2011 Subaru Forester brakes NHTSA complaints: Service Brakes

NHTSA — Service Brakes Problems


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
25,718 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.

2011 Subaru Forester brakes problems

brakes problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2011 Subaru Forester:

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

2011 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #13

Sep 152016


  • 38,062 miles


Soft brake pedal that continues down to floor after pressure applied ; especially when engine cold or when on an incline. First brought to Subaru of new bern, N.C. on August 8, 2016 where they replaced brake fluid. Problem continued; on Sept. 13, 2016 the master cylinder replaced under extented warrantee. Problem still exists; service manager drove car and agreed with my complaint. He also drove a 2015 model and same thing happened. On Sept. 27th, manager authorized replacement again of the master cylinder and vacuum booster pump. Parts ordered. Today is October 11th, and no parts received yet. Subaru of America, cherry hill, N.J. has been notified 9-15-16, but no action taken yet.

- New Bern, NC, USA

problem #12

Jun 202015


  • 37,000 miles
As I was pulling into a head on parking space, I began to apply my brakes and my car suddenly accelerated. Luckily, I was able to pump my brakes and stop the car. A witness who was sitting on a bench nearby said he heard my carburetor rev. I am now scared to death to drive my vehicle.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #11

Sep 082014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Forester. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number:14V311000 (service brakes, hydraulic). The vehicle was repaired at a dealer, but the remedy was not effective. While at a stop light, the vehicle accelerated while the contact's foot was depressing the brake pedal. The vehicle crashed into the rear of another vehicle. There were no injuries and a police report was not filed. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, but the diagnostic results were unknown. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Timonium, MD, USA

problem #10

Jan 302015


  • 25,000 miles


I am the care taker and son of this car's elderly owner and driver, and I just got a second recall notice (14V-830) that says, "due to incomplete repair instructions provided to our retailers, your vehicle may not have been treated with the proper amount of anti-corrosion material" (referring to first recall repair).the recall also says to contact your website "if you believe the Subaru retailer has failed or is unable to remedy your vehicle without charge within a reasonable amount of time." It will not be without a charge, that is, cost to me. Like recall one I will have to take off work and lose pay and spend the time and expense to drive the car to and from the dealer, all because of Subaru's improper manufacturing (recall one) and poor execution of the supposed repair (recall two). Therefore Subaru Corp should pay me or my mother, or pay the dealer to pay me for the expenses I will incur for the "without charge" repair. Amount requested is $50.

- Racine, WI, USA

problem #9

Jun 072013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 22,736 miles
When the check engine light (cel) is activated by an emission control failure Subaru has programmed a shut down of the anti-lock brake system (as well as shut down of cruise control). This ABS shut down could occur for a simple loose gas cap which is common cause of cel failure. The section 3-16 on cel warning light/malfunction indicator does not inform the owner that a cel event will be accompanied by the disabling of the ABS. The driver finds this out only because the cel is accompanied by blinking cruise light and steadily illuminated ABS light. Per owner manual section 7-23 for 2011 Forester when the ABS is disabled the car/driver/passengers are a risk of loss of steering control and directional stability. Three cel events occurred from June 2013 to December 2014 for same problem because thermostat was not to be replaced per service bulletin 09-56-13/10/21/13 until ECM re-programming occurred. Therefore I was forced to drive without anti-lock brake system 3 times 6/13; 8/14 and 12/14 until repairs could be scheduled. I am requesting that Subaru not be allowed to disable the ABS for cel/emission control system problems. This is because I have had multiple unpredictable cel events some during weather conditions for which ABS function was critical. The thermostat and gasket assembly wee replaced.

- Belton, MO, USA

problem #8

Aug 082013


  • 22,000 miles
While backing up (car in reverse) at about 5 mph, acceleration occurred making the car go backwards very fast. Pressing the brake pad to the ground had no affect. The car, reversing out of control, side-swiped another vehicle and a piece of equipment. Car finally backed up into a huge forklift which went through the rear window and stopped the car. Luckily no one was hurt but the Subaru Forester was totaled.

- Pleasantville, NY, USA

problem #7

Sep 082014


  • 81,743 miles


My car was stopped at a red light behind at least 2 other cars at around 4:45 P.M. on 9-8-14. My engine suddenly started racing and pulling my car toward the car sitting in front of mine. I already had my foot on the brake because I was stopped. I pressed even harder on the brake as the car took off out of my control. The brakes stopped working and my car crashed into the rear of the vehicle in front of mine.

- Timonium, MD, USA

problem #6

Jul 142014


  • miles
I called boardman Subaru regarding recall issued on brake line and spoke to their service dept. Manager. He said they are not recalling Subaru's because of the brake line issue that this is just the national safety and they aren't doing anything to correct the problem at this date!!!he told me my car was safe. I am very concerned.

- Canfield, OH, USA

problem #5

Sep 012011

Forester 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
Every time I get my oil changed the dealer informs me I am down a quart of oil which they say is normal. I have owned 20 cars and this has never happened before and I think I am getting the run-around. Can you help?

- Schenectady , NY, USA

problem #4

Mar 092014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
Brake switch went bad. No tail lights, brake lights, or 4 ways. During a 300 mile trip, part of which was in the dark. Was stopped by state police and towed to dealership (Toyota of scranton) where I purchased the car.

- Scott Twp, PA, USA

problem #3

Jan 052013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 29,000 miles


Anti-lock brakes have malfunctioned for me numerous times and I will now only drive my Subaru (despite all wheel drive, which works well) when road conditions are good. Accident occurred when driving mid-day on plowed but snowy road; downhill; I was not turning, but wanted to go more slowly and tapped brakes. Anti lock brakes kicked in and car began to skid; skidded off road and into a mailbox; needed to be towed out. After being pulled out, and continuing down hill, at 10 mph, car began to skid again. Friend following me said it appeared front brakes were working and back brakes were not. Had two mechanics look at the brakes (one I trust and the dealer) and both told me they are fine. Dealer said the computer record didn't record a problem but I think software that manages the ABS is malfunctioning. I looked online and saw numerous blog discussions about disconnecting ABS on Subaru in winter so I think others must be having similar problems. This is very dangerous - fortunately, I was not going very fast and there were no other cars/pedestrians so no one was hurt. I have driven a Subaru for 13 years in all kinds of conditions so I don't think it is me not being able to handle ABS. ABS problem occurs in conditions when I think AWD is helpful but I need to slow down -- have no problem with AWD when I am going uphill or not braking.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #2

Sep 292011

Forester 4-cyl

  • 30,295 miles
Took vehicle in for 30K maintenance. When I picked it up dealer had changed brake fluid (brakes had been functioning perfectly prior). When leaving dealer lot brake pedal went to floor and I went into oncoming traffic. Luckily oncoming vehicle dodged me. I pumped pedal and got brakes and went back into dealership. They bled brakes and said it was ready. When backing out of space brake pedal again went to floor but vehicle stopped. I called a service writer over and showed him pedal on floor. I left car and new master cylinder was ordered and installed next day. I went to pick up vehicle and again pedal went to floor and I had another service writer witness it. Took pic with cell phone. Service manager told me that it was normal for brake pedal to go to floor if engine was not running and was safe to drive. I told him engine was running and brake pedal should never go to floor if engine running or not. If booster bleeds down pedal may go somewhat lower than normal. Pedal had never went anywhere near floor before. I refused to drive car as I deemed it dangerous. If pedal was pumped it would come to normal position. He finally agreed to contact Subaru representative to look at it next week. If I had not had mechanical background and had listened to him and drove a car where the brake pedal would intermittently go to floor what could have been the results? at no time even after I mentioned it was the ABS system checked for air to my knowledge. Normal bleeding at wheels will not remove air from master cylinder or ABS system. Note: By "pedal going to floor" the pedal arm hits floor/carpet and pedal can go no lower. I am waiting for the Subaru representative to inspect car at this point. I emailed Subaru, but they did not seemed too concerned.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #1

Dec 262012

Forester 4-cyl

  • 16,500 miles
I had purchased a new Subaru Forester in August of 2011 with an extended warranty for 7 years. It was a big investment for me and I had hoped to drive my new Subaru Forester 2011 for several years down the road. Shortly after purchasing it, I noticed the brakes to be defective and would not stop the vehicle in a timely fashion or quickly enough. My wife, who also happens to drive my car, also complained about its brakes. I had my vehicle regularly serviced as per the companies warranty requirements and at only authorized Subaru service & dealership centers. I brought the defective brakes to their attention but they said that- 'that was the way the Forester's brakes were and that I had to push the pedal hard to the floor(pump the brakes) to stop it quickly enough.' I was greatly disappointed with their response to my concerns and as a precaution I began to keep an even greater distance from all of the cars in front of me. Recently, I was entering a parking lot at about 10-15mph when another vehicle suddenly appeared in front of me. I pushed the brakes but my vehicle just would not stop quickly enough. If I would let go of the brake and then push it again harder and faster to the floor( pump the brake) as the service centre had previously advised me then I would have hit the car in front of me. So I swayed my cars steering wheel and avoided meeting with an accident but my vehicle only stopped when it touched the railing at about 5mph only to discover that my front bumper now had a huge crack in it. I do not feel safe driving a vehicle whose brakes are so bad that it will not stop the vehicle quickly enough and needs to be pumped to stop it sooner(which may not be possible in many circumstances such as the one above), has defective bumpers and also has a rear center child safety seat seatbelt with a recall on it.please investigate the brakes at the very least.

- Welch, WV, USA

Not what you are looking for?