Which Subaru Forester Years to Avoid and Why? (Explained)

Subaru developed the Forester, a crossover based on the Impreza, in 1997.

The Forester’s boxy design and rough style would come to be associated with the car, and its low profile marked it apart from its competitors. When it was originally introduced, the new Forester sat comfortably between the Impreza and the Legacy.

The low shape of the Forester sets it apart from its competitors. The Forester was so low that the “danger of rollover” warning on the visor was unnecessary.

As a result, the Forester possessed the capability of an SUV while driving like a car. This characteristic was stated by Subaru as “SUV tough, Car Easy.”

Despite being a popular brand with some of the most devoted drivers, it still has problems.

So, what Forester model years should you avoid?

Subaru forester Years to Avoid (List of Year)

There may appear to be a lot of Forester model years to avoid, but each has a valid reason.

The redesigned years are 2002, 2008, 2014, and 2019. According to conventional wisdom, redesign years should be avoided so that upgraded models have time to sort out their faults.

In truth, 2014 was the only redesign model with severe flaws.

The rest are mostly first and second generations, with a few outliers that had a lot of issues.

But following years you want to avoid being on the safe side:

  • 1998 Subaru Forester
  • 1999 Subaru Forester
  • 2000 Subaru Forester
  • 2001 Subaru Forester
  • 2003 Subaru Forester
  • 2010 Subaru Forester
  • 2011 Subaru Forester
  • 2014 Subaru Forester

What Makes These Subaru forester Years is Worth Avoiding?

The Foresters from 2001 and before experienced the most serious gasket head issues, with the 1998 model being the worst of the first-generation cars.

A single-layer head gasket that was too weak was the source of the problem. Head gasket leaking was a problem with almost all Foresters during this period, and it generally occurred around 50,000 miles.

New models are prone to flaws, so overall, this isn’t too severe, but it’s persistent enough that you should avoid all first-gen models.

It’s sad to see how a large corporation like Toyota, despite being called out by numerous consumers and critics, was unable to resolve several recurring issues.

  • Surging and Motor Issues
  • Transmission Issues
  • Noise Issues
  • CPS and Differential Issues
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Engine failure
  • Oil leaks
  • Unexpected acceleration
  • Interior accessories
  • Fuel efficiency

Excessive oil consumption, engine failure, oil leaks, burned oil stench, and sudden acceleration are just a few of the most typical Subaru Forester engine problems in 2011.

These faults were significantly more serious for the 2014 model, but they began to cause serious difficulties for users this year.

The most common solution for excessive oil consumption is to replace the engine or add oil, with the average repair costing roughly $1,640 and occurring every 46,000 miles or so.

If there’s one Forester model to stay away from, it’s 2014. Engine failure, high oil consumption, suspension failures, and gearbox difficulties plagued this model year, making it one of the worst.

A bad suspension is bad enough, but when it’s paired with gearbox issues, it’s considerably worse.

Most suspension faults with 2014 were determined to be caused by broken coil springs. Spring, strut, and rear coil spring replacement costs roughly $1,200 on average and was frequent around 50,000 miles.

Window and Windshield problems:

The primary issue with windows is the loud wind noise that comes from the rubber sign on many windows, which occurs every 87,000 miles or so.

The cost of the repair is only $400, and it involves replacing a rubbery seal that keeps the wind out of your car’s interior while allowing you to easily roll up or down any power window.

Air Bag and Seat Belts issues:

What concerns drivers the most concerning seat belts and airbags is an incoming signal that indicates that your airbag may be defective or that it is not being delivered when needed.

These issues occur every 60,000 miles on average, with a severity of 3.3 out of 10.

High Oil consumption:

The 2014 Subaru Forester has a “high rate of oil consumption,” according to the manufacturer. During the winter months, the air conditioner is not as chilly as some would want.

According to sources, the car’s engine might stall at low speeds, increasing the chance of an accident.

When accelerating from a halt, several drivers have reported hearing an odd noise. The back seats do not fold flat enough for heavier things, which is a typical complaint.

Which Years are Safe to Buy Used?

While the Forester has been popular since its inception, the most current model years are the finest to look at if you’re wanting to buy one.

These devices offer outstanding safety ratings, superior connectivity and technology, and good customer evaluations.

It’s too early to tell if they will have the same long-term problems as their predecessors, but these three are safe bets.

The most dependable forester year models are:

  • 2019 Subaru Forester
  • 2020 Subaru Forester
  • 2021 Subaru Forester

For those looking for an all-wheel-drive crossover SUV, the 2019 Forester has a lot to offer. It has a roomy interior, a smooth ride, and responsive handling. All-wheel drive is standard, as one would expect from a Subaru.

When it comes to dependability difficulties, the 2019 Forester has a few, albeit small, flaws. Its main gripe is that the windshield chips are ready, especially in low-mileage vehicles.

The 2020 Subaru Forester is another well-made SUV with a spacious cabin, good fuel efficiency, and a long list of standard safety features.

The basic all-wheel-drive system performs admirably and is one of the best in the market. The biggest source of dependability issues is Forester’s windshield, which is prone to cracking.

Additionally, the SUV’s electrical system has faults, particularly with the shaky power liftgate that opens abruptly.

Subaru’s 2021 Forester, another highly rated SUV, exemplifies toughness and practicality.

The Forester isn’t the flashiest SUV on the market, but its practicality more than makes up for it. It’s difficult to go wrong with the 2021 Forester, from the spacious inside to the top-tier AWD system to the outstanding Eyesight driver assistance package.


The Subaru Forester is a well-known and well-known vehicle, but its varied issues may make you ponder which model to purchase.

Engine difficulties, gearbox troubles, and suspension concerns plagued the worst years of the car’s life, from 2011 to 2014, making it dangerous to drive.

Now that you know the best and worst years for Subaru forester, you should be able to figure out which model is perfect for you and which model you should avoid at all costs.

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