2010 Subaru Forester engine NHTSA complaints: Engine

NHTSA — Engine Problems


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
80,550 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.

2010 Subaru Forester engine problems

engine problem

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2010 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #12

Jan 022017


  • 17,000 miles


Hello- I am experiencing continued issues after recall: 16V-738. I began attempting to resolve this issue in September of 2016. The issue impacts the secondary air system and my vehicle would not pass ca smog. I have to have a passing smog to renew my ca registration. I failed smog and sent the vehicle to my mechanic. My mechanic performed diagnosis and determined stored P2441 and P2443 codes (secondary air valves open). Around the same time, October 2016, Subaru released recall: 16V-738. This addresses a single relay in the secondary air series. I proceeded to schedule and take my vehicle into rancho grande Subaru in san luis obispo. I also opened a claim with Subaru corporate customer support sr #:1-19856672948). Subaru began working on my vehicle mid October 2016 and placed me in a rental SUV. I did not receive any communication from Subaru, so I followed up. The tech informed me the vehicle is ready to be picked up mid November. I visited, picked up the vehicle, drove it 3 miles and heard a loud screech from the secondary air pump. I returned the vehicle, informed the tech and he rudely responded "was that noise happening when you dropped it off". no, I responded and they resisted placing me in a rental for another 3 weeks. Late December, I followed up once again due to lack of communication and the vehicle was ready 3 days later. I drove the vehicle 200 miles and now the same check engine light is on, traction control light is flashing and vehicle intermittently accelerated. I checked the codes and the same codes remain. I feel the scope of components requires all components in the secondary air system to be replaced. The faulty relay was on the on position and has exhausted all the components in the series. This is a nation wide issue do www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/F87/secondary-air-valves-P2443-P2441-63347/. T

- Pismo Beach, CA, USA

problem #11

Jul 162016


  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that when the vehicle was taken for a routine inspection, the technician informed that the engine was leaking oil and the head gasket needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 160,000.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #10

Aug 172016


  • 152,000 miles
I was heading to work on rt 80 w in NJ when my car's engine began to make a knocking sound. It would not accelerate, and the steering wheel became extremely difficult to turn. As soon as possible I got into the right-hand lane and exited rt 80 via exit 34B, rt 15N towards sparta NJ. I knew there was a gas station at the exit and was just barely able to pull in when the car died. At that point the steering wheel wouldn't turn at all and the car died. The aaa driver told me the car had burned through all the oil (he checked the oil tank; it was completely empty.) I had the car towed to milford pa where my place of business is as I had perishables I had just bought for my cafe with me that needed to be refrigerated. My mechanic said exactly what the tow truck driver had said. The engine blew due to the car burning up all the oil. No warning lights ever came on before the engine died. Since buying this car I have had to replace the catalytic converters twice, both times before the car had reached 50,000 miles. I have had to have the ignition coil replaced 3 times in under 3 years. The car is a lemon, but no signs were evident until I hit 34,000 miles or so. It is a miracle that I didn't hit or harm anyone on rt 80 when the engine died, or that I wasn't harmed. Subaru of America is very unhelpful; they keep telling me my car needs to be at a Subaru dealer for them to "open a case", even though I explained I had perishables with me and had to keep them cold. I asked if Subaru would tow the car for me, but they said no, as it has too many miles on it. When I asked them about why the warning lights never came on, I was told that my vehicle is "not equipped" with those lights, even though I know it is as they came on when the catalytic converters melted and the driver's manual for my car instructs the driver as to what to do if the lights come on.

- Greentown, PA, USA

problem #9

Apr 012016


  • 94,000 miles


The Subaru Forester 2010 failed the oil consumption test performed by Subaru. The cause from a Subaru bulletin states that the #1 and/or #4 intake valve guide insertion hole was improperly machined, permitting oil to enter the combustion chamber. This occurred on the Subaru Forester 2010 models as well as 2011 legacy/outback, and 2011 impreza. This is a safety issue because more than 1.5 quarts of oil is consumed after only 1100 miles driven. In Alaska you could be stuck in the frozen interior if this defect caused the engine to overheat and malfunction while traveling. Subaru will not fix the known defect. Subaru states it's out of warranty and the bulletin doesn't apply to my VIN number. This should be a recall issue and Subaru should be required to fix the problem. They will only provide $500 for a $5,000 fix.

- Anchorage, AK, USA

problem #8

Oct 032015


  • 85,000 miles
After work, I got in my car and started it up. Check engine light came on, followed by traction control and tire pressure lights. This was odd because these lights had never been on before. I started to drive home--it was too late to bring the car to have it checked out. I live a minute and a half from work. The cruise control light then came on and flickered in no particular pattern. Then, about 45 seconds into my 90 second drive, the temperature gauge light came on. The weather was about 50 degrees and rainy. When I got home the engine fan was spinning really fast. I popped the hood. No smoke or anything visibly wrong. At roughly 2:10am there was no way I could bring it to get the issues looked into. So I left the hood open to let some heat out and when the fan slowed and then stopped, I closed the hood and went inside. About 10-15 minutes later, during which time the car had been stationary and the engine had been shut off, I heard a pop sound. It was a strange noise and I got up to check it out. It was a massive engine fire. It toasted the engine and melted a good portion of the front end. The fire dept shattered the windows and peeled the hood back. The car is totaled. The fire was just feet away from my house on one side, and the neighbor on the other side. Had I been asleep the fire could have spread to my house or my neighbor's, potentially killing people. It was one of the scariest things I've ever experienced. There is a video on youtube with something similar (search Subaru engine fire). The car is a 2010 Forester xt, completely stock. It has been very well maintained and has about 85,000 miles on it. My mother originally owned it. She bought it brand new from the Subaru dealership and I bought it from her.

- Patchogue, NY, USA

problem #7

Apr 222015


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Subaru Forester. While driving at various speeds with the accelerator engaged, the engine light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the head gasket needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of this failure. The failure mileage was 70,000.

- Georgetown , NY, USA

problem #6

Feb 262015

Forester 4-cyl

  • 193,297 miles


The vehicle has been maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's manual. Recently the "service engine" light came on. Immediately the vehicle pulled into a lot and checked under the hood. The oil was low, so oil was added. It was about 90 miles home, so it was started back up and entered a toll road. After about 10 minutes a slight burning oil smell was noticed so the vehicle was immediately stopped on the shoulder and shut off. After checking the engine compartment oil was noticed on the bottom of the vehicle. A flat-bed tow-truck was called and transported the vehicle to the Subaru dealership that normally services the vehicle. The dealer diagnosed it as "internal engine failure" due to the engine running low on oil. 10 minutes after the check engine light came on. Recommends replacing entire engine with used engine.

- Jones, OK, USA

problem #5

Nov 182014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 74 miles
Excessive oil consumption issue on 2010 Subaru Forester. Last oil change @ 72,328 miles. Vehicle ran out of oil at 74,979 miles. [documentation available on consistent regular maintenance.]

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #4

Aug 172014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
While cruising at 40 mph up a slight incline, the engine suddenly jerked a few times, then stopped. I was able to pull to the side of the road. The car was towed to my mechanic's garage where he diagnosed the problem as a failure of the air conditioning unit to open the valve which allows cool air to enter the cabin. The air conditioning unit literally froze, resulting in the belt which engages the engine stopping and causing the pistons to stop while the valves kept moving. Severe engine damage resulted which required machining of cylinder heads and replacement of many parts. If this incident had happened going at high speed on a highway, serious injury or fatality may have occurred.

- Egg Harbor City , NJ, USA

problem #3

Jul 072014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 68,800 miles
While in my driveway, I started the engine, stepped on the brake, put the vehicle in drive and it accelerated. I swerved to miss a trailer parked in front of me, pushed harder on the brake, the vehicle stopped, the engine raced for a few seconds and then idled normally. I got out, looked at the floor mat and it wasn't touching the accelerator. It hasn't happened since, but the car doesn't get driven much.

- Rapid River, MI, USA

problem #2

Dec 082013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
Sudden acceleration from full stop. The vehicle had exhibited sudden acceleration 3 weeks prior but the dealer did not find any problem. From a full stop, the vehicle was placed into reverse at which time the engine revved to full throttle, overriding the brakes, resulting in the vehicle backing uncontrollably and stopping on top of a boulder with the back wheels off the ground approximately 4 feet. The incident was witnessed by a bystander. The vehicle undercarriage severely damaged and not drive-able. Photos and a police report were submitted.

- Trenton, NJ, USA

problem #1

Nov 182013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 40,430 miles
Sudden acceleration incident. Parked at the county recycling center, when placed into drive (full brake pressure required to shift out of park), the engine accelerated to maximum power causing the car to drive away uncontrollably and overriding the previously applied brake. Immediately shifting to neutral, the car was brought under control and then functioned normally. Driver and passenger were witnesses and unharmed. The vehicle was taken to the dealership for inspection. No cause was found.

- Trenton, NJ, USA

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