2002 Subaru Outback Reliability - Consumer Reports
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.

Reliability

We expect the 2022 Outback will have about average reliability when compared to the average new car. This prediction is based on data from 2020, 2021 and 2022 models. Select the used car model year to see reported issues with those similar past models.

Overall Reliability
The 2002 Subaru Outback has been recalled 5 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years * Redesign year
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Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
POTENTIAL TROUBLE SPOTS
Engine Major
NA
Engine Minor
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
Transmission Major
NA
Transmission Minor
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Drive System
NA
Fuel System
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Electric System
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Climate System
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Suspension
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Brakes
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Exhaust
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Paint/Trim
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Body Integrity
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Body Hardware
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Power Equipment
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for over 300,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2021 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA 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.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Recalls
PROVIDED BY
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE
Nov 29, 2013
A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source increases the risk of a fire.
Summary:
Airtex Products LP (Airtex) is recalling certain model E8598M, E8518M, E8600M, E8596M, and E8597M fuel pumps manufactured July 26, 2013, and July 29, 2013 and used as aftermarket replacements on Subaru Baja's, Outback's and Legacy's. The affected fuel pumps were sold or installed into the aftermarket applications on or after July 26, 2013, and may may leak fuel from the base of a fuel line connection when the gas tank is full.
What should you do:
Airtex will notify owners, and will replace the fuel pump, free of charge. Recall is expected to begin on January 2, 2014. Customers may contact Airtex at 1-800-880-3056. The recall is expected to begin during January 2014. This recall is being conducted by Airtex, not by Subaru.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 13E065000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 397
VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL
Mar 16, 2004
IF THIS OCCURS DURING VEHICLE OPERATION, THE DRIVER COULD LOSE CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE, WHICH COULD RESULT IN A CRASH.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN PASSENGER SEDANS, WAGONS, AND SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES, THE CRUISE CONTROL CABLE COULD COME OUT OF ITS TRACK ON THE CRUISE CONTROL LEVER AND LODGE ON THE CONTROL LEVER TAB WHEN THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL IS RELEASED. IF THIS CONDITION OCCURS, THE THROTTLE WILL NOT RETURN TO THE IDLE POSITION AND WILL REMAIN IN AN OPEN POSITION.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL INSTALL A CRUISE CONTROL CABLE RETAINING CLIP TO THE CRUISE CONTROL LEVER TAB ON THE THROTTLE SHAFT IN ORDER TO PREVENT THE CRUISE CONTROL CABLE FROM COMING OUT OF ITS TRACK. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN ON APRIL 12, 2004. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT SUBARU AT 1-800-782-2783.
For more information:
SUBARU RECALL NO. WWQ-01.CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 04V128000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 127580
SUSPENSION
Apr 22, 2003
IF SUCH BREAKAGE OCCURS WHILE THE VEHICLE IS BEING OPERATED, CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE COULD BE AFFECTED, INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Summary:
THIS RECALL APPLIES TO CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES ORIGINALLY SOLD IN OR CURRENTLY REGISTERED IN THE STATES OF CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, IOWA, KENTUCKY, MAINE, MARYLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, MISSOURI, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA, RHODE ISLAND, VERMONT, VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA, WISCONSIN, AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. CERTAIN REAR SUSPENSION SUBFRAME COMPONENTS WERE PRODUCED WITH POOR PAINT QUALITY WHICH, AFTER CONTINUED EXPOSURE TO CORROSIVE ROAD SALTS FOR A PERIOD OF SEVERAL YEARS, COULD RESULT IN RUST-OUT OF THE COMPONENT AND POSSIBLE BREAKAGE OF THE SUBFRAME.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL CLEAN AND RUST-PROOF THE REAR SUSPENSION SUBFRAME. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN JULY 14, 2003. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT SUBARU AT 1-800-782-2783.
For more information:
CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 03V153000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 170000
POWER TRAIN
Oct 30, 2002
THE VEHICLE COULD THEN MOVE/ROLL WITHOUT PRIOR WARNING, INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Summary:
CERTAIN SPORT UTILITY AND PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS WERE PRODUCED WITH AN IMPROPERLY MANUFACTURED TRANSMISSION PARKING ROD. WHEN THE TRANSMISSION SELECTOR LEVER IS PLACED IN THE "P" (PARK) POSITION, THE TRANSMISSION PARK MECHANISM, THAT IS INTENDED TO HOLD YOUR VEHICLE, MAY NOT ENGAGE.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION PARKING ROD ASSEMBLY. OWNER NOTIFICATION JANUARY 8, 2003. AN INTERIM OWNER NOTIFICATION WILL BE SENT DURING NOVEMBER 2002. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT SUBARU AT 1-800-782-2783.
For more information:
CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 02V282000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 172564
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC
Mar 12, 2002
AT THESE TEMPERATURES, THE BRAKES MAY NOT RELEASE AFTER BEING APPLIED, EVEN WHEN THE DRIVER'S FOOT IS NO LONGER ON THE BRAKE PEDAL. THIS CAN OCCUR WITHOUR PRIOR WARNING, POSSIBLY RESULTING IN A CRASH.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES, THE BRAKE MASTER CYLINDERS MAY NOT FUNCTION PROPERLY IN AMBIENT TEMPERATURES BELOW FREEZING 32 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT AND LOWER).
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE MASTER CYLINDERS. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN MARCH 21, 2002. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT SUBARU AT 1-800-782-2783.
For more information:
CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 02V079000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 1252
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