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2010 Outback steering wheel shaking and hesitation



  • thor14thor14 Posts: 17
    No one really seems to know the actual number of cars affected. I too was worried about purchasing one with a steering shake, but like you mentioned, it was hard not to ignore the high amount of sales. Every time I looked at one on the lot, it was gone with a week or two. I also recognized that things on the web can get blown out of proportion a bit. To this day, I have not seen a report on the steering shake outside of the blogs. I believe the steering shake is a real issue, but I think many cars have a potential for problems of some sort or another.

    After much deliberation, I decided that I would thoroughly test drive an Outback and if it did not shake, I would take it home. And thats what I did, and I have not looked back. Some people have reported that their Outback developed the shakes later on, but again, I decided I would accept that chance.

    Like many other people, I love this car and I am glad that I was not scared away from it.

    Best of luck to you and your decision.
  • bergkamp11bergkamp11 Posts: 4
    edited November 2010
    Thanks for the reply. It's hard to get an idea of the statistics. 1%, 5%, 10% ? Obviously for anyone affected the odds don't matter anymore and I have a lot of sympathy.

    Subaru claims 66,384 outback sales for 2010 through September, which is on pace for approx 90,000 cars in 2010.

    Suppose say 500 cars have/develop the problem? (total guess from amount of forum posts. Please correct me if this is a bad estimate).
    That would be just over 0.5%.

    I guess I'm weighing that against dropping another $10,000+ for an audi a4.
  • I just purchased my Subaru Outback 1779 miles ago. I have recently become MORE aware of the shaking in the steering wheel at speeds at and above 65 MPH. It almost feels as though the tires or the wheels are out of round. I have the 17" alloys on this vehicle. It ( the vibration ) really comes alive at 70 to 80 where the steering wheel really vibrates a lot. I also have noticed that a vibration or "Pulse" is evident at slower, driveway speed while just slightly turning the wheel in either direction, which makes me think it is in the Rack Assembly or Power Steering pump. I am wondering also if this "vibration" is the cause of the small plastic "pins" that hold the sound deadening material to the hood disappearing as I have so far lost 5 of them in the first 1000 miles. I had to pay for these myself as the Dealer said I must be slamming the hood down too hard. Right. I now own a Vehicle that shakes apart on itself? Also have a clear coat paint peeling going on but that's a different problem. I have seen no bulletin for this from Subaru and my dealer says they can't feel it at all when they test drive it They can't feel it but they only go on city streets. I told them to take it home and drive the Interstate or I'll take 'em for a ride. Other than the annoying shaking at speeds I love the thing, although I am also just beginning to notice a "LAG" when accelerating from a dead stop when it is just warmed up. Seems to bog down a bit then go like normal.
    Kinda wish I had kept my Volvo wagon I traded in on it. It was SO smooth and peppy but the Warranty was almost out so...there ya go!
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    It is simply not possible to know presently how many of these shakers there are but the number is appreciable.

    If it were me, I would walk and consider the Forester or new Jeep GC, both great cars.

    The new OB is for the gambler. I've heard it's Kenny Rogers' favorite vehicle!!! (Tongue-in-cheek!)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I wonder if there is a poll somewhere, so it could actually be measured.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    There are lots of polls at but they are not scientifically constructed, double-blinded studies and so are not statistically valid. What they do do however is let it be known that there are lots of shakers on the road. We are not talking about a few dozen cars here and there and the abnormal ones probably number in the thousands.
  • I've had a 2011 Outback 2.5 since August. I noticed the shaking at highway speed the first time I drove any distance. It's gotten better with a tire rebalance, but I still feel like I'm fighting oversteer and understeer at highway speeds. Need to make lots of minor adjustments. It's fatiguing, and dangerous in a crosswind. I thought I was the only one with this problem until I checked here and at this weekend. So I guess it's not my imagination. Mine isn't as bad as what some others report, but I'm considering taking the financial loss and getting rid of the car. It's very disappointing to invest $30,000 and get a car that's not fun to drive. My dealership also poohed poohed my complaint about the lag in acceleration out of a coasting stop, but come to think of it, I don't think it has done that since I last took it in. Maybe they secretly fixed it for me. I'm going to stick with this car and not try and put too many miles on it and see if they can come up with a fix. Otherwise, it's just another in a series of bad luck that I've been experiencing this year.
  • clarkkentclarkkent Posts: 154
    edited December 2010
    "The AWD capability is also second to none. If it's possible to get through it, Subaru will do it! "


    Subaru has a great AWD system for the size of car it is. It may be the best "in it's class" but that is not saying much if you live where you get 10 to 12" of snow all the time. If you put a Subaru in 10 to 12" of snow it goes nowwhere!

    It gets stuck due to: #1 Not enough power and #2 Not enough ground clearance.

    I have had 5 Subies and have one now. They are great for snow and ice on plowed roads. If you have over 10" of snow I leave the Subie in the garage (as it is worthless. (power and clearance). If the snow is 10" I take one of my Jeeps which will go through up to 14" without much trouble. If the snow gets over 10", power Is much more important than clearance. A Jeep has the power (and a low range) Subies do not.

    And don't even talk about off raod or mud if your driving a Subie. You need an AWD with Power that a Subie doesn't have.

    That being said, I always sent my kids to college in a Subie, and that is all my wife drives when we have less than 10" of snow (as long as she stay on the roads.)


  • drdkdrdk Posts: 11
    I own a 2005 Forester XT and got through way over 10 inches of snow. I have Firestone Winterforce studded snow tires on the car and that is what made the difference. A Ford Expedition with all season tires was stuck on the same road and I went right by him. I was bottoming out a bit, but the Forester kept going. My son has an Impreza at college with 4 Bridgestone Blizzaks on it for the winter in New England.
    By the way, I almost bought a 2011 Outback 3.6 R Limited, but due to the potential problems with the shaking, purchased an Acura RDX instead.The RDX has "asymmetrical AWD" which Honda calls Super Handling AWD. I have purchased Pirelli Snow and Ice snow tires from the Tire Rack for the RDX and plan to use them this winter. If the Outback?Legacy steering wheel shaking problem becomes common knowledge in the years ahead, the resale value of the affected Subarus will be poor.
  • I bought a 2011 2.5 Outback and felt some shaking after a couple of hundred miles. I was worried I had a lemon, but I just took it in to the dealer for my first oil change and they had a TSB about the issue. It took longer in the shop than just an oil change should have taken, but for Thanksgiving I drove my Outback from DC to Maine and back with no problems at all. Drove like a dream (and I got 30 mpg!). Since then I drive about 70 miles a day to and from work and still no issues. I am very happy with my Subaru, the ride, and the gas mileage! :)
  • One more update - I took my 2011 Outback 2.5 in for its first oil change and there as a TSB on the shaking. The dealer took care of it at no charge (also covered the oil change for me). I just drove from DC to Maine and back with no issues at all. Drove like a dream. And I got over 30 mpg!
  • drdkdrdk Posts: 11
    Glad to hear the TSB took care of the problem. I hope it never comes back.
    I just didn't want to take the chance, so I got a different car.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I've also driven on 10" of snow and got around OK, but tightly packed snow that high would give problems because you could high center.

    I think the worst conditions I've driven in was 22" on the ground, unplowed. This was last winter during the Mid-Atlantic blizzard. I have to go pick up my daughter, about a mile away. I made it all the way until there was a steep up hill, just 100 yards from the house. I had to use a shovel a little bit, then I made it.

    Going back was easy because I followed my own tracks.

    Just be careful and take a shovel with you! The more capable, the farther you are from help should you get stuck!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    The more capable, the farther you are from help should you get stuck!

    Haha! That's for sure!
  • drdkdrdk Posts: 11
    Last winter in NY, we had a 20 in storm and our road was unplowed for 2 days. That is the snow I got through. If it had been 20 inches packed, I would have not even attempted it. Besides 4 good snow tires, I always have a survival kit in the car with shovel, food, blankets etc in case I get in trouble. I have never needed it, but I agree it is best to be prepared.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    I stand corrected. Now that you have illuminated us (not entirely incorrectly, I might add) we can add mediocre AWD to the shaking characteristic.

    I intend to obliterate both characteristics with my 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland with Terrain Select and and Quadra-Lift suspension, and of course, Quadra-Drive II AWD. And of course it will not shake!

    Did I mention the interior looks like a million bucks with that gorgeous saddle leather?

    And for those still harping on Jeep reliability of old, don't even bother. The 2011 is a brand new game and could hardly be worse than the new Outbacks, now could it?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not really fair - how much did that cost? Different price class, above the Tribeca's even.

    For what it's worth, and I know to many it's not worth much, the Tribeca scored higher overall in the Consumer Reports' tests.

    Also, the Grand Cherokee "tended to skitter and hop sideways" when you exceed lateral limits they described as "mediocre". Ouch.

    I expect a recall from Jeep for the stability control failure, to be honest. Jeep has its own set of problems, IMHO far worse than a little shimmy on a few Outbacks.

    Before people scream bias, let's remember when the Lexus GX did this they plastered a huge "do not buy" on that model, while Jeep is getting a 2nd chance with an upcoming test of the V8 model.

    The Outback is not perfect, but is any vehicle?
  • I just wrote to Subaru about the SW Shaking problem.

    Here is an actual copy of their resonse. (as far as they are concerned, there in little or no problem with the SW shaking.

    Thank you for your recent e-mail to Subaru of America, Inc. We appreciate you taking the time to contact us.
    As a company, we carefully monitor warranty claims and quality survey comments to watch for any trends or concerns that can lead to customer dissatisfaction. The process we have established works well for us and in turn, it is helpful to our customers. Because of the number of various web sites out there, we cannot monitor the activity in them or report on anything that may be seen there.

    While the information presented on internet sites is broad, our needs are more specific than what is supplied there. For example, we would need to track owner information, vehicle identification numbers, production dates, etc. An open public posting forum is not the best place for a customer to include this information in the interest of safety and privacy.

    Please be assured that Subaru is very committed to customer satisfaction. We take a very proactive position if we become aware of a concern via our tracking methods or by monitoring owner contacts.

    We have received a very small number of customer contacts about a vibration issue with the 2010 and 2011 Outback and Legacy models. We are working very closely with our dealers concerning this issue and our engineers are working very hard for a resolution. Please also know that we have heard from many more 2010 and 2011 Outback owners telling us how much they "LOVE" their Subaru.

    At this time, we would recommend that you go to your local Subaru dealer and test drive the specific vehicle that interests you. As always, take it on a thorough test drive on local roads and highways to determine how the vehicle performs in various conditions. I think you will be pleased with the results and hope that you will become a member of the Subaru family.

    Also, if for any reason you experience concerns after you purchase our dealers are there to assist you in any way that they can.

    Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us again. Thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns.

    Nancy Quinn
    Subaru of America, Inc
    Customer Dealer Services


    What a shame that Subaru is trying to sweep this under the rug as Toyota did their problems.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    More concerns with the Jeep Grand Cherokee: st/

    We experienced some disconcerting behavior in the Jeep when it unsettled a bit as we turned starboard to make the corner, as if the rear suspension was oscillating both vertically and somewhat laterally as well

    And that's a well-received vehicle. Like I said, nothing's perfect.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    If you get your car info from Consumer Reports you are in worse shape than the badly designed Outback.

    The New Jeep Grand Cherokee, especially the Limited and and Overland models, are running rings around the competition. The "skittering and hopping" are hardily indicative of the frequency of the shaking of literally hundreds, perhaps of thousands of Outbacks, which defective vehicle Subaru interestingly continues to sell (perhaps they need the money).

    You also might be interested in the fact the JGC is safer than the Outback. She for details.

    Give e the new Jeep Grand Cherokee over the "gambler's" Otback any day!
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