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Subaru Forester Problems and Repair Histories

1201 TrueDelta members own a 2000 or newer Subaru Forester. 450 of these members (37.5%) have reported repairs for their car. A total of 1062 repairs to Subaru Foresters--an average of 0.9 per vehicle--have been reported.

See our lemon odds and nada odds page for more details. To see how frequently Subaru Forester problems occur, check out our car reliability stats.

Want to read about specific problems behind these stats? Jump to the Subaru Forester problem descriptions below.

Don't infer Subaru Forester problem frequency from what you see on this page. Many lucky owners have had no repairs, and their cars are not shown.

Percentage of Subaru Forester repairs by problem area

41% of the Subaru Forester repairs were to the engine, 7% to the transmission, 8% to the brakes, 12% to the suspension, 18% to the electrical or air-conditioning systems, 10% to the body and trim, and 3% to other areas of the vehicle.

Chart based on 1062 repairs.

Subaru Forester repair cost distribution

Of the Subaru Forester repairs that were not covered by warranty and were not do-it-yourself repairs, 14% cost less than $100, 41% between $100 and $499, 27% between $500 and $999, 12% between $1000 and $2499, and 6% more than $2500.

Chart based on 429 repair trips. The repair cost chart excludes repairs made under warranty, do-it-yourself repairs, and repair trips that include maintenance.
Non-members can see only ten Subaru Forester problems and repair histories. Log in or join us to see them all.
Repair costs are in local units.

2009 Subaru Forester 4dr SUV

turbocharged 224hp 2.5L H4 4-speed shiftable automatic AWD

Subaru Forester in Oregon, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Mar 2008 1000    
1000 10 Overhead light assembly wires squeaked against housing. Added separators and silicon lubricant to reduce noise. 
4000 0 HVAC blower motor generated clicking noise after warmup. 
4000 0 Clicking HVAC fan motor. This was replaced per warranty. 
6000 0 Rebuilt upper light console with silicon components, and added silicon seal between headliner fasten point, holding snap, and metal roof assembly, to get rid of creaking due to temperature changes. 
6000 0 Dealer added additional door insulation to stop rattles but damaged driver door tweeter in process. Followup appointment was scheduled. Rear fender paint gravel shields too small. TSB authorized larger ones as replacements. Technician damaged new parts on installation. Service writer scheduled 2nd install with body shop (covered by warranty). Loaner vehicle to be provided. Larger paint gravel shields successfully fitted and installed. 
7000 0 Paint has worn off inside of drivers armrest. Service provider took picture, is requesting feedback from service manager as to whether paint is warranty item. 
7000 0 Paint had worn off inside of door arm rest. Arm rest was replaced. 
22300 0 Side airbag brackets causing clunks/rattles in rear of vehicle. Dealer performed TSB to correct problem. 
25000 0 Gas cap broke and no longer sealed tank, causing check engine light to come on. Was replaced under warranty - no further problems with fuel system. rattles under rear seat. bolts tightened, rear seat realigned. 
29000 0 Left front visor was not staying in position. Visor was replaced with improved model. Rough shifting transmission. Was told Forester transmissions often become rough with wear and that the shifting fell within factory specifications. 
30000 0 Transmission shifts had become excessively rough. Reset transmission controller to default state so it could relearn shifting. Transmission shifting reverted to what it was when car was new - relatively smooth. 
43000 0 brake light in rear replaced 
52000 0 rattles from rear interior of vehicle, mainly when rear of vehicle went over bumps. 

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2009 Subaru Forester 4dr SUV

170-horsepower 2.5L H4 4-speed shiftable automatic AWD

Subaru Forester in New Jersey, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Jun 2008 0    
1000 0 Rear Speakers inoperative. Speakers still not operating when radio in enhanced surround sound mode. Will be contacting manufacturer. 
2000 0 Radio replaced, rear speakers work, but sound is unsatisfactory. Spoke to manufacturer and they stated "that's the way the radio workss". nothing they can do right now. Subaru is going to try to get a better answer from Panasonic, the radio manufacturer. 
 

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2004 Subaru Forester

Engine not specified

Subaru Forester in Ohio, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Jun 2008 75000    
75000 2000 Turbo went out. Air bag sensors in the front seats malfunctioned. 
 

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2004 Subaru Forester 4dr SUV

turbocharged 210hp 2.5L I4 4-speed automatic AWD

Subaru Forester in Washington, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Dec 2007 53000    
58000 210 Air bag warning light. Problem is in the passenger side impact air bag. There's a TSB on the problem. The recommended solution is to replace a connector in the air bag wiring Replaced connector as recommended in the TSB. Repair did not solve the problem 
100000 50 Slow coolant leak at the fitting at the base of the radiator 
120000  

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2004 Subaru Forester 4dr SUV

165-horsepower 2.5L H4 5-speed manual AWD

Subaru Forester in Colorado, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Aug 2008 86000    
87000 25 Engine temp was fluctuating. Dealer replaced radiator cap, No problem seen since.  
124000 1600 CEL lit, dealer replaced valves of evaporative emissions system. CEL lit again, so a second trip- dealer replaced charcoal canister, which had ruptured. CEL lit again, so a third visit. Dealer cleaned tank and replaced fuel pump. 
 

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2003 Subaru Forester 4dr SUV

165-horsepower 2.5L H4 5-speed manual AWD

Subaru Forester in Georgia, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
May 2008 55000    
58000 50 Check engine light came on because fuel filler vacuum misread. 
73300 0 Strong fuel odor in cold weather. 
81000 0 Catalytic converter failure detected at 80,800 miles. Federal warranty for catalytic converters is for 80,000 miles, but because of a lawsuit settlement over misleading odometer readings, Subaru has extended coverage to 84,000 miles. 
84000 280 Rear break cylinder seals leaking. Were replaced. Replaced bulb in clock light, which had not operated for several years. Cost $5 -- previous shop had quoted $150. 
90000 170 Check engine light came on. Code indicated fuel vapor pressure leak. Smoke test conducted, no problem found. Updated computer codes. 
96000 25 Exterior trim piece adjacent to lower right of left rear door had come loose and the attachment toggle was damaged, so it couldn't be secured. Six Star Service ordered a replacement piece and installed it. Took five minutes. 
103000 500 Replaced leaking head gaskets and a bad spark plug wire. Work done at same time I had timing belt, belt tensioner and water pump replaced, all routine maintenance. 
112000  

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2003 Subaru Forester 4dr SUV

165-horsepower 2.5L H4 4-speed automatic AWD

Subaru Forester in Ontario, Canada
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
May 2008 87420    
93000 43 Burned out headlight (both headlights replaced at the same time) & one driving light (both driving lights replaced at the same time). Other routine maintenance done at the same time at the dealer.  
104780 267 New front & rear rotors & pads installed (Customer purchased & supplied Brembo 'plain' F & R rotors & Hawk HPS F & R performance street pads). Repair successful...customer paid for labour only. New Bosch Evoloution wiper blades also installed.  
108480 0 Transmission bushings replaced - car was starting to get difficult to shift. Also did a full tune up & had the winter tire change over done. 
136360 150 Headlight bulbs replaced. 
 
Subaru Forester in Massachusetts, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
May 2008 59000    
63000 75 Periodic high idle, suspected to be need to clean throttle body. Problem seems to have reappeared, may need to be looked at by dealer. 
73000 63 Removal of rattling exhaust shield Power steering belt loose Stabilizer linkage loose 
75000 245 Sway bar linkage replaced 
822 Dealership repaired parking brake hardware along with rear rotors and pads. Damage to parking brake mechanism alleged to be the result of third-party brake job. 
89000 1023 Driver's window switch and motor failed Y-pipe heat shield rattling Intermittent high idle with higher ambient temperatures. Previous throttle body cleanings no help. Loosened throttle cable. 
95000 0 Driver's side rear caliper sticking (recurring problem) causing scraping. Cleaned and returned. Problem came back within a week, but have not returned for further assessment. 
98000 618 Exhaust pipe broke aft of rear catalytic converter. Muffler OK, but exhaust pipe replaced. 
99700 888 Replacement of serpentine belt 
112300 350 O2 sensor replacement Rack beginning to fail; needs replacement 
127000 940 Replacement of steering rack 
219000 498 Replaced rear passenger wheel bearing and hub 
Subaru Forester in North Carolina, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
May 2008 34000    
37000 0 Engine knocking. Was diagnosed as carbon build-up. Was advised to run fuel system cleaner through it and "stomp on it" occasionaly to prevent excessive carbon build-up. 
42000 250 Rear brake pad replacement.  
49000 400 Front Oxygen Sensor replaced. 
 

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