2011 Subaru Forester engine NHTSA complaints: Engine

NHTSA — Engine Problems


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,681 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #18

Jun 012016


  • 74,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that the engine emitted a strong burning odor and smoke while driving. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times for the failure where it was diagnosed that the engine was leaking oil on the manifold. The dealer replaced the engine intake manifold, valve cover gasket, camshaft, sparks plugs, and engine cover seals; however, the failure was not corrected. The engine oil continued to leak. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 74,000.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #17

Sep 132012


  • 938 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that the vehicle was burning oil at a higher rate than normal. The contact stated that the vehicle was burning a quarter of oil every thousand miles, which caused the oil consumption to surpass suggested amounts by the manufacturer. The dealer diagnosed that the vehicle was leaking oil from the PCV valve, causing the vehicle to burn oil. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The contact returned the vehicle to the dealer where it was diagnosed other leaks were the cause; however, the locations were not specified. The dealer placed a short block engine into the vehicle, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who informed the contact of a pending lawsuit related to the failure. The failure mileage was 938.

- Athens, PA, USA

problem #16

Dec 102015


  • 80,878 miles
My Subaru is being tested for oil consumption use, I returned with 1 1/2 quart low after 948 miles. Tech stated it was on full after it was taken to garage. It was not checked in our presence. Car has no oil sensor and I fear the motor will lock up & I do not trust the Subaru dealer now since they denied adding oil.

- Camp Creek, WV, USA

problem #15

Jan 012012


  • 1,200 miles


Vehicle has had abnormally high oil consumption since purchased.

- Howardsville, VA, USA

problem #14

Jan 122015


  • 103,000 miles
I purchased my 2011 Subaru Forester used from a dealership in NY. I started noticing that it was burning through oil. I took it to a Subaru dealership and found out that it needs a new engine and that other people are having this problem as well. Subaru doesn't want to take responsibility for this issue though so I have to make a claim on my warranty and of course they have found a loop hole to not cover the repair (piston rings are damaged due to faulty cylinder walls and, conveniently, the cylinder walls are not considered an internal part so the warranty won't cover). Now I'm left with either replacing my engine or taking a large hit on my trade-in value. Had I known that I would've been replacing the engine less than 2 years after buying the car I would've negotiated a much lower price for the car or went with a different make/model. I cannot afford to replace an engine or buy a new car, I have no other choice than to continue to pour oil into this car and hope that I don't break down on the expressway or back roads during my 60 mile commute to and from work or when I have my child in the car.

- Randolph, NY, USA

problem #13

Jun 182013


  • 14,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that there was an excessive oil consumption after every oil change. The failure occurred on multiple times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 14,000.

- Little Compton , RI, USA

problem #12

Oct 302013


  • 87,000 miles


Oil leaking from valve covers. It is chronic across other models. Just search repair histories of Subaru boxer engines.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #11

Sep 052014


  • 63,000 miles
Engine began making loud knocking sound while driving on interstate. I pulled off and parked and called for tow truck. Dealer service reports the engine needs to be replaced. Vehicle has only 63,000 miles and gets regular maintenance. Each time I have the oil changed, the engine is a quart low. Dealer says this is normal. This is hard to believe for a modern vehicle with reduced (partial zero) emissions. I check the oil regularly and am shocked that Subaru sells cars with engines that barely live past the 60000 mile drive-train warranty. Something is fundamentally defective with the design and manufacture of Subaru's engines if this is how they are engineered to perform. I have been looking online and many other Subaru owners are having similar problems. I am fortunate I was able to pull off the interstate safely. Such a sudden engine failure could very easily have ended in a crash.

- Oak View, CA, USA

problem #10

Aug 142014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
I was driving down to queens to see my wife's family and as soon as I passed a truck I heard something hit my car. As soon as I got into long island, I heard the engine revving as if it were a diesel engine. I stopped at a shop and they listened to it and said that it is an internal issue in the engine and not to drive it. They helped me out by finding the closest dealership and they called. The guy from the shop called Subaru and they told him to call the tow truck to get the vehicle towed to their shop. That was messed up, have a non party call for a tow?? then the guy taking my order, didn't give me a receipt nor my copies of the services from the past. I have extended warranty which I am entitled to a rental car but was stuck without a vehicle and needed a vehicle to get back to work which I live 3-1/2 hours away from the shop and now I am stuck paying for tolls and have a hold on my credit card because of Subaru. On Friday I was told that they would call, I had to call because they never called me back. Then they tell me that it is the engine and they have to drop the oil pan on Monday. The worst thing is that I had reported engine problems at 47,000 miles which I have it documented from the dealership and they said that it was nothing.... just like all of the electrical problems I had with my window in the past... and check engine light coming on in the past.... now after this major issue they want more paperwork... this is just messed up.

- Albany, NY, USA

problem #9

Apr 152014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
My vehicle is consuming/ burning oil rapidly, adding in 2-4 quarts between recommended oil changes. There is no evidence under engine to suggest a leak. Multiple oil changes and mechanic unable to find any evidence of a leak further investigation reveals there is a class action lawsuit for this particular problem in multiple Subaru engines.

- Hubbardston, MA, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Jun 102014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 34,000 miles
Car was brought to dealership on June 3rd for knocking sound, I was told it needed a new engine which was replaced, car picked up June 10 after repair was completed. While driving on June 10th in the evening, the car began to buck and kick and not respond to pushing on gas pedal, at one point started to accelerate and then slowed down, pulled over to the side of the road and noted that black smoke and flames were seen coming out from hood. Car burned significantly while firefighters tried to put it out.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #6

Jan 312014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 23,500 miles
I pulled into a parking space, applied my brakes and was about to put my 2011 Subaru Forester into park when it suddenly accelerated forward and drove into a store front. The car traveled approximately 20 feet before hitting the wall and plate glass window. My driver's side airbag deployed. The car was totaled.

- Hooksett, NH, USA

problem #5

Jul 122011

Forester 4-cyl

  • 9,000 miles
After owning 3 other Subaru, we figured it was a great idea to buy a 4th. Well, Subaru has changed the engine design enough where as the oil needed is a super light weight synthetic 0W20. After about 2000 miles consistently, the car will always need oil. We have 40,000 on it now and after multiple oil changes the car still uses way too much oil. Not a great choice of a car is what I am thinking now. Someone needs to step in from the NHTSA and determine why a new car would be losing oil as fast as the Subaru does. I have read other similar complaints. Maybe it is time to start an online petition to help nudge NHTSA and Subaru.

- Unionville, PA, USA

problem #4

Mar 212013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
On the last two dates this vehicle started up by itself without input from key or remote. The vehicle was unlocked by remote which is the manufacturer remote. The door was opened then the "lock" button in the door was pressed and the door closed. After the door was shut the engine started up. This happened on two separate occasions. On other occasions the engine would still keep running even though the key is removed from the ignition. This vehicle was fitted with a remote starter by the dealer (not factory). The remote start was changed twice, I'm on the third set. The dealer asked me to bring in the vehicle again on Friday March 29th so that the remote start installer can look at it again. Originally when the engine kept running I would have to disconnect the wire from the battery to stop the engine as everything else failed to stop it. Subsequently when the engine kept running it would only be shut off with the remote starter. This problem still keeps happening occasionally.

- Queens, NY, USA

problem #3

Mar 042011

Forester 4-cyl

  • 4,300 miles
Purchased car new 12/2010, dealer told me it used syn oil and only needed to be changed every 7500 miles. 03/2011 the car had 4300 miles and when I checked the oil it was not showing on the dipstick. Dealer did not tell me that the Foresters use oil. It was over 2 quarts low. It has been two years now and Subaru has still done nothing for my car. All they told me was it's in your owners manual and they use a qt every 1200 miles. This is crazy for a new car. 6 qts for an oil change and 5 qts in between. Can't depend on this car. Not safe to drive on long trips. Engine is very noisy. Subaru deceived me at time of purchase, I would never bought a car that uses oil like this.

- Wittensville, KY, USA

problem #2

Mar 182012


  • 21,000 miles
I was driving and suddenly heard a very loud knocking noise. The car started slowing down and then stopped. Smoke was coming out from under the hood. The car was towed to a nearby dealership. They determined that the one of the connecting rods punctured the engine block which caused engine oil to shoot through the hole onto the engine block, melting the wiring, and causing the smoke.

- Oakland , NJ, USA

problem #1

May 092012

Forester 4-cyl

  • 11,440 miles
A vehicle 2 cars in front of me dropped a load of freight on the freeway--possible one lane over. The cars in front of me slammed on their brakes, and one may have swerved into my lane. I was able to slam on my brakes and slow to about 15-20 miles per hour before I hit the car in front of me. Within 20 seconds of hitting that car, flames were coming from under the hood of my car. Within 2 minutes my car was fully engulfed in flames and the passenger cabin was fully involved. This was an almost brand-new car with no aftermarket parts, and little front-end damage. It seems suspicious that such an accident would cause such an intense and fast-spreading fire. Had children been restrained in safety seats, I don't know if I would have had time to get them out of the car.

- San Pedro, CA, USA

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