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 11 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
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2015
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2017
2018
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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.
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
2020
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 2004 Subaru Outback owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Climate System

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

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"we have had trouble with the air conditioner for about 3 years - it has been recharged several times before diagnosed as needing a new compressor"

Nancy S., PA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"After 10 years the AC system sprung a leak, typical for Subarus of this age. Replaced all 'piping/ hoses' to AC system"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Subaru Outback Base 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The air conditioning on this car is a continual and known problem per our mechanic"

Anonymous, CO (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The ac does not work very well. Had it refurbished and still not working very well"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"It failed and needed to be replaced last year"

Otto M., NY (2004 Subaru Outback)

"For the last 4 years, I have had to have my A/C fixed every year at start of summer. Each year, I am told it is fixed."

Anonymous, NV (2004 Subaru Outback)

"This is the 3rd replacement over the life of the car. The mechanic tells us because they no longer sell the one part needed. You must buy the entire compressor"

Steve G., NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"air conditioner clutch is apparently not staying engaged. It works very cold but then blows air only. If I stop the car and restart it starts working again."

John B., NC (2004 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Automatic climate control

"As mentioned before this had been a resistant problem for over 3 years which even the ac specialists from the factory could not figure out. My car spent so much time at the dealer's garage that people who had worked there recognized it around town"

Anonymous, MI (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Blower (fan) motor

"It blew up when I started up my car at the gas station after getting gas. I couldn't find this part because it was obsolete. I had to order it and was able to get them"

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Heater system

"Cabin and floor vents do not blow warm air"

Anonymous, IA (2004 Subaru Outback 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Refrigerant leaks

"Refrigerant has leaked out 4 times in last 2 years. Dye does not identify where it is leaking out. Last refill was 1 month ago"

John J., SC (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Replaced both lines for $500 due leaks at the tube to hose fittings"

Tom B., WA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Air conditioning was not reducing the cabin temperature so had system checked by an auto repair shop. They added fluid with an inspection dye to detect the source of the leak but so far the system is still functioning properly"

Jim N., OR (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"took to top A/C repair shop in area, hose was bad, called dealer for replacement, dealer had plenty on hand, tech said that indicated to him that problem was a known problem, when parts are easily available from dealer"

Steven W., MI (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Had oil change, dealership broke drain plug fitting but charged me for repair. When tried air conditioner first time after repair, unit was not effective. At non-dealer repair shop, mechanic informed me line had been cut"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"For the past two years and this year I have had to have refrigerant added to get the AC to cool"

Anonymous, ID (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Subaru dealer did not detect repeated leaks for over 2 years. Finally repaired by private repair shop"

Anonymous, VA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"a slow leak of Freon"

Lloyd Z., CO (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Multiple hoses needed to be replaced"

T W., UT (2004 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"For last 2 years I charged 134a before the summer. It is much cheaper to fix it"

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Hose leaks every year"

Anonymous, KS (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Air conditioning was not blowing cold air as of May 2016, tested the pressure of the system (following Subaru Service Manual procedures) refrigerant in system was below any reading obtainable. No refrigerant in the system. I drew a vacuum on the system for 40 minutes and waited an hour without a loss of vacuum. Recharged with correct amount of refrigerant, and the system was fully functional. Skip ahead to early May 2017 and AC is not blowing cold. Given the previous results, I will again test"

John M., NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"System stopped cooling. Leak detected in high pressure hose from compressor to core; unsure of other seepage (increased $). Minimum estimate = >$600 - not affordable."

Beverly H., WA (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 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

"The cylinder heads were warped and had to be machined smooth, most likely due to engine overheating. I do not know if this was related to climate control problems over the last several years which the dealership had trouble resolving. The ac would ru"

Anonymous, MI (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Engine rebuild or replacement

"My daughter didn't put oil in the car when the oil light went on!"

Anonymous, CO (2004 Subaru Outback)
Head gasket

"GASKET FAILED ALLOWING OIL TO FOWL PLUGS TIMING BELT WAS DUE TO BE REPLACED, SO I HAD BOTH FIXED AT THE SAME TIME"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"major leak"

Anonymous, IL (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Gaskets were leaking. Had to replace"

Anonymous, MA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"We had to have it replaced"

Anonymous, WI (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"failed. mechanic noted that it was a problem with this model year"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Needed to replace head gaskets on both sides of the engine"

Anonymous, PA (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Smelled a sweet smell like sweet coffee when car was warming up"

Anonymous, MD (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"We were surprised that we needed a head gasket at 95000 miles, we have never had that problem with a Suburu before and we have had several"

Anonymous, CT (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Developed leaking head gasket which required major overhaul, including replacement of timing belt"

Gunnar S., OR (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"leaking head gasket $800 to fix Also oil leak by oil sensor on top of engine Also oxygen senor problem leading to replace fuel tank cap 3 times"

Anonymous, AK (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Not a big problem. Found a oil leak that turned out to be the head gasket. Dealer had it fixed in a day. Had the timing belt changed at the same time"

Anonymous, CT (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Leakage from cooling system which required three or four days in the shop"

Anonymous, WA (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Standard 100k to 150k Subaru head gasket failure/replacement timeline. Mine lasted longer than most as I am right at 150k miles"

Anonymous, WA (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Car leaks oil after bout 80000 miles. eventually head gasket and cylinders need major repairs. Not a car for you if you want a car for 100-200k or more"

David M., NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gasket had to be replaced on a VERY low mileage vehicle. Online search shows that this is a known problem with these engines that has gone on for many years, but Subaru would not cover the cost. No more Subaru's for me."

Anonymous, CA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gasket leaking and needed to be replaced - $3000 repair bill. Mechanic said the gasket material used on this year of Subaru was to blame"

Glen M., PA (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Antifreeze leak due to head gasket degradation. Had to pull heads and replace gaskets. Mechanic stated this is a typical point of failure with this Subaru engine"

Anonymous, WV (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Scheduled timing belt replacement

"SCHEDULED TIMING BELT REPLACEMENT, I KNEW THIS WAS COMING"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Timing belt or chain

"Mechanic suggested timing belt be changed as part of head gasket overhaul"

Gunnar S., OR (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Timing belt was due replacement, but the balancer-pulley assembly needed replacement too"

Anonymous, AK (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Bearing on timing gear froze, generating high heat, allowing the gear to disengage from the engine block (it’s actually attached to the water pump). The force and heat from the gear shot right through the plastic timing cover. Due to the heat the timing cover caught fire. I was able to successfully extinguish the fire with no additional damage as a result of the fire."

Steve G., NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

"broke at 70,000 miles"

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Our first catalytic converter failed at about 35000 miles and it was replaced under the warranty. This second catalytic converter failed a 133000 mi. We had our car registered in MA where the warranty is 150000 mi .for a catalytic converter"

Anonymous, FL (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"one Converter was blocked, really gave poor mileage and performance"

B S., NB (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"I'm not sure of the extent of the problem, however, car will not pass inspection and mechanic has advised that replacement of catalytic converter in this car is very expensive"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Catalytic converters and sensors were replaced a few years ago as part of a recall initiative. Engine warning codes indicated failure again. Cost was $1200 to fix the problem. Shortly after that repair I spent another $300 getting a sensor replaced related to this same issue."

Glen M., PA (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Exhaust leaks

"Already explained, above"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback)

"rust causing exhaust leaks"

Kenneth D., NY (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Exhaust manifold

"Weld broke for the manifold leading to leaky exhaust, noisy engine, and reduction of power"

Sean M., TX (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Loose/rattling heat shield

"Heat shields rattle while cold. Resolved the issue by using hose clamps around the shield and pipe and tightening"

Scott L., MD (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"This car is "noisy" when warming up and has the smell of gasoline in the cab, at that time (must turn off the vents). Had a serious problem with the emission system (egr was damaged & part unavailable). Eventually, the manufacturer generated a work"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback)
Muffler

"rusted / holes"

Anonymous, MD (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Muffler rusted away and was replaced along with a few pipes"

Anonymous, QC (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Loud noise rusted out"

Anonymous, MD (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Currently dash light is on to check engine and it refers to the emissions that still need to be checked"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Other/unsure

"Passenger side airbag replaced due to recall"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Pipes

"rusted / holes"

Anonymous, MD (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"pipes fell off the car"

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"corrosion of metals used in the pipe assembly that causes a complete replacement requirement"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Pipes rusted out resulting in a problem with te muffler as well"

John T., NY (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"replaced the entire exhaust system due to rust"

Anonymous, ON (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rusted through, needed to be replaced"

Otto M., NY (2004 Subaru Outback)

"The pipe broke just before muffler"

Curtis S., WA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 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

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"failure of catalytic converters"

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Warranty replacement of front exhausts plus oxygen sensors"

Wayne P., VT (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Headlights go out often, and the exhaust does not meet the new standard for emissions, so won't pass inspection without $3000. Worth of work, so sad"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"covered by warranty ($2300 repair)"

Anonymous, VT (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"EGR did not pass VT inspection; parts replaced by warranty"

Wayne P., VT (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"At 31k miles I had to replace the catalytic converter. It has been replaced two more times since then and is now once again needing to be replaced. At 200k miles I do not believe I should have to replace it four times."

Anonymous, VA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"My car has 3 catalytic converted since it is a California car. the catalytic converter error codes kept coming up as defective, so I had to replace the converters 3 times until the dealer finally realized that they were replaceing the wrong catalyti"

Kate W., PA (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"No. 1 (upstream) O2 sensor registering as failed on engine scan; mechanic reported that it was rusted in place and could not be removed without damaging the associated catalytic converter/exhaust pipe assy, so he left it in place. Does not affect ca"

Anonymous, IL (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Covered in full by warranty 15 years 150K miles"

Wayne P., VT (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"replaced it twice in this car"

Anonymous, ON (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

""check engine" signal came up on dash screen,otherwise would not have known"

Anonymous, BC (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Had to be replaced in order to reset the computer to take emissions test"

Anonymous, ON (2004 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Intermittent Check Engine light due to malfunctioning O2 Sensor"

Anonymous, VA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Cost of the replacement sensor is $260 which is outrageous"

Anonymous, PA (2004 Subaru Outback)

"Repeated O2 sensor heater circuit failures"

Anonymous, PA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"O2 sensor problem"

Scott C., CO (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The engine light came on indicating a fault on the oxygen sensor. This went off after awhile"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Subaru Outback)

"Replacement parts & labor covered by CA warranty No further problems"

Anonymous, VT (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The cost of the oxygen sensor is a lot more and if you return it (you did not use it) the dealer will charge you 15% for restocking fee"

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"02 sensor replaced by warranty"

Wayne P., VT (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The O2 sensor did not read right any more"

Curtis S., WA (2004 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

Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

"Alarm comes on even when car is unlocked - intermittently"

Anonymous, CO (2004 Subaru Outback Limited)

"Keyless remote was not working, Subaru dealer stated they would have to by-pass and disable alarm system because they can't get replacement parts to make repair..Subaru advertises their car can be passed down to next generation, but they are not producing parts for repair and maintenance"

Patricia S., CA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Cruise control

"It just does not work"

Anonymous, WV (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"After 13 years my cruise control failed. An expected problem with age"

Anonymous, KS (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"Both fog light bulbs and assembly fail about every 6 months since we bought the vehicle in 2005"

Christine A., CO (2004 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Gauges

"The interior dash lights do not work. I've checked every fuse, and none are bad. So now I can no longer view anything on the dashboard at night."

Alex R., GA (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Headlights

"burned out"

Anonymous, MN (2004 Subaru Outback Base)

"Have had to replace headlight bulbs multiple times since I purchased the vehicle (less than 3 years ago)"

Anonymous, ME (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Left headlight had an intermittent open which caused the light not to work. Replaced the headlight assembly"

Anonymous, NM (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head Light failed twice and they are costly !"

Stephen D., WA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I don't really know the extent of the problem, since I am taking my car into the shop to diagnose the issue this week. My right head light does not work. The lamp is fine, but it does not light up. Also my left blinker alternately blinks double-time and then normally, indicating some sort of light issue. Additionally, although the battery was just changed, when I turn on the ignition, it sometimes gives the sound of a dead battery"

Kate W., PA (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Horn

"Horn stopped working."

Marcia R., ID (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Interior lights

"SWITCHES DON'T WORK RELIABLY; including doors opening, instrument cluster, & overhead lights"

Anonymous, NH (2004 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"In the past year the lighting for the gear shift went out. After dark I need to look at the dash to see what gear I'm in. Also, the lighting for the right side of the dash intermittently doesn't work, where the engine temperature display is."

Anonymous, IN (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Keyless entry

"car alarm goes off if key used toopen doors"

Anonymous, WA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

"getting them turned off"

Anonymous, MN (2004 Subaru Outback Base)

"At oil temp light keeps coming on. Car hard to start and stalls repeatedly."

Anonymous, PA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wiper motor or washer

"After a month of temperatures below zero, motor on rear blade quit, and I really don't blame it!"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

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

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"On rainy days water drips down from the interior light housing above the rear view mirror above center of windshield"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"seals are free from the doors and pushing them back is difficult to align when it is possible"

Anonymous, VT (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"wind noise"

Kenneth D., NY (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Driver door weatherstripping hanging loose."

Marcia R., ID (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

"Had noises coming from the rear wheels"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Plastic piece from front bumper worked loose and started rubbing against road surface"

Anonymous, SC (2004 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"loud persistent F & R bushings"

Anonymous, LA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"intermittent driver side door. not critical"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Heavy rattle up to 30 mph"

Donald S., UT (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"undercarriage shield loose"

Edward H., WA (2004 Subaru Outback)

"Rattle on driver side (intermittent). Learned to live with in. Not major"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wind noise

"seals around the windows (mostly the front two) have leaked air almost from the first year or two, not a problem but annoying"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"wind noise due to leakage at side mirrors - dealer sealed the leakage"

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"wind comes in by the doors door seals are loose wined noise is overwhelmin"

Anonymous, VT (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Noise seems to be the result of doors and windows not being fully sealed. I don't know if this is the result of a design flaw or due to wear and tear of seals"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The wind noise from the front windows became excessive. Needed to replace the window gussets"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Wind noise was there from beginning and dealer could never get rid of it; the claimed it was windflow around exterior mirrors and roof rack"

Anonymous, NC (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"The paint on my car is cracking. I'm told that should not happen"

Anonymous, PA (2004 Subaru Outback 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"rust and peeling paint at the wheel wells"

Anonymous, IA (2004 Subaru Outback 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"paint is peeling on the hood"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Subaru Outback)
Rust

"Rust patch appeared on outside of rear passenger side wheel, and was rotting through to the wheel well. Had to have a patch put in to fix problem"

Anonymous, RI (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"One Rust Spot on Left Rear Fender"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"in the last two years the body has developed significant rust and will require several thoUSnd dollars to repair"

Nancy S., PA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Top of rear wheel wells is rusting through even after dealer repair. Very poor repair"

Anonymous, CT (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rust around rear wheel well on drivers side"

Anonymous, PA (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"rust bubbles on both rear quarter panels. rust in rear hatch- handle area"

Anonymous, PA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rust forming under paint near rear wheelwell, directly below gas filler door."

Anonymous, MD (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rust-out in wheel well in passenger side quarter panel."

Steve G., NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Paint is bubbling & flaking. Rust areas around wheel wells, rocker panels & lower right corners of rear doors"

Anonymous, NH (2004 Subaru Outback H6 VDC 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Rust-through of left-rear quarter panel above the wheel well. I had a local body shop remove the panel, re-build the rusted area with new metal, repaint to match & re-install. Cost: $1,200"

David C., NY (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rust out occurring at the top of the passenger side wheel well."

Steve G., NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 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

CV joint

"Front axel CV joint boots decayed after 10 years, allowed dirt into system, had to replace whole front axel. Appears to be typical for Subaru wagons, rubber/plastic just doesn't last"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Subaru Outback Base 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Have replaced CV joints several times over the life of the car. It is 11 years old, but replacement of this component seems disproportionately high to the rest of the repairs the car has needed"

Bill B., FL (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Broken boot. Had to replace along w/ the joint it covered"

Anonymous, NM (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"excess wear to Cv joint, front left. This is the 3rd time we've had to replace this on this vehicle. Much worse than our experience with other subarus we have owned"

Scott C., CO (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Leaking CV joint discovered during oil chg/52-pt checkup at Subaru dealer. No symptoms. Preventive action taken to replace now. Another mechanic later said it would have lasted another year, before i noticed anything, so it was not an urgent event, just eventual. Replaced axle as well. $266"

Beverly H., WA (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Driveshaft or axle

"Had to replace both axles because boot broke & grease was leaking out"

John J., SC (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The drive shaft is about to snap. I am now trading in my car"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Ruptured inner boot on LF CV/axle assy"

Anonymous, IL (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"U-joint on rear driveshaft developed wear/play after 10 years"

Anonymous, NH (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Started vibrating. Was replaced with a used part to save money"

Anonymous, ON (2004 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"universal joints in drive shaft failed causing additional failure in the AWD viscous coupling"

Anonymous, ON (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The CV axle has failed for the second time in less than 2 years. The CV boot is leaking, indicating replacement will be necessary."

Anonymous, OR (2004 Subaru Outback 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

Bushings

"Worn bushings cause excessive noise, rattles, squeaks, etc"

Anonymous, VA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Power steering leaks

"When I bought this car, I took it to a 3rd party mechanic and the saw that the steering rack needed to be changed"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Subaru Outback)
Power steering pumps and hoses

"POwer steering pumps have failed three times and were replaced in warranty period twice"

Anonymous, NC (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

"strut just broke. I carry a lot of large lawn fertilizer bags, mulch etc. in the car each year. I am sure it has to do with this weight"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"One strut is leaking fluid"

John D., OR (2004 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Very rough ride and need to replace struts"

Anonymous, UT (2004 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Springs or torsion bars

"Had to replace in rear"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"One of the pulleys used for the power steering belt broke"

Paul V., ON (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"there is a "double u-joint" connector in the steering system that recently showed signs of seizing. Fortunately, it was caught before any major problem occurred"

Anonymous, ON (2004 Subaru Outback Base 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Tie rods

"Shimmy when driving over 50 MPH"

Anonymous, MD (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wheel bearings

"expensive repair to fix"

Steven B., RI (2004 Subaru Outback)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

Accessory belts or pulleys

"Tension pulley bearing froze, breaking serpentine belt"

Randall M., CO (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Harmonic Balancer on the front of the engine failed and caused the accessory belts to fail as well. I have never had this happen on any car (including high mileage cars) and have never heard of it happening on any other car. VERY UNUSUAL!"

Raymond S., ME (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Replaced idler pulley 5 years ago. Replaced the tensioner pulley this year"

Anonymous, NH (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Engine knock or ping

"valve adjustment, nosie on start up"

Steven K., WA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Oil leaks

"Head gaskets failed and were replaced"

James S., TX (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Valve cover leak. Very expensive to replace on the 6-cycle engine"

Anonymous, SC (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Gaskets were replaced on the valve covers and the transmission. In the past the head gaskets (2) had to be replaced twice, with no dealer assistance. Apparently a design defect."

Edward W., NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Leaks oil from the engine camshaft seals"

Anonymous H., TX (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"We were required to replace the head gaskets on the engine, which is common for this model year. However, within the last 3 months (approximately 2 years after head gasket replacement) there appears to be oil leakage from the right front of the engine block. This has not been diagnosed, but the leak is approximately one quart every three months"

Anonymous, AL (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Slow leak of transmission fluid"

Ronald H., MA (2004 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

Calipers

"had a full brake service about 3 years ago, within last 3 months had to have a brake job done again, calipers stick and over heat the wheels"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Over a very short period of time I had to have all 4 calipers replaced due to their freezing up. Now one very harsh salty winter later, I seem to be developing the same issues again"

Anonymous, NH (2004 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"caliper slider siezed on left rear and on one side of the right rear"

Paul B., ON (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Normal routine brake wear

"Brake pads front and rear needed replacement, rotors were turned, but not replaced"

Anonymous, AK (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

"My brakes seem to need replace often. The Subaru parts that were on the car when I bought lasted longer than the parts being use now"

Anonymous, PA (2004 Subaru Outback 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Pulsation or vibration

"Brakes seem to wear out quickly in this model and in my 2001 Outback."

Anonymous, CT (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rotors

"When this car was sold to me they told me it was a good car. It wasn't and it is junk. The steering rack was leaking and also the rotors started squeaking"

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"rusted through"

Edward H., WA (2004 Subaru Outback)

"It was normal wear and tear"

Nikki R., MD (2004 Subaru Outback)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Clutch replacement

"Clutch Life is shorter than expected in noon-highway driving"

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"126,000 miles seems reasonable. Replacement parts cost seems high. The secondary market is a problem. Overall the maintenance cost have been reasonable"

Anonymous, PA (2004 Subaru Outback)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

"Dealership said I needed a new transmission and clutch. This is the first vehicle, manual or automatic, which I had problems with that required this much repair, and it was my most expensive auto repair ever. Also, had problems later with this dealer"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"tried rebuilding but did not work, so replaced"

Anonymous, MA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"While making tight turns, either left or right, the wheels would bind and drag. After we noticed this it was pointed out by the mechanic that the transmission was not allowing the wheels to turn at different rates around bends which led to dragging of one of the rear wheels in tight turns, and was likely causing accelerated wear on the tires during high speed turns. We replace the transmission at a cost of approximately $3000 with labor included"

Anonymous, AL (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Slippage from second drive range to third drive range. This is the first major problem I have had with the six Subaru vehicles we have owned and I will make Subaru our next new vehicle purchase. I appreciate the safety improvements I saw in 3000 mile use of a loaner from my dealer"

Wayne T., LA (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

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

What Owners Say

Overheating

"The car overheats after traveling around 20 minutes at highway speeds. We keep thinking the problem has been solved but it hasn't yet. We live in a rural area so cannot drive the car for distances we need to until we get this fixed. It's the first time the Outback has been unreliable but with over 315,000 miles on it, we're thankful it's still a great car otherwise."

Anonymous, IN (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Radiator

"Radiator base is plastic and split. I had replaced the radiator at least once before, so this part seems to not hold up well"

Glen M., PA (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Water pump

"Leaking, needs replaced"

Anonymous H., TX (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Water pump failure leading to overheating. Had to replace water pump"

Anonymous, WV (2004 Subaru Outback 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.

What Owners Say

CD player

"cd's will not play"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Display screen difficult to see

"one of the lights in the dashboard is out or has a short"

Anonymous, CO (2004 Subaru Outback 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

"You cannot hear anything even though the radio shows you are tuned into a station"

Anonymous, WV (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Speakers

"The front speakers kept on cutting out, necessitating a visit to the audio people to see what was up. Apparently very common in Subarus where the wires to the speakers get detached by the opening of the window. They attached the wires more solidly to"

Anonymous, NH (2004 Subaru Outback H6 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

Slipping transmission

"Rumble from transmission. Slips when starting up"

Harry L., CO (2004 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Transmission leaks

"Had to have gasket replaced. They use a filler/adhesive rather than a gasket."

Edward W., NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"First noticed an oil leaking smell after parking car or when stationary. Noticed a slight oily film on driveway. I inspected the undercarriage for possible oil leak, but found oily residue covering the lower rear of the engine and front of transmission. Oil level was fine, transmission fluid level was beneath the low level mark. Added ATF up to full mark (following Subaru Service Manual methodology) transmission performance improved, an a low level growl abated. In the process of locating leak a"

John M., NJ (2004 Subaru Outback Limited 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

Locks and latches

"rear handle needs lubricated often"

Anonymous, PA (2004 Subaru Outback H6 LL Bean 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Seat controls - movement

"seat controls work for up and down but won't more back and forth. It seems to be stuck in forward and since I have long legs I am crunched up driving."

Anonymous, CA (2004 Subaru Outback)
Windows

"Always loosening over time to the point of rattling if not in the full up or down position"

Anonymous, CT (2004 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

"First alternator replacement in this car"

Bill B., FL (2004 Subaru Outback Base 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
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