2009 Subaru Forester engine NHTSA complaints: Engine

NHTSA — Engine Problems


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,237 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.

2009 Subaru Forester engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #12

Nov 102016


  • miles


Car was shaking during accleration, street N highway, esp low gears, less after getting up to ~50 mph. Cv boot leaking. Replaced axle. Car still shaking with acceleration. Mgt have to try replacing other frt axle. Only 82000. Just had to replace transmission also! I don't know what system that calls under...transmission went about 81000, June ~8th. I had couple incidences of car not accelerating when pressing pedal. Just thought I was mb imagining it. Next morning. No forward..only reverse..=transmission! idk, if transmission being rebuilt and removal of axles could have a relationship. Shorty thereafter..can't really say if I'm sure when shaking began but I know I said something when I picked it up and again a week later.. idk, as a girl, .every where I go, guys keep saying, ... "that's normal". I can scan docs if needed later for repairs.mo ile site doesn't allow me to add speed or mileage but listed above..

- Crystal River, FL, USA

problem #11

Jun 022016


  • 28,000 miles
Sudden acceleration caused a serious accident. Upon pulling into a parking space the vehicle suddenly acceleration and crashed into a building. This is the second time this has happened with this vehicle.

- Waynesboro, VA, USA

problem #10

Jun 222015


  • 89,000 miles
This past April, I purchased a 2009 Subaru Forester from byers Subaru and eagerly anticipated the ownership experience Subaru promises and proudly bases its reputation. Contrary to the Subaru promise, my experience over the first 3 months has been a nightmare. Prior to the purchase, I had committed to having the scheduled maintenance performed by the dealer and did. The first service was performed within a few weeks of purchase ($700). A month later the vehicle stopped running and required a tow to a Texas Subaru dealership. Initial thoughts were a timing belt failure. $600 dollars later, I was told that the timing belt pulley had failed and would require extensive engine repairs or an engine replacement ($2500 to $6000). The timing belt was not due to be replaced for another 10,000 miles. Due to the high repair cost and the fact that the damage occurred within a short period of time after purchase, I reached out to Subaru America for assistance with the repair. Subaru committed to 50% reimbursement of the initial $600 dealer charge. I approached byers Subaru with the same request for the same reason and was informed by a manager, that it was not their problem and that "I had an opportunity to purchase an extended warranty".

- Powell, OH, USA

problem #9

Sep 102014


  • 86,526 miles


Car ran out of oil. There was no warning light, until car died on the side of the road, then low oil light came on. I had been mostly keeping up with my oil changes, and was only a few thousand miles over recommended limits. Engine seized and had to be towed. My mechanic tried to rebuild it, but was unable to. He had to replace the engine with a used engine, at a cost of $6,000, and six weeks of a rental car. I reached out to Subaru for help, but they would do nothing unless my car was in their shop, at which point they may be able to pay for a portion of it. They asked if I had been getting my maintenance done at their shop, and I hadn't because they want $1500 for every 20,000 mile service work done, or whatever, which I can't afford. So I assumed at that point it would be pointless, and more costly, to have the car towed there and then have to pay for a new engine, or have them try to sell me a new car. I will never buy a Subaru again and will never recommend anyone ever get one. I googled incidence of repair and found there are hundreds or thousands of this happening to others, and scads of lawsuits against Subaru for this. I tried to join a class action, but have heard nothing. To my mind, a car engine should not run out of oil and seize after only a few thousand miles over the limit. There have been no oil leaks in my garage or under my car.

- Upland, CA, USA

problem #8

Feb 032014

Forester 4-cyl

  • miles
Car has been going through oil since the catalytic converter recall was done in fall of 2013. First noticed around February of 2014 when oil light came on and no oil in engine. I complained to dealer and they found nothing. I kept complaining on my oil change or other appointments but they found nothing wrong. The car was going through 2-3 courts every 2-3 months, with "burn" time getting closer together - eventually checked oil every 3 weeks by summer and every week by October. When the car would not run I eventually bypassed the dealer after no solution and complained to Subaru. I had a difficult time finding a dealer willing to take the car (so did Subaru). Feeling it was a dealer workmanship issue I paid for the work and Subaru reimbursed me to replaced the head gaskets in December 2014 - stating it was out of warranttee so that is how it has to be done. The other day (February 6, 2015) engine light came on again and no oil was in the engine - this is 2 months after work done. This car has had issues since the beginning and I feel as a first year redesigned model it is a Subaru defect. I have had to replace the brakes 3 times in a short span - few years (3 maybe). It has never had good pick-up and since catalytic converter recall was done the gas mileage dropped - was 22/28 now 19/23. The dealer who replaced head gaskets made a notation on my bill (without telling me directly) that the sway bars need attention. My brother has a 2007 Forester and has had to replace all of these items as well within the last few years. I needs a reliable vehicle to earn a living.

- Armonk, NY, USA

problem #7

Aug 172014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
Shifted from park to reverse with normal brake depression; vehicle immediately accelerated to 20 mph, no brakes and the dash control center completely lit up. The only way I was able to stop vehicle was by shifting to neutral and engaging the parking brake. I then tried the same procedure in forward with the same results except this time resulting with the car colliding with the garage wall causing approximately $6000 worth of damage between the car and house.

- East Aurora, NY, USA

problem #6

Jul 272014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles


While traveling at highway speeds in rainy weather, vehicle began to misfire and lost power, forcing driver into an unsafe situation of coaxing car to shoulder. Check engine, stability control lights came on, and cruise light flashed. After shutting engine off and restarting, same lights remained on but engine ran normally. We have also another 2009 Forester which experiences misfires, same lights, after starting cold on a rainy day. Although we have received recall notices from Subaru on other less critical topics, there does not seem to be an inclination on their part to address this engine electrical malfunction which could have resulted in disaster. Our online researches suggest that many other Subaru owners are experiencing similar malfunctions, and we don't detect any serious effort by the manufacturer to fix this.

- Hicksville, NY, USA

problem #5

Mar 132014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 54,928 miles
Their was a clunk and driver car pulled over and off highway. Had it towed to our independent garage. The engine failed. The check engine light never went on nor did the low oil pressure light go on.

- Wilton, CT, USA

problem #4

Sep 022013


  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that while traveling 40 mph, he heard a loud bang as the vehicle lost acceleration power. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 92,000.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #3

May 012013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2009 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that during routine maintenance, the mechanic noticed that the cylinder head-side oil supply pipe was leaking oil. The contact was informed of a recall under NHTSA campaign number: 08V460000 (engine and engine cooling). The manufacturer was notified of the failure and informed the contact that the VIN was not included in the recall. The vehicle was scheduled to be repaired. The mileage was unknown.

- Owings Mills, MD, USA

problem #2

Jul 042013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
Upon returning from a short drive we pulled into my driveway and noticed smoke coming from the engine compartment. I assumed this would have been possibly some type of overheating issue, but upon inspection I discovered it was engine oil dripping onto the exhaust heat shields and was burning off. I was stunned by this as I am very particular about the maintenance on this vehicle. I took to the dealership a few days later as it was going in anyway for a recalled cat converter. They then advised me that the engine had a blown head gasket. This needs to be repaired immediately as this is a potential fire hazard if not repaired. This vehicle only has 73,000 miles and I am now faced with am almost $2000 repair. I am speechless and beside myself as I bought this car specifically to get a quality vehicle that ideally would avoid issues of this nature. I am pursuing a complaint with Subaru of America and wanted the NHTSA to be aware as well. Thank you.

- West Boylston, MA, USA

problem #1

Feb 062013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 30,387 miles
Loud knocking sound noted coming form engine while driving on highway. Pulled off of highway then all the warning lights on dashboard flickered on and engine died. Had to tow to dealer. Informed that a rod had knocked loose related to faulty bearings had to have engine replaced.

- St Louis , MO, USA

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