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Subaru Recalls 2018 Outback, Legacy; You Could Run Out Of Fuel

Subaru is recalling all 2018 Outback and 2018 Legacy models. See why the cars could run out of fuel.

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Subaru of America is recalling all 2018 Outback SUVs and 2018 Legacy sedans due to a faulty fuel gauge which could cause the driver to run out of fuel and the car to stall on the road. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) says 228,648 vehicles are affected in the US.

The Outback and Legacy models are being recalled due to a software error. The low fuel warning light may not illuminate at the intended remaining fuel level and the miles-to-empty display may incorrectly indicate a positive number despite the tank being empty. This is also part of a larger global recall affecting all 2018 Subaru Outback and Legacy models.

The U.S. recall includes all 2018 model year Legacy vehicles (43,064). The recall population includes all 2018 model year Outback vehicles. The number of affected Outback vehicles in the U.S. is 185,584. All U.S. Outback and Legacy vehicles are built at the Subaru Indiana Automotive plant in Lafayette, Indiana and produced between February 1, 2017 through August 17, 2018.

Subaru is recommending as a precaution, all 2018 Outback and Legacy owners keep at least one-quarter tank of gas in the vehicle until the repairs have been made.

Owners will be notified within 60 days and the recall began November 1, 2018. If reprogramming tools are not available by that time, owners will be notified that the repair is not yet available and they will be re-notified once it is. Subaru dealers will reprogram the combination meter software, free of charge. 2018 Subaru Outback and Legacy owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-844-373-6614. Subaru's number for this recall is WTW-82.

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Ed B (not verified)    November 9, 2018 - 8:33AM

The recent recalls are mind-numbing. Growth indeed plays a role in Subaru's failure to produce consistent quality throughout its' carlines. Frankly, I'm concerned as we start to see the 2019 models hit the street. I hope Subaru gets its' act together. They are still a fairly small manufacturer but attention to detail and quality seem to have fallen pray to their current build it for the masses production stance. QC should be at the forefront. While rapid growth is one component of their problems, they need reassess how they bring product to market and fix the problems before the cars leave the plants. There is an inherent breakdown of quality and that may force potential buyers to seek other alternatives - even their long-term customers may be challenged moving forward to embrace the brand and new products. I know my confidence is shaken to a degree. I understand recalls are normala and at the end of the day these are machines. However, QC is a lingering concern and there are problems at Subaru which they need to address ASAP.

Ralph Engel (not verified)    November 16, 2018 - 5:26PM

In reply to by Ed B (not verified)

Decreased quality control at Subaru really is an issue. I had a 2014 Outback 6R for four years, and during that time it had one--repeat, one--warranty repair, and it was minor. Everything worked. Then I traded it in for the same car, 2018 year, because of the improved safety features and headlights, and by now my new car can find its own way to the Subaru dealer--it's been there so many times. Monday the dealer is supposed to replace the entire radio-GPS unit, as to which the GPS malfunctions regularly--if only I could stop the radio from coming on every time I start the car, an idiotic feature perhaps designed for teenagers, few of whom probably (willingly) drive Outbacks?

Michael Dysart (not verified)    July 16, 2019 - 3:56PM

In reply to by Ed B (not verified)

Recently had the software update on my Outback, but IT IS NOT RIGHT. When my gauge gets down to 60 miles the digital readout will turn to all dashes - - - - - -. I now have no idea how much gas is in the tank. When the gauge read empty...I had no more gas in the tank. Something is not right. I stay on the road and find this very disturbing.

Signe (not verified)    November 12, 2018 - 9:57PM

Ran out of gas three times. This is bad. However, not as bad as the 2018 Starlink head unit. I have no words for how bad this thing is. Subaru will not do anything about it.

Frank (not verified)    November 14, 2018 - 4:15PM

Previously a devoted Toyota owner, thought I'd try the Outback based on consumer reviews and recommendations from family. It's becoming to be a disappointment. I won't begin to suggest the source of the problems, but I suspect the IT applications to automotive technology are out of control.

Carl C (not verified)    December 12, 2018 - 9:02PM

2018 Legacy owner. I ran out of gas twice. Was told to fill it when it gets to a 1/4 tank. I drive 200-400 miles every work week. This is not an acceptable remedy.
Starlink is awful.
Still have not received a recall notice.
I wish I had my 2011 Outback back.

Ralph Engel (not verified)    December 14, 2018 - 3:57PM

My dealer, Rye Subaru, just replaced the radio-navigation system; so far is is no better than the old one was. I asked about the recall for the faulty gas gauge system and was told that it has not yet been issued. The electronics on the 2018 Outback are remarkably poor--I have no idea why Consumer Reports did not report that as a problem with the car when CR reviewed the car.

Richfng (not verified)    January 14, 2019 - 4:37PM

Head Units seem to be a bigger problem for Subaru. I got the Black Screen of Death on our 2018 Outback "Infotainment" screen 2 weeks ago, back up camera doesn't even work now. Now dealer says they have NO estimated availability date for any Head Units for their customers...…

eleanor (not verified)    January 20, 2019 - 6:36PM

This is disgusting- Subaru puts a new fuel gauge system into 2 of its models (and it is a lousy system to start with) and then senda recall notices, BUT they haven't either figured put how to fix the huge problem or just have not assembled the new system. This is a dangerous problem- your car stalls on a hwy with no warning? These are all new 2018 cars and this is despicable. Shame on Subaru- I will never buy another car from them and I am telling everyone I know how Subaru has failed to fix a bad problem. Yes, car manufacturuers have glitches, but to not have it fixed, and to take their sweet time to fix problem, is gross. Probably because it is so expensive a fix.They should be giving everyone affected free loaners or trade ins at original cost because they have failed to fix this awful probllem.

Mary Lou (not verified)    January 22, 2019 - 10:34AM

Why did it take over a year for Subaru to admit there was a problem with the gas gauge? Was it because they were worried it would negatively impact their sales during the 2018 year? And if the gas gauge is displaying inaccurate fuel levels (higher than reality) and higher miles remaining, does this mean that the miles per gallon reading is also inaccurate? I have to believe it is!!! I have t believe the 25 miles per gallon reading I get in my car must be over exaggerated as well. Did I buy a car that was has a gas mileage of much lower than advertised ? Could this also be the reason why Subaru is taking so long to find a fix...because in addition to inaccurate fuel gaige displays, the cars are not getting significantly less gas mileage than was promised their customers?

halnwheels (not verified)    February 23, 2019 - 7:06AM

This conversation about the fuel gauge issue is highlighting the frustration Subaru owners are having with automotive information technology in general. But this could be even a fuel sender issue in the tank that could plague any vehicle made in the last 40 years. Nevertheless, I'll stick with my 2008 Outback that already has enough technology for me. I am not looking for the day when the car I buy will have a flat panel screen. Ugh!

Pan li (not verified)    July 11, 2019 - 4:14AM

Hi guys! my Subaru Outback the following situation Subaru of America and the dealer said is normal. But I don’t think so. I want to ask u guy is this normal? my cal two time run out of gas two times on street and two times all emergency light and eyesight disable..... I complain many time, I ask return the car but they just help me fix. Now the car still like the following situation.
I filled full tank of gas on Sunday morning, after I filled full tank of gas the miles to empty display is 450 miles ( I took a picture ) then I set the travel A to 0. On that moment the odometer is 37963.
After I drive 16.6 miles the empty display change to 460
After I drive 26.8 miles the empty display change to 470
After I drive 39.8 miles the empty display change to 490
After I drive 48.4 miles the empty display change to 470
After I drive 53.9 miles the empty display change to 460
After I drive 57.9 miles the empty display change to 450, odometer is 38019
After I drive 79.5 miles the empty display change to 430,
Odometer is 38041
Above number all I have pictures
So I think this is not correct, because the number can not more the I filled out full tank of gas after I drive 39.8 miles or I drive 57.9 miles same as when I filled up full tank of gas

Michelle (not verified)    October 10, 2019 - 4:40PM

2105 Outback. Starlink froze up 4 weeks ago, so no radio or backup camera. I was told the radio is fried. Then the driver control for passenger window stopped working. A few days ago, as I was driving on a highway, the vehicle decelerated when I pressed the gas pedal. Managed to somehow get over three lanes of traffic without causing an accident as the car sputtered to a stop and died. Fuel level was 1/4 tank and I had driven about 4 hours on that tank. Wouldn’t start, so had it towed. At dealership, it started again. Was told it was a faulty fuel sensor, that I really only had 1/4 gallon in tank, and all other problems are unrelated. Subaru isn’t what it used to be. Oh, almost forgot about an axle going last year!