The 10 Most Common Forester Problems

We've pulled together a list of the problems Forester owners.

  1. Unintended Acceleration

    An increasing number of Subaru owners say their vehicles will inexplicably surge forward when the vehicle is stopped and their foot is on the brake. The unintended acceleration incidents often happen as the driver tries to shift the trans…

    Continue
  2. Brake Light Switch Defect

    A build-up of chemicals from scented cleaning products containing silicone can disable the brake light switch in millions of Subaru vehicles. This can prevent the brake lights from turning on when pressing the pedal, among other things, and…

    Continue
  3. Cracked Windshields

    Since 2015 there has been a surge in complaints about Subaru windshields that crack spontaneously. Many believe this is due to a design switch to 'acoustic glass.' Owners want compensation from Subaru because windshield replacements come wi…

    Continue
  4. Lineartronic CVT Reliability

    Once praised for its design, Subaru's CVT is showing problems with age. It can shake occupants back and forth as it wobbles its way though gears. In extreme cases it can hesitate so much it causes the engine to stall, forcing Subaru to exte…

    Continue
  5. Rodents Chew Subaru's Soy Wires

    Rodents just can't resist the soy-derived wire coatings used in many Subaru vehicles. The chewed up wires are costing owners hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars in repairs but Subaru, like other automakers, insists this isn't a def…

    Continue
  6. Subaru Vehicles with Recalled Takata Airbags

    A large number of Subaru vehicles have been recalled because they contain dangerous airbag inflators made by Takata. The shrapnel-hurling inflators have been recalled in over 37 million vehicles (and counting).

    Continue
  7. Excessive Oil Consumption

    Subaru is one of a handful of automakers accused of making new engines that excessively burn through oil. And they'll tell you that adding a quart (or two) between scheduled changes is totally normal. It's not.

    Continue
  8. Rust and Corrosion Problems

    OK, maybe it's not fair to pick on cold-weather vehicles for having corrosion problems, but the problem is much deeper than rotted body panels.

    Continue
  9. Leaky Head Gaskets

    Why can't Subaru build a decent head gasket? The automaker has had issues with leaky gaskets in their 4-cylinder engines since the 1980's. And repairing the issue is expensive as it requires the engine to be removed.

    Continue
  10. Leaky Head Gaskets

    Why can't Subaru build a decent head gasket? The automaker has had issues with leaky gaskets in their 4-cylinder engines since the 1980's. And repairing the issue is expensive as it requires the engine to be removed.

    Continue

What Forester Owners Complain About

Sometimes it helps just to tally up the complaints and see where the biggest stacks are. Use this information to learn about troublespots or to run for the hills.

What Breaks

Years to Avoid

Forester Generations

The Forester has 5 generations, each with their own issues. Using the same PainRank™ system we've determined that you're better off avoiding the 4th generation (2014–2018).

  1. 5th Generation Forester

    Years
    2019–2021
    Reliability
    22nd of 38
    PainRank
    5.21
    Complaints
    38
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Forester
  2. 4th Generation Forester

    Years
    2014–2018
    Reliability
    38th of 38
    PainRank
    21.02
    Complaints
    353
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Forester
  3. 3rd Generation Forester

    Years
    2009–2013
    Reliability
    34th of 38
    PainRank
    11
    Complaints
    149
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Forester
  4. 2nd Generation Forester

    Years
    2003–2008
    Reliability
    29th of 38
    PainRank
    6.93
    Complaints
    110
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Forester
  5. 1st Generation Forester

    Years
    1998–2002
    Reliability
    27th of 38
    PainRank
    6.28
    Complaints
    57
    Continue

Forester Key Numbers

  1. 706 complaints

    Running tally of owner grievances filed to CarComplaints.com.

  2. 810 service bulletins

    Documenting the process of troubleshooting common problems.

  3. 33 recall campaigns

    Time-sensitive, free repairs for widespread safety problems.

Recent Relevant Lawsuits

The Forester has been named as a class vehicle in the following lawsuits.

  • Partial dismissal

    Powell, et al., v. Subaru of America, Inc.

    A Subaru windshield lawsuit alleges 2017-2019 Subaru Forester and 2017-2019 Subaru Outback vehicles are equipped with windshields that suddenly chip, crack and break. Subaru allegedly refuses to pay for repairs even when the vehicles are under warranties, leaving owners and lessees with paying for windshield replacements.

    The case was partially dropped following Subaru's motion to dismiss.

  • Bare, et al., v. Subaru of America, Inc.

    A Subaru acceleration lawsuit alleges Subaru Forester, Legacy and Outback vehicles in California have defects that cause sudden unintended acceleration problems. Included in the California class action lawsuit are the 2015-2019 Subaru Legacy, 2012-2018 Subaru Forester and 2015-2019 Subaru Outback which allegedly have software problems.

  • Adnan, et al., v. Subaru Corporation, et al.

    A Subaru fuel pump lawsuit alleges a recall of 188,000 vehicles didn't include all the vehicles affected by Denso fuel pumps that can fail and cause the engines to stall. According to the plaintiffs, Subaru should reimburse customers the purchase prices of all models equipped with the low-pressure fuel pumps, including pumps with the part number prefix 42022.

  • Leon, et al., v. Subaru of America, Inc.

    A Subaru windshield lawsuit alleges the glass chips, cracks and breaks within weeks or a few months of purchasing these vehicles. According to the plaintiffs, customers say the windshields crack and break from simple and light impacts to the glass, a problem no Subaru owner expects to experience on an expensive vehicle.

    Status
    consolidated
    Problem
    Cracked Windshields
    Class Vehicles
    • 2017-2020 Outback
    • 2017-2020 Forester
    • 2017-2020 Crosstrek
    • 2017-2020 Impreza
    • 2017-2020 Legacy
    • 2019-2020 Ascent
    Location
    California
  • Settled

    Yaeger, et al. v. Subaru of America Inc., et al.

    A class-action lawsuit against Subaru claims some of its most popular models burn oil at an expensive and excessive rate. The lawsuit, filed in a New Jersey federal court, alleges the cars are defective because the piston rings wear out early and can cause engine failure while on the road.

Recent Forester News

There's a lot of news out there, but not all of it matters. We try to boil down it to the most important bits about things that actually help you with your car problem. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts over at CarComplaints.com.

  1. The lawsuit against Subaru's crappy windshields will move forward after partially surviving the automaker's motion to dismiss.

    The windhsields crack and chip at an alarming rate, but Subaru doesn't cover replacements under warranty if the issue is due to a defect. According to them the warranty only covers material or workmanship issues. Strange position to take, but ok.

    While a few allegations were removed due to legal technacilities, the judge said dismissing the case entirely at this point would be premature.…

    keep reading
  2. Subaru owners say their vehicles are surging forward when trying to shift into PARK, even with a foot firmly on the brake pedal.

    The automaker continues to blame drivers for the incidents, propmting a second class-action lawsuit to be filed in a matter of months.…

    keep reading
  3. Cheryl Sauer says her 2014 Forester XT was never the same after it came back from a 2016 emissions recall.

    The engine would surge and stall. So naturally, Subaru must have installed some secret software under the guise of an emissions fix to de-tune the engine in an effort to address a long-running ignition timing issue.

    Naturally.

    keep reading
  4. Subaru has approved a Starlink lawsuit settlement even after denying their infotainment system is full of defects.

    Stuff like the backup camera freezing, the radio failing, and the screen going blank.…

    keep reading
  5. Subaru vehicles are accelerating on their own and the automaker's claim that owners are to blame isn't going over well.

    A new class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of owners with cars that may have unintended acceleration problems. This includes the 2012-2018 Forester, 2015-2019 Legacy, and 2015-2019 Outback.

    One of the lead plaintiffs says they were driving slowly with the foot on the brake pedal, and as they were about to shift into PARK the vehicle surged forward causing a collision.…

    keep reading
  6. An investigation looking into OCS airbag-related problems in Subaru's 4th generation Forester has been closed following a recall.

    In the 2015-2018 model years, the passenger airbag would remain disabled even if a passenger was sitting in the seat.…

    keep reading

See All Forester News

What Owners Say About Their Forester

Leaky Head Gaskets

After our first head gasket blew back in 2006 we were amazed to have the second one blow last night, only two and half years, and 20,000 miles later.

Unintended Acceleration

While driving the car in a parking lot, I turned to park on a spot and as I was parking with my foot on the gas pedal, the car accelerated on its own. I ended up on the sidewalk close to the window of a dentist office. A very scary situation that could have hurt someone.

Cracked Windshields

The 2019 Subaru Forester was less than a week old. I was driving down the road, no one or nothing near me, and I heard a pop. I then saw the crack in the windshield ... I found other reports of windshield issues, took the information to the dealer, and they reluctantly replaced the windshield.

Excessive Oil Consumption

I have noticed that when I change my oil it's a lot less than I pour into the engine. I did a little research and stumbled across this problem, I wasn't the only one with the engine consuming oil. I would have thought Subaru would have fixed these problems but according to them that is normal.