possible reasons of engine shut down during stop in subaru outback

Asked by Nov 18, 2015 at 10:08 PM about the 2012 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

2012 subaru outback repeated engine shut down while coming to a stop or
fast braking

22 Answers


Have you changed your plugs and air filter lately?

2 people found this helpful.

It's the CVT! But before you cry ensure that your battery is fully charged and that you don't have a vacuum leak that's submerging the idle control when in Drive or Reverse. But the classic failure mode of the CVT is engine stalling after braking. Replacement of valve body is about the cost of swapping a used CVT (2k+), so I'd have a serious conversation with Subie in NJ soon!

1 people found this helpful.

Note: '12 plugs are iridium-tipped. Likelihood of plugs causing lost idle is nil. Same with clogged air filter, as air requirements at idle are very low. Again, check battery condition and connections (clean em?!)...or even try a new battery, as they last 3-6 winters...before chasing SOA for a new CVT.


yakster- just curious, I have a 2010 Subaru Outback with CVT transmission and over 73,000 miles on my car. I haven't had any issues, just how many miles are on your car and can you please describe in what situations this occurs, does it happen at all stops or just sudden stops. Many years ago, I had an 85 T-Bird with this problem and it turned out to be the harmonic balancer. I don't know, maybe, the SubaruGuru in Boston knows if these cars even have a harmonic balancer, although he sounds pretty confident about the failure of the valve body in the CVT transmission. So, how many miles and do you drive this in the mountains or other strenuous situations? Please advise.

1 people found this helpful.

Here's a story for you from car complaints, read the attachment below,

3 people found this helpful.

Don't know, but, could this help, see this link below, http://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/saving-dying-cvt- torque-converter-234085.html

8 people found this helpful.

No so rare. Tip 'o the iceberg, Mark.

2 people found this helpful.

TheSubaruGuruBoston- that's interesting. A few years ago a mechanical engineer told me that the new CVT transmission were simpler, better designed, and more efficient and durable than conventional automatic transmissions. And, Subaru has decided to change all of their old 5EAT transmissions to the new Lineartonic CVT. It's been six years now since the introduction of the Subaru Legacy and Outback models with CVT. You would think that if this were a major problem, then, Subaru might not have switched from the old to the new transmission? Your thoughts on why they did this?

1 people found this helpful.

TheSubaruGuruBoston, have you personally seen a lot of people bringing in their cars to your shop with CVT transmission issues? I understand that, in most cases, the only option is to just replace the entire thing, very expensive! I'm grateful to you for suggesting that I get the fluid exchange. Hopefully, that will reduce the risk of failure in my car. I wonder how many people ignore this. Just because it only says to "inspect " the CVT transmission fluid, doesn't mean that you shouldn't have it changed as routine maintenance.

1 people found this helpful.

+10-15% fuel eco.


My 2006 Outback was stalling randomly while driving anywhere from 20-40 miles per hour. I took it in 5 times, put mechanics couldn't diagnose it. The car wasn't exhibiting the problem and the codes weren't specific enough until...... The code for the "cam shaft position sensor" failing started to appear. My mechanic replaced the sensor and problem solved. This was the spring of 2017, about 6 months ago, and it's still good to go.

1 people found this helpful.

Not pertinent to newer iterations.

I just took my 2001 out back in for this issue. The issue is the torque converter. There is an extended warranty is available so get in the dealer asap. They also gave me a free loaner 2018 Crosstreck free for the duration of the repair.


Don't think you mean 2001....


Seems like you meant 2011. Good that SOA's covering it.

Yes, 2011, sorry about that. I got carried away. Also I am having a heat shield replaced that rattles like crazy. Non-warranty item of course, but I found nothing was really covered under the warranty I bought with the car anyways. I hate people had trouble with their CVTs, but glad it was a big enough problem they would pay for it.

2018 Outback Touring: 3 Months Old: 2400 Miles HELP!!! HELP!!! in Auto mode approx 35mph braking to approx 25mph on a straight away AND car stalled then shut off. This happened on a rainy morning in traffic while taking my child's to school. At the dealership now and although they are looking at it upon my insistance, I was not made to feel they understand the safety RISKS of a family car stalling and shutting off with a child inside. Not sure if related: constantly feels like the car is lugging at speeds up to 35mph'ish AND constantly engine braking while coasting. Averaging 16.2mpg for approx 2100miles. Dealership said this is normal for CVT and implied I need to get used to it. I do not feel safe in this car. Is there anything someone can educate me on that I can share with my service department to direct them to correctly diagnose and address the issue to ensure this gets fixed right so my confidence can be restored. I can't afford another car.


Really does sound like an out-of-box CVT failure; try a second Subaru dealer if necessary. Might just be the TCM (the CVT's computer) as well. RSVP when done.

When I was driving and came to a stop or driving uphill, my 2012 Outback came to a complete engine shut down.This happen for three weeks in 2012. We went to, Saburu and they pay 100% for the torque converter and labor.



TheSubaruGuruBoston, The dealer did an ECM update. The invoice does not state why the ECM was updated. Playing detective: According to one complaint on the NHTSA there was a low fuel indicator problem last year. Maybe that was the the update. Having an IT background, it is hard for me to see how the manufacturer and dealer would release a product without updates. That's like buying a new HP laptop from Costco with Windows 2007. It is worth noting the person waited 7 months to report it. However, a faulty fuel gauge still doesn't explain low fuel mileage (16.1 MPG), the feeling of lugging, and the feel of block shifting to early while coasting. I scheduled another appointment to leave the car for testing. I mentioned what you pointed out but it was dismissed and he said his technicians will diagnose. Also TheSubaruGuruBoston, would you happen to be a mechanic? The service guy asked me and I didn't know how to answer. In a way I understand the dealer is between a rock and a hard place when supporting lemons or faulty design. I hope they understand my perspective AND still act as my advocate to Subaru. I strongly feel when a car shuts off while driving your child in the rain is not only a high safety risk but the main function of a car has been compromised. It's like I bought a refrigerator that will keep food cold most of the time AND will fail unexpectedly at undetermined times. Am I asking to much of Subaru to have supplied me with a car that does not shut off?


Yes, I'm an ivy-educated mechanical engineer who decided to play with Subarus 35 years ago after a mini-career in lab equipment design. Life has its bends and twists.... Is the lagging and engine-breaking really continuous...and significant? (You may have to both drive a clone to compare AND have others experience your phenomena to rule out naivety wrt to CVT sound correlation weirdness. YET, Subie's modern CVT is especially smooth and almost intuitive, so you might indeed have an out-of-box failure (bad torque converter or its brain) that will get swapped out. These CVTs coast really well. Your reported 16.2mpg only makes sense for strict city use with the larger 3.6i motor. A 2.5i WILL average 26mpg in a mixed use. When driving at 55 mph it WILL touch 30+mpg. Go to a smarter Subaru service department if you have to, as I'm smelling a bad CVT from here in Beantown.

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