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2003 Subaru Forester repairs by problem area

Engine (47%)

Transmission and Drivetrain (9%)

Brakes and Traction Control (9%)

Suspension and Steering (16%)

Electrical and Air Conditioning (13%)

Paint, Rust, Leaks, Rattles, and Trim (3%)

Other (2%)

Chart based on 194 repairs.

2003 Subaru Forester repair cost distribution

$2500+ (6%)

$1000 - $2499 (15%)

$500 - $999 (31%)

$100 - $499 (37%)

< $100 (12%)

Chart based on 101 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 repair histories. Log in or join us to see them all.

2003 Subaru Forester 4dr SUV

165-horsepower 2.5L H4 5-speed manual AWD

Subaru Forester in Georgia, United States
May 2008 - Sep 2015
Jun 2008

58000 mi

US $50
Check engine light came on because fuel filler vacuum misread. 
Feb 2010

73300 mi
Strong fuel odor in cold weather. 
Oct 2010

81000 mi
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. 
Jan 2011

84000 mi

US $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. 
Aug 2011

90000 mi

US $170
Check engine light came on. Code indicated fuel vapor pressure leak. Smoke test conducted, no problem found. Updated computer codes. 
Mar 2012

96000 mi

US $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. 
Jan 2013

103000 mi

US $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. 
Nov 2014

121000 mi

US $1000
Replaced failing rear bearings. Also got new front brakes. Replaced worn-out shifter knuckle 
Feb 2015

124000 mi

US $38
Replaced burned-out driver-side headlight bulb. 
Subaru Forester in New York, United States
May 2008 - Dec 2009
Jun 2008

144000 mi

US $1600
replaced both rear wheel bearings, rear struts and strut mounts 
Oct 2008

152000 mi

US $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! 
Jun 2009

173000 mi

US $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. 
Dec 2009

177000 mi
Car caught on fire, repairs would have been too entensive. Insurance company totalled the car. 
Subaru Forester in New South Wales, Australia
May 2008 - Sep 2015
Apr 2009

83700 mi

A $650
Starter motor intermittently failed to engage on ring gear. Starter motor replaced by workshop. 
May 2009

84320 mi

A $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). 
Oct 2009

92120 mi

A $570
Front brake rotors had grooves. Both rotors replaced, along with pads. 
Mar 2010

96100 mi

A $500
Rear brake rotor(s) warped. Not enough material left for them to be machined so they, along with the pads, were replaced. 
Feb 2011

102300 mi

A $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. 
Mar 2012

120280 mi

A $15
Grinding noise from power steering pump. Drained and replaced power steering fluid. 
Jul 2012

122760 mi

A $900
Steering rack was leaking fluid. Rack was replaced with a reconditioned one. 
Oct 2012

126640 mi

A $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. 
Sep 2013

137640 mi

A $160
Engine running rough under load due to failing fuel pump. Replaced fuel pump. 
May 2014

146320 mi
Initially a slight coolant leak from between plastic top of radiator and radiator core. Needed occasional top-up. Leak has now worsened such that car cannot be driven more than a few minutes at a time. In process of sourcing new radiator. 
Jun 2014

146320 mi

A $400
New radiator fitted (as old one was leaking between core and plastic top). Also replaced top and bottom hoses and thermostat as a precaution. 
Aug 2014

146320 mi
Left-rear wheel bearing had been noisy for some time. Shop replaced it with a new one, but since the driveshaft had seized into the old one, a replacement driveshaft (second hand) was required also. 
Nov 2014

148180 mi

A $1700
Left rear wheel bearing that was replaced in August had become noisy again. Shop determined that it, as well as the (original) right bearing had failed and the hubs were also heat damaged. Bearings, hub as well as seals etc were replaced. 

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2003 Subaru Forester 4dr SUV

165-horsepower 2.5L H4 4-speed automatic AWD

Subaru Forester in Maryland, United States
May 2008 - Sep 2013
May 2009

58000 mi

US $450
engine leaking oil - various valve gaskets. 
Subaru Forester in Alberta, Canada
Mar 2009 - Feb 2010
Apr 2009

96720 mi

C $4200
timing belt slipped and damaged valves, camshaft etc. Had to remachine or replace all, including new waterpump. 
Nov 2009

99200 mi

C $593
radiator was leaking anti freeze. Radiator replaced 
Jan 2010

99820 mi
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
Dec 2008 - Sep 2009
Jan 2009

172360 mi

C $350
Leaking transmission filter, may have hit something, thus low tranmission fluid and dash warning light. 
Sep 2009

182280 mi

C $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
May 2008 - Mar 2015
Aug 2008

63000 mi

US $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. 
Jun 2009

73000 mi

US $63
Removal of rattling exhaust shield Power steering belt loose Stabilizer linkage loose 
Sep 2009

75000 mi

US $245
Sway bar linkage replaced 
Nov 2009

75900 mi

US $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. 
Apr 2011

89000 mi

US $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. 
Sep 2011

95000 mi
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. 
Dec 2011

98000 mi

US $618
Exhaust pipe broke aft of rear catalytic converter. Muffler OK, but exhaust pipe replaced. 
Jan 2012

99700 mi

US $888
Replacement of serpentine belt 
Nov 2012

112300 mi

US $350
O2 sensor replacement Rack beginning to fail; needs replacement 
Jan 2014

127000 mi

US $940
Replacement of steering rack 
Apr 2014

129300 mi

US $498
Replaced rear passenger wheel bearing and hub 
Dec 2014

139000 mi

US $440
Replacement of front & rear brake pads and front rotors; cleaning of calipers. 
Subaru Forester in North Carolina, United States
May 2008 - Dec 2009
Aug 2008

37000 mi
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. 
Jan 2009

42000 mi

US $250
Rear brake pad replacement.  
Jun 2009

49000 mi

US $400
Front Oxygen Sensor replaced. 
Subaru Forester in Ontario, Canada
May 2008 - Apr 2012
Sep 2008

93000 mi

C $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.  
Jul 2009

104780 mi

C $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.  
Oct 2009

108480 mi
Transmission bushings replaced - car was starting to get difficult to shift. Also did a full tune up & had the winter tire change over done. 
Oct 2011

136360 mi

C $150
Headlight bulbs replaced. 
Subaru Forester in New York, United States
May 2008 - Jul 2009
Apr 2009

100000 mi

US $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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2003 Subaru Forester Repair Histories

See our lemon odds and nada odds page to see vehicles with no repairs or vehicles with more than three repairs. To see how frequently 2003 Subaru Forester problems occur, check out our car reliability stats.