really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,712 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.

2005 Subaru Forester engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #15

Oct 012018


  • 135,000 miles


When it is below 30 degrees out and heater or defroster is on and the vehicle is moving between 25-65 mph, the accelerator sticks and does not decelerate. When the clutch is applied to disengage the engine the rpms advance 1,000 to 1,500 rpms(sometime taking the rpms to 4,500 rpms). Vehicle has no engine warning lights on the dashboard and no error codes on the ECU. The maf, map and PCV sensors are all function correctly. The throttle body is also perfectly cleaned. Vehicle idols fine and passes all emissions tests. I have been informed that the drive-by-wire (dbw) mechanism is most likely the problem and this component should be replaced.

- Parkville, MO, USA

problem #14

Apr 262018


  • 234,000 miles
I was backing up my 2005 Subaru Forester in a downtown, street-level corner parking lot. When I put my vehicle into reverse, a sudden unintended acceleration propelled my vehicle backwards across the parking lot, across a two-lane downtown street, up onto the opposite sidewalk and culminated in my vehicle crashing into a city light pole, which stopped the vehicle. I estimate I was traveling at 25-30 mph when I hit the light pole. I missed two pedestrians by mere inches and fortunately missed hitting any other cars. I had my foot hard on the brake the entire 4-5 seconds of the incident, and almost broke the gear shift, madly trying to shift into park. My vehicle is totaled and I am totally freaked out by the entire nightmarish experience! this was a deadly sequence of events which easily could have changed my life and others' lives. I will never own another Subaru. This occurred on Thursday, April 26, 2018.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #13

Oct 232017


  • 150,000 miles
While driving, the car experienced: -loss in power (stuttered a couple times), then completely stalled -we had to coast it to the side of the road -a few hours later we tried starting it again and it ran fine -immediately before the problem, the car had been driven for ~15 minutes with no issues, there was no rain, it was a dry day, no other potential causes to be noticed -this exact issue occurred about a year ago and the problem could not be identified, it has been driving fine ever since, except in the winter the idle will sometimes fluctuate (unsure if this is related) this stall condition could be very dangerous if it occurs on the highway, at an intersection, etc. It produced a check engine light and code P2138 when read with a obdii scanner. Unfortunately the problem was intermittent and was not able to be repeated. The factory troubleshooting procedure was followed to determine if it was a problem with the pedal sensor, the harness, or the engine control module. All passed the tests. So we are left with a potentially dangerous electrical issue that can't be verified to be fixed because it can't be recreated.

- Longmont, CO, USA

problem #12

Jan 032017


  • 160,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Subaru Forester. While driving various speeds, the vehicle surged and then idled fast and slow before returning to normal. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who produced a failure code associated with the electronic accelerator. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 160,000.

- Dennison, OH, USA

problem #11

Jun 152015


  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Subaru Forester. While driving approximately 35 mph, the engine made an abnormal noise and the vehicle shook. The contact released pressure from the accelerator pedal, but the vehicle accelerated independently. The contact maneuvered the vehicle onto an emergency lane and parked. While the vehicle was parked, the failure recurred. The contact shut the vehicle off and restarted the engine. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the failure could not be diagnosed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 160,000.

- Hopewell, NJ, USA

problem #10

Jul 282014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 41,600 miles
On July 28, 2014 I was pulling into my parking space at my condo.the brakes wouldn't stop the car and the engine seemed to surge forward. The passenger with me looked down and said the gas pedal looked to be all the way to the floor. The car had to be towed, and I am still awaiting for the damage estimate from my insurance company.

- Davie, FL, USA

problem #9

May 082014


  • 110,000 miles


TL * the contact owns a 2005 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that while driving 2 mph and reversing from a parking space, the vehicle suddenly accelerated without warning. The contact mentioned that the vehicle crashed into a tree. The vehicle was destroyed. A police report was filed. The passenger sustained whip lash and required medical assistance. The dealer was contacted. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 110,000.

- Peterborough, NH, USA

problem #8

May 252013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that while attempting to exit a parking lot an unknown speeds, the vehicle suddenly accelerated. The contact mentioned that the vehicle went across an intersection and jumped a side walk before it finally came to a complete stop. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 25,000.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #7

Jan 012013


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, the accelerator pedal was engaged and there was no response. The vehicle was coasted to the side of the road where the engine was turned off. After several few minutes the vehicle resumed normally. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis. A trouble code detected a malfunction with the throttle sensor. The mechanic was unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 58,000.

- Boulder, CO, USA

problem #6

Apr 082010


  • miles
I was pulling into an intersection with an oncoming car at a safe distance for me to safely pull out. Upon pressing the accelerator pedal the car did not respond. It only idled. And moved the car along at idle speed. Suddenly the approaching car that was at a safe distance when I pulled out were getting very close. Fortunately the driver was alert and slowed down so I could pull off the road - at about 3 mph. I fairly certain that it was a sensor in the gas pedal that went wrong. Similar to Toyota's problem, but instead of accelerating uncontrollably, it would not me out of harms way fast enough.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #5

Jul 052005


  • 5,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Subaru Forester. While driving 3 miles per hour in a residential driveway, the vehicle abnormally accelerated without warning and crashed into the garage door. There was no mention of an injury. The failure mileage was 5,000 and the current mileage was 52,000. The VIN was not available.

- Sedona, AZ, USA

problem #4

Apr 292007


  • 12,000 miles
After buying it new and owning it for two years with no problems, in 2007 we had spontaneous acceleration problems with our 2005 Subaru Forester, resulting in 2 low-speed crashes into buildings and one that I managed to stop before hitting anything. No one was injured, but we had repair costs and insurance premium increases. The dealer said they found no problems, even though when I tested it with them, we reproduced a similar event. My detailed communications with Subaru of America (including information from the internet about other earlier similar Subaru problems) resulted in their denying any problem. I had a class-action attorney in juneau, ak write Subaru of America with the same results of denial by Subaru. All of this occurred in Alaska (our main home). The dealer was very kind and in 2008 took it as a trade for a Honda fit since we could not sell it with that history. I assume that other Subaru owners have had similar problems, which should begin to surface now. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you.

- Homer, AK, USA

problem #3

May 042005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I recently (end of November, 2004) purchased a new Subaru Forester. When the car is started, maybe six times in the four months I have had the car, it immediately lurches into full speed the second the accelerator is touched, and sends you twenty or more feet forward (once backwards) before you can possibly brake. I have narrowly avoided several potentially fatal accidents. Today I had a real accident. When I went into carter Subaru this morning, they would not listen to me. Told me they had never heard of such a thing ever happening to a Subaru, that something that only happened once a month was impossible to check. The manager basically called me a liar and asked me to leave. It isn't just this accident, the car can be repaired, but this is a car defect that can certainly kill someone. On at least two occasions, once in grocery lot and once leaving my driveway, it was only by chance I didn't hit a pedestrian. I feel the car is unsafe and shouldn't be driven, but even more disturbing is Subaru's attitude that nothing can be done, and that I am a liar. Bruce mcalister

- Bothell, WA, USA

problem #2

Mar 112005

Forester 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 85 miles
My 2005 Subaru Forester suddenly accelerated as I approached a stoplight. The car was in neutral, the clutch was not engaged and my foot was on the brake. The acceleration subsided after I placed the car in first gear and slightly pressed on the gas pedal moving the car forward about a foot. This sudden acceleration occurred over a dozen times in the course of 24hrs. The car was taken to the local Subaru dealer where several test runs were performed as well as a monitor test. No codes showed up so I took the car for a test run with one of the service advisors and the car accelerated several times within 10-15min. I took the car for a second test run with a mechanic who believed the throttle was improperly opening. The mechanic then inspected and cleaned the pin connectors at tps and map sensors. He then road tested it several times to determine if the problem had been resolved and found no more sudden acceleration problems. It was determined that the problem most likely was a sticky throttle.the car now runs well.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #1

Mar 222005

Forester 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
My 2005 Subaru Forester suddenly accelerated on its own while my foot was on the brake. I had to push really hard on the brakes to avoid surging ahead into traffic.

- Auburn, NY, USA

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