If you want to buy a small and comfortable SUV, the Subaru Forester is a great option and surely worth every dollar. However, it is convenient that you know what are the common failures of the Subaru Forester.
This vehicle is known for its well rounded performance, which prioritizes fuel economy and responsive handling. It also has impressive resale value. It holds its value well compared to other vehicles.
How good is the Subaru Forester?
Automaker Subaru is known for its well-designed, safe, and practical vehicles. And with so many awards to its credit, its range of vehicles is reliable. The Subaru Forester is well rated and highly rated in terms of overall reliability. Your average yearly repair and maintenance cost may be around just $632.
For those who wonder: Are the Subaru Foresters reliable? You should know that the Forester is a long-lived vehicle . It can easily top 150,000 miles on average, but it can also last well over 250,000, as long as it’s well maintained and its proper service schedule is followed.
Common failures of the Subaru Forester
Despite being considered a reliable compact SUV, the Subaru Forester has its common problems just like any other car.
Here are the common failures of the Subaru Forester:
1- Air conditioning (A/C) failure
The 2017 Subaru Forester’s air conditioning problems are quite well known. Many owners of this year’s vehicle have reported hot air coming out of their A/C, which eventually progressed to total A/C failure. The problem may reportedly be caused by a bad air conditioning condenser .
Some owners reported that they simply had to recharge the system to get it working again, but the problem can recur every 2-3 years. Other owners have shared that they were able to resolve the issue by replacing the capacitor.
2- Transmission defects
2017 Subaru Forester models with a CVT transmission reportedly experience severe shuddering and jolting when changing gears. Subaru said this is caused by insufficient CVT fluid.
Subaru also said that the fluid is not filled to the standard level, causing air vacuum noise and increasing the possibility of chain slippage under different driving conditions.
3- Excessive oil consumption
One of the common problems or failures of the 2014 Subaru Forester is its high oil consumption. Many owners have reported that their SUVs can use up a quart of oil every 1,000 miles for no apparent reason. Some have shared that Subaru is aware of the issue and provides an oil consumption test, but the test results come back normal despite the ongoing issue.
Many are not sure what could be causing this. However, some have reported that they were able to fix it by getting a new short block or replacing the engine.
4- Engine light illuminated due to sensor failure
A common problem on 1999 to 2014 Subaru Foresters is an illuminated check engine light caused by a faulty oxygen sensor. This is caused by a crack that develops over time in the front oxygen sensor element.
On average, the problem appears at around 134,000 miles. Subaru is aware of this issue and acknowledges that some Forester model years may have faulty oxygen sensors. You have issued a non-mandatory recall, with service program number WXW-80.
5- Defective airbag inflators
Subaru Forester models from 2010 to 2013 are known to have problems with their front airbag assemblies. If the airbags deploy, the inflators may explode due to propellant degradation. This is due to exposure to changes in temperature and humidity.
If the inflators explode, they can send flying metal debris toward the driver and passengers, causing even severe injuries. A recall was issued in January 2019 for affected units of the Forester, along with other Subaru models.
Owners are advised to take their SUVs to their dealerships, and get free replacement front passenger airbag inflators.
6- Brake fluid leak
One of the common failures of the 2009-2013 Subaru Forester is inadequate brake lines which are prone to corrosion and can leak while the vehicle is in motion. According to the recall issued by Subaru in June 2014, there is a gap in the fuel tank pad, which is a likely entry point for salt water to enter the brake passages.
This causes excessive corrosion, which causes brake fluid to leak. Leaking brake fluid can increase the vehicle’s stopping distance, increasing the risk of crashes or collisions.
You can have your Forester checked to see if any leaks have already occurred in the brake system. If leaks are found, the brake lines need to be replaced . If there is no leak, it is necessary to reinforce the area with anti-rust and anti-corrosion wax to prevent corrosion.
7- Oil leaks
Older model Subaru Foresters are prone to developing oil leaks, which can cause other problems with the vehicle. Specifically for Foresters from 1999 to 2013, the spark plug tube seals can leak oil once the vehicle reaches around 110,000 miles (177 thousand kilometers).
This problem can cause engine misfires and can trigger the check engine light . To fix this, you will need to replace the tube seals and cover gasket. Other damaged components, such as spark plugs, ignition wires, and coils, also need to be replaced.
Another component prone to leaks is the oil pump seal. The oil pump seal on the 1998-2002 Subaru Forester can loosen around 180,000 miles (290,000 kilometers). Technicians recommend that a threadlocker be used to replace the seal, which prevents your bolts from coming loose again.
8- Defective transmission rod
A noticeable problem can arise in the transmission park rod of the 2002-2003 Subaru Forester. It may fail to engage when in the ” park ” position, which could cause the vehicle to roll or move uncontrollably.
Some owners have reported that their vehicles suddenly move without warning. Subaru has issued a recall to resolve the issue and owners of affected vehicles have been asked to see their dealers to have the transmission park rod assembly replaced.
9- Intermittent failure of the shock sensor
Knock sensor issues, specifically with the 1999-2001 Subaru Forester, can also cause the check engine light to come on. Some owners have reported that the knock sensor may work normally, but fails randomly from time to time while driving . It usually occurs around 149,000 miles (240 thousand kilometers).
10- Subaru Forester electrical problems
The 2019 Subaru Forester is quickly racking up complaints about electrical issues. The rear door is prone to becoming inoperative. A driver discovered that his tailgate would not open with the push of a button or lock. Also it would be difficult to open the tailgate manually with the handle. You have to go to an expert to solve this problem.