2010 Subaru Forester Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2010 Subaru Forester as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

The Check Engine Light may illuminate because of low catalytic converter efficiency. This same issue may cause the car to fail the State Smog Test if one is required.

The head gasket has a high failure rate due to cooling system problems. Subaru is aware of the problem and has extended the warranty to 8 years/100k miles on many vehicles.

Sometimes the Check Engine Light illuminates because the computer detects misfires. Subaru released an improved spark plug wire set to solve the problem. The ignition coil should also be inspected for carbon tracks or short circuits between the contacts

The front oxygen (air fuel ratio) sensor element may develop a crack, causing the Check Engine Light to illuminate. Subaru has recalled certain models to replace sensors that may fail. The Subaru service program number is WXW-80, this is not a government mandated recall.


An oil leak can develop from the spark plug tube seals. Excess oil in the spark plug tubes can result in engine misfires and illumination of the Check Engine Light. Our technicians tell us that removing the valve cover and replacing the tube seals and cover gasket is necessary to correct this concern. Oil damaged spark plugs, ignition wires, and ignition coils will also require replacement.

The Check Engine Light may illuminate because of a failed knock sensor. Although the sensor often tests okay, it can fail intermittently, while the vehicle is being driven.

There have been reports of "clutch chatter," particularly when driving the vehicle from a cold start. If the issue was reported by the owner while the vehicle was still under warranty, the dealer may replace the clutch with improved parts.