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2010 Outback steering wheel shaking and hesitation



  • fem38fem38 Posts: 1
    seems as thou you need a new mechanic more likely lol

    that is strange as you say he specializes in subaru"s
  • Have a 2010 Outback Limited with 1,000 miles on it and the steering/tire balance is perfect. No problems here.
  • funny, so far on my car they road force balanced the tires 2 times, alignment 2 times, changed a spring in the steering rack and the vibration and drifting on the highway continues. from the service department i also understand this issue is fairly common but as of yet they have not found a fix.. this issue has been raised to Subaru of America so I can only assume that they have qualified mechanics searching for a fix.
  • Hi everyone. I ordered a 3.6R Outback Limited on 12/26/09. The last of my VIN is 61,145 and it should be here in a couple of weeks. I'm going to test drive the car at varied speeds and road surfaces watching for the front wheel shake. I saw a 3.6R Outback on the dealer lot today and could not help but notice there were three times the amount of tire weights on the front wheels than the rear. There was a good nine inches of stick on weights on the outer edge and about eight inches of the hammer on type weights on the inner edge. Is it possible there is something out of whack with the front discs and Subaru is spin balancing the front tires while on the car? I have never seen that many tire weights on a passenger car wheel. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    There are machines that balance wheels with a load on the tire. Those are better than the free-spinning ones with no load. Ask if they can perform that service.
  • this is no mistake. my car had simillar weights and it was an attempt to mask the fairly prevelant wheel shake in the car. note that the excess weights do not fix the problem and that Subaru has had my brand new car into the service dept 5 times trying to fix this. Be leary of any of the Subarus with this amount of weights. Also note that it appears the problem in these cars may be isolated to the Indiana produced vehicles.. Hope this helps
  • ianc435ianc435 Posts: 10
    Request a road force test/balance. Machine applies load to tire and measure runout and balances. It formulates optimal tire position on the car.
  • bbragebbrage Posts: 1
    I have just leased a 2010 outback, steering wheel shakes at 50-70mph, especially on smooth roads. Dealership road balanced 2 or 3 times, recalibrated their machine that does that, tried different tires, and it still does it. 2011 I test drove after does it also. I notice when taking a turn steering likes to snap back to straight,is that normal?? I'm coming from a bmw and this is very different. I like the car, but will not settle for all this in a new vehicle.
  • Just for the record, Subaru has recently issued the TSB for those with the steering wheel vibration/shaking issue. The new TSB is numbered 05-48-10. It's too involved to describe fully, but consists of some new engine mount inserts, suspension bushings for both front and rear, a stiffer little spring inside of the steering rack (this part was being done already in some cases), and a new steering wheel with some form of damping device that actually gets attached to the new steering wheel. Note that there is also a companion TSB (issued a little while ago), numbered 05-50-10, that basically discusses road force balancing as a first step to take. It is not clear if Subaru will do the more involved fixes for anyone who asks or complains - it may be that they reserve the right to decide if your car is exhibiting the problem or not (I'm not sure about this last part, as the TSB and the required parts kit are just being rolled out, and owners who had previously tried to have their issues addressed are receiving first priority.

    More details can be found here: eering-wheel-shake-288.html
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    Thanks! That's an impressive repair - 4.7 hours of warranty time. I don't think I have seen a TSB that included that much labor!
  • thor14thor14 Posts: 17
    I have been doing my research and had settled on getting a 2.5 Outback in the coming months, but all this talk of the steering shimmy (especially on is making me suspicious.

    In the meantime, I have the guy from Toyota calling me weekly to sell me a 2010 Highlander at a great price, with great financing, that will supposedly end this month as the 2011s come in.

    Obviously, Toyota has had their problems, but I have some confidence that they have been corrected and I still believe Toyotas are reliable/long lasting vehicles. The postings related this steering shimmy are bewildering and confusing. Plus, there seems to be no solution as of yet.

    What do you all think? Is this steering shimmy on the Outback a real issue that warrants looking at other vehicles?

    I would sure feel like an idiot if I spent $25,000 on an Outback next month and the think starting shaking every time I got on the highway.

    I would appreciate any thoughts.

  • prigglypriggly Posts: 643
    I have been following the shaky Outback issue for months. I, too, have been considering the acquisition of a new Outback until this problem reared its ugly head.

    According to an informal poll on the other site you mentioned, 30% of owners of the new Outback have encountered the shake issue. It is a real issue.

    Many, many "fixes" have been tried by Subaru but none has consistently worked to resolve the issue.

    Therefore, I have delayed my decision to acquire a new Outback until such time as the problem has been definitively diagnosed and resolved. No one knows when that will be.

    As to whether to buy the Toyota, that is a personal decision and depends upon your unique circumstances and desires. In my view Toyota has a past history of quality and dependability but I have looked into a number of Toyota vehicles lately and have not been impressed with what I have found. Many of their models have been cheapened and I don't think they now possess the overall quality or dependability they once did.

    Having said that, however, I did drive a 2010 RAV4 V-6 and thought it was a great ride. What's its reliability and quality will be going forward I don't know. I have no experience with the Highlander.

    As I am not in urgent need to acquire a new vehicle at this juncture, I personally am going to wait a little longer to see if Subaru addresses and truly resolves its shaking Outback issue.

    Good fortune, Thor, in your own decision.
  • thor14thor14 Posts: 17
    Thanks for the feedback Priggly.

    I test drove a Highlander and it was very boring, BUT it handled fine, was roomy enough for my family of 4, comes with a decent engine, and it has slightly better mpg than the Pilot and CX9.

    Compared to what I have been reading about the Outback lately, maybe boring isn't such a bad thing when your spending $25,000.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 643
    I hear ya!

    In Canada, where I hail from, the cost of the 3.6R Limited Outback is $45,000, taxes and fees in and the US and CDN dollars are almost at par.

    Can you imagine buying a car at that price and getting a shaker??!

    You can see why I'm waiting for the bugs to be worked out.

    You are correct. Maybe boring is not be such a bad thing!
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 643
    Just noticed this from the Edmunds Consumer Review thread on the 2011 OB. It's the most recent review:

    Major Defect

    Written by: Bill on 07/28/2010

    Detailed Ratings

    Overall Rating
    Performance: 10 Fun-to-Drive: 6 Build Quality: 3
    Comfort: 9 Interior Design: 6 Reliability: 3
    Fuel Economy: 9 Exterior Design: 7


    2011 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited 4dr Wagon AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)


    Did a lot or research and test driving, and found the Outback met all my needs as far as comfort, performance,style and supposedly build quality. Shortly after delivery noticed a vibration/shake in the steering wheel at various speeds. Took back to the dealer and they road forced balanced the tires and said that would take care of the problem. It didn't and made it worse at highway speed. Back to the dealer, told them that problem was still there and even worse, car left with them for more testing. Did some research and found numerous complaints about this on NHTSA and on a Subaru Outback forum. I called Subaru and was told that they were aware of problem but as yet had no fix.

    Favorite Features

    Comfortable seats, good stereo, good performance.

    Suggested Improvements

    Should have corrected steering problem for the 2010 models before releasing the 2011's with the same problem. First and last Subaru unless they can correct steering. Will update if and when car gets fixed. 500 miles on the car and 2 trips to the shop. Suggest you wait for a fix before buying.

    Yep, Subaru needs to get its house in order BIG TIME.

    The word is out now about the many flawed vehicles and if this is not rectified pronto, sales will definitely suffer if they are not already doing so.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If boring describes the alternative I'd keep shopping.

    We ended up in a 2007 Sienna because the large crossovers are indeed boring, and if that's the case you may as well get the benefit of acres of interior space. Plus, vans are cheaper than crossovers.
  • john_mujohn_mu Posts: 1
    edited August 2010
    In the not to distant future I intend to order a 2011 OB, 3.6, Ltd, 5 sp. auto. Was also concerned about steering wheel vibration and a few other minor issues. Drove the demo vehicle 65 to 80mph for a few miles-then slowed down fearing an onslaught of flashing lights.

    This demo vehicle drove and rode extremely well-even better than I had expected. I experienced a reassuring road feel from the rack and pinion steering but there was no vibration in the steering wheel or the car seat. Overall, a very satisfying test drive experience.

    Some days luck just happens. When we returned to the showroom, two corporate officers from Subaru America were visiting the dealership and having a discussion at a desk in the showroom. They overheard me talking to the salesman about the oil-like smoothness of the ride and my initial concerns about the steering wheel vibration. They asked if we would mind their joining our conversation.

    They said Subaru of America was aware of this annoying and infrequent problem in the 2010 OB and that the problem has been resolved for all 2011 Outbacks. Both men were identical and certain in their remarks and very knowledgeable about even the smallest of details in the Outback.

    I was impressed with my test drive and reassured of SOA's desire to manufacture vehicles to the highest standards and solve problems as quickly as possible.


    Edit: I do not know why my post contains two sizes of type. Sorry!
    This info about the steering vibration being cured in the 2011 Outback does not jibe with the experiences of some who purchased this vehicle. I'll still wait a while longer before making my purchase.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 643
    Hello, John.

    I found your comments very interesting. You are right: when the new Outback works, it works exceedingly well with a smooth, fluid ride and a rock-steady steering wheel. I had one for a long (overnight) test drive and there was no steering problem at all on the 2010 sample that I had.

    The problem is that, according to some buyers, the shake does not show up for perhaps a thousand miles or more, which, of course, could not be determined by taking the car one was hoping to buy for a test drive.

    I am also puzzled by the comments you report from the Subaru representatives to the effect that the defect would not involve the 2011 cars as there have been reports by some buyers of the 2011s that they also experienced shaking steering wheels.

    I am in the market for a new Outback but am postponing it until this steering/suspension issue is definitively diagnosed and reproducibly resolved.
  • clarkkentclarkkent Posts: 154
    If you don't need a 4X4 (AWD) then the Toyota is for you. If you need or want a 4X4 (AWD) the Toyota SUCKS compared to the Subaru.

    If you do get the Toyota, you might want my cell # so I can come pull you out of the 2" snow drifts you will be getting stuck in. :D
  • eftiefti Posts: 2
    I have been following this issue closely because I am interested in purchasing a new Subaru Legacy or Outback. However, it is not clear to me how well the "fix" prescribed in the TSBs work and I am wondering if there is any one out there who has had their car modified in accordance with the bulletins and can report on the result. For example, has the problem been fully corrected, does the car drive differently and in what way, are they satisfied with the result and any other comments that may be useful.

    I talked to a local service manager and asked him to tell me just what is the problem. Why are "x" number of cars OK and a smaller number "y" are not when they came off the same production line? Also, why did it take so much time to finally issue a bulletin that supposedly fixes the problem? He told me it was a non-issue because Subaru would take care of the problem.I am suspicious that the manufacturing process at Lafayette has infrequently gone out of control and, as a result, some of the cars come off the line with the built in steering problems that owners have reported. And, those problems are not a matter of simply replacing a part but apparently may require a modification to the vehicle which makes it a modified Legacy/Outback and not the one the owner purchased. I am holding off on any purchase until I am fully confident that the steering problem has been solved and, hopefully, no more 2011's will have it.
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