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 12 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.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
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.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
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 2003 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

"water leaking into rear lift door. lift door and water pours out after rain????"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The entire sunroof / moon-roof system leaked and had to be replaced. Every part other than the two glass panels had to be replaced!"

Maryann G., WA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Leaked where that transmission cooler lineconnects to the radiator"

Gordon B., MT (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"coolant leak excessive wind noise around front doors/windows"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Wind noise around window passenger window and windshield. Sunroof leak"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Air leaks are a chronic problem with this car. Gussetts that hold the side mirrors degrade over time and make the car noisy to ride in at highway speeds"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Subaru filled with water whenever it rained. Turned out to be a manufacturing defect in the seals around the sun roof. We had to see a specialized auto top mechanic to get it fixed, $1200. All better now"

James G., CA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"constant wind noise"

James T., MI (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"The 2 front window seals both do not work...one at the top of the window and the other at the front edge of the window. Wind noise and big vibration/air leak on the one at the front edge of the window"

Sandra P., WA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Lots of wind noise"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Weather stripping around both front doors hanging away from door frame"

Dennis K., TX (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Sunroof leak"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

"when car is started cold there are squeeks/squeals that are audible when the steering wheel is turned (cornering)"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rattle seems tobe coming between upper lining and roof. Cannot locate ???"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"on rough roads - rattle near back seat"

Anonymous, MT (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I heard some "ticking" sound. It was determined to be the alternator and it has been replaced 4-22-15. It purrs nicely now"

Anonymous, AK (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure Unsure)

"Squeels when cold. Sensitive to steering. OK when warmed up"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Constant sound of wind in cabin, to the point the it is hard to hear conversation or radio"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"gaskets around front door leak air and cause wind noise especially while driving on interstate highways"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Failure of the seal around the passenger window. Not correctable without replacing the door"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Wind noise at front part of driver window"

Rob B., PA (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Probably as a result of the weather stripping, wind noise in this car is extremely loud. Can't hear the radio over the noise"

Dennis K., TX (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Car is very noisy at freeway speeds"

Gordon B., MT (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"excessive wind noise around front doors/windows"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Weather stripping starting to wear"

Anonymous, NY (2003 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

"Previous repair of timing belt done poorly. Sprockets on belt wore and ruined cylinders on one side of engine"

Anonymous, UT (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Engine rebuild or replacement

"There was some steering fluid or oil, not sure which, leaking onto the engine eventually it started over heating and cracked the block"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Replacement of engine with a rebuilt due to failure of cylinder #1 and related parts"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Head gasket

"Replaced head gaskets, had clutch replaced while engine was out, all belts were replaced. Continues to burn oil at approximate rate of 1 quart/ 1000 miles"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Replacement of the head gasket was required"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"This car has had both left and right head gaskets replaced twice!! No one seems to know why they go bad, but when they start leaking coolant and oil it smells awful"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Outback)

"Head gasket needs to be replaced. May wind up replacing the card"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure Unsure)

"Second head gasket replaced at 112K miles. The first head gasket replacement occurred at 60K miles"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Leak required head gasket to be replaced"

Don R., TN (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head Gasket leaked and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"leaking oil and had to be rplaced. Quite expensive"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gaskets had oil leak that was getting progressively worse"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"head gaskets are leaking. car burns oil like our 10 year old eats candy. estimate is $1800 or more to pull the engine and replace the gaskets"

Thornton K., MA (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Leaking/spraying oil since 100K: Just paid $700 for Valve Cover Gaskets replacements! Head gaskets seeping oil for 25K miles now. Delaying $1200+ head repair by maintaining oil levels for now. This is a total shock for an otherwise awesome c"

Judith C., CO (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Head gasket leaks and Subaru at the time the mileage was only 80000 but they wouldn't cover the cost which was over $1000. Then at 100000 miles the timing belt and water pump cost another $1000"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gasket leaking"

Patrick M., ID (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Oil leak in both head gaskets"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Engine needs to be rebuilt because the head gasket is failing. Engine is now burning oil and coolant. I am planning on selling or junking the car"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"head gasket began to fail on one side. Had them both replaced"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Was told that head gasket needed replacement, so replaced. Also replaced timing belt as part of the package"

James D., OH (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gaskets are a known problem with this motor. Very expensive to replace and mine are leaking externaly, dripping oil on hot exhaust. I feel this is a safety issue that Subaru should address as a recall. Head gaskets are not consumables and should not need to be replaced every 90k like spark plugs. I'm very disappointed and wouldn't consider another Subaru because of this problem"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"A major KNOWN problem beginning around 1996 with the introduction of a new head gasket type. Continued through at least 2009, even with an updated head gasket design from the manufacturer. Subaru refuses to admit that it's a design flaw, and continues to rake in ~$4000 per head gasket job with head planing (necessary). They have the potential to be great cars, but they have bad hearts. Despite owning one for over two years, I'll never understand the cult of Subaru"

Mike N., CA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Experienced oil smell, then could visible see oil drops on ground. It was expensive and untimely"

Derek D., ID (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Timing belt failed before recommended change period. $3000 repair that included a clutch and all new valves. Still like this car & how it drives but did think it should be holding up better than it has. I have worked hard to keep up on the maintenance"

Patrick M., ID (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

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

What Owners Say

"Air conditioning no longer working. Living in FL this is not very pleasant! Debating if we want to fix due to cost and age of vehicle. Tried fixing with A/C Pro Refrigeration compressed etc. but did not work"

Tina B., FL (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"This was a second failure within three years on a dealer installed compressor"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Lost coolant. Needed to be refilled, but leaked after 2 months"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"AC doesn't blow cold air. Even if I add refrigerant"

Jeff A., WI (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"it wore out. needs replaced. too expensive"

Deborah K., OH (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"A.C. Compressor seized and had to be replaced. This also impacted the serpentine belt and idler pulley, both of which also required replacement"

Anonymous, NE (2003 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"A/C would fail on days when it had been on for awhile"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Cooling turns off when car idles at stop. The air must be turned off and the ignition turn off and then turned on. Then after auto is moving turn on the cooling system and there's cold again. Thi problem only happens in hot weather"

Anonymous, SC (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"It stopped working"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Blower (fan) motor

"Fan motor failed"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Refrigerant leaks

"Looses 14 oz a year"

Craig B., NY (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"NEW HIGH PRESSURE LINE STARTED LEAKING AFTER ONLY 8 MONTHS AT A BEND IN THE ALUM. LINE. DARN THING COST ME WELL OVER A HUNDRED DOLLARS"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"A number of minor leaks have occurred in the O-rings and tubing mainly on the high pressure side of compressor"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Worn engine seal allowing refrigerant into engine"

J H., ON (2003 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"REPLACED BOTH AC LINE O RINGS AT THE COMPRESSOR RECHARGED SYSTEM WITH 3 LBS OF R134n REFRIGERANT"

Stan H., TX (2003 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Mechanics attempted to repair coolant, but failed. Removal or replacement of entire system would be cost prohibitive considering age of vehicle"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Defroster was not working well and they found the refrigerant was leaking"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"There are leaks in multiple areas and components. The repair bill would be well over $1k so we are limping along"

William B., OR (2003 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 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

"highway US 36 construction crews left potholes, damaged alignment. Re-aligned and again perfect"

John H., CO (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Power steering leaks

"replaced"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Seals leak after several tight turns of the steering wheel, such as in a parking lot. Power steering fluid gets low enough to intermittently lose power steering function with no prior warning (no squealing, etc.)"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"MUST HAVE GOTTEN A BAD PS PUMP. IT HAS MOANED FOR AT LEAST 5 YEARS. FINALLY GOT TIRED OF THE NOISE AND REPLACED IT THIS YEAR"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The A/C would not stay cold. I had to go to several shops before an Import car expert could find out the problem.... They had to replace a sensor in the condenser ... the whole job took 4 days and $590"

Allan S., AZ (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Leaking oil"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Replaced rear struts and shocks - worn out after 180,000 miles"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Replaced both original rear shock absorbers because of leakages"

Logan M., NC (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"rear struts required replacement due to age"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Wear and tear after 13 years"

Logan M., NC (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Wheel bearings are a known issue with this car making loud groaning noise"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"original rear suspension required $1,200 repair due to age"

Anonymous, VA (2003 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

"had to replace drive/timing belt"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I was traveling rurally, and with no warning the belt came off. Turns out the bolt sheared off the idler pulley. wrecked the belt & pulley. Couldn't find part (Subaru Only). Had to be shipped. Spent 2+ days stranded in my car in 95 deg heat. No"

Judith C., CO (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Engine computer

""Check engine " light came on. Sensor in uel system replaced"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"O2 sensor failure caused engine electronic control computer to fail, triggering a check engine light. Had to replace computer and two of the O2 sensors"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"after oil changes and spark plug replacement issue is piston slap, unbalanced piston weight"

Steven K., WA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Oil leaks

"head gasket"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"engine oil leaks, common on all subarus"

Robert R., PA (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"oil leak engine had to be pulled to replace gasguet felt that if not replaced it could have become more serious"

Anonymous, TN (2003 Subaru Outback Base 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Head gasket needs replacement"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"leaking oil pan gasket"

Anonymous, DE (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"Plastic coverings under engine and left wheel well coming apart and falling off"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The clear coat on the hood has almost all peeled off, gradually, in the past year. I first noticed it approximately two weeks after a hail storm. I don't know whether that was a factor or not. (There were no visible dents.)"

James D., CO (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

"There seems to be a defect in the body of this vintage Outback - nearly every one I see on the road has rust around the driver side rear quarter panel above the wheel well... we replaced it this year"

Laura M., MI (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"significant rust around the attachment of a bar-like handle on the bottom of the rear door (to the cargo compartment)"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rust around wheel weels"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"visible rusty ares are beginning to emerge"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"There is rust around the rear wheel wells. Considering that the car is now 14 years old, it isn't too surprising. But our previous 1995 Subaru had no rust at all at that age"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Holes"

James T., MI (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"A major problem that effects appearance and value and soon to make continued use questionable"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

"Oxygen sensors were to blame, but after 3 trips to the mechanic the catalytic converter was diagnosed as the issue"

Ryan M., SD (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The catalytic converter wore out - 14 years is pretty good. It was expensive to eplace"

David B., MI (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Joint between tail pipe and muffler began leaking. Needed to replace both parts"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Check engine light indicates small leak"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Muffler detached and required replacement"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Muffler wore out. It was replaced under warranty by the muffler shop who put the first replacement in"

David B., MI (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I had muffler, pipes, & hangers installed; first time since original"

Harry H., OR (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Normal replacement on a 14 year old vehicle"

Harry H., OR (2003 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

"Head lights fail after months rather than years"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Cracked plastic cover due to accident"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"headlights burnout 12-18 months"

Ted D., CO (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"tail lights do not last long"

Ted D., CO (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Interior lights

"Instrument light was out. Inexpensively repaired"

Gregory S., VA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"a lot of differant lights would go out that back lit the dash etc"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"two dashboard back lights have failed making it difficult to read time, temperature and mileage at night"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

"It had some type of electrical malfunction and required a $200 part and another $200 to find and fix"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 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

"Repair for normal wear rear brakes"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"First time for brake replacement"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Brakes have always worn rapidly, made noise"

Barbara M., PA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Parking brake

"We had an unusually cold winter and found that the parking break froze in the on position- I could not release it and drove with it on, causing damage to the breaking system"

Jane O., PA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

"the car started with a brake problem and it has continue for the life of the vehicle. the rotors are too thin for the car and wear poorly. Vibration gets extreme quickly"

Paul B., CA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Regular brake failure

"Brakes fixed, problem was general repairs"

Anonymous, SC (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Warping"

Barbara M., PA (2003 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 panel on the rear passenger side door popped off while I was opening it. The outside temperature was over 100 degrees. I believe the panel expanded from the heat and contacted the front door which pried the panel off"

James D., CO (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The drivers side rear door locking mechanism does not reliably lock and unlock. Sometimes, you can not open the door without fiddling with the inside lock lever and also the electric lock/unlock button on the drivers door. Repeatedly trying to lock and unlock the door will eventually get it to unlock. Also, the exterior tailgate lever that opens the tailgate rusts and sticks in the open position. This prevents the tailgate from latching securely. This has been a problem on all 5 Subarus th"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Mirrors

"Power mirror motors not working most of the time"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Sunroof

"rear sunroof didn't track properly and trim cover became stuck out of track"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"After body work (at the dealer) following a rear-end collision, the rear hatch latch has become increasingly difficult to open or close. Dealer can't seem to resolve the issue"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"both pistons on the tailgate failed and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

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

What Owners Say

Coolers and lines

"Trans line split and fluid poured out"

Walter H., TN (2003 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Rough shifting

""Flares" during 2 to 3 upshift when cold. Flare means that it revs up after leaving 2nd before 3rd engages. I speculate that it's partially clogged passages or leaky valves. Not economically feasible to follow up.Only affects 1st mile of each trip"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"missing pins on driveshaft"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"took in for 90000 mile service and they found a leak in the head gasket onto the exhaust. It was a $3000 repair and no leak was ever seen under the car in our parking spot. The air conditioning had also not been working (forgot to say that)"

Lois W., NY (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Drain Plug threads. Needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 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

Fuel pump

"fuel pump went out needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Fuel pump (original equipment) failed March 2017"

Kathleen D., CO (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Both sensors went out and had to be replaced. Cost about $400 each. Also there is often the smell of raw fuel in the cab if the AC/fan is bringing in outside air. I have tried for 4 years to get this fixed, but no one has been able to figure it out"

Linda D., TX (2003 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The oxygen sensor failed and had to be replaced. An expensive proposition"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"all catalytic converters went out"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Clutch replacement

"Have had to replace clutch every 3 years since we bought it"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"they said i needed to replace clutch so we did. Clutch also had a high pitch rattle when shifting into 4th gear when engine was revved high.My husband could not hear it but I could"

Lois W., NY (2003 Subaru Outback Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"undetected fluid leakage"

Nadine B., FL (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The differential went out. After 200000 miles, not surprising. Got a used transmission locally with 60000 miles on it a year ago, and it's been running great ever since"

Pete K., MI (2003 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

"Replace front right side axle assembly due to crack causing oil leakage"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"R/H REAR WHEEL BEARING BECAME NOISEY AND HAD TO BE REPLACED"

Anonymous, AB (2003 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"While on a long trip, the car started to shake. I stopped at a nearby auto shop and they said the drive shaft was about to fall off ! It took two days and $630. to fix the problem"

Allan S., AZ (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

""frozen" knuckle joint"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

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

What Owners Say

"See my comments relating to the engine troubles. They're both related. Head gasket fails = engine overheats"

Mike N., CA (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Water pump

"A sequence of undiagnosable starting problems and overheating led to replacement of multiple engine components involving the cooling system. Not sure the problem has ever been fully resolved"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Water pump failed at 135,000 miles...ok in my book!"

Sandra P., WA (2003 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

Alternator

"Alternator noise resulted in needing to replace it. It didn't fail before I had it replaced"

Kathleen D., CO (2003 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Battery cables

"Faulty battery cables had to be replaced"

Don R., TN (2003 Subaru Outback Base 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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