2015 Subaru Forester electrical NHTSA complaints: Electrical System

NHTSA — Electrical System Problems


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
6,942 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.

2015 Subaru Forester electrical problems

electrical problem

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2015 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #15

Jun 132016


  • 27,000 miles


The contact owns a 2015 Subaru Forester. While driving approximately 70 mph, the instrument panel illuminated and the engine failed. The vehicle was able to restart; however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the failure could not be duplicated. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 27,000. The VIN was not available.

- Millis, MA, USA

problem #14

Sep 252016


  • miles
Vehicle was purchased new on October 31, 2014 at a Maryland dealer. The following are dates, miles and the issues that have arised since taking ownership. All issues related to vehicle have occurred while driving. No specific roads, vehicle maneuvering or weather condition, changed or caused the the following issues. 12/09/14 6680 miles, issue with steering & alignment 12/20/14 8524 miles, issue with steering & alignment April 2015 replaced battery 06/20/15 41,700 miles, issue with electrical system 07/23/15 47672 miles, issue with driveability 08/26/15 53037 miles, issue with body electrical system 08/2015 all rotors and brake pads replaced 09/23/15 57923 miles, issues with check engine light & stop light lamp switch 10/08/15 60428 miles, issue with power windows 12/03/15 68762 miles, automatic transmission replaced, electrical system June 2016 issues with starting vehicle begins, undetermined cause July 2016 issues began with HVAC blower fan intermittent failure 09/25/16 110839 miles, unknown A/T possible failure Subaru of America still has an open ticket for electrical issues that still plague the vehicle; including power windows, hill start assistant, low oil pressure, audio speaker, vehicle stability control, ABS, brake system failure lights. Dealer has stated that failure can only be duplicated when an on-board diagnostic system code is present. Thus the reason for outstanding issues. Furthermore, not all repeated issues or communications with dealer are listed due to lack of records.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #13

Aug 092016


  • 44,000 miles
Our 2015 Subaru forest will randomly while driving have all of it warning lights come one. Eyesight, hill assist, ABS, lane departure, ect. If you stop and put it in park then it will not come out of park unless over ridden. I called in to Subaru and they said "2015 Subaru Forester right? it probably has a bad brake light switch or brake light sensor, which means your brakes will not light up while driving. This seems to be a known issue to Subaru as I have seen many examples of this happening to other people on Subaru boards. I was out of warranty and they want me to pay 170 dollars just to diagnose the issue when they clearly know what the issue is. This is a critical safety hazard, if my brake lights fail to light up while driving due to a known defect, I or someone else could be injured or killed due to them not being able to recognize my braking.

- Glenwood, IA, USA

problem #12

Apr 042016


  • 8,000 miles


Forester sat for 2 weeks and battery was drained completely though no lights or accessories were left on. Recharged battery, drove it for two days then car sat for two days. Again battery was. Completely dead. Very disappointed and concerned over lack of reliability

- Evergreen, CO, USA

problem #11

Feb 182016


  • 12,500 miles
My wife was driving to work, about 35mph on a paved road. Several electrical items suddenly failed, all at the same time - wipers, windshield washer, heater fan, turn signals all would not work. When she stopped the car, turned off the ignition, and turned it back on, the electrical system worked again. I am taking it in for warranty service at ganley Subaru, wickliffe, Ohio.

- Orange Village, OH, USA

problem #10

Jan 152015


  • 200 miles
I had a remote starter installed by some one other than Subaru. The starter failed repeatedly so I took it in. Was told and given a print out reflecting a low battery. I took it to North towne Subaru on sheridan dr. It is a 20 mile trip one way, they said "no problem, charged the battery any way and sent me home. I purchased the Forester in Sept.2014, got the starter for christmas, and after the visit to Subaru it worked sometimes. This winter again it failed to start. Now that the winter has become extremely cold I returned to the installer who replaced it and it still failed due to a low battery. This, as I understand it, is a continuing problem with this model, and the fix is a stronger battery. I am not about to take another trip to Subaru in erie co. As I am in pain most of the time and driving long distances increases the problem. I told the starter store to order me a battery to fix the problem as I can't see Subaru in amherst doing anything for me. But I do think Subaru should reimburse me. Of course I will not hold my breath. Also I will never go to that dealership again.!!!!!!

- Niagara Falls, NY, USA

problem #9

Dec 012015


  • 2,200 miles


While starting the car with only 2.2K miles the check engine light came on and disabled the vehicle dynamics control, the cruise control and the incline start assist leaving the vehicle without important safety features in bad weather conditions.

- Malverne, NY, USA

problem #8

Jul 172015


  • 300 miles
This is not exactly a safety problem, but could be a critical issue. We left the brand new Subaru 1015 Forester for two weeks while we were on vacation. When we came back the battery was dead. Aaa tech told us this is not an uncommon problem in 2015 cars with full complement of features, and typing "Subaru battery drainage problem" into google brings up a litany of complaints. Apparently all the electronics in the car drain the battery even when the car isn't running. Subaru implied it was our fault for not starting the car. That's absurd. We have a 2010 Honda civic that was under the snow for 6 wks. And it started right up. Subaru checked our battery, pronounced it healthy, suggested we buy a trickle charger (which we have done), and sent us $100 for our loyalty. Nowhere in the Subaru literature does it say that the car must be started every few days or warn about battery drainage. If we'd had an emergency that required us to use the car when we first got home, we'd have been pout of luck. This technology is not ready for prime time, and at the very least consumers should be warned.

- Cambridge, MA, USA

problem #7

Jun 252015


  • 0 miles
This model vehicle has a safety defect. The speedometer is located under a visor which limits the amount of light falling on the instrument, and the instrument panel does not have any back lighting under daylight driving conditions. The result is that under most daytime driving conditions is impossible to read the speedometer and determine the speed that the vehicle is traveling at. This is a universal problem as dealer staff has told me that they have has numerous customers complain about this safety defect. I have contacted Subaru of America to discuss this defect, and was told they do not have any solution.

- South Bristol, ME, USA

problem #6

Jul 292015


  • 1,200 miles
The contact owns a 2015 Subaru Forester. While driving the vehicle during the daytime at 25 mph, the speedometer was not as visible and failed to illuminate properly. The vehicle was to taken the dealer where it was diagnosed that it was standard for those models of vehicles. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 1,200.

- Tewksbury, MA, USA

problem #5

Aug 072015


  • 7,177 miles


While driving eastbound on I-80 in Iowa just East of exit 220 (williamsburg) our car lost power but, because it has a manual transmission, I was able to depress the clutch and coast to the left road margin. The low fuel indicator had come on a few miles before but the display indicator showed that we had sufficient fuel to drive 60 miles at the displayed average of 30.5 miles per gallon. This should have been correct as the manual states that when the low fuel indicator comes there are 2.6 gallons remaining. I tried to restart the car as the indicator continued to show one increment in the gas gauge and a range of 60 miles on the display. After several attempts it was apparent that the engine was not getting fuel. We eventually were assisted by an Iowa state patrol officer who took me back to the casey's station in williamsburg where I bought a gasoline can and about 3.5 gallons of fuel. With his assistance I was able to fuel my car (the traffic at that time and place was very heavy and fast), and the car started immediately. It is be important to note that the low fuel indicator did not come on after I started the car. I had not put all of the gas in the can into my car, and the manual states that the indicator will not come on when the tank is holding 4.5 gallons of fuel, so there was clearly a gallon or more of fuel in the tank when it died. Also, that section of eastbound I-80 is slightly uphill. It seems then that either the electronics associated with the reading fuel levels are very inaccurate, or the gas tank is built in such a way that when the tank is lower on fuel and going uphill gas is not getting to the engine. Had I not been driving a manual transmission and able to roll onto the margin uphill but simply slowed to a sudden stop in that traffic when the engine died, I believe it would have caused a very serious series if collisions.

- Des Plaines, IL, USA

problem #4

Apr 212014


  • 50 miles
The electronic screen on the 2015 Subaru Forester that includes the back-up display reflects a solid black bar down the middle if you are wearing polarized sunglasses. I've almost backed over walkers in parking lots who were in the obscured area of the screen because of this. I checked at the dealer, and other 2015 Foresters have the same problem, but the outback does not. Since I first noticed the problem I have driven a number of cars, including Toyota and bmws that do not have the problem. Subaru's suggested solution is that I don't wear polarized sunglasses. I wear corrective lenses, and it is virtually impossible to buy corrective sunglasses that aren't polarized. The alternative is to wear non-corrective lenses that are not particularly good for my eyes, and through which the world is blurred. I don't think I should have to go spend $300+ to buy sunglasses to correct a problem that Subaru could have corrected by putting a different display screen in the car, since based on other Subaru I've been in and cars from other manufacturers, they had the option to do so. Thank you.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #3

Dec 242014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
The contact owns a 2015 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that the speedometer was inoperable. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or independent mechanic to be diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The failure mileage was 1,500. Updated 03/30/15 updated 6/23/2015

- Berlin, CT, USA

problem #2

Jan 062015

Forester 4-cyl

  • 10 miles
Within one hour of getting this new vehicle, the eyesight warning and braking system turned itself on and off repeatedly. This continues after two dealers have made repeated attempts to fix the system. Subaru headquarters forced me to pay for a new windshield, because they said I had put a nick in the windshield. After replacing the windshield the eyesight system still continues to turn itself on and off approximately 3 times per hour of travel. This is a serious safety issue, because you are expecting the eyesight system to warn you of unusual lane changes and your proximity to the vehicle in front of you. Also when you are using the eyesight system with cruise control at highway speeds the vehicle slows down whenever the system turns itself off. Since no brake lights are activated, the vehicles behind you do not get a signal that you have reduced your speed. This is also a serious safety issue. It is also impossible to reactivate the eyesight system yourself, unless you stop, turn of the engine and restart the car. Subaru headquarters cannot make the eyesight system function correctly and therefore it should be removed from the market.

- Ocean Grove, NJ, USA

problem #1

May 302014

Forester 4-cyl

  • miles
I just purchased this car and cannot believe the dash board lights. They praise this car for reliability, so that is why I purchased this car. However the speedometer and all the other lights are so small you can't read them. Also, with the running lights on the lights on dashboard turn pink on black. Without the running lights the numbers are a pale gray on black. With the dial to brighten...that is a joke. I am worried about the safety of this oversight. I wish I had realized this before I purchased this car. I am a senior citizen, but I have pretty good eyesight.

- Hendersonville , NC, USA

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