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.

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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,018 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.

2004 Subaru Forester engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #6

Feb 102011

Forester 4-cyl

  • 106,000 miles


Had timing belt replaced on 2004 Forester turbo as recommended on maintenance, schedule, next day on highway, loud screeching noise and lose of power. Stopped driving towed to mechanic. Said it was blown turbo. Never notified of banjo bolt issue, Subaru should recall or remedy situation at their cost.

- Henniker , NH, USA

problem #5

Jan 142010


  • 102,323 miles
I purchased a 2004 Subaru forrester xt in February of '09 with 93,008 miles on it. The dealership had all service records relating to the vehicles history, and all guidelines were followed according to the manufacturer's specifications. The current mileage on the vehicle is 102,323 and I was just informed that the turbocharger is coming apart and needs replaced or the vehicle will be non-operational. I contacted Subaru of North America and they informed me that there was nothing that they could do, which I understand. My main problem is that the representative that I talked to informed me that the manufacturer changed its guidelines for later models of the vehicle to a shorter recommended interval between services. These models have the same engine and turbocharger as my vehicle and they changed the scheduled maintenance from 7,500 miles to 3,500 miles. I understand the power train coverage expired at 5 years or 60,000 miles but my main concern is that they had changed their service requirement for a reason. The mechanic shop that I have taken the vehicle to has had service bulletins on this problem concerning the turbochargers. It states vehicles that are turbocharged should have the oil changed every 3,750 miles to prevent failure/ damage to the turbo and that I was not to drive it or the engine could seize up and cause a crash.

- Manfield, OH, USA

problem #4

Jun 292009


  • 70,000 miles
Engine caught fire while the car was driven. Corresponds to NHTSA campaign number: 7V043000.

- Douglaston, NY, USA

problem #3

Jul 252006


  • miles


2004 Forester xt stalled, had loss of power during acceleration and jerked violently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer three times but they were unable to diagnose and repair the problem.

- Encino, CA, USA

problem #2

Dec 172004

Forester 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles
Car producing noxious odor inside. When parking car in garage, accidentally stepped on accelerator rather than brake. Hit and destroyed back wall. Cosmetic damage to car. Dealer claims leaves were sucked into the engine compartment through turbocharge intake. But, odor was of burnt rubber or plastic, not leaves. And, the car is always parked in the garage. Finally, most leaves were down several weeks earlier this year, I.e., by end of November.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #1

Dec 022004

Forester 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,785 miles
Engine compartment fire, resulting from oil leaking in engine compartment. There were no injuries and because of proximity of fire department fire was extinguished within 4-5 minutes. Subaru of America (soa) maintains that oil leaked from oil filter and that this is no fault of theirs. Given the history of recalls of this type of vehicle in Japan for leaking oil and fires I am not sure that this point has been demonstrated. Soa refused to fix damage and told me to file an insurance claim... which I have done. Damage is estimated to be $6-10K. Matter will be subrogated to insurance company for settlement.

- St Charles, MO, USA

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