pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
127,000 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace head gasket (4 reports)
2005 Subaru Forester engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2005 Subaru Forester:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2005 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #4

Dec 202018

Forester XS 2.5L H4 Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,000 miles


Forrester blew head gasket at 142Kmi. I knew of Subaru head gasket issues so I flushed coolant and added Subaru recommended coolant additive at 60K and 120K. Took care of car and drove lightly with no hard usage with but head gasket still failed slowly over about a month long period, started using up coolant at first. Cost was $2400 at local shop with no extra machining, just head gasket replacement for an old car. Extra cost was due to Subaru boxer engine with horizontal pistons so heads are on side of engine and whole engine needs to be removed from car which is most of the 13hrs labor. Subaru lauds on the boxer engine, they should spend more time on head gasket design as this has been an issue with Subaru since mid 90's.

- buckeyeru, Medina, OH, US

problem #3

Nov 182016

Forester LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

I estimated the date this problem started. I know it was diagnosed approximately November of 2016, though I had noticed some problems starting before that. I had to save up the money to have it fixed, so the repair wasn't actually done until May 2017. The mechanic told me in November that I could probably go a few months longer to save up the money to do the repair, as long as I kept a good eye on the fluid levels. Though this was a very reputable mechanic in town, he advised me to call the mechanic at the dealer to see if there was anything they would do.

I called the dealer's mechanic (who has also worked on my car in the past), he acknowledged that this was a problem with some Subarus and explained why. He said they couldn't really do anything at their level, but he gave me the number of the corporate office and said sometimes they would make an arrangement for a known issue.

I called corporate, and the rep on the other end of the line said that they wouldn't do anything, because they don't know how the car was cared for, how it was driven, etc. I said that other than a few 3-hour road trips once or twice a year, I have a 4 mile round trip commute to work plus the other normal local errands. I keep fluids up in the car and have taken it in for all recommended scheduled work (60,000 mile, etc.) - not always to the dealer's mechanic, but always to known, reputable mechanics. I said a head gasket should not be failing when the car barely has 100,000 miles on it, and that this was a known issue with this model. He said again that they would not be willing to help offset the cost of the repair.

When I called the local dealer's mechanic back to tell him, he seemed kind of surprised and said he was sorry about that. I was surprised, too, because a friend of mine had problems with his Subaru Outback engine (one that a lot of other Subaru Outbacks had - can't recall what it was), and corporate DID acknowledge and do something about HIS engine issue.

I'm not someone who has thousands of dollars lying around. I was saving up for a necessary home repair and almost had enough money set aside to take care of that project, but instead I had to divert that money to take care of this Subaru head gasket issue that never should have happened.

A coworker of mine turned out to have the exact same problem with her Subaru as I did, at the same time. We both purchased Subarus for their reputation as being reliable cars, but having something as major as a head gasket fail is NOT the indication of a reliable vehicle, and Subaru is clearly unwilling to stand behind the quality of their engines. I appreciated the helpfulness of my local dealer's mechanic and his forthrightness in discussing the car, but was not impressed by corporate's decision not to make amends. I'm getting ready to buy a new car in the next year or so, but I won't be purchasing a Subaru this time around.

- dm003, Ca, US

problem #2

Jul 012016

Forester LL Bean 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,000 miles

I've heard that other 2005 Foresters commonly leak oil too. Consumer Reports used to say these cars were better than average reliability, but now they say they are worse. Why do so many still say these cars will last 200K miles?

- kindva, Charlottesville, VA, US

problem #1

Nov 212014

Forester L L Bean

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

My Suburu Forster a vehicle that I love, has developed an oil leak from the head gasket, according to my mechanic.He thinks it's a manufacturer defect and Subaru should repair it.

- Pam W., Carlsbad, CA, US

Not what you are looking for?