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 8 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

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, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2004 Subaru Outback has been recalled 8 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
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Overall Reliability Verdict
Potential Trouble Spots
Engine Major
Engine Minor
Engine Cooling
Transmission Major
Transmission Minor
Drive System
Fuel System
Electric System
Climate System
Suspension
Brakes
Exhaust
Paint/Trim
Body Integrity
Body Hardware
Power Equipment
In-car Electronics
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 about 500,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2018 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.

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

“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 Unsure Unsure)

“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)
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 Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Heater system

“Cabin and floor vents do not blow warm air”

Anonymous, IA (2004 Subaru Outback Unsure 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)

Engine Major

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

What Owners Say

“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)
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 Unsure 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 Unsure 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 Unsure 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)

“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)

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 Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Exhaust leaks

“Already explained, above”

Anonymous, NY (2004 Subaru Outback)

“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)
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 Unsure Unsure)

“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)

“EGR did not pass VT inspection; parts replaced by warranty”

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

“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 Unsure 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 Unsure Unsure)

“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)

Body Integrity

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

What Owners Say

“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 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)

“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 Unsure 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)

“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)

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 Unsure)

“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)

“burned out”

Anonymous, MN (2004 Subaru Outback Base Unsure)

“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)

“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)

“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)

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

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

“getting them turned off”

Anonymous, MN (2004 Subaru Outback Base Unsure)

“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)

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

“Worn bushings cause excessive noise, rattles, squeaks, etc”

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

“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 Unsure Unsure)

“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)

“Had to replace in rear”

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

“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)

“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)

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

“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 Unsure 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)

“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)

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)

“valve adjustment, nosie on start up”

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

“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)

“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)

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

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

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

“rust and peeling paint at the wheel wells”

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

“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)

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)

“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 Unsure 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“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 Unsure 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 Unsure Unsure)

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)

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's will not play”

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

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

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

Engine Cooling

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

What Owners Say

“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 Unsure 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)

Transmission Minor

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

What Owners Say

“Rumble from transmission. Slips when starting up”

Harry L., CO (2004 Subaru Outback H6 3.0-L 6 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

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)

Compare 2004 Models

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Recalls
PROVIDED BY
AIR BAGS:PASSENGER SIDE FRONTAL
May 25 2016
An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
Summary:
Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is recalling certain model year 2003-2004 Legacy, Outback, and Baja vehicles originally sold or that have ever been registered in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or "Zone C.". These vehicles may be equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal air bag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front air bags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.
What should you do:
Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger frontal air bag inflator, free of charge. The recall began August 24, 2016. Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-856-488-8500. Subaru's number for this recall is TKC-16. Note: This recall covers vehicles that were not previously covered in 16V-358 for Zone A or 16V-359 for Zone B.
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: 16V361000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 62940
AIR BAGS:PASSENGER SIDE FRONTAL
May 25 2016
An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
Summary:
Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is recalling certain model year 2003-2004 Legacy, Outback, 2009-2011 Legacy, Outback, Forester, 2006-2011 Impreza, Tribeca, 2003-2006 Baja, and 2006 Saab 9-2x vehicles originally sold or that have ever been registered in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands, or "Zone A." These vehicles may be equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal air bag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front air bags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.
What should you do:
Subaru will notify their owners. General Motors will notify Saab owners. Dealers will replace the passenger frontal air bag inflator, free of charge. The recall began August 26, 2016. Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-856-488-8500. Saab owners may contact GM at 1-800-955-9007. Subaru's number for this recall is TKA-16.
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: 16V358000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 302127
AIR BAGS:PASSENGER SIDE FRONTAL
May 25 2016
An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
Summary:
Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is recalling certain model year 2003-2004 Legacy, Outback, 2006-2008 Impreza, Tribeca, 2006 Saab 9-2x, and 2003-2006 Baja vehicles originally sold or that have ever been registered in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, or "Zone B." These vehicles may be equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal air bag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front air bags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.
What should you do:
Subaru will notify their owners. General Motors will notify Saab owners. Dealers will replace the passenger frontal air bag inflator, free of charge. The recall began August 24, 2016. Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-856-488-8500. Subaru's number for this recall is TKB-16. Note: This notice is only for vehicles that were not covered by 16V-358 for Zone A.
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: 16V359000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 146010
AIR BAGS:PASSENGER SIDE FRONTAL
May 28 2015
In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger's frontal air bag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants potentially resulting in serious injury or death.
Summary:
Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is recalling certain model year 2003-2004 Subaru Baja vehicles manufactured January 22, 2003, to July 21, 2004, 2004-2005 Impreza vehicles manufactured January 28, 2003, to May 31, 2005, 2003-2008 Subaru Legacy vehicles manufactured January 22, 2003, to May 2, 2008, 2003-2008 Subaru Outback vehicles manufactured February 18, 2003, to May 5, 2008, and 2005 Saab 9-2x vehicles manufactured February 11, 2004, to March 17, 2005. The affected vehicles are equipped with a passenger side frontal air bag that may be susceptible to moisture intrusion which, over time, could cause the inflator to rupture upon its deployment.
What should you do:
Subaru will notify their owners and General Motors will notify Saab owners. Dealers will replace the passenger air bag inflator, free of charge. The Subaru recall began on June 17, 2015. Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-800-782-2783. The Saab recall began on July 27, 2015. Owners of Saab vehicles may call 1-800-955-9007. Subaru's number for this recall is WQR-53. Note: The recall completely supersedes recall 14V-399 (WQL-48) and partially supersedes recall 14V-763 (WQP-51) in that model year 2004 through 2005 Subaru Impreza and model year 2005 Saab 9-2x vehicles are now only part of this campaign. Note: On December 18, 2015 Subaru informed NHTSA of an expansion of this recall to include certain model year 2003-2004 Subaru Baja, 2003-2008 Subaru Legacy and 2003-2008 Subaru Outback vehicles.
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: 15V323000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 432016
AIR BAGS
Dec 01 2014
In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger¿s frontal air bag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants potentially resulting in serious injury or death.
Summary:
Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is recalling certain model year 2003-2004 Legacy and Outback vehicles, and 2003-2005 Baja vehicles sold, or ever registered, in geographic locations associated with high absolute humidity. Specifically, vehicles sold, or ever registered, in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Florida and adjacent counties in southern Georgia, as well as the coastal areas of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Upon deployment of the passenger side frontal air bag, excessive internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture.
What should you do:
Subaru will notify their owners. Dealers will replace the passenger air bag inflator, free of charge. The recall began on January 15, 2015. Owners may contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783. Subaru's number for this recall is WQP-51. Note: This recall supersedes recall 14V-471. This recall has been partially superseded by 15V-323. All 2005 model year Subaru Legacy and Outback vehicles will now be repaired under recall 15V-323.
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: 14V763000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 4175
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:DELIVERY:FUEL PUMP
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:CABLES
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
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY:FILLER PIPE AND CAP
Aug 20 2003
THIS COULD RESULT IN FUEL LEAKAGE. FUEL LEAKAGE IN THE PRESENCE OF AN IGNITION SOURCE COULD RESULT IN A FIRE.
Summary:
CERTAIN PASSENGER OR SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES MAY HAVE A LOOSE OR OUT OF POSITION FUEL FILLER HOSE CLAMP.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL INSPECT AND TIGHTEN THE CLAMP ON THE FUEL FILLER HOSE. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN AUGUST 27, 2003. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT SUBARU AT 1-800-782-2783.
For more information:
SUBARU RECALL NO. WW0-98.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: 03V303000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 7874
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