pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
48,800 miles
Total Complaints:
28 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (14 reports)
  2. replace engine (8 reports)
  3. short block replaced per subaru of america (4 reports)
  4. add oil (1 reports)
  5. sell the car (1 reports)
2011 Subaru Forester engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Subaru Forester Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #28

Oct 142017

Forester 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,502 miles


This Subaru Forester 2011 was serviced regularly at one dealer and all recommended service was performed. I complained about a noise of knocking and the tech wrote that when oil was added, the sound went away. I had no idea there was any problem other than what I reported, as the dealer did not make this known. Between mileages of 100,502 and 102,324, I did not know what the problems were but I kept the service up. Then there was a problem, and when I took it in, they pointed out the oil problem and told me they would have to replace the parts amounting to over $6,000.

I researched it and went back explaining this was not something that should be happening based on all of the service done on this auto, and they agreed, telling me to check the oil often and add a quart whenever it got low. I did this at first, but upon moving back to my home and taking it to the dealer there I found that they should have suggested I do an oil consumption test and I should not add any oil without checking with them between oil changes. Even though it was late, after taking it right back after they added oil only to have them find it was empty, they checked and said we could do the oil consumption test. They documented it and documented that it failed this test.

Now I have to gather all of my documentation while constantly checking my oil so I can go to the Subaru corporate office to explain my case. This needs to be fixed by them and I do not need to worry constantly about the oil consumption and have to take it back each time.

(The owner states: "I am still the owner, but I gave it to my wife when I bought another Subaru for myself, so now she is involved and this is who is presenting the case here. However, I will be the one representing my car since I had it for the entire time at the same dealer who never advised me of the issues. I will be able to be more detailed when we gather all documentation and present it".)

Update from Jan 15, 2022: Subaru Corp took care of this problem at their expense and they were very good about it. Short block was replaced and the $6,000 work was completed. This renews my faith in Subaru Corporation and we have another Subaru Dealer who is great and very supportive, so this ends well for us. Documentation is the key, so if anyone has any problems, make sure you keep your repair and upkeep documents to back you up if there is a problem. I am very happy about it now.

- patriciawbpw, Jacksonville, US

problem #27

Sep 012021


  • Manual transmission
  • 70,000 miles

My 2011 Forester had an oil consumption test, I went to the dealer for this. It failed the test, so I needed the repair. The dealership told me the fix was about $7,500 because the entire engine needed to be taken apart. I am in talks with Subaru OF America about extending the warranty time because I qualify for warranty milage-wise. What I find reprehensible is that two years ago Subaru took my engine out and did another major oil leak repair that cost $4000. I was told the engine would be fine from that point on. Two years later I get this problem. So why did Subaru not check the issue that causes oil consumption when they took my engine apart for the oil leak fix two years ago?!?! I don't know. But my car might have still been under warranty then and they could have taken care of the problem then and I might not feel like they make the worst cars ever.

- Peter F., Takoma Park, MD, US

problem #26

Mar 132018

Forester 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,322 miles

Car has been having a smell of burning oil since purchased as a Subaru Certified used in 2014 with 36,286 miles on the car. Extended Warranty purchased.

First servicing request at dealer detailed the smell, and the clicking coming from the engine, dealer (Liberty Subaru) dismissed the item.

Second servicing also (Liberty Subaru) included a complaint of the smell and clicking, result was an oil change which seemed to reduce the clicking, but not the oil smell.

Car has experienced more than normal oil usage, but we never received any notification of class action from Subaru or Liberty. Following another oil change when clicking reoccurred, we saw an acceleration of oil usage, and had to add oil more often.

Finally after last oil service, done at Pep Boys, the engine failed. Current mileage 54,322 miles. 18,000 from our purchase.

At no point was there an engine light, or oil light for pressure or temperature on the engine.

Currently car was under an extended service contract, and should also be covered by the class action extended warranty, but Subaru wants us to pay for repairs while they decide if they will honor the warranty.

$1000 just to rip it down to see, $10,000 to replace the engine if not "covered" by extended warranty or class action settlement.

- Steven J., Lincoln Park, NJ, US

problem #25

May 102014

Forester Premium 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,623 miles


Purchased 2011 Forester with 29,623 miles on 05/10/2014. It has consumed at least a quart of engine oil between every manufacturer suggested 7,500 mile interval engine oil change since we purchased it.

- beuler, Hillsboro, US

problem #24

Aug 062017

Forester 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Yay, 2011 Subaru Forester with a bad rod bearing. Dealer says it is typically caused by low oil. Of course, I don't know this is an issue until after it fails. I have done all oil changes and repairs at the dealer and they never once mentioned that this could have been an issue. Car is now almost worthless since the repair is $5k and that is if the cam is untouched.

Dealer suggested that I look for a used engine to put into it. Awesome solution Subaru! Thanks for selling lemons for over $20k and denying it when people complain.

I have tried to get a response from Subaru with no luck. Not even an email response. Now I get to spread the word to stay far away from these vehicles. This is not the only Subaru in the family but most likely will be the last. I bought this car and took excellent care of it in the hopes that it would last me many years.

- Andrew O., Cincinnati, US

problem #23

Apr 032017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

2013 Purchased used from soccer mom that complained about oil consumption...from Dealership in Gastonia, NC. From 2013 to 2017 high oil consumption. Took car into Dealership in TN. Subaru fixed the short block. Two thousand miles later, rocker arms, pistons...and now chain tensioner etc etc etc. Still under 100.000 miles in warranty... This 2011 is a royal pain...a lemon... within the 60,000 miles that we have used it in four years..this is all the crap that happened to it... I have a 2005 Focus that we have done nothing to gas and oil ...basics and it keeps going and going..and going..

- foresterfails, Loudon, US

problem #22

Jul 032013

Forester X-Touring 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles


purchased this car new and it started using 1 qt in less than 500 miles. First the dealer replaced the valve cover gaskets - it started making noise so they changed some hoses and replaced the spark plugs(why??) Taking it in 15 times in the first 18 months and the problem was not fixed.

Finally, when I discussed the Subaru recall (which had not been mentioned to me) they said that since we were over 50,000 miles the factory warranty would not work. They said they could replace the engine under the extended warranty I had purchased. I said great, and added that while they were in there I wanted the timing belts and idlers changed and I would pay for that myself. This was to be done when the engine was apart and would be a zero labor event.

When I received the car I asked about the idlers and belts, to make sure they were replaced, but the service writer then told us that the work had not been done as requested. When questioned I was told that this specific engine had 'Life Time Chains' installed, I told the dealer that in over 30 years I have never seen a life time chain and that since my chains had been subjected to repeated events of reduced oiling due to the engines malfunction I wanted them changed and that I would pay for new chains and new idlers myself, but the install was on them. They said they could do this under the x-tender warranty at no cost to me.

The service writer admitted that she did not realize this engine used a timing chain system when she first spoke with me.

At present we have just reached 110,000 and the engine seems to be doing fine, it just has a bit of a hashing sound when running and gas mileage is done about 3 mpg, so I am left wondering IF the original timing chains and idlers were really changed. I am trying to convince my wife to trade this in for something new, Not another Subaru.

- robbo8491, Stillwater, MN, US

problem #21

Sep 012015

Forester Suba 25X 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

I've driven Subaru's since the 1990's. I bought an outback in 2009 as a retirement car. Paid it off. Drove it 63000 miles when the engine ran out of oil and seized and died. Subaru called it a fluke and since I hadn't had it serviced and the oil changed at their dealer but at my local mechanic they said too bad so sad but we'll sell you another off the lot. Dummy me.,,,, I needed a car so I bought a 2011 Forester with 43000 miles plus paid big bucks for an extended warranty. I felt used and abused but still I bought the Forester. Immediately I had to add oil. The high price synthetic kind. They offered a free oil change and when the time came I mentioned the added quart. They blew me off and oh yeah the next and forever after oil changes would be $60 bucks not to mention the 45 miles up to their shop. Half way through the next change I had to add another quart. Didn't even register on the dip stick. They asked if I wanted to have a closed system check which we did. Finally they agreed to put in a (new?) short block which will happen on Monday 11/14/2016. So we will see.

My bitch is about the 2009 outback - what did go wrong with it? There was no indication that it was using oil for 63000 miles and was well serviced. I realize the 2011 Forester is on a list for this problem. They went to the synthetic oil that year I was told. I feel I got a raw deal on the 2009 outback which was a much better ride except for whatever happened to the engine. The deal is done and I am stuck with the Forester but I am not happy with Subaru. They were better to deal with back in the 1990's. What changed?

- mollywi, Brule, WI, US

problem #20

Aug 152016

Forester Premium

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

This is just unacceptable, they tell us the oil is leaking, basically it burns up in the cam??? I am not a technical gal but in all the cars I have owned, family has owned we have never faced this before. We bought Subaru because we were told reliable, great company , and daughter needed a car that was safe, dependable to get her through her college years into grad school, and then hopes to pass this on to youngest daughter , replacing it with another Subaru . Just amazed that a car we had such high hopes for has turned into a nightmare. Subaru need to own up to this being a problem in more engines, we really feel so betrayed.

- nebraskagatorgal, Omaha, NE, US

problem #19

May 232016

Forester X 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

have this car when my son was born, due to Subaru's reputation for safety. and used it for 5 years. always took it to Subaru dealers, no other places. always right on time when oil change was scheduled. Never heard anything from the service experts that there was not enough oil when i brought the car.

In May 2016, I received a letter from a court, providing me information about Subaru Forester excessive oil burn.

When I checked the oil level I found "ZERO" oil in the engine.

I rushed to the Subaru service to check the car. Subaru, of course told me that my engine serial number was not among the effected engines that deserves a "compensation". When I told them I never saw an oil level low light on the dashboards, I was told that (-hold on to something so you don't fall), Forester has no engine oil LOW light on dashboard, AND I am responsible for checking the oil level.

I was ALSO TOLD that this is written in the manual of the car, and I should also have read the manual.

That day I decided to sell the car and finally sold it today after 5 months.

- hymdt, Astoria, NY, US

problem #18

Jan 302012

Forester 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,500 miles


There is a B.S. class action settlement on the table now.

- K. R. C., Cortez, CO, US

problem #17

Oct 012015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I purchased the Subaru new and returned to that dealer for every oil change. Normal wait time was usually 2 hours to get an oil change. Was never told if my oil was low or not. Was leaving to go on vacation so I took it to a Superlube dealer because it would be a lot quicker to have the oil changed. They told me they could barely drain a quart of oil out to change. I was shocked. So when I returned back from vacation I took it back to the dealer for an oil consumption study. Study was started and when I took it back to check the oil usage it was below the bottom hole on the dip stick. They did not check it in our presence and took it to the garage. When they brought it back the oil was over the top hole on the dipstick and they claimed they did not add any oil. ???Really. I filed a complaint with Subaru and was referred to another dealer. Another oil consumption study was done and it verified it was burning oil; but the amount was considered normal usage. I am having to add 4 quarts of oil between every oil change now and Subaru will not fix it because they state this is "normal usage". I will NOT but another Subaru.

- Elvie S., Camp Creek, WV, US

problem #16

Nov 142011

Forester 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 85,685 miles

Excessive oil consumption has been an issue since the car was new. I have replaced the oil beginning at 2800 miles and found the car had used nearly two quarts of oil. It appears that the car uses oil at a rate of one quart per 1200 miles more or less. The winter or summer causes greater oil consumption.

I have talked with folks who specialize in changing oil and they have notice many times Subarus arrive with little oil on the dip stick. I have always changed the oil and filter around 5000 miles and have measured the oil use weekly and recorded usage for many months. I mentioned the problem to the Claremont, NH dealership and they said they would do nothing since my mileage was over 36,000 miles.

I have heard from several people that Subaru would do nothing so I didn't ask for help again. I have talked with my mechanic and they said they have replaced Subaru engines on newer models and wondered what was going on with the newer car. Oil use is fairly predictable you just need to check it every week. I read the tech bulletin and online descriptions and have seen the the solution is usually a short block, but keep your fingers crossed.

Update from May 19, 2016: Mileage at 89,000 short block has been replaced by the Manchester, NH dealership. Car is better than new it is totally awesome. They let me drive a new forester while the repair was being completed. There was accidental damage to the hood of my old car but the hood was replaced and repainted. Car looks new and the engine is quiet and the car is much faster.

- Richard C., Windsor, VT, US

problem #15

Aug 012015

Forester Premium 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles

I purchased my Forester in August 2011 (new). Averaged 8000 per year had the oil changed by the dealer every 7500 miles. The Forester now has 33500 miles . I began checking the oil after I saw complaints in the internet and a letter from a law firm advising me of the situation. I did notice a drop in oil half way between the upper mark and the lower mark of the dip stick which was around 6000 miles. I asked for a oil consumption test in which the dealer did change the oil and told me to come back at 1200 miles. In the mean time I was getting a letter and e mail's from the dealer to trade my 2011 Forester in on a new Subaru and they would give me above market trade value for mine. I did not want to do this as I was going to sell the Forester to my daughter but changed my mined fearing the problem with the oil. My attorney also said not to sell it until this is settled. I checked the oil as soon as the 1200 mile oil change was done and it was above the top mark on the dip stick at leased a 1/4 " . Now I'm thinking the dealer overfilled it and on the 1200 mile check the result would show no oil consumption. After the dealer checked the oil advised me all is well ,no oil was depleted and I passed the test. I asked for a check at 3000,5000 & 7000 miles but they refused and said I have no problem with the Forester. I presently have 3300 miles on the same 1200 mile check and will continue to monitor until the 7500 mandatory change. My 5 year warranty expires August of 2016 . My question is if the Foresters have a FB20 or FB 25 engine why wouldn't some burn oil and others not?

Update from Nov 15, 2015: I checked my oil at 34,198 and found the oil level is now between the high and low marks on the dip stick. I have 4690 miles to go for the next oil change. I can see now that when I asked to have it checked at 3000,5000 & 7000 they where afraid to find out the truth. Contacting my attorney and will file a claim under the Lemon Law statue.

Update from Nov 18, 2015: On November 17th I checked the oil level before taking the Forester to the dealer. I took a picture and it showed the oil level was just above the half mark. After the dealer checked the oil as requested I was call into the service area and was shown the oil dip stick and it was normal . The oil level was at the high mark on the dip stick. I had the service rep. check it again and still the findings showed the same. I took the camera and showed the service rep. the picture and advised him that I took the picture just before driving 8 miles to the dealer. He could not explain only that I must have been not on a level surface. My commit was I guess the 8 mile drive somehow added oil to the engine. Here we go again they must have added oil to bring it to a normal level trying to convenience me all is well with the oil consumption.

Update from Jan 20, 2016: January 20,2016 I checked the engine oil on level surface in my garage . The vehicle has 35021 on the odometer. To date I have driven the Forester 3641 miles since the 1200 mile oil consumption test and the dip stick now shows the oil level is 1/4 " above the lower marking on the dip stick. I have a video of this check and this further shows me that the dealer is covering up the oil consumption problem.

Update from Feb 12, 2016: Subaru repaired the engine by changing the short block effective 2-12-16.

Update from May 12, 2016: On Feb 12,2016 I had the short block replaced at 35443 miles by the dealer. I checked the oil level today 5 12,2016 and I used 1 qt of oil traveling 1779 miles on the short block replacement. Based on my nexted scheduled oil change at 6,000 miles per the dealer I will have to at least add at least 3 quarts of oil. At 7500 miles I may have to add another 3/4 quart of oil. I thought I was done with this problem but now I'm thinking did the dealer really change the short block ?

Update from May 18, 2016: On May 16,2016 I stopped at the Subaru dealer to check the oil level,knowing the level was 1 qt short. The service rep. stated the level is down and to bring it back after driving 1000 and they will contact Subaru and see what they an do. It's another way to kick he can down the road and stall for time. In the mean time I spoke to my sales rep. who sold me the 2011 Forester and asked for a deal on a new Subaru. After checking my Forester they said it was in very good shape but the sales manager would only give me $13000 on a trade for a $32000 car. The reason for the $13000 was I had a oil consumption problem and it was my problem now therefore it's not worth Fair Market Value and I have to take the hit for Subaru's problems with the Forester. WOW ! Stayed tuned.

Update from Nov 15, 2016: After changing the short block I see that oil problem so far has been corrected.

Update from Jun 23, 2018: With 57000 miles driven and my next oil change is due in 1700 miles (6000) the dealer recommended .I checked the oil after letting the car sit 3 hours. The dip stick showed I used 3/4 of a qt. of oil. This still has me concerned even after the block was changed .

Update from Aug 7, 2018: August 8,2018 . I had the oil changed at 6000 )as requested by the dealership) but before taking the forester in for service I checked the oil. I used 1 qt of oil. The service rep. advised me that I needed to replace the FRONT SWAY BAR AND THE LUG & WHEEL STUDS (FRONT). Total cost $200. I noticed on the itemized bill which was sent to me via e-mail that I needed to replace the STEERING GEAR BOX/LINKAGE & BOOTS/BALL JOINTS/DUSTCOVER. I have 58800 miles on the forester. My coa is to get another mechanic to take a look at this .

Update from Nov 12, 2018: 11/12/2018 : I finally had enought of the problems with my 2011 Forester and traded it in for a new CRV. I test drove the 2019 Crosstreck and when I sat down with the dealersales person to finalize the purchase I was told (indirectly) by the salesmen that the sales manage said (I) was in the shop 20 times with problems and since the Forester has a problem they would only buy the Forester for $7,000 with nothing taken off the Mfg listed price for the crosstreck. Again the dealership said (I) have a problem with the vehicle and if traded they would send it to auction. I left and bought a 2018 CRV. I owned a 2007 CRV and was very happy with it but sold it to my son in law which is still being driven . Will I ever go back to Subaru it remains to be seen.

- Eugene L., Nanticoke, PA, US

problem #14

Aug 042012

Forester I 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 23,000 miles

Bought the Subbi Forester from a dealer used with 23000 miles on the clock. Noticed the oil consumption within the first month. Dealer said it was acceptable!!! Researched online, discovering the bad head gasket design issues that Subaru acknowledges, but won't do a recall. Confronted the dealer, said basically what others stated. More "Bullship!!!!!" Told them it was the "LAST" time I'd be at their dealership and that my "6 kids," five that drive would never frequent their business nor buy a Subaru anything!!!!!

Decided to keep a case of quarts in the back and a couple of oil filters. It burns a quart every 700-800 miles, more if it's stop and go traffic. Now, having her detailed, then off to Carmax and Ford to look for an and 2016 Escape. Loved that lil'blue Forester, but when a corporation snubs the consumer, "Fk'em!!!" Trust me, two of my girls are pissed they're not getting the Subaru to drive around and they're telling their friends "Why!" Gotta love the publicity?

- mandersen, Fairfax, VA, US

problem #13

Jun 012015

Forester TY 4 cyls

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,311 miles

Now using about 1quart oil per 3000 Kms.............unacceptable...............will have to be corrected under drive train warranty.

- dlvanderburg37, Orillia, ON, Canada

problem #12

Jun 202013


  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles

I had a Toyota Tacoma for 10 years, I bought my first new-ish car two years ago and was really excited for my upgrade. Unfortunately, I am stuck with a lemon. I realized that my car has been burning oil. This was probably why a 3 year old car was being resold in the first place. I called Subaru corporate offices and they told me that burning oil was normal and that I needed to track the oil if I thought there was really a problem. I was in shock as my 99' Toyota Tacoma NEVER EVER gave me any problems and NEVER burned any oil. I've needed to add oil between oil changes since my purchase. I'm really disappointed in Subaru and wish I would have stuck with Toyota.

- Sarah H., Costa Mesa, CA, US

problem #11

Dec 152012

Forester Limited 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

It took about a year to figure out that the car was losing oil at an irregular rate. If you notice it under warranty, make sure you take it to the dealer and do an oil consumption test. They should do this for free I believe. Basically, they do an oil change and after 1,200 miles you bring it back and they change it again and note loss of oil. I think 1 quart + over 1,200 or 1,500 miles is considered excessive. Currently, loses around 1 quarter per 1,000 miles.

- Ryan K., Madison, WI, US

problem #10

Feb 112015

Forester 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,500 miles

Sudden and Excessive oil consumption led to catastrophic engine failure. Many complaints of this nature can be found all over the internet. There is a class action suit in progress regarding this matter. Subaru knows of this problem and sent the cars out with a disclaimer note in the owner's manual saying that consumption of less than 1 quart every 1,200 miles is considered acceptable. Implication being, complaints of less than this would be dismissed by dealers. Had I been properly warned of their unusual definition of excessive oil use, I would have been watching my oil levels more closely. But, had I been properly warned I would have never bought this car as a brand new purchase in the first place. (I also own a 14 year old Outback. It burns less than half a quart of oil in 5,000 miles.) One quart every 1,200 miles would result in 5.8 quarts burned at the recommended 7,500 mile oil change interval. This is not merely excessive. It is absurdly so.

- krcook47, Mancos, CO, US

problem #9

Dec 202015

Forester XT Touring 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,095 miles

Purchased our 2011Subaru XT Touring edition new in May 2011 in Seattle( USA).We live in Edmonton alberta so not sure if we should voice our complaint to Subaru of America or Subaru of Canada. Currently have 31746 Miles on engine. Do all our own oil changes with Synthetic 5 W30 and Fram extra Guard filter. Upon our most recent oil dipstick check after our 4th oil change the oil did not even register on the dipstick. It took 2.5 liters of oil to read midway on the dipstick. Check engine oil light did not come on. Oil filler cap had white foam on inside so I checked the radiator cap as well which was clean. No blue smoke upon start up or driving and No oil on garage floor indicating lakage. Head gasket? We do not tow with this vehicle so it can hardly be considered heavy use. Brought vehicle into local Subaru dealership and was told they did check oil level and oil sample to check for antifreeze or other contaminants. Dealer said everything is good and Subarus have a higher oil consumption than other vehicles. BS or what? all other vehicles we own that have over 100,000km do not even use a drop between oil changes.

- gcdecking, Edmonton, Alberta, canada

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