hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
124,486 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2004 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #15

Dec 032017


  • 130,214 miles


12-2017; driving, straight at 40mph, state highway, right control arm snapped, almost lost control, right tire was bouncing but was able to stop. Towed car to Subaru dealer, carbone, utica, NY. Contacted Subaru of America case # 1-28524133057. Was directed to have dealer inspect damage. Dealer inspected damage rt. Control arm broken, seperated, front axle assembly damaged, stabilizer link damaged and left control arm extremely rusted. Soa will provide all parts but I will have to pay labor. Ok had work done, all parts were new except axle (referb.). note; rust coat fix was done 2012. Per recall. (spray rust proof on an already suspect part noted in a NHTSA directive). Present day: Called soa and inquired as to why I had to pay labor? I recently noticed the recall verbage, states; repairs will be handled by dealer rustproof or replace them will be free of charge. Soa said my car is too old and has too many miles ( 130, 214) and we gave you good will. No further good will provided. And Subaru claims, 98 percent of Subaru vehicles sold in the last 10 years are still on the road today. "??? is this an admission the vehicle has longevity" I plan on discussing this further with the Subaru dealer (carbone) and if no satisfaction will file in small claims court to get my money back for this free service.

- Marcy, NY, USA

problem #14

Nov 202018


  • 112,600 miles
My daughter (driver) and a passenger pulled slowly out of our driveway in reverse, heading off to college (100 miles away) but just after pulling out in the street, the right front lower control arm of her 2004 Subaru Forester broke in half due to rust/corrosion. I was able to inch the car back into my garage and on jacks only to find the right lower control arm broke in half. I checked the other lower left control arm and it was very rusted. I had the vehicle towed to the nearest Subaru dealer. The Subaru dealer notified me that Subaru recall wvx-34: Front lower control arm/transverse link, issued 09/11 had been completed for this 2004 Forester in 12/11. I was told that the lower control arms were not replaced in 2011, but that the lower control arms were treated with the recall-prescribed rust/corrosion prevention. This "fixed" recall lasted only 7 years! initially, the Subaru dealership would not cover the cost to replace the lower control arms; however, as I placed a call with Subaru of America (soa), I received another phone call from the dealership stating that they contacted their "rep" and agreed to pay 50/50 towards the cost of replacing both front lower control arms. I discussed this very unsafe issue with two different soa representatives, one of which was a supervisor. Soa let me know that I would be responsible for the cost of this repair because it was a 2004. Are you kidding me" my daughter was getting ready to make a deadly 100 mile trip in this vehicle claimed to have been "fixed" by Subaru just seven years previous. How negligent is this, coming from a company claiming to have more cars on the road than anyone else and safer than others" I have four Subaru (04' Forester, 05' Forester xt, 08 tribeca ltd., and 2010 impreza) and I've lost my faith in this organization. This is a deadly recall that soa is ignoring.

- Imperial, MO, USA

problem #13

Oct 202018


  • 161,728 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester. While driving 35 mph, the front passenger side lower control arm fractured and became jammed in the wheel bed. As a result, the wheel seized and the vehicle slid to a stop on the shoulder after crossing lanes. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who stated that the lower control arm was shredded and the cv axle and rotor were also damaged. The mechanic stated that the lower arm failed due to corrosion and rust. The contact called the dealer (autonation Subaru West, 16351 w colfax ave, golden, co 80401, (303) 578-6120) and a search was performed for the results of an unknown recall repair that was performed when the vehicle was previously owned. The dealer considered the repair successful; however, the failure recurred. The dealer referred the contact to the manufacturer. The manufacturer was contacted and stated that the recall repair was previously addressed and the failures were unrelated. The vehicle remained at the independent mechanic and the repairs were completed. The failure mileage was 161,728.

- Idelbale, CO, USA

problem #12

Sep 172018


  • 176,000 miles


The control arm fell off. The body of the vehicle fell to the ground. The other one is almost completely rusted through. The recall on this part allowed the dealer to use their discretion to either replace the control arms, or spray rust proofing over corrosion, which they did. This obviously does not stop the rusting, and it eventually rusted through. I luckily was not injured. I am questioning the adequacy of the existing safety recall. To allow the dealer to decide if the corrosion is light enough to simply spray rust proofing over it seems ludicrous. Rust proofing does not stop corrosion from continuing when it has already begun. I called Subaru usa to see if they would replace the control arms. They would not, and would provide no compensation, as they feel their rustproofing satisfied the recall. The safety recall is for the life of a vehicle. If their rustproofing did not fix the problem, which it obviously did not, why shouldn't they be required to fix it correctly? control arms should not be permitted to rust away and fall off a car! how dangerous! I'm sure I'm not the only vehicle owner whose control arms eventually rotted away after the corrosion was 'rustproofed' over by Subaru. So dangerous! I am asking that Subaru be required to cover the costs of these control arms! and also, I am requesting the NHTSA to agree and advise Subaru that a safety recall action that does not ultimately fix the safety issue should not be considered closed/completed.

- Canonsburg, PA, USA

problem #11

Jul 072018


  • 159,000 miles
While driving down a state highway(rte. 195), I experienced a severe vibration at normal highway speed limit in the left front drivers side wheel. I pulled over to a breakdown lane and got out to visually inspect the wheel and surrounding area for any sign of trouble and did not notice any. The following day while driving the same highway the vibration again occurred but on a more frequent basis. I arrived at my destination and did my business. While reversing and turning the vibration happened again but more intensely at this time. I proceeded to drive down a smaller state highway(rte. 6) where I could go a slower speed and found that the vibration had gotten extreme to a point of when applying the brake the wheel locked up and I experienced a loss of control of the vehicle. I proceeded to a family members house, parked and jacked the vehicle up and removed the wheel. Upon inspection I discovered that the lower control arm had in fact rotted to a point of it snapping at the midpoint and thus discovered the mechanical issue with the vehicle. A safety recall was issued by Subaru dealers of America and as per the VIN my vehicle is covered under the recall. The control arm neither appears rustproofed nor replaced as per the recall.

- Fall River, MA, USA

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problem #10

Mar 142018


  • 244,123 miles
Failed recall on 2004 Subaru Forester xt front lower control arms. The front lower control arm on the passenger side of my Forester rusted in half. When backing out of a flat concrete driveway onto a city street, as I began to turn the wheel I heard/felt a pop in the front end. As I began to straighten the wheel it started making a grinding noise and I noticed the steering felt funny/loose. Before foing any further I pulled the car strait back into the driveway to inspect the problem. While I was jacking the car up I noticed immediately the front passenger wheel appear to go limp and sloppy. After crawling underneath to check I found that the control arm had completely broke/rusted in half. A few weeks earlier I noticed the front control arms on both sides were quite rusted. After a little research I found that Subaru had a recall on the control arms and would either replace then or re coat them. I then contacted a local dealer about the recall. After running my VIN the told me that my vehicle had already been serviced for that recall in 2012 and that my control arms were under coated and therefore were not covered for replacement. So now after my control arm is completely broken I contacted the same dealer again and was told to try contacting Subaru of America but that they could do nothing. I then contacted Subaru of America and after giving them all my information was told again that my vehicle had already been serviced for the recall and was not covered, but if I took it to a dealer they would "look at it". I then contacted another local dealer and I was able to trailer it there myself. I am waiting for a response. This is a dangerous problem that needs to be addressed immediately before someone is hurt. Had the control arm broke while driving doen the road at any rate of speed the results could be catastrophic or even fatal.

- Sidney, NY, USA

problem #9

Jul 082017


  • 157,900 miles


Driving appr. 35mph on state highway 6 in eastham, MA when steering wheel was jerked out of my hands, car abruptly moved to the right and into granite curb before coming to a stop. Upon exiting car I found right front tire turned to the right while other tires were facing forward. Right lower control arm was broken causing cv axle to break at inner joint. This was a crowded highway on a summer weekend in a resort area. I am extremely fortunate to not have been injured or caused injury to others. Repairs totaled $929.95

- Eastham, MA, USA

problem #8

Jul 302016


  • 190,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester. While driving 5 mph making a left turn, the front passenger wheel turned in the opposite position and caused the vehicle to stop. The vehicle was towed to an independent garage lot where it was diagnosed that the control arm was corroded and caused both lower control arms and axle to detach. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V464000 (suspension). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 190,000.

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #7

Jun 162016


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester. While driving approximately 40 mph, an unusually loud noise emitted from the front end of the vehicle. The failure occurred when driving various speeds. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that both front lower control arms exhibited excessive corrosion; however, the rear lower control arms were not as severely damaged. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V464000 (suspension). The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000.

- Simsbury, CT, USA

problem #6

Aug 042015


  • 175,000 miles
Having recently bought my 2004 Subaru Forester xt, it ran great for the first few months. Then, while on the highway, it would shake uncontrollably, almost like an earthquake. Having taken it to Subaru a month before, I mentioned that it was doing this a little, but not to the extent that it did on the highway. He said it would be $150 to look at it. Taking it in to a different mechanic, they had to replace the lower control arm. Looking today online for recalls on another issue I'm experiencing, I see that there was a recall on this exact issue, but only for cars sold in certain states. This is the exact issue that was wrong with my Subaru, and I believe that owners in other states are experiencing this issue as well. Hopefully you will look at this before this happens to someone on the interstate and they lose control of their vehicle.

- North Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #5

Jul 152013


  • 0 miles


I will like to know if when my car was recall and fix the front lower control arm in 2013 has anything to do with my wheel alignment, since it seems that the dealer and town fair tire can not get it right because every time I complaint and get it fix and go home after a few miles the steering wheel goes off center and start making noise at the front end about 55-65 mph and this began after fixing the recall and I can not drive in peace and I wonder if am not taking a chance driving a car that was straight as an arrow before the part replacement, please help, thank you.

- Waterbury, CT, USA

problem #4

Aug 222014


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that while reversing into a residential the driveway, the front passengers side lower control arm fractured. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the control arm needed to be replaced. The contact was made aware that the vehicle was not included in recall NHTSA campaign id number: 11V464000 (suspension). The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000.

- Alexander, ME, USA

problem #3

Oct 092011

Forester 4-cyl

  • miles
Backing out of drive way, lower control arm failed, tearing the cv joint out. Upon inspection the control arm had rusted through at its joint.

- South Haven, MI, USA

problem #2

Jul 272011

Forester 4-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Rusting failure of the front lower control arm. No injuries, it was caught before the item failed.

- Corning , NY, USA

problem #1

Apr 182009


  • 70,725 miles
A rear wheel bearing has failed on our 2004 Subaru forrester xt. We have heard a sound on again and off again a few months after buying the car, as well as in recent months. The car has always been serviced by a Subaru dealer and we have had all required services made over the years of owning the car. We bought the car from Subaru of wakefiled, MA when we lived in salem, MA. Their service department is terrific. We now have it serviced at pence Subaru in richmond. The last time we were at the dealer we had an unpleasant experience and I was reticent to return. The sound got really bad about 2 weeks ago and I took it to an independent auto mechanic and he confirmed that the rear bearings had failed. We have heard a sound from the rear of the car on again and off again for years and had the brakes checked and worked on numerous times thinking this was the problem. Recent research on the internet leads me to believe that there is something wrong in the design of the bearings or the hub as many people have reported multiple failures while owning their cars. It seems as if a recall is in order here and the parts should be replaced at the manufacturers expense. I would appreciate your investigating the matter and any guidance that you can provide.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

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