Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

1.7

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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Subaru Forester:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Subaru Forester Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #28

Jan 082015

Forester 4-cyl

  • 131,000 miles

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

In very cold temperatures the interior of my vehicle is overcome with fuel fumes. It happens at idle and low speeds, does go away once we are driving for a few minutes over 30 mph. It is so bad we had to drive with windows open in 5 degree weather. Definitely coming in through the heat vents, however, shutting the heat off did not eliminate the problem. This is my first winter with the car and didn't have this happen until the last few days, when the temps have been consistently below 30 degrees F. I've read numerous other complaints of this, not sure why there is no recall/service bulletin but would like to know the solution to the issue. It can't be safe to breathe these fumes! would like to know the solution to this problem, as we otherwise love this vehicle!

- York, PA, USA

problem #27

Feb 022014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 149,000 miles
Noticed the same problem last year also at about 134000 miles. When the outside temperature drops below 20 degrees would be my best guess, the whole cab of the car fills with gasoline fumes. Pretty powerful smell. I notice online in many, many places that Subaru is having this issue. They are only fixing WRX models under a recall. That is my understanding. Unfortunately, I do not have a WRX. I will pay to have this fixed, though Subaru should step up to all models with this very detrimental issue. The dealer is acting a little suspicious denying they know about the problem. Seems like they should know about all issues that are so prominent on the internet. Most articles point to fuel lines at intake manifold are failing. Failing would demand tsb.

- Coeurdalene, ID, USA

problem #26

Feb 062012

Forester 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
During cold weather, (latest incident occurred at 15 degrees F), there is a strong fuel odor inside the vehicle while the vehicle is running coming from the air vents inside the vehicle. After stopping the vehicle inside our garage the strong fuel odor continues until gradually lessening. A visual inspection does not reveal an obvious fuel leak. Other Subaru models were recalled for a similar problem and an online search suggests this is not an isolated event to my particular vehicle.

- Fayetteville, GA, USA

problem #25

Jan 132014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 81,100 miles

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

Very strong odor of gasoline in the cabin right after startup and throughout short trips, especially with heater on. Seems to happen most often when outside temperatures are near or below the freezing mark. Did not experience before this winter, now occurs daily. Please investigate this problem before someone gets hurt or killed! if Subaru knows that there is a safety problem with the fuel system, owners should not have to pay for repairs.

- Maplewood, NJ, USA

problem #24

Jan 032014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 50,145 miles
When the outside temp drops below 15 degrees Fahrenheit there is a strong smell of gasoline in the passenger compartment until the engine warms up. Turns out its from leaking fuel lines under the hood. This is a known common problem by Subaru with several of there cars.

- Albrightsville , PA, USA

Search CarComplaints.com for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #23

Jan 242013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 105,382 miles
Strong smell of gasoline under hood when starting car cold. Auto repair center found leaking fuel line. Tightened clamps. Then the following winter, 1.24.14 again smelled raw fuel smell when started engine cold. Auto repair did a pressure test of fuel system and traced leaks to fuel rail on top of engine/ left cylinder head injector rail. Auto center owner said he had 7 Subaru owners with the same issue in the last few days with the extreme cold temperatures.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #22

Jan 202014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles

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

This past week, with the temperatures here in New Jersey dipping into the teens, I smelled the distinct odor of gasoline in my 2003 Subaru Forester in my driveway before I hit the road. The smell was so strong, I had to turn back home as my children were not feeling well from the smell. This had happened before, but never to this degree. I went to the Subaru service department and was told that they had received many calls about this same issue. He indicated that the cold weather caused the lines to contract and allowed gasoline to leak onto the engine. He said that the as the weather warmed up, the lines would expand again, thus minimizing the problem. However, he said that the only way to correct the problem was to have the lines changed. When I asked if it was a hazard to continue driving the vehicle until I could have the lines replaced, he suggested that I limit my driving since gasoline dripping onto a hot engine was dangerous. I asked if there was a recall for the lines, and he stated no. Since this is a dangerous situation and not evident in later models of Subaru, I think that other owners should be made aware.

- South Amboy, NJ, USA

problem #21

Jan 212014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
When I start my 2003 Subaru Forester in very cold weather there is a strong fuel smell in the cabin of the car coming through the vents. I know that NHTSA issued a tsb on 2002-2004 Subaru wxt models but did not include the Forester, outback, and legacy of those years, why" it is the same fuel propulsion layout and the rubber hose connection at the steel line is where the leak happens in cold weather. I have had this problem serviced 4 of the 5 past years and had injectors replaced when now I know it is actually the rubber hose shrinks back in cold weather thus the gas drips and pools on the manifold. The whole fuel line system needs to be replaced. I strongly believe that you should have a tsb for all 2002 - 2004 Subaru models that use the same fuel propulsion layout as the 2002 - 2004 wxt did. If you google ┐┐2003 Subaru Forester gas smell┐┐ you will see hundreds of complaints and questions about this issue, I and all the other owners of these 2002 ┐┐ 2004 model Subaru┐'s should not have to pay continuously for repairs that will keep on happening every winter until the lines are replaced. When will the recall happen? are you going to wait until a child / family dies from a car explosion of an unknowing family driving down the road when the car catches fire or explodes because of this problem? if you lived in a house with a gas leak you would get it fixed right away, wouldn't this be the same about your car" this needs to be done a.S.a.P.

- Newtown, PA, USA

problem #20

Jan 172014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 138,000 miles
While driving vehicle in extremely cold weather notice strong fuel smell coming in car.

- Solon, OH, USA

problem #19

Jan 012012

Forester 4-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
Purchased 2003 Subaru Forester from dealer in March of 2011. Dealer refused to provide service records. Strong raw fuel odors coming into cabin when outside temperature is below 40 degrees. Remnants of odor last several days after warmer temperatures return. Received estimate from dealer of several hundred dollars to tear car apart to find obvious fuel line leak plus cost to fix leak (labor and parts.) this year I have no other car to drive and must get to my two jobs. Result of 20 to 30 miles a day in the cold to get to work is extreme fatigue, persistent cough, nausea and severe headache. Physician has ordered lung ct as xray shows unidentifiable abnormality.

- Henrico, VA, USA

problem #18

Oct 012012

Forester 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles

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

There's a noxious smell of gasoline entering the cabin during cold weather. It dissipates when driving, but comes right back when idle. This went away during the summer, but has returned for the winter of 2013/14.

- Trumbull, CT, USA

problem #17

Nov 102013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
2003 Forester has extremely strong aromas of fuel when starting & driving in cold weather. Fuel vapors are very dangerous, here are side effects of inhalation: Inhaling gasoline fumes brings concentrated hydrocarbons into your lungs and bloodstream. Some of the ingredients in gasoline are extremely toxic and are mutagens. Liver damage and permanent brain damage are possibilities. The side effects caused by the inhalation of gasoline can range from central nervous system (cns) depression, which can include: Eye and throat irritation, mild or pronounced dizziness, headache, lack of appetite, drowsiness and in-coordination. In more serious circumstances, it can cause unconsciousness, pulmonary edema, and death. Subaru should issue a recall and address the issue, because they installed a defective product!

- Scarsdale, NY, USA

problem #16

Nov 162013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
My 2003 Forester has recently been experiencing extremely strong smells of fuel when driving in the cold weather. Inhaling fuel vapors are very dangerous, here are side effects associated with inhalation of fumes: Inhaling gasoline fumes brings concentrated hydrocarbons into your lungs and bloodstream. Some of the ingredients in gasoline are extremely toxic and are mutagens. Liver damage and permanent brain damage are possibilities. The side effects caused by the inhalation of gasoline can range from central nervous system (cns) depression, which can include: Eye and throat irritation, mild or pronounced dizziness, headache, lack of appetite, drowsiness and in-coordination. In more serious circumstances, it can cause unconsciousness, pulmonary edema, and death. Subaru should issue a recall and address the issue!!

- Scarsdale, NY, USA

problem #15

Jan 062014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
When starting my car in very cold temperature there is a very strong raw gasoline smell in the cabin. After driving the car to a doctor's appointment my husband checked under the hood and saw smoke. It is currently parked. This has happened for three days in our current cold weather.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #14

Jan 022014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
In below freezing cold weather my 2003 Subaru Forester smells like gasoline inside the cabin.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #13

Dec 232013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 122,000 miles
When the weather is below 20 degree the fuel lines leak causing the cab to full with gasoline fumes. This smell causes headaches a nausea for the driver and passengers. The smell begins to subside after the fuel lines have warmed up and expanded.

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #12

Dec 172013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
2003 Forester has heavy smells of fuel when starting in cold weather only. This was prevent last winter and has returned this winter. Fuel vapors are very dangerous. Subaru should issue a recall and address the issue.

- Wethersfield, CT, USA

problem #11

Nov 222013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Gas is leaking in the engine as a result of cold weather. Strong gas smell. Why did Subaru use fuel lines that contract in cold weather? this should be the subject of a recall by Subaru.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #10

Nov 232013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 116,232 miles
Gas is leaking in the engine as a result of cold weather. Strong gas smell. Why did Subaru use fuel lines that contract in cold weather? this should be the subject of a recall by Subaru. Online research clearly demonstrates that his is a widespread problem.

- Middleton, WI, USA

problem #9

Nov 082010

Forester 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that when the fuel tank was full, the vehicle would emit an overpowering gasoline odor into the interior cabin. The vap valve was replaced by a service center but did not correct the problem. The contact verified that there was not a fuel leak present. The vehicle was not further repaired. The failure mileage was 90,000 and the current mileage was 113,000. Updated 01/18/13 updated 1/25/2013

- Manchester , MD, USA

Read the next 8 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?