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1.5

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
116,070 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Subaru Forester fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2003 Subaru Forester Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #21

Jan 112016

Forester

  • 156,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Last winter on cold days I noticed strong fuel smell coming into interior cabin of car, attributed it to dirty air filter, changed it and weather got nice so smell was gone. Now it's January again and cold temps have arrived, noticed the smell again worse than ever. While taking car for oil change the technician told me I have a fuel leak and that is why the car smells like gas. Now I won't drive more than 10 miles fearful that I may wind up in a rolling fireball. Since there a multitudes of complaints online regarding this, I think Subaru of America needs to do 1 thing..recall and replace at no charge to owners. It smells when it is started, smells during initial drive and for quite some time -- driving with windows down at 30 degrees and below is difficult, I did it during our blizzard too. Area around engine reeks of fuel as well. I already had to replace head gaskets only to find out that there was a recall on those for the prior few years which my model wasn't covered under. Installed new muffler so that's not it either.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #20

Jan 102016

Forester

  • 218,000 miles
Everyone the temperature gets below freezing there is a terrible gasoline smell that fills the cabin of the car. It is almost to the point where you cannot drive the car and it causes headaches. This happens when starting the car and while driving it.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #19

Dec 012014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 92,100 miles
First event was in December 2014, long island, NY: After driving for about 3 miles, stopped with car shut off for about 30 minutes, when restarting, there was a very strong fresh/raw gas odor in the car. Sickening odor. This happens sporadically. The local Subaru dealer did a smoke test, said they fixed it by tightening clamps on fuel rail on 2/11/15. The odor continues sporadically. Now, March 3, 2015, they want to replace hoses on fuel rails. Mileage is just over 92,200.

- Riverhead, NY, USA

problem #18

Dec 012014

Forester

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

On winter days, where temperatures are not unusually low for a northern state, the fuel lines on the Forester will shrink and contract. The result is that fuel will leak out of the line resulting in two things, fuel vapors in the cabin and fuel puddling on the engine. Fuel puddling on the engine represents on obvious safety hazard in the event of a fire. The heavy fuel vapors and odor in the cabin caused me to become nauseous and light headed. In order to drive home safely, the windows had to be opened almost completely. Luckily they were not frozen up, which is also common in winter months. There have also been several days where wind chill alone could result in frost bite in only a few minutes. I could not have rolled down my windows safely on those days or in similar temps because of the added vehicle speed. Soa is aware that this is a problem, but refuses to correct the issue or admit that it applies to most of its models. The problem even continues on later models. This is a well known issue, see this thread that spans several years (continuing today): www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/F87/smell-gas-cold-starts-41319/ the lines and problem are almost identical to the impreza issue, which resulted in Subaru service bulletin number 09-36-03.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #17

Jan 012014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 145,000 miles
Very strong gas smell in vehicle cabin during cold weather.

- Lincoln, RI, USA

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problem #16

Feb 082015

Forester

  • 163,289 miles
Bad raw fuel odor in cabin in cold weather, has been happening for weeks. Went online, found tons of similar complaints, Subaru of America has not issued a recall for the 2003 Forester, even though this is a very common and dangerous safety problem.

- Surry, ME, USA

problem #15

Jan 062015

Forester 4-cyl

  • 173,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

When temperature drops to low double digits (teens or below) the cab of the car begins to smell of gasoline. I have had it inspected by a mechanic and they cannot find a leak anywhere in the fuel line. It goes away when the temperature moves back to warmer temperatures.

- Ballwin, MO, USA

problem #14

Dec 302014

Forester

  • 240,000 miles
A rubber hose connecting two metal gas lines has started to leak. This is due to the cold weather. Subaru issued a recall for this on the WRX models of the same year. This engine is the same engine as in the WRX. It is the 2.5 N/a. why are our motors not being fixed as well? this is a major fire hazard. It is near the ignition system and above the exhaust pipe.

- Dunlap, IL, USA

problem #13

Nov 102014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Very strong fuel smell when cold weather.

- Pleasantville, NY, USA

problem #12

Nov 192014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
In freezing weather a very strong smell of gasoline fills the car. I have young children that ride in this vehicle and it's a health and safety hazard.

- Lewisburg , PA, USA

problem #11

Nov 112014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 169,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

When temperature is less than 32, the inside of the car smells like gas. It gets worse when the heat is turned on. Fumes are overwhelming.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #10

Nov 122014

Forester

  • 97,000 miles
Cold weather fuel line leak.

- Fort Collins, CO, USA

problem #9

Feb 102014

Forester

  • 221 miles
2003 Forester 2.5xs in alberta, Canada (owned since Dec 2004). Same issue at 221,000 kilometers: We have been noticing very strong fuel smell for several months now (when it's cold outside). The car is currently at the dealership for repairs. As a lot of owners noted here and on other numerous web sites, the problem is widespread now. Otherwise, it's been the best car we've had and we still love it. Hopefully Subaru will notice these numerous complaints and will stay behind its reputation.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #8

Feb 102014

Forester

  • 221 miles
2003 Forester 2.5xs in alberta, Canada (owned since Dec 2004). Same issue at 221,000 kilometers: We have been noticing very strong fuel smell for several months now (when it's cold outside). The car is currently at the dealership for repairs. As a lot of owners noted here and on other numerous web sites, the problem is widespread now. Otherwise, it's been the best car we've had and we still love it. Hopefully Subaru will notice these numerous complaints and will stay behind its reputation.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #7

Jan 132014

Forester

  • 72,768 miles
Recently noticed a strong smell of pure gasoline when it is cold outside. The smell isn't so bad until you turn on the heating system. Not long after, you have to drive with the windows down in order to breath fresh air.

- Fallston, MD, USA

problem #6

Nov 072013

Forester

  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that there was a strong gasoline odor inside of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection where they stated that they could not determine the cause of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 170,000.

- Liverpool, NY, USA

problem #5

Feb 132013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 77,116 miles
At cold temperatures, fuel leaking somewhere from vehicle, causing strong odor inside and out of cabin. Concerned that this amount of fuel could be hazardous to breathe and/or cause risk for fire. Need more proactive response from Subaru on this matter, at this point 26 of 115 complaints for this make/model/year are for this issue.

- Deerfield, IL, USA

problem #4

Dec 022013

Forester

  • miles
When the temperature goes below freezing, there is the odor of fuel in the cabin of the car.

- Petersburg, NY, USA

problem #3

Jan 172013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 108,750 miles
I was driving my 2003 Subaru Forester and noticed a strong odor of gasoline coming from my vents, increasing when I tuned on my heat. At first I thought I was behind a car using diesel fuel. The temperature outside was 11 degrees F. I brought my car into the Subaru dealer when on the second day it increased and I had to open the windows to for ventilation as this was making me feel light headed an ill. I was told by the person in repair that an employee of Subaru had come in also that day with the same complaint. My car was found to have leaks in the gas lines. I was told his happens in cold weather. Since Subaru advertises their vehicles as the cold weather vehicles I find this totally unacceptable. This is a safety hazard and feel their should be a recall, since they have recalled some of their other vehicles for this very same reason. This is very frightening to say the least. I was told it will cost $750 to repair. I feel his is a defect and major safety hazard and shoued be a recall before someone gets seriously injured if they have not already.

- Milford, CT, USA

problem #2

Jan 212013

Forester

  • 190,000 miles
When weather is cold, there is a strong smell of fuel inside the car. Happens on any morning when temperature is below freezing.

- Warren, NJ, USA

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