really awful
Crashes / Fires:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,133 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

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problem #20

Aug 102015


  • 160,823 miles
I had stopped my Forester in the left hand turn lane about 3 to 5 feet behind another vehicle while waiting for the signal to change from red to the green arrow. I put my vehicle into park and took my foot off the brake. I turned to check the pocket of my jacket in the rear seat. I turned back in the driving direction, put my foot on the brake and moved the automatic gear shift into the drive position. My car surged forward with the engine racing and hit the vehicle in front of me. I could not control the speed with the brakes, so I shifted back into park. This stopped my car. There is damage to my front grill and hood. This is not the first time I had this happen. The first time this occurred, I called Subaru headquarters and explained the issues to a Subaru representative. I was told this was a new issue and no recall was being considered. I took my car into the Subaru dealer and they checked it and said they could not find any problems. The same thing occurred at least two more times prior to August 10, 2015. I never had any damage to my Subaru or any other vehicle because I was not near any other vehicle when this surging occurred and I could get control of my Subaru by putting the automatic gear shift into park. I purchased my Subaru Forester new and currently have 160,845 miles.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #19

Jan 242011


  • 94,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that while making a U-turn the accelerator pedal went straight to the floor and his foot got stuck causing him to crash into a building. The contact nor his passenger were injured. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic and the investigation was pending. The vehicle was not repaired and neither was the dealer contacted. The failure and current mileages were approximately 94,000. Updated 3/8/11 updated 12/20/11

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #18

Jan 152010


  • 109,000 miles
Intermittent engine surging and/loss of power.

- Olympia, WA, USA

problem #17

Feb 192010


  • 105,000 miles
I was entering a parking space at a local grocery store when the vehicle surged forward into another parked car. I had my foot on the brake and had placed the vehicle in park when it suddenly and unexpectedly lurched forward. I damaged the parked car and my own. This has happened previously when backing out of a parking space going from the park position. Am contacting Subaru to see if this has anything to do with the recall.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #16

Oct 032009

Forester 4-cyl

  • 23,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Subaru Forester. While driving in reverse at speeds of less than 3 mph, the vehicle suddenly and abnormally accelerated and crashed into the side of a house and proceeded to crash into a wooden fence. The vehicle failed to stop and the contact was forced to put the vehicle into neutral gear to stop it from accelerating. The dealer was contacted, however they stated that they had not heard of that type of failure in her model vehicle. Repairs were made at the expense of her insurance company. The manufacturer did not assist. There were no recalls. The failure mileage was 23,000 and the current was 25,000. Updated 3/16/10 updated 07/07/10.

- Boulder, CO, USA

problem #15

Aug 022009


  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Subaru Forester. While driving approximately 20 mph the driver side removable floor mat trapped the accelerator pedal to the floor. Consequently there was an unintended increase of vehicle acceleration. She was able to regain vehicle operation. The vehicle has not been inspected for the malfunction. The failure mileage was 160,000. The current mileage was 163,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Paradise , PA, USA

problem #14

Mar 052007

Forester 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles
When parking vehicle in garage, engine revved and car drove forward causing damage to car and garage even though car had been placed into park.

- Solon, OH, USA

problem #13

Mar 272006

Forester 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,430 miles
We purchased this low-mileage vehicle (~11K miles) 2nd hand from local Subaru dealer mid-Feb 2006, & noticed only rough shifting when engine is cold- no other problems. Today, while turning left at low speed, the car suddenly accelerated, & seemed to do so for a short time after braking harder. I assumed I had inadvertently stepped on the gas & brake at the same time, & resolved to be more careful. After turning the car off & restarting, I turned right at low speed. As I rounded the corner (maybe as the wheel turned back to the left??), the vehicle again accelerated, continuing to rev as I stood on the brake. The car stopped after striking the bumper of the truck in front of me. Low-speed impact, no air bag deployment, no observable damage to either vehicle. Before I moved my feet, I looked down: My foot was not on the gas pedal. As the gas pedal is somewhat recessed, it would be quite difficult to hit it while braking. Cruise control had been on earlier in the day, but is supposed to shut off when the car is turned off, & so should have been off during both of these incidents. Afterward, I did not look at the cruise control to verify that it was off. The dealer will look at this in 2 days.

- Juneau, AK, USA

problem #12

Feb 102006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
Driver of Forester was stopped at a red light about 10 feet away from car in front. Driver took foot away from brake pedal for a moment and car surged forward on its own. Driver slammed brake pedal to the floor, but Forester continued to surge forward. Driver swerved to try to avoid accident but still clipped bumper of car in front and caused damage. Forester continued to surge and buck forward for another moment before finally stopping (driver's foot had remained firmly on brake the entire time). I took the vehicle to the dealer I had bought it from just two weeks ago, but they claimed they had never heard of this happening in a Subaru and refused to even investigate if there was a mechanical error that would be under warranty because of legal fears. They implied the accident was my fault and I was looking to blame them. Despite minor damage, the car was still drivable, yet I had it towed to the dealer because I was scared of driving it ever again. I was lucky I only hit another car's bumper-- it could've been a bicyclist or pedestrian who was struck! my insurance company is investigating the claim at this point, but I refuse to drive that car unless someone finds the exact cause of the out of control surging and fixes it. I am appalled Subaru is denying this problem even exists.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #11

Dec 272004

Forester 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,700 miles
The vehicle was parked and idling before the consumer got in the vehicle and shifts it into reverse while the foot were on the brake pedal. The vehicle commences to accelerate and lurch backward and ran into the entrance of the drug store. Consumer shift the vehicle into drive and the vehicle took off again and hit a metal pole. No injuries was reported and both the driver and the passenger were restrained in their seat belts. The vehicle was tow to a repair shop. The dealer was notified and pick up the vehicle from the repair shop.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #10

Jul 102003

Forester 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,700 miles
Transmission hesitates from a dead stop. You depress the accelerator and nothing happens for 2 seconds or so, then the car lurches forward.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #9

Aug 052003

Forester 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Car "hesitates" occasionally, 1-2 second delay after you press the gas pedal until the car responds. Also, the car shifts inappropriately. Mostly this occurs on hills. You will attempt to accelerate, and the car downshifts; or you attempt to pass someone on highway and car will hesitate, then begin to accelerate, then will suddenly downshift. I have had car to dealer, first I was told there was no problem. Then, they realized there was a problem, and had the computer reset. This seemed to improve handling for only about a week. The car is now hesitating and downshifting on a regular basis.

- Bethel Park, PA, USA

problem #8

Jun 282003


  • miles
When applying brakes vehicle continues to accelerate until consumer pushes the brake pedal to the floor, causing extended stopping distance. Dealer notified.

- New Haven, CT, USA

problem #7

Feb 012003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
When the vehicle came to a stop, it accelerated forward and the only way to slow it down was to put the vehicle into neutral. Scc

- Fairbanks, AK, USA

problem #6

Oct 222002

(reported on)

Forester 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer stated the engine started hesitating during acceleration from a complete stop, hesitation occurs one second to a few seconds after acceleration and can lat approximately three seconds. Since the problems have been happening with the hesitation, the transmission now shifts with a slight thump to a loud bang, during acceleration the automatic transmission misses a shift and goes into neutral causing the engine to instantly over speed to 2,000 RPM's the transmission searches for different gears while gently accelerating, on 2 occasions the dealer has reprogrammed the computer modifications which has made the problems less intense, but still exists.

- Trabuco Canyon, CA, USA

problem #5

Nov 142001

Forester 4WD

  • miles
The engine intermittently stalls during acceleration often in fast moving cross traffic causing our hearts to stop as we fear of getting hit broadside. The engine intermittently accelerates at high speeds causing the driver to brake. I had one incident.

- Trabuco Canyon, CA, USA

problem #4

Jul 292002

(reported on)

Forester 4WD

  • miles
Myself, as well as many others, have a problem with our Subaru vehicle hesitating upon pressing the accelerator, for as much as 2-3 seconds, followed by sudden acceleration. This happens in drive as well as reverse. Subaru acknowledges the problem (really depends on who you talk to at any dealership) but says that it is normal and there is no fix. When and if a reply is sent, I will forward a copy of the letters sent to Subaru. Thank you for your time.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #3

May 152002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When parking and brakes applied vehicle surged forward. This has happened 3 times. On 27 June 2002 while parking vehicle surged forward, brakes were applied, and vehicle hit a post, consumer suffered minor injury. Vehicle at dealer at this time.

- Marquett, MI, USA

problem #2

May 262002

(reported on)


  • miles
No summary listed for above vehicle.

- Harwich, MA, USA

problem #1

Mar 092002

Forester 4WD

  • miles
Vehicle was standing with motor running in drive and I had the foot on the brake when the car started slowly moving forward. When I pushed the brake further, the car incurred a sudden acceleration forward and hit another vehicle. I just could do nothing to stop it. Subaru of America did not admit there is a malfunction and asked to take the car to the dealer to confirm such failure. However I am reluctant to do so, since the dealer would not represent my interests as well. I do not drive the car anymore as it is unsafe to do so and I do not know how should I proceed. Any advice? please tell me how were the other complains of these type resolved. I have seen similar complains against Forester 2001 and 2000. Thank you.

- Jamaica Plain, MA, USA