Subaru Outback 2005-2009 review

Common problems: Torn CV-boots, noisy wheel bearings and rattling exhaust heatshields are common. Check Engine light issues are fairly common too. There are quite a few complaints, including on the NHTSA website about the rear suspension-related handling issues on icy or rough roads with full load. This thread looks closely into this issue. Leaking head gaskets and oil consumption complaints are not uncommon at higher mileage.

What to look for when buying a used Subaru Outback: When you find a vehicle you are interested in, run its VIN number to check history records. Read here: how to check used car history. Unevenly worn tires may indicate a problem with the wheel alignment. Very low oil level may indicate that the engine consumes oil. Coolant smell under the hood or low coolant level might indicate a coolant leak, possible even from one of the head gaskets. For manual transmission, check the clutch operation. During the test drive, if you feel that the wheels are "binding" during turns, there is a problem with a 4WD system.

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Check if the timing belt has been replaced on a 4-cylinder engine. A humming or growling noise coming from one of the wheels could indicate a bad wheel bearing. If you notice blue smoke from the exhaust at startup, avoid the car. Watch for the "check engine" or any other warning light coming on after the engine is started; this indicates a problem. Learn more tips what to look for when buying a used car. Before making a final desicion, have the car inspected by a Subaru-experienced mechanic. Read our step-by-step used car buying guide.
Guides for used car buyers:

Maintenance: Subaru cars are very reliable in general, but you need to maintain your Subaru well to avoid problems. To keep your motor in a good shape, have your oil changed regularly. A turbocharged engine is more sensitive to the oil quality, use only a good-quality oil. Regularly check the tire pressure. The Outback's handling is sensitive to the problems with the wheel alignment, so it might be a good idea to have the four-wheel alignment done once in a while. Avoid overheating the engine; it may cause serious damage; check the coolant level periodically; keep it topped up. The 2008 Subaru Outback's owner's manual recommends using the genuine Subaru coolant. It says: Use of improper coolants may result in corrosion in the cooling system. On the 2.5L engine, the drive belt tension needs to be checked periodically and adjusted if needed. If any of the belts is loose, it will produce a whistling noise at a start-up or when turning the steering wheel to the limit. For repairs take your Subaru to a dealer or a mechanic closely familiar with Subaru products; there are many specifics.
You might also be interested:

Recalls: Safety Recalls - NHTSA or Transport Canada - Motor Vehicle Safety Recalls.
Subaru For Owners - Owner's Manuals and downloads, warranties and more. Subaru of America.

2009 Subaru Outback Specifications

Overall length:
Overall width:
Overall height:

189.0 in (4800 mm)
69.7 in (1770 mm)
63.2 in (1605 mm)
105.1 in (2670 mm)

Ground clearance:
2.5L Non-turbo:
2.5L Turbo:

8.5 in (215 mm)
8.7 in (220 mm)
8.5 in (215 mm)

Turning circle:

35.4 ft (10.8 m)

Cargo volume: 65.4 cu. ft (1851L) /with rear seats down/



2.5-liter SOHC aluminum-alloy 16-valve
horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engine
with i-Active Valve Lift System.
170 hp @ 6400 rpm
170 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

2.5-liter DOHC intercooled, turbocharged
aluminum-alloy 16-valve 4-cylinder
horizontally opposed engine
with Active Valve Control System.
243 hp @ 6000 rpm
241 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm

3.0-liter DOHC aluminum-alloy 24-valve 6-cylinder
horizontally opposed engine
with Active Valve Control System
and Active Valve Lift System.
245 hp @ 6600 rpm
215 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm

Recommended Fuel:
2.5i non-turbo:
2.5XT Turbo:

Unleaded gasoline (87 octane)
Premium unleaded gasoline (91 octane) required
Premium unleaded gasoline (91 octane) recommended

Fuel Tank Capacity:

16.9 US gallons (64.0 liters)

Engine oil capacity:

2.5L models:
3.0L models:

4.2 US qt (4.0 liters)
5.8 US qt (5.5 liters)