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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,269 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.

2002 Subaru Impreza fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2002 Subaru Impreza Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #40

Dec 232014

Impreza 4-cyl

  • 117,000 miles


During cold temperatures there is a gas leak. Car is an Impreza outback sport. There is a recall for WRX for the same problem but not my car.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #39

Oct 052009

Impreza 4-cyl

  • 91,337 miles
During cool weather conditions from cold startup the engine has heavy fuel/gas smell which is transported into the vehicle cabin causing unhealthy breathing conditions for any occupants. Called Subaru cooperate and the dealer, they stated that there is a recall for a leaking fuel rail but not on our model. After much internet searching it appears the recall should be for all Subaru with the same engine as the problem is engine related and not model related. The original recall should be extended to all Subaru with the same engine configuration. The company is getting off easy with a limited recall of less than 6000 vehicles nation wide when there are clearly many many more out there.

- Stevensville, MT, USA

problem #38

Dec 242009

Impreza 4-cyl

  • 104,481 miles
When the weather is mildly cold, and it is approximately 50 degrees or less, and the vehicle sits parked for at least 4-5 hours, typically overnight and/or in a garage, there is a very strong smell of fuel when the vehicle is started. The smell dissipates after a few minutes and will not return unless the car sits parked for at least 4-5 hours overnight and/or in a garage.

- Playa Del Rey, CA, USA

problem #37

Jan 082011

Impreza 4-cyl

  • 110,243 miles


Odor of fuel in the interior of my 2002 Subaru WRX Impreza I contact Subaru and advised them of this via their 800 complaint number and referred to campaign 09V-468 and NHTSA action #EA09011. I was told I could take the vehicle into my local Subaru dealer at my own costs and get the vehicle repaired! I advised them that the campaign states my vehicle is covered for additional 12 years re: The problem and it fell on deaf ears. What can I do?

- Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #36

Jan 012008


  • 70,000 miles
During the past several years my 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX has had the strong smell of fuel. Its not consistent nor does it happen all the time but often enough that it concerns me. I have called Subaru's headquarters about this problem and they just keep telling me there is no re-call for this problem, so they won't fix it. I'm concerned this is a real safety problem that Subaru refuses to address nor fix.

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

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problem #35

Jan 012010


  • 50,000 miles
I have a 2002 Subaru Impreza wagon, also known as the "outback sport". the car reeks of gasoline recently. Subaru recently recalled some 2002 Imprezas because the fuel line leaked fuel in cold weather. The recall # is 09V468000. It has been quite cold here in nc recently with temps in the teens and 20S. The problem with my car seems identical to the problem that was the subject of the recall, but my car model was not included in the recall. The gas smell is very strong and I am afraid that this could be dangerous and set my car and possibly my house on fire.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #34

Dec 202009


  • 60,000 miles


Subaru recently issued a recall, (recall no. Wvk-21), for leaking fuel in '02-'03 WRX's. as stated, only some vehicles are covered. I called the Subaru phone # to check eligibility, and was told that my car is not covered under this recall, but that I should have a dealer fix it, at my own cost, asap, because leaking fuel is dangerous. Well at least the Subaru rep admitted it, if so won't as a company. I would like to file a formal complaint to extend this recall to all 02-03 WRX's. the leak is bad enough that I see raw fuel dripping onto the pavement below my car, that alone is a horrendous safety risk, as well as a major source of pollution. There is no possible way this vehicle would pass any emissions test with the amount of unburned hydrocarbon escaping. As it is now, the vehicle is undriveable if the ambient temperature is below zero, it simply leaks too much fuel to even be in the passenger compartment without an instant headache.

- Mandan, ND, USA

problem #33

Dec 122009


  • miles
Getting a raw fuel smell in and around vehicle during cold weather on 2002 Subaru Impreza outback. Researched problem on internet and determined possible fix involving tightening the clamps that connect the rubber fuel line hoses to the rigid hose lines (eight clamps total). Tightened clamps but problem recurred two days later. Gasoline smell is somewhat overpowering inside car and inside garage where car is parked.

- Elwood, IL, USA

problem #32

Dec 112009


  • 63,000 miles
I recently bought an 02 Subaru and it seems that every time I cold start the car when it gets below freezing outside there is a horrid gas smell in the cabin of the car. On further investigation it is visible that there is a pool of gas accumulating on the motor from underneath the intake manifold. I have just noticed this and called the dealer and they said they had never heard of this. Looking online it seems to be a regular issue and there is no recall or information on how dangerous it is to have raw fuel on a hot engine. I am at a loss and a little concerned for my safety.

- Franklin, WI, USA

problem #31

Nov 162009


  • 148,100 miles
Raw fuel smell plus leaking fuel in 40 or below temperatures.

- Norman, OK, USA

problem #30

Dec 052005


  • 25,000 miles


This is a complaint towards Subaru of America (soa). This is the third year that I have experienced fuel fumes in the cabin of my vehicle. Please review the forums on this online. This cannot go on, we have to leave our garage door open to dispell the fumes, its a fire hazard. Soa will not accept any responsibility for this vehicle fuel system defect. It needs to be on a safety recall. This has happened every year when the temperature reaches below freezing. I took the vehicle too the local dealership and they wanted $$$ to correct the defect (approx $500).

- Plainfield, IN, USA

problem #29

Dec 152008


  • 145,000 miles
I noticed a fuel odor in the cabin and traced it to the engine compartment. Upon inspection I noted fuel pooling on the engine heads. I removed it with a paper towel for further inspection and verified it was still flammable. I spoke to the dealer about the issue and they said that happens when it gets below zero outside. The problem has caused me to have to pull over while driving because of feeling light headed multiple times, and my wife has passed out due to the odor while riding in the car and sustained a minor head injury as a result. It occurs on a daily basis when the temp. Is below 20 degrees F or so. I have to open the windows while driving to vent the fumes which causes a hazardous condition while driving in inclement weather.

- Nicktown, PA, USA

problem #28

Dec 102008


  • 112,000 miles
The previous winter and this one, a raw fuel smell occurs on start up. Upon observation, there is a fuel leak below the turbo inlet tube, coming from the fuel rail/hose. Once warm, the smell is gone.

- Wahoo, NE, USA

problem #27

Dec 212008


  • 60,000 miles
My Subaru 2202 WRX has a strong smell of gas in the passenger compartment everytime it is cold out. They have a tsb to fix the issue but will not cover the repairs in all cases. The tsb is 09-36-03. I would think they would care about a manufacturer defect that involves fuel. This should have been recalled.

- Selden, NY, USA

problem #26

Dec 052008


  • 92,000 miles
In cold weather (freezing), the fuel rail under the intake manifold leaks gasoline. The gas drips directly onto the hot engine. Not only is this a major fire hazard (and known source of a handful of fires) but it also is a health risk as the fumes from the gas enter into the cabin of the car when the heater is in use. I have had to keep windows open when driving my car in the middle of winter to prevent getting sick from the gas fumes. The issue get progressively worse the longer it goes without repair. My model year is 2002, and the problem has been known since 2003 when a service bulletin was issues to all Subaru dealers. This has occurred on thousands of cars and there is great inconsistencies in Subaru dealers repairing this problem. My car is a 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX with 920000 miles on the car. While this problem just started with my car, others reported the issue within the first 20,000 miles.

- Norman, OK, USA

problem #25

Jan 232007


  • miles
2002 Subaru Impreza xrx gas fumes and smell when the weather is cold. It is common on 2002 Subaru's these cars should be recalled because of the danger of a fire and this has not happened to date. The cost for a repair is high because the fuel lines and under the manifold. I noticed this smell the first year I bought the car that is the date in the incident box.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #24

Jan 292008

Impreza 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 65,000 miles
Strong fuel smell in passenger compartment of car, following start of vehicle in the morning. Sounds similar to NHTSA action number PE04002 except this is happening in temperatures 40-50 degree farenheit.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #23

Oct 312007

Impreza 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Subaru Impreza. The contact noticed a strong gasoline odor while the vehicle was idling. She took her vehicle to the dealer and they stated that the fuel line was too close to the exhaust manifold, causing fumes to emit and possibly start a fire. The vehicle is currently being repaired. The current and failure mileages were 118,000.

- Salt Lake Tahoe, CA, USA

problem #22

Feb 092007

Impreza 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
My 2002 Subaru has gas fumes in the cabin whenever the weather is cold. The colder the weather the stronger the fumes. Subaru is aware of the issue, the have a bulletin on this very issue, however the dealer refuses to cover this issue. Over the phone the service manager was confident that Subaru would not cover this issue. He informed me that it was just fumes leaking. Knowing a little about how gasoline is ignited, I know that the fumes are what combustion, and that is what I am concerned about. If Subaru is so concerned about safety, one would thing that explosive fumes would be on their list. However both Subaru of America, and Subaru of annapolis did nothing to reassure me that this would be covered. When I called Subaru of America again, they told me to contact another dealer and see what they would do. This is the last Subaru I will every buy!

- Sevena Park, MD, USA

problem #21

Feb 052007

Impreza 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 119,330 miles
- the contact owns a 2002 Subaru Impreza wr, X and stated that the vehicle was leaking fuel, and there was a raw fuel smell coming from the passenger compartment of the vehicle. The fuel smell was stronger when the vehicle was running and the temperature was below 32 degrees. The contact currently has the vehicle at the dealership. The failure and current mileage were 119330. The vehicle also had a coolant lead. The drivers side door regulator was inopertive, the clutch had a judder, there was problem with the ABS. Updated

- Middletown, MD, USA

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