hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
109,982 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2004 Subaru Forester Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #24

Jan 192015


  • 115,000 miles


Noticed a strong fuel smell after letting the car warm up on a cold morning, odor went away after 15-20 minutes. Fuel smell has gotten stronger, and is now constant even when operating under highway speeds. This is exactly the same as many other Forester owners have complained about. Issues it with the fuel line going to the injectors on the passenger side of the motor. Is exactly the same issue and parts that Subaru uses on the WRX which was recalled for this exact issue.

- Oakland, ME, USA

problem #23

Jan 052015

Forester 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
To whom it may concern, hello, I am the owner of a 2004 Forester xt which I love. I've owned the car for almost a year and its been nothing but reliable up to this point. The weather outside is frightful, and with that comes a common problem for many Subaru owners. During the cold snaps, say below 20F, there is strong fuel smells which fills the cabin. It only happens during start-up, and lasts about 15 mins before the car warms up. From searching many forums and internet threads it seems this problem has been occurring since early 2001. There was a recall notice (wvk-21)for the 2002 -2003 WRX's which had a same problem I am experiencing now. Unfortunately a recall was never issued for later model Subaru which suffer the same problem. The problem is fuel leaking from 5 main fuel lines going into the intake manifold. It seems that when it is cold outside, the lines are shrinking and is allowing fuel to spew out everywhere. Just from searching for 3 days I've seen 125 cases of this happening to other owners. Will you please put out a bulletin before someone dies from there car exploding because of extra fuel leaking out of the fuel hoses. Please I beg of you, please issue a recall!!!

- Dayton , OH, USA

problem #22

Nov 032014

Forester 4-cyl

  • miles
Fuel smell in cabin with blower set on outside air. The cause was a fuel leak in the engine bay under the intake manifold.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #21

Nov 132014


  • 120,000 miles


On days with sub-freezing temperatures, after starting the vehicle, a strong smell of gas is present. Upon inspection of the engine compartment, there is gasoline visibly dripping from a fuel line behind the ac compressor. The gasoline lands on the engine block and produces visible vapors as it is slowly burned up by the heat. Upon discussing the problem with a Subaru repair shop, they said this is quite common for my vehicle.

- Westminster, CO, USA

problem #20

Nov 292013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 180,000 miles
I purchased a used Subaru Forester xt. The car had approximately 180,000 miles and was purchased mid-winter in denver, Colorado. On extremely cold days I noticed a raw fuel smell. It was an alarmingly strong smell! I was all too familiar with this issue since I had also owned a 2002 Subaru WRX with approximately 155,000 which incidentally was covered under a recall for this "known" issue. Interestingly enough there was no issue with raw gas smell on the days that were warmer with either vehicle. I made an appointment at a Subaru dealership in longmont, Colorado where they advised me that the fuel hoses were leaking underneath the manifold and that the replacement part was not available at the time because it was back ordered approximately 6-8 weeks. I had a factory trained Subaru technician that owns his own shop replace a certain number of the fuel delivery hoses with original Subaru replacement parts since said part was back ordered. I also replaced the long block (Subaru) along with a host of other items at the same time since the motor was out. Prior to going to the dealership I was able to test the vehicle's internal atmosphere with a tool that detects the environments air quality. The atmosphere was able to trip the tool showing that the atmosphere was in a lower explosive limit. Imagine my surprise that it was that bad. I determined that this issue warranted an immediate fix with Subaru factory parts. As of this last week, November 2014, when denver had record breaking cold weather I have the same issue again with raw fuel smell. Now, one could conclude that the factory trained technician made an error replacing said parts but I have been driving my vehicle without issue for nearly 9 warm months. Coincidence"?" I'm beginning to wonder. This fix should have been fixed under a recall as was my 2002 Subaru WRX. I called S.O.a with no help.

- Denver, CO, USA

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problem #19

Nov 112014


  • 96,000 miles
The smell of fuel became obvious after a 10-15 minute drive. Upon examination, there was fuel dripping from a fuel line. This occurred after the first freeze of the year, fitting other descriptions of this issue I found for this model.

- Fayetteville, AR, USA

problem #18

Nov 112014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 149,205 miles


Warmed up vehicle. Temp was below 31 degrees closer to low 20's. within two minutes fuel smell entered vehicle. Over come by fumes... rolled down windows. Problem took at least 15 minutes at least to get rid of smell. Very worried due to fuel being a highly combustible fluid in a hot engine.

- Littleton , CO, USA

problem #17

Nov 302012

Forester 4-cyl

  • 190,000 miles
For as long as I can remember, every time the weather gets below 40 degrees or so, the interior cabin smells like raw gasoline upon starting the car and continuing through several minutes of run time.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #16

Nov 152013


  • 120,000 miles
There is a pronounced, unmistakable smell of uncombusted gasoline emanating from the engine compartment as soon as the car is started on cool or cold mornings. The fumes enter the passenger cabin through the ventilation system. It is strong enough to cause headaches and require lowering the windows until it dissipates minutes later. This is a well known, well documented problem on the internet caused by defective fuel lines under the intake manifold. Gasoline is leaking onto hot engine components.

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #15

Dec 112013


  • 49,000 miles
Upon start up in cold weather (below freezing), there is a strong smell of raw fuel in the cabin. At times it is unbearable necessitating rolling down the windows, even in sub-freezing temperatures. It looks like fuel is leaking from somewhere in the engine bay. It has happened repeatedly and I worry the fumes are dangerous for not only passengers' health, but also in case of an accident.

- Lone Tree, CO, USA

problem #14

Jan 012013


  • 129,000 miles


Strong smell of gasoline upon starting the car in very cold weather. Inside and outside the vehicle. Only happens when it is cold outside. Really gives me a headache and makes me nervous about igniting.

- Waterbury, CT, USA

problem #13

Dec 092013


  • 179,000 miles
I've owned my 2004 Subaru for 5 years without incident, but as of December 2013, I've experienced a strong fuel smell both inside and outside of the car. The smell is overpowering while car is parked, but lessens while moving. It began after the first big drop in temperature (40 degrees to 10 degrees), and has persisted for over a week now.

- Park City, UT, USA

problem #12

Dec 102013


  • 70,000 miles
During the cold weather there is an very strong gas smell in the car. I started the car and looked under the hood and can see where gas is leaking from the fuel system. I believe it leaks in the same spot that many other people have reported.

- Roseville, MN, USA

problem #11

Jun 072013


  • 150,000 miles
It was summer when I first notice the smell of fuel through my vents and I was driving pass an gas station (shell) so I didn't think much not till the next morning as I warmed up the car I smelled pure gasoline next to the passenger fender I then pop the hood and traced it and I was lead to the turbo side of the engine seems to be coming from the fuel rail area unsure as the engine warmed up the smell faded away but now it's winter and it's bad I can see a big lost in fuel consumption full tank doesn't last a week it's driven to and from work around 4 to 12 miles a day need help!

- Merced, CA, USA

problem #10

Jan 312013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
For a period of approximately three weeks in early January 2013 my wife, daughter and I could smell what can only be described as raw gasoline when we drove our 2004 Subaru Forester xt. It would typically take less than 5 minutes after we started the engine for the smell of gas to become very strong, even overwhelming. Although it could still be sickening, the problem would improve somewhat after we drove the car for a few minutes. After we carefully refueled the car on two or three occasions we concluded that the issue definitely had nothing to do with spilled fuel or the fuel cap. We were very concerned that whether or not the situation led to a fire, we were all being made very sick by the problem. We contacted the Subaru dealer where we have our Forester serviced and dropped off the car for them to troubleshoot. We were quickly contacted and told that the issue was with the fuel system and that because the fuel lines ran under the turbocharger the repair would be very expensive (and it was). After researching the issue it quickly became apparent that this is a common problem with not only Foresters, but for other Subaru models as well. Being that this is (by any standard) a common problem arising from the design of the vehicle, that there is no option but to repair these vehicles on threat of fire or illness, that the problem does not occur due to any kind of misuse or neglect, there should be a recall made for all Subaru that experience leaking fuel systems (not just the WRX). Because the repair is so expensive, and so many of the affected vehicles lack any warranty coverage to pay for the repair, I am concerned there are many owners who will attempt the repair themselves or have the work done by technicians who are not familiar with the problem. It is my sincere hope that a safety recall is made and owners are notified before anyone is harmed.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #9

Mar 152013


  • 135,471 miles
Noticed a strong smell of gas while driving my 2004 Forester xs, causing headaches to myself and passengers. I brought it to my mechanic who said that there was raw gas pooling on the manifold. He said that he has seen this many times before - leaking fuel lines due to the cold (it was 12 degrees when I first noticed it). He noted that this was the worst leak he has seen. Looking at a $700 bill. I have since read many other complaints on this issue. Wondering why there has not been a recall for this obvious safety issue.

- Waitsfield, VT, USA

problem #8

Dec 052012


  • 116,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that there was an overpowering gasoline fuel smell inside and outside of the vehicle. The odor would become stronger when the contact was operating the vehicle at various speeds. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 116,000.

- Willimantic, CT, USA

problem #7

Jan 272013


  • 83,200 miles
This is in a 2004 Subaru Forester xt (turbo). Strong smell of unburned fuel coming from engine compartment and filling passenger compartment upon startup.

- Norwich, CT, USA

problem #6

Jan 102012


  • 118,148 miles
There was a very strong gasoline smell inside the car (2004 Subaru Forester xs) that happened in cold weather during January 2012. It happened again just recently in January 2013. It was so strong it made the driver and passenger have a headache and become nauseous. Many other owners have reported the very same thing and have not been successful in getting Subaru to at least investigate. Subaru has issued a recall for the WRX model, but not for the Forester. This is a health and safety risk that should be taken care of by Subaru.

- Hamilton, NJ, USA

problem #5

Jan 212013


  • 190,000 miles
In cold temperatures, there is a strong smell of gasoline in the cabin and in the engine compartment. Fuel leaks in cold temperatures is a recurrent problem with this make/model/year as evidence by: Similar complaints in Subaru forums. Similar problems in related models.

- Warren, NJ, USA

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