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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
52,444 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 #10

Jul 202011

Forester 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


Floor mat detached from floor; rides up under and traps accelerator.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #9

May 032011


  • 74,110 miles
Accelerator took off at high RPM and continued at high RPM even in park. Fortunately, I noticed that lifting my foot off the accelerator did not slow the car when driving in low traffic conditions at less than 40 mph and was able to overcome acceleration with braking with sufficient control to get to the dealership about 1 mile away. Most definitely not the accelerator pedal; the mat was no where near the pedal. Had an oil change two days prior, both otherwise nothing to report concerning the car.

- Pennington, NJ, USA

problem #8

Dec 122010

Forester 4-cyl

  • 48,500 miles
We owned a 2004 Subaru Forester for 6 years. 2 years ago I experienced an incident where starting out the accelerator stuck at an advanced rate of speed. I was able to quickly gain control and brake the vehicle and thought it was an aberration. Recently on starting out from a ferry boat the accelerator again stuck at an advanced rate of speed. I avoided people and many cars but did collide with a wall and 1 car, finally stopping the Subaru by driving up a hill, over a curb and into a fence. I had mechanics check the accelerator system. They said they could find no defect in the system but that other factors could contribute to "sticking" such as faulty floor mats or placement od brake and/or accelerator pedals. I am not an expert but my examination indicates (1) there is approximately 2 inch gap between the front of the accelerator pedal and the floor (2)that T he brake and accelerator pedals are quite close together; and that a foot could become "hung up" or lodged because of either or both of these things. This possibility could be increased by larger feet, although I do not consider my size 11 width ee shoe size to be overly large. My non-expert opinion is that these pedals should be re-engineered so that (1) there is no gap of the accelerator to the floor (2)there is a clear separation of the brake and accelerator pedals.

- Edmonds, WA, USA

problem #7

Dec 232010


  • 38,530 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that as he started the vehicle, the vehicle abnormally accelerated. The contact turned the ignition off and turned it back on and the vehicle independently accelerated a second time. The third time the contact turned the ignition off and when restarting, the failure did not recur. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 38,530.

- Lynden, WA, USA

problem #6

Aug 032010


  • 94,500 miles
On August 3, 201 while driving on the highway, my 2004 Subaru Forester suddenly began to accelerate. I could not keep my speed below 80-90 miles per hour, even when my foot was not on the accelerator. I had to keep my foot on the brakes at all times. I tried to engage and disengage the cruise control, in case that was the issue. I was fortunate to be close to my home and usual car repair service. I was able to get there by constantly adjusting the gear I was in and keeping the brake engaged at all times. I was almost in an accident when trying to turn into my garage. I was able to stop the car in the parking lot by turning off the engine and engaging the parking brake at the same time. By the time I was able to stop, my brakes were smoking. My ABS unit on the car has since failed. The car's accelerator unit was found to be caked by some sort of gunk, and this caused the accelerator to be stuck open. Repairs cost more than $1200.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #5

Jan 102010


  • 52,000 miles
While parking my car in a museum parking area on a slope, I shifted the automatic gear shift from reverse to drive and the car suddenly accelerated and took off down a crowded parking lot driveway at very high speed. The car was at a standstill at the time of the gear shifting. I could not slow or stop the rapidly accelerating car by braking. I was focused on not hitting people and other entering cars and didn't think to try the emergency brake or shifting into neutral. The car kept accelerating, despite my foot being heavily on the brake, and I aimed it into a tree rather than into an oncoming car. The car was "totaled". the airbag deployed and I was wearing a seat belt. I was very badly bruised with no concussion, whiplash or broken bones. I was taken by ambulance to the local hospital emergency room and discharged after a few hours. The steering wheel column was sheared off and the dashboard totally deformed by the force of my impact into them. The whole front end of the car was smashed in. I later checked the car at the impounding site and found no evidence of the driver seat floor mat being out of place or even touching the accelerator pedal. I am the sole driver of this car and had no prior similar problems. The weather at the time of the accident was cold, sunny and dry.

- Santa Fe, NM, USA

problem #4

Jan 172010


  • 69,000 miles


The contact has 2004 suburu forrester. The contact stated that in January 2010 she was backing up the vehicle at 5mph. The vehicle began accelerating in reverse up to 60 mph. The vehicle crashed through a buildings metal garage door and part of the South wall. Within a few seconds the vehicle zoomed across the empty garage space and then crashed through and interior metal wall and into a large open work space. The vehicle did not stop until it became wedged between a large heavy work table and another object. The whole episode took only a few seconds. The vehicle caused a lot of property damage and the vehicle was destroyed. The contact feels it was a sudden acceleration problem. The failure and current mileages was 69000.the VIN was unavailable at the time of the complaint.

- Troy, NY, USA

problem #3

Sep 292009


  • 40,500 miles
Owner was pulling into a parking space at a grocery store parking lot when vehicle suddenly accelerated forward bumping the concrete parking post. When put in reverse, it again suddenly accelerated bruising a pedestrian. Similar behavior while parking occurred in the same lot a month earlier but only causing damage to the license plate cover. We believe the drivers side floor matt slipped and have removed it. We did take it to the dealer to have the throttle computer board cleaned at the pin connector and map sensors, as had been suggested in an earlier NHTSA report for this car year and model. However, the mechanic said they were not dirty.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #2

Dec 222007

Forester 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles
Vehicle abruptly accelerated while stopped with foot on brake in a residential neighborhood. Vehicle jumped a curb and clipped a tree at high speed cutting across two home lawns. Driver had no control of car and brakes did not work. Vehicle finally came to a rest after brake pedal had been pushed all the way to the floor. Significant damage to vehicle where it made contact with the tree. Thankfully no one was outside at the time (3:00 pm) because someone could have easily been killed by the out of control vehicle also had it not been for clipping the tree, the vehicle would have likely gone forward into a home.

- Severna Park, MD, USA

problem #1

Feb 182005

Forester 4WD 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 3,300 miles
Consumer is unable to see the speedometer while driving during day time when the sun is out. The sun light is obstructing consumer's view to see if he is complying with the speed limit. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who informed the consumer that they were unable to change or correct the problem. The vehicle complied with the dot specs.

- Denver, CO, USA

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