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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
94,316 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 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

Dec 012006


  • 35,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that when starting the vehicle in cold weather temperatures, the vehicle would exhibit an unusually overpowering gasoline fuel odor from the interior. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnosis yet they were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not under recall and was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 35,000.

- Marstons Mills, MA, USA

problem #7

Jun 012010

Forester 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
We're the owners of a 2003 Subaru Forester (about 90 000 miles). For at least 6 months after we fill the gas tank, we detect gas fumes near the rear wheels - exterior only. As the tanks level goes down, the smell will go away. We are not over-filling; in fact we will fill before the pump "clicks off". there is no dripping of gas and our mechanic has checked for leaks/overflows etc and has found nothing. Obviously something is wrong and we are not the only owners who have complained about this exterior smell (it seems to have been very prevalent in the 2002 model). The dealer has been no help. We hope NHTSA can help us. Thanks.

- Millers, MD, USA

problem #6

Jan 242011


  • 115,000 miles
The previous night was -17, I didn't drive the car all day. At 6:30 pm I drove the car for 1/2hour, all was well. 2 hours later (-3 degrees) I got in the car and drove 15 min at which time I came to a stop sign and turned right onto another road and the smell of gas inside the car began. I looked up the symptoms online and found I'm not the only one. No action has been taken.

- Oakham, MA, USA

problem #5

Dec 132010


  • 85,000 miles


2003 Subaru Forester xs - fuel smell in cabin during cold weather. Similar to the many posts out there, there is an unbearable smell of gas in the cabin of my car. I have to roll windows down in the freezing weather to continue to drive. I've read it is due to contracting fuel lines that then leak. Fire hazards are obvious, but the noxious gas is enough to at least distract your driving if not knock you unconscious. I will visit my dealer this week to complain.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #4

Jan 292010


  • 100,000 miles
My 2003 Subaru Forester has a fuel leak smell that enters the car interior.. it's not a rich fuel mixture exhaust smell, it's the smell of raw fuel inside the cabin. It comes and goes. I see online others are having this problem. Subaru should be held accountable and forced to have a recall to fix the problem once and for all.

- Mantua, NJ, USA

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problem #3

Jan 182009


  • 91,000 miles
Cabin has strong fuel smell when starting in the morning. The smell is like someone poured a cup of fuel on the front seat. The dealer stated there was an issue with the fuel line leaking. Many other Subaru owners are complaining about this issue on the Subaru owner websites.

- Dumfries, VA, USA

problem #2

Jan 162009


  • 144,000 miles
Today, I started my 2003 Subaru forested, and let the car run with the heat on for about 15 minutes while I scraped the frost off of my windows. When I opened the door to get in, the cabin wreaked of gas fumes. This is the third time this has happened. Once each in Jan 2006 and Jan 2007 I reported this to the dealership. In 2006 they attempted to replace the clamps, in '07 they replaced some hoses. Apparently these fixes are still not sufficient to solve the problem. The only current solution to the problem is to operate the car at warm temperatures or let it warm up before driving. The gas fumes are still getting in to the cabin when it idles, though.

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #1

Oct 052006

Forester 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 31,000 miles
I recently had an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous incident with my 2003 Forester, at, of all places, the local Toyota dealership. I had stopped to discuss a service appointment. Upon leaving, my Forester would not start, but exhibited symptoms of initially fuel starvation, and then poor ignition; it ran for 1/2-1 minute, missing frequently and then would die; within a few minutes, it would not run at all, suggesting either complete fuel or ignition failure. The Toyota service department closed at 6, and their suggestion was to tow the Forester to the nearly Subaru dealership, one block away. And suggest that next time I get a rav4. The Subaru service department closed at 5:30, of course, and there were only salespeople present. Their suggestion was to also tow the car to the service department. Finally, the sales manager suggested that it might be the security system. Of course, my Forester did not have that option, but he said that he understood most of the circuitry existed, and that certain combinations of locking/unlocking the door with the key, or the door switch, could activate the ignition cutoff. He told me to shut all the doors and then lock/unlock the doors twice with the remote. I walked back, did that, and the Forester started. After driving back and thanking him, I carefully read both the owner's manual and the separate manual for the remote/security system. There is no mention of this potential problem. Luckily, this happened in daylight, within walking distance of the Subaru dealer, and there also happened to be someone there who could suggest a cure. 1) is this a known fault in the system? 2) if known (and the manager said he had heard of several cases) why is there not some description of the problem and the simple solution.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

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