really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
86,960 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 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #17

Dec 232010

Forester 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


1. noticed strong gas odor after driving car. Upon inspection, noticed gas pooled on engine top, passenger side, under intake manifold. 2. appears that fuel line is leaking. Unable to ascertain exactly where, because leak is behind intake manifold. Occurs during very cold weather. 3. repairs forthcoming.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #16

Dec 012009

Forester 4-cyl

  • 41,129 miles
Strong gas odor when car is started in cold temperatures.

- Boulder, CO, USA

problem #15

Dec 222010


  • 85,000 miles
Raw fuel smell in cabin during cold start. Took to mechanic and he sees fuel leaking from the fuel line under passenger intake manifold. To resolve issue he will have to pull the intake, replace fuel lines and use better clamps. The clamps and hose used by Subaru is faulty as I see a ton of complaints online about the same issue. They even did a recall on the WRX which has the same motor as the Forester.

- Valrico, FL, USA

problem #14

Dec 052010


  • 104,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that as the temperature started to drop he noticed fluid leaking from the engine. He inspected the vehicle and realized that the hard fuel line was loose. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 104,000.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #13

Dec 072010

Forester 4-cyl

  • 110,325 miles
I own and daily drive a 2004 Forester xt. It has recently developed what I consider to be a severe safety related issue. Last night, after driving approximately 30 minutes, there was an overwhelming smell of raw fuel in the cabin. This situation happened again this morning while sitting in traffic, at a red light. The smell of gasoline was so strong, I felt light headed and had to roll down the windows when the temperature outside was 24 Fahrenheit. I found that Subaru of America (soa) issued a recall for the same problem on WRX models which produced this symptom. Upon inspection of my engine, I can both see and smell raw fuel seeping from one or more of the fuel lines. I continued my research and found that there are many reports of this issue covering many year models of the Forester and the legacy models. Due to the volatility of gasoline and the inherent dangers to humans in vapor form, I feel this is a critical safety issue. I have read many reports and noticed the apparent large population of affected vehicles. This is very disconcerting. I am contacting soa to report this problem and to request they cover the failure under goodwill.

- Cumming, GA, USA

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problem #12

Nov 012010


  • 108,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester xt. The contact stated that during cold weather he would smell gasoline fumes inside of the vehicle. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who informed stated that he had a leak in his fuel line from the hose on the fuel rail. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 108,000. The VIN was unavailable. Updated 02/02/11

- Whitefish, MT, USA

problem #11

Jan 082010


  • 105,000 miles


During the beginning of the year, a very strong fuel smell filled the cabin of the car. It would sometimes go away after a half hour of driving. It seemed to coincide with the outside temperature being below freezing. Brought car in for service. They tightened fuel clamps and replaced a small fuel line. A few weeks later the smell returned even more intense. It was scary to drive, especially with my toddler in the car! took car in for service again. They replaced all fuel injectors/orings/seals and intake and exhaust gaskets. Repairs totaled over $1,000. Problem first occurred at 105,000 miles. (one month earlier the turbo had to be replaced...a repair total of $3,300. For over a year there's also been a problem with the car constantly needing oil, but there's no leak.) I've read complaint after complaint for the fuel smell problem on many Subaru forums. Why hasn't there been a recall for this safety hazard??

- Wanaque, NJ, USA

problem #10

Dec 202009


  • 40,000 miles
Every time the temperature drops below freezing a strong fuel smell fills the interior. Sometimes the smell goes away when the engine warms up, sometimes it doesn't. nothing has been done to fix the problem.

- Billings, MT, USA

problem #9

Dec 212009


  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Subaru foreseter. When the contact started the ignition there was a strong odor of fuel inside and outside of the vehicle. The failure occur consistently. The engine exhibited an excessive amount of fuel leakage. The vehicle had not been repaired for the malfunctions. The failure mileage was 55,000.

- Decatur, GA, USA

problem #8

Dec 102008


  • 40,000 miles
Vehicle compartment has a strong smell of gasoline. I first noticed this a year ago (vehicle mileage was around 40,000) and the temperature was 20 degrees and lower when this would occur. The smell of gas continued again this winter. I had my mechanic look at it and contacted the Subaru dealership. They could not diagnose the problem, but did state that they have had other customers complain of this extremely strong gas smell as well. It has been so bad that I have had to keep a window open.

- Lincoln, NE, USA

problem #7

Jan 072010


  • 95,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that there was a fuel leak in the engine compartment. He could smell gasoline in the cabin as it was being leaked on the motor. He stated that the failure seemed to happen in above freezing weather. He called the dealer and was told that it was a common problem. The vehicle had not been inspected by the dealer and the manufacturer was not notified. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The current and failure mileages were approximately 95,000.

- Lawrence, KS, USA

problem #6

Jan 032010


  • 65,120 miles
2004 Subaru Forester fuel system leak in cold weather.

- Buchanan, NY, USA

problem #5

Dec 092009


  • 43,802 miles
In cold weather (below 0F) vehicle leaks fuel in the engine compartment. Vehicle was parked outside starting at 6:30 am, with an outdoor air temperature of approximately -11F after a 6 mile drive. When vehicle was restarted at 11:30am, with an outdoor air temperature of approximately 3F, fuel smell was noticed within one mile. Fuel leak is from high pressure hose on passenger side of vehicle, just forward and below the manifold. Car was towed to shop and shop replaced high pressure fuel hose and clamps. Photos of exact location of leak, components replaced, repair bill and national weather service temperature data available in pdf format.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #4

Dec 112009


  • miles
Extremely strong fuel odor in the interior of an 04 Subaru Forester.

- Burnsville, MN, USA

problem #3

Jan 272009


  • 43,930 miles
Smelled fuel in passenger compartment. Stopped vehicle and strong odor of fuel under hood. The evening temperatures were below zero and even though vehicle is garaged, temperatures were below freezing. No signs of fuel on floor of garage and could not find leak by observation of running engine. I did research and many Subaru vehicles are having problems with fuel leaks at low temperatures. This is a safety hazard. Dealer says it may take repairs in excess of $500 to resolve faulty clamps and hoses. I am trying to get Subaru of America to work with me. Why has this not been a recall" are we waiting for fires or asphyxiation"

- Arvada, CO, USA

problem #2

Dec 072008


  • 61,500 miles
Model is a 2004 Subaru Forester xt. Upon startup in cold weather, there is an extreme smell of raw fuel (gasoline) both inside the vehicle and outside as well. I am afraid to drive this car in cold weather.

- Newton, NJ, USA

problem #1

Dec 052008


  • 66,363 miles
This problem happened when temperature dropped below about 15 degrees F. there was a very strong gas smell inside car with heater on. There was also a strong gas smell under hood. I drove car the next day at 35 deg F and no smell.

- Frederick, CO, USA

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