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Resources for the Repair and Maintenance of your Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester Models:

Image for car images Subaru 1998 2002 Subaru Forester size thumb Image for car images Subaru 2003 2005 Subaru Forester size thumb Image for car images Subaru 2006 2008 Subaru Forester size thumb Image for car images Subaru 2009 2011 Subaru Forester size thumb

Subaru Forester Problems

Exhaust & Emissions -- Verified

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.

Engine -- Verified

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.

Engine -- Verified

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

Exhaust & Emissions -- Verified

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.

Engine -- Verified

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.

Subaru Forester Recalls (Recent)

Body, Interior & Misc., March 9, 2007

RepairPal Expert Overview:

The wiring harness for the front passenger occupant detection system may have been pinched between the floor and the seat mounting bracket during vehicle assembly. This could result in an electrical short circuit. The passenger front air bag could become disabled and may not deploy in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury to the seat occupant. An electrical short circuit could also result in a fire. Dealers will inspect the wiring, repair as necessary, and re-route and secure the wire harness in the correct location. The occupant detection system will be re-calibrated as necessary. This recall is expected to begin on March 9, 2007. The Subaru recall number is WVC-13.

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Body, Interior & Misc., February 19, 2003

RepairPal Expert Overview:

In 326 vehicles, both front seat belt buckle/latch assemblies was improperly manufactured. In the event of a crash, the seat belt could unlatch unexpectedly, increasing the rick of injury to the seat occupant. Dealers will replace the left and right front seat belt buckle/latch assemblies to correct this concern.

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Brakes, June 7, 1999


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Drive Train, January 8, 2003

RepairPal Expert Overview:

The transmission park mechanism located inside the automatic transmission may not hold when the selector is in the "park" position. The vehicle could move/roll without warning, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the automatic transmission parking rod assembly to correct this concern.

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Engine, October 8, 2004

RepairPal Expert Overview:

On 26 vehicles, the engine oil control valve cover may not have been tightened properly, which could allow oil to leak. If leaking oil contacts hot engine components, a fire could result in the engine compartment. Dealers will inspect and retighten the oil-flow control valve cover bolts. The recall began October 8, 2004. The Subaru recall number is WWU-05.

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Subaru Forester Questions and Answers

DJC54, 1998 Subaru Forester, Elkhart, IN

On 1-20-09 I purchased a 1998 Subaru Forester (97K miles) from a local Subaru dealership. Prior to purchase, they replaced the water pump and timing belt. On 4-6 the tensioner broke apart causing...

Dewey, 1998 Subaru Forester, Oak Park, MI

Had the Subaru checked out about a year ago, and they informed me that they had found coolant in the oil. I opted not to have the service done, as the dealer began the estimate around $1200+.

theclean, 1998 Subaru Forester, Bolton, MA

I have a suburu forester that started stalling for no apparent reason, mainly at stop lights. ALTemp light was flashing. Brought it to mechanic and code came up as mass air flow sensor. The MAFS ...

theclean, 1998 Subaru Forester, Bolton, MA

Thanks Matte. I should clarify that it is the At oil temp light. It is not always on it will come on flashing when the car is in the stalling mode. I just read that there is a little hose going ...

Visitor, 1998 Subaru Forester, Port Gibson, NY

My knock sensor is causing the check engine light to be illuminated. Is this an easy fix, and does anyone have simple instructions?

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Subaru Forester Reviews

2000 cc(near)90000KM.Ihavent replaced ANYTHING yet!Only oil gasoline and filters.Runs like a dream.So no real story to tell...EXCELENT vehicle

Love my 2004 Forester XT. It's at 115,000 miles on it with most of those miles on trips to Ski resorts in Vermont and New England. Love its reliability, handling, comfort, practicality, and BIG MIRRORS AND WINDOWS!! However, I did have to replace both my front window motors recently. Now, its a little noisy on the highway over 70 mph. The glass was not aligned well because the doors do not have a window frame. But thats a minor problem for a fabulous vehicle.

I have a 2006 Subaru Forester with 78K miles on it. It drives great and is a pretty good car overall. However, it is now starting to have expensive problems. The blower motor for the A/C and heat works on and off...even with a new blower motor installed @ $400.00! The Subaru-certified mechanic is puzzled and thinks it might be the car's electrical system. This will be a very costly repair if it turns out to be electrical. On top of this, both rear wheel bearings need to be replaced now (my previous cars have had their wheel bearings replaced at 150K or later). Replacement at 78K makes it seem like Subaru has lowered the quality of their parts. This is a shame, as I have always liked Subarus (this is my second one). My next car is NOT going to be a Subaru.

I have two foresters an 01 and an 02 129,000 on the 01 and 138,000 on the 02 great car for the weather in Northeast Pa ride nice and solid just keep up on oil pludgs and sparkplug wires and tires an only on the second set of breaks on both sure beats the ass off of my ford explorer in the winter never again will i buy a ford these cars are fun to have why can't americans compete with this low maintanance well built car it kills me i want to know

I don't know why everyone out here in SD doesn't have a Subaru. It's perfect for the extreme conditions and has decent gas milage. It's on the small side, but holds four people well. The rear seat goes down and handles a fair amount of junk. I love my 2001 Forester. I bought it new and it has been great.

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