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2003 Subaru Forester Problems and Repair Histories

96 TrueDelta members own a 2003 Subaru Forester. 48 of these members (50%) have reported repairs for their car. A total of 150 repairs to 2003 Subaru Foresters--an average of 1.6 per vehicle--have been reported.

See our lemon odds and nada odds page for more details. To see how frequently 2003 Subaru Forester problems occur, check out our car reliability stats.

Want to read about specific problems behind these stats? Jump to the 2003 Subaru Forester problem descriptions below.

Don't infer 2003 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 2003 Subaru Forester repairs by problem area

51% of the 2003 Subaru Forester repairs were to the engine, 7% to the transmission, 11% to the brakes, 15% to the suspension, 12% to the electrical or air-conditioning systems, 3% to the body and trim, and 2% to other areas of the vehicle.

Chart based on 150 repairs.

2003 Subaru Forester repair cost distribution

Of the 2003 Subaru Forester repairs that were not covered by warranty and were not do-it-yourself repairs, 11% cost less than $100, 34% between $100 and $499, 32% between $500 and $999, 15% between $1000 and $2499, and 7% more than $2500.

Chart based on 87 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 2003 Subaru Forester problems and repair histories. Log in or join us to see them all.
Repair costs are in local units.

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  
Subaru Forester in New York, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
May 2008 143000    
145000 1600 replaced both rear wheel bearings, rear struts and strut mounts 
153500 220 Check Engine light back on, replaced ignition coil (old one cracked) Light came back on once after coil replaced, then went off on its own. Hoping that's the last of it! 
173000 450 Replaced pads & rotors on front brakes.  Replaced stabilizer bars, old ones worn, causing suspension to make a knocking noise when going over bumps.  Replaced fog lamp. 
177000 0 Car caught on fire, repairs would have been too entensive. Insurance company totalled the car. 
Subaru Forester in New South Wales, Australia
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
May 2008 71300    
83700 650 Starter motor intermittently failed to engage on ring gear. Starter motor replaced by workshop. 
84320 2200 Clutch pressure plate broke into 3 pieces while driving resulting in partial loss of drive. New clutch kit fitted. Original dual-mass flywheel also replaced with a solid flywheel. New clutch and flywheel kit from Exedy (not Subaru). 
92120 570 Front brake rotors had grooves. Both rotors replaced, along with pads. 
96100 500 Rear brake rotor(s) warped. Not enough material left for them to be machined so they, along with the pads, were replaced. 
108740 600 Check engine light increasingly regular. Code P0030 for front 02 (it's actually an air/fuel) sensor heater. Replaced sensor with genuine part ($600 from dealer) myself. 
120280 15 Grinding noise from power steering pump. Drained and replaced power steering fluid. 
122760 900 Steering rack was leaking fluid. Rack was replaced with a reconditioned one. 
126640 150 Engine oil has for some time been leaking out from between the spark plug tubes and the rocker covers. The tube seals were replaced, along with the gaskets and washers for the rocker covers. 
137640 160 Engine running rough under load due to failing fuel pump. Replaced fuel pump. 
143840  

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2003 Subaru Forester 4dr SUV

165-horsepower 2.5L H4 4-speed automatic AWD

Subaru Forester in Maryland, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
May 2008 49000    
58000 450 engine leaking oil - various valve gaskets. 
 
Subaru Forester in Alberta, Canada
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Mar 2009 96100    
96720 4200 timing belt slipped and damaged valves, camshaft etc. Had to remachine or replace all, including new waterpump. 
99200 593 radiator was leaking anti freeze. Radiator replaced 
99820 0 Engine making banging noise - some problem with cam shaft - bent - repaired under warranty from job done in April 2009. Shop should have caught this problem then. 
 
Subaru Forester in Ontario, Canada
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Dec 2008 170500    
172360 350 Leaking transmission filter, may have hit something, thus low tranmission fluid and dash warning light. 
182280 200 We decided to trade it in rather than repair it as the cost of needed repairs was expected to exceed $3000. Leaking head gaskets. Rear rotors corroded and parking brake not functioning. 
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. 
 
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 New York, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
May 2008 93000    
100000 3100 Check engine light -- misfire, computer errors, caused flooding and car would not keep running. Eventually "fixed itself" after revving high idle for a while. Leaking struts replaced Front pads/rotors replaced. 
 

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