whole muffler replacement”

Robert C., VT (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“replacved because of age”

Patricia T., MD (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“The same comments I made for the 2003 Forester apply to the 2002 Outback”

Anonymous, VA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

“The ABS sensor quit functioning and the dealer servicing department is having a hard time finding the replacement part”

Anonymous, ID (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Both rear brake calipers leaking even though replaced 3 yrs before”

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Mechanic said it was due to salty roads over time in CT-had seen more and more over the past few years= caliper seized shut”

Stephen B., CT (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“car was shuddering badly”

Anonymous, OR (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“I was told by two different car care garages that brakes were ok. When I finally took it to the Subaru dealership to have a fuel line leak problem repaired (independent garage had delays and difficulty getting replacement parts), the dealership repa”

Jacqueline M., WA (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Standard replacement given age and mileage of vehicle”

Helen M., ON (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

“rear brakes rusted up requiring new pads, calipers, and rotors after less than 8000 miles”

Anonymous, MA (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“We have to replace the brake pads quite frequently on all four”

Kathleen B., OH (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“brake pads replaced; probably normal wear”

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Rotors

“severe wobbling in te fron end when brakes were applied. new rotors and pads fixed itr”

Anonymous, ID (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Rotor warp after over heating”

Brian R., SC (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“vibration while driving”

Gerhard M., NV (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rotors became warped and caused the wheels to wobble and the brakes to squeal”

Anonymous, MD (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Ball joints

“Cover on joint tore; replaced the whole unit”

Wayne H., CA (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Worn out”

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Bushings

“Told front bushings needed replacement”

Terry Q., MA (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

“these parts in the front end of the car needed replacement”

Dan B., MO (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Struts worn out”

Randall F., MO (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“They had just plain worn out after a lot of tough miles. Nothing unusual. All the recent problems are due to age and miles, and the last 3 years as a rural mail route vehicle”

Anonymous, NC (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Bottoms out more often when hitting potholes”

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

“system was leaking fluid, was diagnosed as needing replacement of rack and pinion system, after merely topping off system for several months”

B H., NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Replaced the rack after 205000 miles. Not too bad”

Anonymous, NC (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Tire wear is uneven

“worn out parts caused uneven tire wear; but the car was due for new tires anyway”

Dan B., MO (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Rear tire wear was uneven and there was vibration. Replaced the rear struts and OK now”

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Power steering pumps and hoses

“Pump died, had it replaced with a rebult unit”

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

“Failed; needed replacement”

Anonymous, MD (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Failed and needed to be replaced”

Anonymous, TX (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Does not cool effectively”

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Strange howling noise when a/c running more than 15 or so minutes”

Keith V., WA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Has been replaced twice, does not work when weather is warm”

Anonymous, MA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Electrical failure

“Check engine light would not go off; had to bring to dealer; a relay was the problem but other mechanics said only dealer could fix”

Anonymous, TX (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Evaporator

“failed to cool / dehumidify”

Keith V., WA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Ices up regularly. Two independent garages and the dealer have not been able to duplicate the problem”

John B., WV (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Went without air conditioning for several years because mechanic said it was the compressor. Last year we decided to take the plunge and this time mechanic said it was a refrigerant leak. So far, so good”

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Refrigerant was low but repair shop did not find a leak. The used a dye in the system”

Charles P., NC (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Upper hose leak”

William-Irene R., CA (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“AC was not very cold so some tubes were replaced and unit was recharged”

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

“catalytic converter failure--check engine light. But I didn't replace it and light went away”

Anonymous, IN (2002 Subaru Outback Base Unsure)

“I bought car in california. Now live in Oklahoma, want to remove control system because cat converter went bad and can't afford to replace for second time. Don't have strict controls here in the boonies”

Anonymous, OK (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Catalytic Converter is another on going issue with Subaru Vehicles. The Cat/Conv's are too small and very expensive to replace. Failure rate is very high on Subaru vehicles”

Anonymous, NJ (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel injection system

“It has a hole in the catalytic converter, which was fixed. However it still smells of exhaust each winter when we turn the heat on”

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Gas smell when temperatures dropped below freezing”

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The Check Engine light turns on and variously indicates the O2 Sensor OR the Catalytic Converters. The indicator light might stay on for a day or a week before turning off. My mechanic recommends waiting for complete positive ID of problem before repair or replacement”

Gloria B., NY (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Creates extreme problems with California's Smog Certification regime, and can be very difficult to resolve”

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

“Nothing special, had 110,000 on clutch, clutch was slipping”

B H., NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“When we took it in for service, it was recommended that we replace the clutch”

Anonymous, OR (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The clutch on this year's model apparently had a manufacturing defect. It was replaced, under warranty, due to "grabbing" after only 15,000 miles. It has continued to be a rough clutch until replacement”

Patrick T., CA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Major shifting problems necessitating install of another transmission”

Anonymous, MI (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Had a major repair shop rebuilt the transmission 5 years ago, then last year it died again. the H6 motor is OK, but the transmission is not able to perform well. I did no towing or abuse during my driving. Regular maintenance was done by professional”

Gene H., IN (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Transmission just died on I 95 while on vacation. Scary. Had to be towed to Subaru dealership near there”

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Torque converter

“failed”

Anonymous, NJ (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

“The wiring harness of the headlights crumbled in our hands upon touching it”

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure Unsure)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“Lost tail lights due to a short in a bulb”

Ralph N., CO (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“This car has had electrical issues since I got it. It seems there is some kind of ground flaw or other. I just had the fog lights disconnected because of a wiring issue”

Anonymous, PA (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Keyless entry

“One of the remote key fobs no longer works, was told (at dealer) that exact replacement is no longer available, and closest match would cost $250 + $125 programing fee”

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
12V power plug

“There seems to be a general failure of some wiring harnesses under the dash. The 12V plug quit working, and the outside rear view mirrors can no longer be controlled with the switch”

Anonymous, OR (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Battery (not hybrid or electric)

“had to replace”

Anonymous, WA (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Died---needed replacement”

Ronald R., NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Normal battery failure due to age.Replaced battery, no more problems”

Chris M., NM (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Electronic ignition

“Car would not start due to failed connection between the ignition and the battery”

Terry Q., MA (2002 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Spark plugs or wires failure

“spark plug wires failed and caused rough and uneven running. Replaced the spark plug wires and the spark plugs. Now OK”

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

“The rear view mirror has fogged in the center and has an off color and distortion”

Jonathan S., NY (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“roof leaks”

Michael F., NJ (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

“Door latch handle sticks in open position. Has been this way since I acquired the car in January 2014. Previous owner said it had been that way for a while, and that it's common with this cars”

Anonymous, MN (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“needed to have the spring on the tailgate handle repaired”

Anonymous, CT (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveshaft or axle

“The u-joint froze up. The shaft has non replaceable u-joints requiring the replacement of the drive shaft at considerable cost compared to the replacement of u-joints”

Connie F., OH (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“This is the third transmission on this car in less than 90000 miles”

Mike A., MO (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Driveline vibration

“This problem appeared to be caused by the frozen u-joint previously addressed”

Connie F., OH (2002 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Stability control (ESC)

“Had to replace yaw sensor once under wrrantee and twice after warrantee expired”

James S., NJ (2002 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Hydraulics (clutch master or slave cylinder)

“replaced master cylinder”

Russell C., CO (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Clutch adjustment

“This particular car has had recurring issues with uneven clutch engagement (particularly on uphills) in 1st gear over the entire 12 years I've owned it (2005+)”

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission leaks

“Continuous leak for several years. Probably existed when 1st purchased used but did not notice until later. visits to several mechanic was temporary fix. Last mechanic was able to diagnose issue and fix completely. Proper repairs is definitely dependent on the knowledge of your mechanic”

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Antifreeze leaks

“Leak at water pump. Leak at head gasket”

Anonymous, WV (2002 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Had to get it fixed over a few times”

Suzanne K., NY (2002 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

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