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2018 Outback 3.6R
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!
New user here. I recently purchased a 2018 Outback 3.6R. This is my first Subaru and first new car. I noticed a vibration in the steering wheel that I didn't feel belonged in a new car. So I decided to do some research before doing anything about it. That's how I found this site and learned about steering wheel vibration issues previous Outbacks had. That has me somewhat concerned so I'd like to ask for any suggestion on how I should approach this?

As for the vibration itself it is not very strong but is definitely there. Sometimes I also feel it in the seat. It is there even at low speeds. It doesn't change in frequency and doesn't change much with speed becoming slightly more pronounced above 40 mph. It is especially noticeable on recently paved stretches of the highway. Bumps in the road seem to drown it out but it never goes away. It's then like in addition to what I feel from the imperfections in the road. I'm concerned due to possible problems from this in the future. I could probably tune it out but it's at a frequency that makes my hands feel like they're going numb. Never experienced anything like it in my previous cars. Otherwise I like it. The ride is smooth (except for that vibration) and the car tracks straight. One other thing I noticed is kind of a booming sound when making left or right turns with the steering wheel in extreme positions. But maybe that's something specific to 4 WD? I never owned a 4WD vehicle before.
 

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2017 3.6R Limited with Eye Sight
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659 Posts
Most likely one or more wheels are out of balance.

If you are somewhere that just had wet snow, it can clump in the wheels and cause a horrible vibration.
 

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2018 Outback 2.5 Limited w/ Eyesight - Magnetite Gray
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71 Posts
First, welcome to the forum and to Subaru! I'm on my second one and love the versatility, capability, and value the Outback provides. However, I also find myself in the same conundrum as you.

I have a thread started, and also chimed in on another regarding my vibration / drone. I have had alignment checked, wheels balanced, road force checked, separate winter wheel/tire package from Tire Rack, air pressure confirmed, etc. to no avail. Two dealers "can't find any problem" and believes there is nothing wrong, but I can assure you there is. As you mentioned, it is subtle but makes the car very disappointing to drive.

Please take a look at these threads and let's try to compare notes. My 2018 is an October 2017 build if that is helpful.

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/138-gen-5-2015-present/480618-chassis-vibrations-2018-a.html

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...tion-two-rear-diffs-driveshaft-20k-miles.html

Best,
Brad
 

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2018 Outback 3.6R
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the links. So I took it to the dealer and the mechanic drove it and then drove with me as a passenger. According to him there was nothing wrong. Of course! Must be in my head. When I asked him straight if he feels the steering wheel vibrating then he acknowledged that but then proceeded to tell me how these cars (Outbacks) are supposed to do that. Something about drivers "wanting to feel their cars". Or that it's not a traditional mechanical system and that's how it feels. I only thought to myself if it's mechanically separated, kind of a drive-by-wire system, then the steering wheel shouldn't have any vibration from the wheels/drive-train, no? And I find it difficult to believe that Subaru would do it on purpose as seemingly car manufacturers in general want to limit NVH. In any case I think it's BS. Didn't offer anything more than that. So I guess it's "you bought it, it's yours". I also reached out to Subaru and they'll review it. I'm not holding out any hope, even though it seems these cars have some kind of a problem since I'm not the only one.
 

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2018 Outback 3.6R
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Just wanted to add that maybe Subaru should use it as a differentiator from other makes: our vehicles vibrate now! You know you want it!

This is just ridiculous.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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7,161 Posts
I only thought to myself if it's mechanically separated, kind of a drive-by-wire system, then the steering wheel shouldn't have any vibration from the wheels/drive-train, no?
Your assumption is incorrect. There is a direct mechanical connection all the way from the steering wheel to the front wheels. The steering is electrically boosted, not "steer-by-wire."
 

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2018 Outback 3.6R
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
So I got a reply from Subaru and they said they "spoke with my retailer and they advised a technician test drove the vehicle with me last Thursday however the vibration concern was not present". So either the technician lied or they're lying as he acknowledged the vibration while driving with me. Hmmm... I let them know that whatever the case it doesn't resolve my issue.
 

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2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.0 T AWD
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498 Posts
Having experienced the steering issues with a previous generation Outback, and pulling to one side. And now owning an 18' Outback 3.6. I notice no steering issues. And it's nice they went electric so it works just as good during low speed, parking lot maneuvers. As during high speed or cruising. And this Gen Outback is a much better highway, interstate cruiser since Subaru widened it a bit. Also the 3.6 helps as well.
If you're having problems obviously check tire inflation (Not from the tire monitoring). Take it to an independent shop and have the alignment checked as well as wheel/tire balance.
Also as you didn't mention what you drove before the Outback. This just could be the difference between the two vehicles.
 

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2018 Outback 3.6R Limited, all dressed
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97 Posts
Also try turning the lane keeping assist off. I find there is a low but perceptible pulsing of the steering wheel from that when it is on.
 

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2018 Outback Touring 3.6R
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971 Posts
Also try turning the lane keeping assist off. I find there is a low but perceptible pulsing of the steering wheel from that when it is on.
This. I first noticed it when I was driving it home for the first time. Don't think I had it turned on during any test drives. Was wondering what the strange feeling was in the wheel, then my brain woke up and I figured it out. I don't use it very often, as I find it annoying. I'm good with the rest of the security package, but not so much with this one thing.
 

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2018 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited with eyesight, sun roof, everything. Ice Silver Metallic, Slate Black Leather. Second 3.6R Limited Sube
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3 Posts
Most likely one or more wheels are out of balance.

If you are somewhere that just had wet snow, it can clump in the wheels and cause a horrible vibration.
I am having this wet snow effect problem on my 2018 Outback 3.6R limited. It has happened twice since owning it, Just under 20,000 miles. This never happened in the four years I owned my 2014 Outback 3.6R Limited. I took pictures of my four wheels and found both rear wheels with snow build up on the inside of the wheel. Vibrated the crap out of the car at all speeds. I guess it has been to cold here in Minnesota in my garage this year for the snow to melt. I have had to place a heater next to the wheel to melt the snow off.
 
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