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 1 of 3)

problem #57

Nov 052014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 165,000 miles


Basically I am experiencing the same raw fuel smell many others have described. The hose under the intercooler and several other hoses and parts visibly leaks and smells when temperatures are cold outside. I live in the pacific northwest...it's cold a lot here. I don't feel safe driving with my daughter in the car, for her health reasons, and really don't like wasting my hard earned fuel waiting for the car to warm up with the recirculating vent feature turned on and the fact that it drips the fuel out and onto the engine... since soa has recalled the WRX's with the exact same issue, why do those of us that own legacys, outbacks, Foresters and I would also assume bajas not be treated the same way? soa needs to address this matter immediately and keep its loyal customers exactly that....loyal.

- Federal Way, WA, USA

problem #56

Nov 012014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
I have noticed in the past few weeks that when I cold start (under approximately 20 degrees) my 04 Subaru Forester, there is a very potent raw gas smell coming from under the hood. It typically diminishes as the car heats up but if you turn on the heat/ventilation system the smell becomes unbearable. In doing research I have found that many Subaru owners (of various models and years) are experiencing the exact same problem. I do not feel safe driving the vehicle with this smell nor transporting any passengers with the car in this condition.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #55

Apr 302014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 171,000 miles
Very strong smell of gas in cabin. I have 2 kids that I take to school, and in the morning I have to start my car 20 min before we leave and open the windows to air it out. The gas smell is toxic, and dangerous. This is the a design flaw that poses serious risk, as it is both a health and a fire hazard. It seems just about every Forester owner has the same problems as well. Subaru needs to expand the existing impreza / WRX recalls to the Forester, as the relevant parts are the same and the issue is virtually identical. Please fix this.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #54

Dec 122013

Forester 4-cyl

  • miles


Extremely strong smell of gas in cabin in cold weather. I drive my small daughter to daycare every day in that car. The gas smell is horrific, toxic, and dangerous. Also, the cause of that gas smell is the gas leakage from the rubber hose of the fuel line onto hot componenst in the engine compartment. This is a design flaw that poses serious risk, as it is both a health and a fire hazard. Subaru needs to expand the existing impreza / WRX recalls to Forester, as the relevant parts are the same and the issue is virtually identical.

- Henrico, VA, USA

problem #53

Dec 162013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
When weather got colder this fall and winter suddenly intense smell of fuel in cabin. Looked under hood, tightened whatever fuel clamps I could reach but made no difference. Every day below 40degrees powerful smell of raw fuel throughout vehicle. Then had to take trip into neighboring city, in stop and go traffic even with windows full open in 15 degree weather fumes got so overwhelming I had to pull over in a parking lot, escape the car and vomit. Back home called dealer, they said they knew exactly what it was. They told me it was leaky fuel hoses and clamps under intake manifold and quoted over $800 to fix as they told me other models were covered by recall but Foresters had "dodged the recall process" so far.

- Allentown, PA, USA

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problem #52

Feb 252014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 156,000 miles
Leaking fuel when cold outside, I can see fuel dripping from a fuel line under intake manifold every time I start my car in the morning when the car is cold in the cold weather in winter.

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #51

Jan 042013


  • miles


I am experiencing an extremely strong smell of gas. This began winter of 2013, which I had repaired at my expense of $700+, though my mechanic informed me Subaru was recalling this and repairing for free on other models. I am absolutely disgusted that this problem is recurring now winter of 2014, in a vehicle which I drive my small children in. The gas smell is horrific, toxic, and dangerous.

- Tyringham, MA, USA

problem #50

Jan 232014


  • 162,006 miles
I've owned my 2004 Forester for 4 years now and never experienced this problem. However, this winter seemingly having longer cold spells seemed to induce the problem. There is a strong fuel smell in the vehicle, especially when I turn on the heat, which is a major issue in the winter. I've read a little about it and it seems many other Subaru owners are having the same issue.

- Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #49

Feb 072014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
Fuel lines crack in cold weather (approx under 25 and under). Strong fuel smell in cabin was enough to make passengers ill, car was not drivable. Fuel was pooling in the engine bay near the hot turbo and exhaust system. Contacted dealership, service writer knew what the issue was as soon as I told him make, model and year - said it's very common. Found pages of complaints on NHTSA site and hundreds in forums. Subaru issued a recall for the same issue on the 2003 generation WRX vehicles, but not the Foresters. This is a major problems. Subaru's are purchased as ideal snow vehicle, and repairs cost upward of $600. This is a direct safety issue.

- Richmond, CA, USA

problem #48

Dec 102013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 56,402 miles
Upon starting car in cold weather (approx. 25 degrees F or colder), there is a strong fuel smell. Cannot turn heat on as fuel smell fills cabin and makes passengers nauseous. Headaches have also occurred. When vehicle is parked in garage after driving in cold weather, fumes accumulate in garbage and leak into house as well. Apparently fuel lines shrink in cold and leak fuel directly onto engine. This is both health and fire hazard.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #47

Dec 302013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


Very strong fuel smell in the car with heater on so strong have to roll window down. Happens 2 to 3 times a week on cold days. Strongest when its a cold start.

- Aurora, IL, USA

problem #46

Jan 072014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
In cold weather (below 20 degrees or so) the fuel lines in the engine compartment come loose and leak raw gasoline onto the hot engine. Obviously there is a good chance of an engine fire with possible loss of life. This has been reported in several forums, there is a tsb out on this for the WRX (same engine, same part numbers), and most dealers (in cold states) know of this problem.

- Boalsburg, PA, USA

problem #45

Jan 282014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
On very cold days while car is warming up, a strong smell of fuel is coming from under the intake manifold. A closer inspection reveals a small fuel leak from the fuel supply lines near the turbo. A Subaru impreza enthusiast forum has a "raw fuel smell" log of more than 131 pages and 3,000 posts (forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?T=131755). Subaru issued a technical service bulletin (tsb) for certain Subaru imprezas, but they have not initiated any tsbs for any other cars all using the same or similar engines. See tsb 01-170-09. As leaking fuel onto your engine is a safety hazard, I would like to see Subaru initiate some kind of tsb or recall for all engines experiencing this problem. I understand many Subaru owners have complained to Subaru and NHTSA with no results.

- St. Peters, MO, USA

problem #44

Jan 072014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 156,000 miles
Fuel and exhaust line leaks in cold weather. Over the initial three day period - day one children complained of headaches, day two driver experienced severe headache and nausea but did not realize it was due to fuel leak. Day three cabin filled with overpowering fumes coming from heating vent. Had to drive with heat off and all windows open in order to bring car in for service. Have had to bring car in twice this month to repair all of the leaks and rent a car in order to get to work appointments. Certified Subaru specialist reported that he has seen quite a few incidences of same issue recently due to extreme cold weather. This is a dangerous safety issue and is not acceptable. 2002-2003 impreza recalled Dec 2009 for same issue.

- Middletown, MD, USA

problem #43

Jan 102014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 122,765 miles
A strong fuel smell when I started my car.

- Rutland, VT, USA

problem #42

Nov 202013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
This 2004 Subaru Forester 2.5 xt AWD 4-spd automatic transmission with multi-purpose fuel injection turbo (feedback fuel system) has been producing a strong fuel smell that fills the entire vehicle cabin. I've been told by the dealer that this is to be expected from this type of engine and that there is nothing much that they can do about it and to learn to live with it. The dealer also indicates that this problem is basically caused by extreme cold weather and/or temperature change. I have researched this issue and found that there was a similar problem with the Subaru impreza and that Subaru issued a recall. No vehicle, Subaru or otherwise, should produce a problem like this one that is "unfixable." The consumer should be protected from this potentially hazardous situation. This consumer is putting Subaru on notice.

- Latham, NY, USA

problem #41

Jan 022013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester. The contact stated when the temperature dropped, fuel fumes were emitted in and around the vehicle. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 117,000. The intake manifold was replaced. Updated 03/12/14 updated 3/12/14 the fuel lines, clamps and upper intake gaskets were replaced. The fuel lines were cracked. Updated 04/01/14

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #40

Jan 082014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
Smell of raw gas inside of vehicle while driving. It doesn't happen all the time only on extremely cold days.

- Hamden, CT, USA

problem #39

Jan 062014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 133,000 miles
Immediately upon starting the engine a strong smell of gasoline filled the entire passenger cabin. Cold weather temperature was well below freezing. Has happened previously, and is corrected by tightening the fuel line connections.

- Ysilanti, MI, USA

problem #38

Jan 172014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 122,000 miles
I started the car after it had sat in 10-15 degree weather and there was a strong smell of unused gasoline in the cabin. It has started happening on start-up frequently since then.

- Waxhaw, NC, USA

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