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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
35,916 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.

2009 Subaru Forester engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #14

Apr 052015

Forester 4-cyl

  • 99,062 miles


I started the car from a parked position on a fairly level driveway(slight upgrade), in order to bring it into my garage--approximate distance 20 feet. Started engine and with foot on brake pedal which is required, I engaged automatic transmission, from park to drive. The engine roared, rpms soared, and with my foot still firmly planted on the brake pedal, the car ran through the garage, crashed into my atv, which was parked parallel to back wall of garage. The car hit the atv with such force, that the rear wheel of the atv was propelled over a 6" poured concrete footer and the through rear wall of my attached framed and drywalled garage(ground level). When the second rear wheel of the atv became pinned against the same footer and would not leap it, apparently because of the rear wall debris field, I was able to throw the transmission into park and turn ignition to off position. This all happened in a matter of seconds. I immediately left the vehicle and my first thought was to check floor mat positioning--- not a problem. Results of the crash so far is that I have a crumpled front end of the Forester and the hood won't close firmly. I have an atv that may have a bent rear axle, ruined wheel(s), dented plastic parts, and possibly the frame of the atv. There is a plow attachment which will also need to be checked on the atv. The garage rear wall has been taken out, and now sits about three feet into the backyard. All these items are currently being looked at by insurance adjusters and contractors, so I am unable to give final cost of damages. Fortunately, my wife and dog were not near the atv or behind the exterior wall when this happened, otherwise there would have been serious injuries, I'm sure. I called the NHTSA toll-free # yesterday, left message, but did not hear back. Thus, this report is 1 day later. Thanks in advance for your attention to this matter.

- Oil City, PA, USA

problem #13

Feb 092015


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph and depressing the brake pedal to stop at a traffic sign, the vehicle suddenly accelerated without warning causing the contact to drive through the stop sign. The failure recurred twice. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer or diagnosed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000.

- Moorpark, CA, USA

problem #12

Nov 222014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 41,312 miles
I have a Subaru 2009 that I bought last yeay with around 25000 miles under an extended warranty. VIN [xxx]. and this as happened te times so far. While driving or just starting of the car shakes very hard, and the stability control light comes on the check engine ad cruise control and as the car tries to shift the whole car shakes. Then as you are driving down the highway it loses power almost as if it is stalling out. It did this to me on interstate 85 at 65 mph and I barely missed a truck. I have contacted the dealer ship twice and taken it in once and they said nothing was wrong ? now that I almost wrecked last night I am contacting you. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Charlotte , NC, USA

problem #11

Aug 172014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles


Shifted from park to reverse with normal brake depression; vehicle immediately accelerated to 20 mph, no brakes and the dash control center completely lit up. The only way I was able to stop vehicle was by shifting to neutral and engaging the parking brake. I then tried the same procedure in forward with the same results except this time resulting with the car colliding with the garage wall causing approximately $6000 worth of damage between the car and house.

- East Aurora, NY, USA

problem #10

May 142008


  • 1,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Subaru Forester. While accelerating from a complete stop, the vehicle accelerated without warning. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer and was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 1,000.

- Harrington Park, NJ, USA

problem #9

Jul 022013


  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that while driving 5 mph, the vehicle suddenly accelerated and crashed into another vehicle. The contact did not suffer any injuries. A police report was not filed. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer for a diagnostic test however, the dealer was unable to diagnose the failure. The failure mileage was 52,000. The VIN was not available.

- Palmayra, PA, USA

problem #8

Jul 022013


  • 57,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that while driving 10 mph, the vehicle independently accelerated and crashed into the rear of another vehicle. The driver of the vehicle sustained injuries. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was towed to a dealer for diagnosis but the cause of the failure was undetermined. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The failure and current mileage was 57,000.

- Palmera, PA, USA

problem #7

Oct 212012


  • 38,437 miles
In a 2009 Subaru Forester while in a small parking lot, after backing out of parking space and preparing to move forward, the vehicle suddenly accelerated, shot across the lot and crashed into a parked car which was severely damaged and deemed totaled. The driver was only able to attempt to steer the out-of-control Forester away from the parking lot exit to avoid it leaving the lot, crossing the sidewalk and entering the roadway.the Forester sustained considerable damages which were repaired. The owner (driver) drove the Forester only one time since the accident and would not continue to use it for fear of a repetition of what appeared to him to be a serious defect in the speed control. This has been reported by others for this make and model for 2009 and other years.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #6

Jul 282012


  • 17,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that while reversing, the vehicle accelerated on its own and crashed into a tree. The contact shifted into neutral and the vehicle stopped moving at that point. The dealer was notified but offered no assistance. The vehicle had not been repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The failure and current mileages were 17,000.

- Coran, NY, USA

problem #5

Dec 232010

Forester 4-cyl

  • 14,000 miles
Sudden acceleration on a 2009 Subaru forrester. My wife was pulling into a parking space when the vehicle suddenly accelerated, crashing thru a brick wall, over a large A/C unit and into a building.

- Waynesboro, VA, USA

problem #4

Feb 022010


  • 7,200 miles


Driving East on ardsley rd. In scarsdale NY, my vehicle accelerated by itself. At the time I was starting to go downhill, curving right with a "jersey barrier" in the center of the roadway. I tried to go around the vehicle directly in front of me but my right rear sideswiped his left rear. It continued to accelerate around a right curve (downhill). I could not stop. I struck an S.U.V. just starting to move with traffic. The vehicle I sideswiped sustained no damage. Both the vehicle I struck and my vehicle were heavily damaged (my auto is $4500). Both vehicles towed from the scene. Greenburgh (NY) police responded. No injuries as of this time. I reported this to the 800 number of Subaru. They took all the information over the phone. I have not heard from them. I told them I was reporting this because I didn't know if anyone else experienced the same fright. The time was 4:50pm.

- Scarsdale, NY, USA

problem #3

Jun 222009

Forester 6-cyl

  • 3,100 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Subaru Forester. While driving between 35-40 mph, the vehicle accelerated when the brakes were applied. The contact shifted into park or neutral and the vehicle made a clunking sound. The engine went to idel. The contact waited a few minutes before restarting the vehicle and shifting into drive. The dealer has had the vehicle for the past two weeks and the contact refuses to retrieve the vehicle. The dealer performed diagnostic tests, but could not find a failure with the engine or any other component. She stated that she will not drive the vehicle because the failure has not been diagnosed. The failure mileage was 3,100. Updated 7/14/09 updated 07/17/09.

- Forks, WA, USA

problem #2

Jun 202009


  • 7,064 miles
Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Forester limited, on 6/20/09 I experienced an incident of unintended acceleration. Cruise control was on. Before our exit I canceled the cruise control but left it "on". on the ramp, I let the car slow. At about 40 mph I moved the shift lever into 'sport┐ mode, downshifted to 3rd gear, then 2nd, then braked to a stop. The car was stopped, in gear, idling. My foot was on the brake. Without warning, the engine raced and the car jolted forward about a foot; it would have continued but I increased pressure on the brake and stopped the car. The engine, with the car stopped and in gear, ran up over 2000 RPM. I immediately shifted into regular drive mode and then into neutral. Once in neutral, the engine briefly raced higher but then dropped to idle at about 700 RPM. I switched the cruise control off. Please note: To stop the car I did not move my foot; it was already on the brake, and I merely pressed harder. This is not a case of pedal confusion. The floor mats are in place. This is not a case of a floor mat interfering with the accelerator. At the time of the incident, we were not moving. I was not on the phone. I was not looking over my shoulder. I was not otherwise distracted. I was sitting still, waiting for the light to change, with my Focus on the traffic stopped in front of me. In my view, this represents a dangerous defect in the vehicle, and needs to be corrected immediately. Please advise regarding your proposed resolution. I have advised Subaru via their website today but have not heard back. I am happy to be contacted for further details if needed.

- Sammamish, WA, USA

problem #1

Dec 162008


  • 650 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Subaru Forester. While driving approximately 15 mph on normal road conditions, there was sudden, aggressive, and forceful acceleration. The driver immediately depressed the brake pedal, but there was no response. The driver placed the gear shifter into park, but the vehicle failed to slow down. The vehicle crashed into a brick wall. The failure occurred without warning. The police and ambulance were called to the scene and a police report was filed. The driver sustained severe back injuries. The vehicle was completely destroyed. The cause of the failure has not been determined. The VIN was unknown. The failure and current mileages were 650.

- Piermont, NY, USA

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