Subaru Forester Years to Avoid (5 Major Problems)

A versatile SUV with a sophisticated interior packed with advanced technologies and auto features – the Subaru Forester is a classy CUV to desire. Subaru started producing Forester SUVs/CUVs in 1997, and so far, the series has had 24 model years.

However, among the 24 model years of the Subaru Forester, some years are typically problematic, and you should stay away from them. But what are the worst Subaru Forester years to avoid, and why should you do so? We’ll answer that questions later in this article!

But quickly, the 2014 Subaru Forester is highlighted as the worst model year, with higher repair costs than other model years. The highest-reported problem on this Subaru Forester model is high oil consumption.

Subaru Forester Overview

Subaru Forester Years to Avoid

The Subaru Forester is an off-road capable compact crossover SUV built with sturdy components that typically last up to 250,000 miles before showing signs of critical failure or breakdown. Forester has been redesigned multiple times to meet modern SUV architecture and requirements.

Subaru Forester comes standard with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission paired with any of the available engine options. In terms of performance, the Subaru Forester really delivers excellent performance both on-road and off-road. It is a reliable SUV for a family.

See Also: Subaru Outback Years to Avoid

Subaru Forester Years to Avoid and Why

A good number of Subaru Forester model years are linked with critical engine problems, which typically occur even before 100k miles.

This makes those models not recommendable, especially to people who would prefer to buy a used Subaru Forester.

Hereunder is a quick list of the worst Subaru Forester years you should avoid in the market.

  • 2011 Subaru Forester
  • 2014 Subaru Forester
  • 2015 Subaru Forester
  • 2017 Subaru Forester
  • 2018 Subaru Forester
  • 2019 Subaru Forester

Among these model years, the 2014 year is flagged by CarComplaints as the “Worst” year of the Subaru Forester because of the severity of the engine problems reported on the model.

Common Subaru Forester Problems | Reasons To Avoid These Subaru Forester Years

These problems are the most reported issues with Subaru Foresters made in the years highlighted above.

1. Engine Problems

Quite several engine problems were reported for Subaru Foresters made between 2014 and 2019. The most commonly reported issue is “high oil consumption.”

A good number of Subaru Forester owners allege that the engine consumes an unimaginably high amount of oil, and the cause is inexplainable.

Some owners said the engine consumes 1 quart of oil within 5,000 miles, and they just have to stick with that. Notwithstanding, some owners had to change the stock engine that came with their Subaru Forester to fix this issue.

The average repair cost to fix Subaru Forester engine-related problems is $2,000.

2. Suspension Problems

There were several suspension complaints on 2014, 2018, and 2018 model years. The most reported issues include coil spring damage, lower control arm failure, and the suspension fishtailing in snow.

These problems typically occur within the 25,000 to 55,000 miles range, and the average repair cost is $1,000.

3. Brake and Transmissions Issues

The brakes and transmission systems on certain Subaru Forester years are allegedly poorly built. The 2017 Subaru Forester had the highest number of complaints regarding its transmission.

Some of the reported problems include whining transmission, shuddering, transmission jumping, buckling at low speeds, and complete failure. On average, these problems are reported to occur even before 30k miles, and the average repair cost is $1,500.

4. Internal Accessories and Electrical Problems

Internal accessories problems detected on certain Subaru Forester models include Bluetooth connectivity not working, voice recognition not working, dashboard vibration, and Android Auto not working.

For the electrical components, the commonly reported problems include battery dying off quickly, dashboard lights malfunctioning, backup camera problems, and alternator failures. The average cost of fixing a Subaru Forester’s internal accessories and electrical faults is $200 – $800.

5. Steering and Drivetrain Issues

A few steering and drivetrain issues were reported in the 2019, 2018, and 2015 Subaru Forester years. The commonly reported problems include wheel bearing failure, steering not handling properly, tie rod failure, and power steering issues.

The average cost of fixing these problems is between $200 – $1,000.

Best Subaru Forester Years To Buy

There are pretty Subaru Forester years you can choose from when you want to buy a brand new or used model. Hereunder are the best Subaru Forester years to buy.

  • 1998 to 2010 Subaru Forester
  • 2012 Subaru Forester
  • 2013 Subaru Forester
  • 2016 Subaru Forester
  • 2020 Subaru Forester
  • 2021 Subaru Forester

Well, it’s not like these Subaru Forester model years are flawless, but they give fewer problems than the “worst” years we mentioned earlier. Also, with proper maintenance, you can get these “best” Subaru Forester models to hit 250,000 without major repairs.

See Also: Which Subaru Impreza Years to Avoid?


Subaru is a brand name synonymous with reliability and robust performance; the Subaru Forester is equally a “monstrous” SUV that would take through any path. However, there are a few Subaru Forester years to avoid because they give a lot of problems.

If you’re going for a used Subaru Forester, it’d be best if you choose from the model years indicated as the “Best” years in this article. Notwithstanding, a lot of people still bought the models made in the “worst” years, and they’re still enjoying the ride.

These problems explained here are not endemic; they’re simply reported by a reasonable of Forester owners; hence, it’s advisable to be cautious when buying the affected model years.

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