A car-based SUV, such as the Forester, provides many of the advantages of a traditional sport-utility--all-weather versatility, higher seating position, and interior space. It also offers the comfort and road manners of a car.
Alerts
There is 1 recall on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2002 Subaru Forester has been recalled 1 time by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years * Redesign year
Worse Better
00
01
02
03*
04
05
06
07
08
09*
10
11
12
13
14*
15
16
17
18
19*
20
Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
POTENTIAL TROUBLE SPOTS
Engine Major
NA
Engine Minor
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
Transmission Major
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
Drive System
NA
Fuel System
NA
Electric System
NA
Climate System
NA
Suspension
NA
Brakes
NA
Exhaust
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
Body Integrity
NA
Body Hardware
NA
Power Equipment
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 329,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2020 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2002 Subaru Forester owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Cylinder head

"head gasket leak"

Scott A., GA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Needed new head gaskets at 175000 km. I knew this was a problem with these cars and it was quite expensive. 2.5L non-turbo version"

Meg G., ON (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Engine rebuild or replacement

"The engine was burning excessive amounts of oil and the head gaskets were leaking oil. It was replaced with a low milage engine"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I replaced my engine after it had overheated after a failed thermostat"

Anonymous, KS (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Lose of power"

Thomas L., MN (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Head gasket

"head gasket leaking"

Anonymous, MN (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"External head gasket leak required new gasket (whole engine removal to gain access). Water pump and timing belt were also replaced at that time"

Peter F., BC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"This vehicle is notorious for head gasket issues. We had the head gasket replaced. It was an expensive procedure"

Anonymous, RI (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The head gaskets leak"

Anonymous, WA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"gasket started leaking about 12 months ago, not yet fixed due to limited current use of car and estimated repair cost of about $2000. Gasket previously failed before, about 2009 and was repaired then"

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"leaking, was replaced and head was rebuilt"

Bob R., WA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Pulled engine due to rear main leak along with both head gaskets leaking oil and coolant, water pump, timing belt and all drive belts replaced, also replaced the radiator"

Anonymous, NE (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"leaking and replaced"

Anonymous, MO (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Minor leak leading to minor loss of oil"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"car started leaking oil early on. apparently there had been a recall either before I owned it or after that I was never aware of. the dealer kept saying it was ok to drive til it got worse. I finally took it to a shop to be fixed, spent a lot of m"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gasket replaced due to leak. No additional engine problems occurred as a result of the head gasket issue"

Tim S., MN (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Replaced at 80,000 out again at 105,000. Poor design!"

Terry M., WA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Leaking oil. Engine will need a complete reseal soon"

Robert M., MN (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Needed to replace head gaskets"

Anonymous, AK (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Guy said I need to replace the head gasket soon. 2000 fix! Yikes!"

Pamilyn H., WI (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The head gasket on a subarau is buried in the middle of the engine. In order to repair it, the top half of the engine must be disassembled and removed. Then the gasket is replaced, then the engine is rebuilt . About 16 hours labor charged"

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"This is the third time I have had to replace head gaskets, which I think is a little much"

Robert F., ID (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gasket needed to be replaced within 100,000 miles of the last head gasket replacement"

William N., CA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"$4000 to replace head gasket at Subaru dealership, absolutely unacceptable"

Brian H., VA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Warped, needed to be replaced. Common for this model at 100000"

Anonymous, NV (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gasket is "going" - leaking oil at a fairly regular rate and is also 'pulling in' anti-freeze"

Pam B., WI (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"head gasket failure during cold weather resulting in overheating gasket, machine head, replace radiator about $2000.00. Mechanic said common problem.. did many that month"

Anonymous, VA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Was leaking oil. Needed replacement. Was quite expensive"

Anonymous, NV (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gaskets replaced about 4 years ago, they are leaking again. Mechanic said it is a chronic problem with H4 Subaru engines"

Anonymous, MD (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Headgasket started leaking oil at about 145,000 miles"

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Have had to replace the head gasket twice in 150000 miles"

Russell T., WA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Second time head gaskets had to be replaced"

Anonymous, WA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Replaced qt 90000 miles, also with a slightly older Subaru Legacy, it all felt like part of a plan by Subaru or the dealer -- I didn't address the issue"

W S., NC (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Dealer and independent mechanics tell me that this is consistently a problem with Subaru horizontal engines"

Anonymous, VA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The head gasket went after 130000k. The dealer told us there was a problem with the manufacturer's gasket. We were able to drive it while we were waiting for the appointment"

Anonymous, BC (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"1600 repair bill"

B D., IN (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Used sealer per Subaru instructions when they said "there seem to be some problems", drained radiator as instructed, used proper sealer, etc, occurred around 135K miles.Enough fluid leakage to destroy rack/pinion rubber shroud, very little to engine"

James P., VA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Subaru system for replacing head gaskets involves pulling the engine and cost over $2000 and tqakes up to 3 days to do the job"

Charlie B., WA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Based on my research of other 2002 Subaru Forester owners, this model year had a significant problem with leaky head gaskets. I had mine replaced once about 9 years ago, and it's leaking again."

Anonymous, WI (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Second head gasket replacement with less than 90000 miles."

Anonymous, VA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I have been told that there is an issue- not sure it is-car still drives very well."

Anonymous, NM (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Scheduled timing belt replacement

"During the recommended milage replacement for the timing belt, a leak in the head gasket was discovered and repaired. Also, replacing the water pump was part ot the timing belt replacement/"

R R., AZ (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Second time replacing the timing belt which is expensive. Both times I had it done at the same time as the head gasket, saving $300"

William N., CA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Timing belt or chain

"Timing belt was not due for replacement, but apparently the water pump belt broke and there was a chain reaction (?). Plus, I was in a hurry and ignored a suspicious noise, probably the water pump, and kept driving until the timing belt broke and disaster struck. This car could have lasted some more years if not for me"

Sandra P., HI (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The car was rarely driven and only had 54000 miles on it and needed the timing belt changed"

Charlie B., WA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine mounts

"Broken"

Thomas L., MN (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel leaks

"During extreley cold weather (below 15 degrees) the fuel lines leak, according to the dealer. This was in response to my complaints of a strong gasoline odor in very cold weather. The dealer tightened the fuel line clamps to fix the problem"

Ritchie R., CT (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Gas was leaking from holes in the gas line under the hood"

Anonymous, PA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Fuel injector leaking and replacement"

Anonymous, WA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Oil leaks

"The boxer motors are known for valve gasket leaks. In addition, oil leaks from where the oil filter attaches to the block"

Anonymous, HI (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"oil leak from cylinder head gasket"

Anonymous, TX (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"solved some oil leaking by replacing spark plug tube seals. Unsure of where remaining leaking is occurring"

Ronald J., CA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The Forester developed a very minor oil leak from the head gaskets. It requires adding addition oil only every 2k miles or so, and therefore is typically resolved by regular oil changes"

Robert G., MN (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The valve seals needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, ME (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Oil leaks required replacement of the head gaskets. First time this had to be done"

Anonymous, GA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"engine leaks oil at head gasket"

Anonymous, OH (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The head gasket has started to leak oil. This is the second time the head gasket has leaked. The first time the engine was repaired under warranty. This time I may just get rid of the car"

Jerry K., FL (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Oil drips on floor"

Anonymous, NE (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"It seems to burn oil and it leaks a small amount on the driveway. I need to put at least a quart in every 1000 miles"

Terry S., CA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Engine was using about a quart a month. However, did not note any leaks in the engine"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gasket leak, chronic H4 Subaru engine problem for these years"

Anonymous, MD (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"loose gasket worn out with age"

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Slow drips"

Joe M., BC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Was using a quart of oil a week"

Shana K., NY (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"excessive oil use"

Anonymous, WA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Power steering leaks

"loud noise which led to taking it in for service"

Anonymous, TX (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I noticed a small fluid leak on the garage floor - mechanic said the steering pump needed to be replaced. It is perfect now."

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The power steering pump started leaking within the past 6 months"

Jerry K., FL (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Power steering pumps and hoses

"I noticed a small fluid leak on the garage floor - mechanic said the steering pump needed to be replaced. It is perfect now."

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The power steering pump is worn, making steering more difficult and causing occasional squealing of the serpentine belt"

John B., TX (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Metal shavings in the power steering fluid caused minor problem with steering."

Anonymous, TX (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

"McPherson struts needed replacing"

David V., AK (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Due to rough roads and pot holes, my mechanic noticed one of my struts was leaking. Had to replace all 4"

Anonymous, NJ (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The dealer said they need to be replaced"

Michael B., DC (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"need to fix"

Anonymous, MI (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Replace boots"

Anonymous, KY (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"My mechanic while checking another problem- brake noise, noticed that the steering linkage was deteriorated and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, NJ (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Axel required replacement due to rubber boot rupture"

Debra C., AZ (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Replaced pack and pinion after car failed state inspection"

Nick K., VA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I thought that Subaru should have paid the repair of $700 as the mileage was under 70k but they did not. Still a wonderful little car with very few problems."

Shelley B., OH (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wheel bearings

"The bearing problem could have been the result of a collision with a curb"

Anonymous, KS (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

"Check Engine light"

Ronald J., CA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"It failed test and i decided not to pay to replace it since I expect to replace the vehicle later this year."

Anonymous, VA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Check engine light came on, and I was afraid to drive the car until the problem was fixed."

Anonymous, MO (2002 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"It made the Check Engine Line go on and had to e replaced. The mechanic told me it was an emissions problem"

Helga K., NY (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The cost of replacing the Catalytic converter is very expensive and I have had to do it 3 times"

Robert F., ID (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"needed replacement"

Anonymous, MI (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Unit stopped working as designed"

Joseph L., MN (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Exhaust leaks

"Deterioration from salt exposure and being parked outside for work most likely caused exhaust leak"

Anonymous, WI (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Exhaust fumes leaking into cabin. Have not determined cause. Have not had it repaired. Seldom drive this car. Torn axle boot on RF wheel. Not yet replaced"

David H., TX (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Noise not excessive but decided to have the system repaired"

Steven K., CT (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Exhaust manifold

"Car is 18 years old and exhaust system had deteriorated"

Anonymous, PA (2002 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Loose/rattling heat shield

"Loose bolts"

Joe M., BC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Muffler

"Normal wear , needed a new exhaust system."

Marvin S., VA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Muffler was rusting, needed new one"

Anonymous, VA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rusted aged muffler needed replacement."

Anonymous, MA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"entire exhausr system needed replacement. Low mileage but old. So not surprising."

John B., MD (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Clock

"clock, and dash illuminating lights no longer work - cost of repair is prohibitive - dash illuminating lights are not a luxury. Headlight socket melted - (Ieave lights on full time), that was a minor repair."

Anonymous, VA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"clock stopped working long ago. recently a friend fixed it and told me the contacts often get loose and the clock stops working"

Deborah L., CA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Clock and compass no longer work. According to the car, I've been moving in the save direction for a couple years now"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"the clock display went out very early, dealer said it would cost a lot to fix"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Cruise control

"Subaru dealer fixed damage to front wheel after car was hit while parked. Cruise control no longer works"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Gauges

"my gauges on the far left side and far right side no longer have lights, making it impossible to see them at night while driving"

Deborah L., CA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Headlights

"bulbs in headlight burn out quickly; short out"

Anonymous, MA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Front driver side headlight burns out once a year for last 3 years"

Anonymous, MO (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"replaced light socket"

Anonymous, MT (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Cover over headlights oxidizes and yellows"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"right headlight went out. Presumably, the bulb was bad. In replacing the bulb, discovered the connector/pigtail TO the bulb was shorted and melted. Ordered a replacement pigtails for both sides; replaced the right only. All fine since."

Anonymous, NV (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Interior lights

"dashboard lights and ac buttion light are expired. Cost to replace is way to high - have to remove much of dashboard"

Anonymous, VA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Keyless entry

"Failure of electronic key to open the doors"

Anonymous, NC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

"check engine light . found to be fuel sensor."

Billy H., NC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Leaking rear lights cause bulbs to short out"

Anonymous, MO (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"Wind noise from front side windows has always existed"

Anonymous, SC (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Leaking radiator, replaced"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Experienced water leak. However, temp gauge is located in bad location under steering wheel. Over heating of engine was not noted until too late which cause major engine damage. Mechanic had just gone over engine before trip"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Finally, the seals on the oil pump are leaking and will need to be replaced soon."

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"All of the weather stripping/gaskets have come off the windshield. This caused air and water leaks. We were able to use Flex Seal to fill the gaps, but were unable to re-install the plastic frame ourselves. The Flex Seal has worked very well."

Anonymous, MA (2002 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The weather stripping on the bottom of the doors froze to the car body and pulled off. The system of attaching the stripping to the body is not very good, and are difficult to repair at home"

Anonymous, BC (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

"Most likely it is the catalytic converter brackets"

Joe M., BC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Ongoing problems with noise due to loosened heat shield, since early ownership of auto"

Anonymous, MD (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rattling from the under carriage. Sounds like the muffler is loose"

Shana K., NY (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Terrible rattle with the exhaust firewall. Had to remove it"

Anonymous, WI (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wind noise

"There is no airtight seal around the window on front driver side. There can be a slight whistle at times."

Anonymous, SC (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Air leaks around front doors"

Anonymous, SC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"when driving over 25 mph, wind rushing sounds get noisy & distracting"

Barbara K., AZ (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Windows are frameless. Over time, the rubber seals lost flexibility and wind noise increased. Replacing driver and passenger door seals cost over $300 including install"

Gerald D., IL (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"The check engine light is always on and will probably prevent the car from passing inspection this year."

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Check engine light is usually on, and haven't discovered why yet"

Ronald J., CA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"repair for catalytic converter"

Anonymous, NE (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Check engine light always on. Read-out says replace catalytic converter"

Anonymous, NV (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Vapor canister components rusted and leaked causing check engine light to come on"

Mary S., NY (2002 Subaru Forester)

"both catalytic converters needed replacing @ 135,000 mi"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel cap

"As indicated above, the fuel cap and the 2 sensors can be a problem. I've even had one repair place tell me I needed a new catalytic convertor, but second opinion said I didn't"

Anonymous, ME (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Check engine light was on - due to defective O2 sensor which was replaced, then passed emissions. Ran fine while check engine light was on"

Steven K., CT (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"dirty sensors that needed to be cleaned"

Anonymous, WI (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I have had to replace the catalytic converter at about 75,000 miles. However the previous owner drove the car for only 23 miles at a time, living close to work. Often on the oxygen sensor light has turned on"

Ray J., TX (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Both O2 sensors became faulty and had to be replaced"

Brad S., CA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Both sensors replaced because of check engine light"

Anonymous, WV (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"My check engine light comes on frequently. When I have it checked, it usually indicates the fuel cap, but I have had multiple O2 sensors replaced"

Anonymous, ME (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Check engine light on. Frequently"

Anonymous, OR (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

"ABS sensors routinely indicate a failure condition, but technicians can find no failure and recommend expensive replacement of major system components"

John B., TX (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Calipers

"Calipers have 'frozen up' twice and required replacing within 12,000 kms. New rotors, pads, flushing of hydraulic fluid. No idea as to why they are failing so quickly"

Anonymous, BC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Experienced a severe steering wheel 'shudder'. Mechanic diagnosed a frozen caliper, which was replaced."

Peter F., BC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Normal routine brake wear

"rear rotors had to be replaced along with normal brake pads all around"

Anonymous, NE (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Normal brake wear and tear"

Pamilyn H., WI (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"No problems, just needed normal pad replacement on front brakes"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

"Caliper frozen caused pad wear."

Peter F., BC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Pulsation or vibration

"Associated with Caliper freezing. When this event happens, the steering wheel shudders. As well, the whole brake assembly heats up and is damaged, requiring replacement. I suspect poor quality aftermarket non-Subaru certified parts as being the problem."

Anonymous, BC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Regular brake failure

"Pads needed replaced as expected at 119000 miles, first pad replacement!"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rotors

"Rotors not "true", and pads failed - regrind rotors replace pads per shop a lot of wear on components. Yet my driving rather sedate (try to maximize gas mileage, soft starts and stops)"

Michael W., MD (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rotors failed before brake pads"

Don M., KS (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaking

"rear brakes seem to squeal even after replacing rotors and pads, problem is on going"

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Cracked rear brake drum"

Russell T., WA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Clutch replacement

"Normal wear and tear"

Anonymous, WA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The vehicle had almost 230,000 miles on it and the clutch wore out------it's a manual transmission vehicle. Not an unexpected repair."

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The clutch failed completely. It had completely disintegrated. It had slept once but then failed completely about 200 miles later. I have pulled a light trailer off and on for the past five years that I have owned it"

Ray J., TX (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The clutch's throw out bearing was making a noise. So, we replaced the clutch while replacing the bearing"

Anonymous, NM (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"It burnt out At 40200 miles. This is the first time i needed a clutch in any of my cars with less than 120000 miles"

Sanford R., MI (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Needed to replace clutch. Replacement required 4 trips to the shop. Says more about repair shop than vehicle, I guess"

Jonathan G., MN (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Clutch was wearing out but still worked as long as driven gently."

Anonymous, VA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

"To our complete shock, the transmission went out at 19000 mi and was replaced under warranty. In the last couple of years we have had leaks from the transmission pan that hit the exhaust & gave off hot oil smell. No after-market mechanic wanted to"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"When shifting into Drive it would take up to 3 minutes to engage. Trans was rebuilt for $1,900 and took 1 week plus a return trip that took 2 more days to get it right"

Gerald D., IL (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"broken transmission"

Anonymous, WA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"The passenger side outside trim either fell off or was stolen"

Emily V., CO (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Paint oxidized so severely that the entire car had to be repainted"

Brad S., CA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Small dent from another cars door hitting it in a parking lot, cracked and pealed. Had it repainted"

Beckwith R., CO (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Serious breakdown of clear coat on hood and front roof. Waxed car two times yearly with hi-quality products, washed car weekly with product made for car finishes"

James P., VA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Clear sealer coat has begun to fail on one door and front section of top (in front of sun roof). Gradually getting bigger. No rust involved at this point. Trying to decide whether worth while to repaint since body intergrity does not appear to be an issue. An appearance issue only, at this point."

John B., MD (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

"This car has a lot of rust both underneath and on the body"

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The car had sufficent rust that it did not pass inspection until we cut the rusty piece out and replaced it with a metal patch."

Anonymous, MA (2002 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"body rust around rear wheel wells"

Anonymous, OH (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

CV joint

"Grinding noise in the rear left side required replacement of the joint"

Anonymous, GA (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"CV boot needed replacement. I think this was the 5th CV boot for this car"

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Differential

"Pinion seal oil leak"

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Driveshaft or axle

"We have a likely rear wheel bearing problem, causing a wub-wub noise that varies with tire speed. The car is in limited use until we can get it to a mechanic."

Tom M., VA (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Both front axle shafts had to be replaced at 120,000 mile check up"

Michael W., MD (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I never noticed anything wrong but the mechanic did and recommended replacing the CV Axle"

Anonymous, OR (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"axle boot caused lubrication leak which would have caused a serious problem down the road"

P P., AZ (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transfer case

"We noticed a grinding noise in our drive system (primarily on inclines) and a local transmission shop explained that one or more of the gears became loose on its shaft causing it not to engage fully on its mating gear"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Antifreeze leaks

"this was associated with the gasket problem"

Peter F., BC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"head gasket exterior antifreeze leaks"

Scott A., GA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Radiator

"Metal connector to the hose broke off and required replacing the entire radiator and two hoses st a cost of $970"

Robert G., MN (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Thermostat

"The thermostat got stuck. I drove to car too much afterward which caused my engine to fail. Both are fixed after large expenses."

Anonymous, KS (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Water pump

"As mentioned earlier, it seems that there was a chain reaction that started with the breaking of the water pump pulley, resulting in timing belt break"

Sandra P., HI (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"water pump was replaced as part of the timing belt work"

R R., AZ (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

"Heater fan is inoperative in the highest setting"

Anonymous, NC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Evaporator

"The expansion valve failed in med-position, resulting in a long time to get not so cold air in hot weather. Repaired for about $300. No problems since."

Anonymous, NV (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Due to age, the expansion valve was stuck. Simple replacement and recharge completely solved the problem"

Anonymous, NV (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Heater system

"connector between temp control and heater door fell apart leaving system on full "heat" all the time"

Anonymous, AZ (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Refrigerant leaks

"A repeated need to recharge the system every two years, despite paying for a leak test"

Ritchie R., CT (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

"hey, it is fifteens years old. it just stopped playing. i doubt most cd players that old still work. i wish it still worked, but can't complain"

Troy M., NC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"cd player quit. figured cost to repair was not worth it"

Anonymous, SC (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Multi-CD player jammed, unable to eject CDs, dealer could not and no longer dealt with installed audio, referred me to local business which replace the player and rescued the CDs"

W S., NC (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

"Radio turn on/off randomly."

Christine C., NV (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Radio/cd player did not work at time of purchase"

James Y., IL (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Battery (not hybrid or electric)

"battery died overnight. replaced at local garage for $214"

Anonymous, TX (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Electronic ignition

"rough acceleration"

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Forester)
Spark plugs or wires failure

"The spark plugs needed to be replaces because it was causing the vehicle to hesitate before accelerating"

Anonymous, (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Starter

"Sometimes the car would start, other time not start. Took it in to the garage and found the starter needed replacing"

Martin G., OH (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Slipping transmission

"leakage of fluid"

Anonymous, MI (2002 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission leaks

"Pan gasket leaking; radiator hoses leaking; L/F axle leaking (replaced drive shaft & drive shaft assembly)"

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Minor leak, easily repaired"

Anonymous, PA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I just described the trans oil leaks which hit the exhaust system & caused an awful hot oil smell even after a 15 min. drive"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Forester L 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Glass defects

"Went through a head-on heavy sandstorm in the Ownes Valley. IN surname repaired, but I believe they used an inferior windshield glass ,as it started to pit quite soon thereafter."

Anonymous, NV (2002 Subaru Forester S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Compare 2002 Models

No Data Available
Recalls
PROVIDED BY
POWER TRAIN:AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
Oct 30 2002
THE VEHICLE COULD THEN MOVE/ROLL WITHOUT PRIOR WARNING, INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Summary:
CERTAIN SPORT UTILITY AND PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS WERE PRODUCED WITH AN IMPROPERLY MANUFACTURED TRANSMISSION PARKING ROD. WHEN THE TRANSMISSION SELECTOR LEVER IS PLACED IN THE "P" (PARK) POSITION, THE TRANSMISSION PARK MECHANISM, THAT IS INTENDED TO HOLD YOUR VEHICLE, MAY NOT ENGAGE.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION PARKING ROD ASSEMBLY. OWNER NOTIFICATION JANUARY 8, 2003. AN INTERIM OWNER NOTIFICATION WILL BE SENT DURING NOVEMBER 2002. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT SUBARU AT 1-800-782-2783.
For more information:
CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 02V282000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 172564
Check Vehicle for Unrepaired Recalls
Enter a valid 17-character VIN
Enter a valid 17-character VIN
Change Vehicle