really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
113,488 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 #16

Jan 242020


  • 109,250 miles
Excessive oil consumption. Have to add more than a 1 quart between oil changes(every 3K miles).

- Bellefontaine, OH, USA

problem #15

Apr 012019


  • 86,000 miles
Purchased vehical 3-4 months ago w/ 86K miles. Oil leaks in head gasket ( quart every 6 weeks..researched this and turns out this is a very common problem from 1999- 2013. On all Foresters. Manufacturer used more sealant and less gasket on that engine.why wasn't this recalled?? easily verified via tube or internet.the other issue is lower control arm bushings worn out at 86K miles. Steering is very un stable.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #14

May 112019


  • 106,000 miles
2012 Subaru Forester with 106,000 miles burns all of the engine oil dry. I have read this is due to faulty piston rings. Where is the recall for this ? it is unacceptable. Regularly, if not, over maintained.

- East Aurora, NY, USA

problem #13

Apr 292019


  • 91,575 miles
While pulling into a parking stall at approximately 2-3 mph I went to press the brakes when all of the sudden the car accelerated at full speed without touching the accelerator causing me to hit the concrete wall in front of me. Airbags did not deploy and neither me or my passenger were not hurt. Damage to the bumper, frame, grill and various components just inside the engine compartment.

- Cypress, TX, USA

problem #12

Feb 012019


  • 86,000 miles
Driver seatbelt buckle will not release. May take up to 10 firm pushes of release button before buckle releases. Engine oil was at 1 quart even after 1 quart of oil was added per month. Dealership diagnosed as rod knock. Second opinion led to changing oil twice and checking pressures. Recommended change oil every 3000 miles on this particular type of engine.

- Oregon City, OR, USA

problem #11

Dec 132018


  • 68,000 miles
My car suffered a catastrophic oil event without an indicator light or any other warning that is nesitating a new engine. The car had less than 70,000 miles on it and was in service several times recently without anyone noticing the oil problem? on the day of the event I was driving to work and was hearing a ticking noise like when you put a baseball card on your bicycle spokes with a clothespin. When I was a mile from my workplace an oil light illuminated and I immediately pulled off the expressway into a gas station. I put synthetic oil into the car, restarted it and drove less than a mile to an open service station where I left the car for service. The service station informed me that I needed a new engine. I spoke to Subaru after discovering that this event was not mine alone and in 2015 Subaru was sued for the problem. I was never made aware of the potential for this or dreamed it was possible.

- Southfield, MI, USA

problem #10

May 152018


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owned a 2012 Subaru Forester. While driving approximately 69 mph with the cruise control activated, flames were seen coming from underneath the driver side of the hood. The cruise control independently disengaged and the vehicle lost all power. The contact was able to coast the vehicle to the side of the road. The fire department was contacted and extinguished the fire. A police report and a fire report were filed. There were no injuries sustained. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to the contact's residence. The contact mentioned an unknown recall regarding the relay system as a possible cause of the failure, which only included turbo booster engine vehicles. However, the contact's non-turbo booster engine vehicle was not included in the recall. The dealer and manufacturer were not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 130,000.

- Stillwater, OK, USA

problem #9

Dec 232016


  • 65,235 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Subaru Forester. While traveling approximately 60 mph, the vehicle lost all power without warning. The contact was able to coast the vehicle to the shoulder of the roadway. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the mass air flow sensor and battery failed. There was also too much fuel in the system. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was invalid. The failure mileage was 65,235.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #8

Nov 142016


  • miles
Bought this vehicle from bank owned, it was 3 years old when bought, it had 70,000 miles. In one year of usage/service time, with 3 oil changes/2 with extreme oil burning. No signs of smoke, overheat, but within the 4th year of ownership it began to make engine noises. A rattling which as it turn out, and unbeknown to us vehicle was known to have problems with, and I took it to the dealer, they told us that the vehicle coverage was at 100,000 miles/a cut off for coverage on a class action suit. They took our car, stored it, because it had gone 120 miles over the cut off, and we're still waiting to see if they will honor their promise of coverage being that it's not an old vehicle.

- Yucaipa, CA, USA

problem #7

Feb 052016


  • 107,500 miles
I bought this car in February. I only had it a couple days and decided I should check the oil. No oil on the dipstick!! put 2 quarts in to bring it level. I have to check the oil every few days to make sure it does not run out. I am having to put in a quart every 500 miles! this is not normal oil consumption! the oil is changed every 3,000 miles. I bought this car because of Subaru's reputation. Never again! after doing research, I found out there was a lawsuit filed. How can a dealer sell a car that is the object of a lawsuit? Subaru should be recalling this vehicle. Now I'm stuck making payments on a car that won't last.

- Glenwood City, WI, USA

problem #6

Oct 272016


  • 800,000 miles
Which driving on the interstate at rush hour at 65 mph... with absolutely no warning or warning light my car stalled. When this happened the steering went out along with the brakes and all power. I sat in the fast lane of traffic unable to safely exit my car for almost and hour until help arrived. I took the car to the dealership neil huffman in louisville ky where I purchased the car new 4 years ago. I was told the mass airflow sensor had failed. I was also told that they had no idea why this happened at 65 mph with no warning. I paid the $403 repair and contact Subaru usa due to my concerns. Although I called several times and was on hold each time for up to 10 min and also emailed.. still not response. This seems to be a major safety concern. I no longer feel safe in the car.. and plan to purchase a new car soon.. but am concerned someone else will be my car and be in danger.

- Salem, IN, USA

problem #5

Aug 082016


  • 80,000 miles
My car is suburu Forester 2012. I usually change the oil in the car between 7000-10000 miles. On Jan 13-2016, at 71854 mile, amsoil 5 quart synthetic oil was placed at oil change. On Aug 8th at 80600, I went in for oil change and also the car was making knocking sound. The suburu dealer told me engine seized due to lack of oil in the engine. The car was deemed not drivable. There were no evidence of oil leak under the car or around the oil container on the engine, when check by the glassman dealer in southfield Michigan. Suburu Forester does not have any engine oil level light. The engine consumes the oil and, the owners should be warned about this. I lost $6000 money on the trade in due to the engine condition.

- Northville, MI, USA

problem #4

Jan 272015

Forester 4-cyl

  • 43,405 miles
Oil was checked before vehicle left Massachusetts for a trip to New Mexico. After driving approximately 2300 miles, upon arrival at the destination no oil showed on the dipstick. Mechanic drained only 2.5 quarts from vehicle (5.5 quarts is full) so engine consumed 3.0 quarts. This is grossly excessive consumption and indicative of a serious engine/materials defect. Have since discovered this oil consumption defect is common to 2011-2014 Subaru vehicles. Subaru will not fix this engine. This vehicle will cause me to incur expense because of the need to purchase and replace the entire oil volume during the recommended oil change interval and loss of value of the vehicle. Vehicle is a danger to the drivers and others on the street because the engine may catastrophically fail causing an accident. Also, the low oil level warning light on this vehicle has never illuminated indicating that it, too, is defective.

- Los Alamos, NM, USA

problem #3

Apr 152014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
Engine using synthetic ow-20 oil per dealer recommendation uses oil faster than new car should. Oil changed 18,951mi. At around 22,000 oil was noted leaking around oil filter. Also dipstick showing low level. Owner had to add oil while on a trip. After 24,393mi oil filter leak reported, dealer replaced gasket 803916010 and topped off oil. At 26,312 mi, oil again changed by dealer. 3K mi later (29,000mi) oil again showed below low on dipstick requiring owner to add oil. 32,191 mi service appointment oil change by dealer states "close to full." Dealer told us that cars use a quart of oil every thousand miles normally. No leak found on inspection. I always park in the same place at parking garage and there are no oil leaks on the concrete. My family has had 2 other new Subaru vehicles since 2003 which also use synthetic oil and no other car has had this oil usage. I have owned 6 new cars in my lifetime. I know how to maintain an engine by frequent checks and maintenance. My concern is that owners may lose an engine due to seizure if they follow Subaru recommended oil change by mileage or months. Some owners who are not diligent in checking frequently may lose an engine. My other concern is that either Subaru engine design, gaskets, or other parts may be to blame in excessive oil usage. Please investigate this problem.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #2

Jan 022013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 12,200 miles
The engine consumes too much oil for such a relatively new & low mileage vehicle. This is the 2nd complaint to the dealer about this concern. Each time the engine oil is checked the dipstick would not register any oil reading. On the second visit, the dealer changed the oil & filter under warranty as per bulletin 02-144-13R & having me return after an additional 1200 miles of driving. This engine is defective for having oil usage at such low mileage and begin relatively new. I have owned many cars in my time and understand all cars consume oil at some point or another but not when the car is still practically new. Did research online and have seen many other owners with similar complaints, most with no resolution. This poses a safety hazard mainly for the owners who are not as savvy with vehicles. The engine oil could run out & seize the motor of which can happen while driving during highway speeds.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #1

Jul 302013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 8,650 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that whenever the check engine warning light illuminated, the cruise control would independently disable without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician stated that the vehicle was working according to standards. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 8,650 and the current mileage was 11,626. Updated 10/17/13

- Duluth, MN, USA