The Forester rides and handles like a good sedan. It also provides decent acceleration and good fuel economy for this class. The controls are well laid out and the interior is nicely finished. Access is easy and seat comfort is very good. Impressive crash-test results are another plus.
Alerts
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A 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.
2000
NA
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A 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.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2001. Side air bags available from 2001, standard from 2003. ESC available from 2007, standard from 2009. Head protection air bags standard from 2009.
Road Test

The Forester rides and handles like a good sedan. It also provides decent acceleration and good fuel economy for this class. The controls are well laid out and the interior is nicely finished. Access is easy and seat comfort is very good. Impressive crash-test results are another plus.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 4-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 2.5-liter 4 (165 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2003 Subaru Forester owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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

"Had radiator replaced for small leak at about 185000 miles. No further such problems."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Around windows"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Water pump leak, it was recommended to replace timing belt as a kit with other pulleys,etc at time of replacing pump"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"driver-side window has had poor weather-stripping seal for many years"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"engine gaskets leaking"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The front window lets a few drops of water in during heavy rain"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Frameless windows make for much wind noise"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The weather stripping around the window area of the drivers side door is so bad that, at highway speeds, it sounds as if you are traveling in a wind tunnel. Makes it difficult to listen to music or carry on a conversation"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

"Subarus are famous for the suspension bushings drying out and causing very disturbing wheel rattling when on bumpy roads. Mechanics say it is not dangerous, and is somewhat expensive to fix, so leave it until you have to replace other suspension elements."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"rust buildup on rear brake housing exhaust pipe shield rattling"

Anonymous, IN (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"loud squeak when using gas, not when braking. might be bearing"

Anonymous, WV (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"lose heat shield"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rasping noise at low speeds"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Constant clunking from underneath when going over a rough road even though I changed all 4 shocks, stabilizer bushings and links. There is a differential support that seems to have the bushings collapsed, this could be the reason for all the noises"

Anonymous, QC (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The car is reLLY NOISY"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Glove box rattles and wind noises are strong"

Anonymous, SC (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wind noise

"wind noise due to poor side window design."

Anonymous, ME (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"wind noise due to poor side window design."

Anonymous, ME (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"My Subaru is flat out too noisy. I cannot hold conversations in my car with passengers as a result."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Wind noise at highway speeds is distracting"

Jeanette R., CO (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The drivers side window does not seal properly in the plastic seam between the windshield post and the front of the glass."

Robert F., WA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Wind noise coming into front of car when on highway"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Turns out to be a hazard of the car that there's a lot of wind noise. There's a seal issue where the window goes up along the side-view mirror. There was always traffic in NoVA when I test drove it so I didn't know until later. I stuff folded flyers into the windy slot on the inside of the window to help muffle it. It's still very loud but it does help."

Stephanie P., MD (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Around front door windows -- an endemic problem in older Subarus."

Anonymous, ME (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"this seems to have been occurring over time. my guess is that the window seals have eroded."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Right front window transmits more wind noise than it should. Has not prevented use of the vehicle."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The wind noise from the front of the car is annoying"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Always have had road noise from the start. Hard to hear radio, even with closed windows. Think the seals wear out quickly, but the Forester is noisier than other cars I've owned. The engine is quiet, though"

Carol W., CA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"very loud noise from windshield. needs to be re-sealed"

Anonymous, WV (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Wind noise comes from door window "gussets". Replaced driver's side, now need passenger too"

Don W., PA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"At speed over 60, occasional whistling noise from windshield that had been replaced"

Anonymous, MO (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"window gasket does not seal tight enough. It can be squeezed to reduce noise"

Daniel H., WA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Car is very noisy when windows are rolled up tight. Air is coming in, very noisy"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Wind noise is a nuisance"

Anonymous, OK (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Subaru dealer replaced the gaskets around the front door speakers once under warranty, but they started to leak and make noise again after about 2 years"

Anonymous, NE (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I've had a recurring problem with loud wind noise at my driver's window. The dealer replaced the mirror gusset a few times, and eventually I gave up. Under certain conditions, the noise is almost deafening, but most of the time it's just annoying"

Elizabeth C., NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"wind noise from drivers door,mechanic suggestet no to botter due to high cost of repair"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Wind noise on front doors is annoying"

Anonymous, OK (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Drivers side door does not let air through into passenger compartment but makes whistling noise at speed"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"door leak & mirrors create noise"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Wind noise due to unframed door window displacement"

Anonymous, ME (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Due to unframed side door window displacement"

Anonymous, ME (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Door gaskets are dysfunctional and you can hardly hold a conversation when driving 40+ mph. Dealer says that is typical for this year/model Subaru"

Bradley J., VA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"It is so loud and annoying, especially at highway speeds. It is difficult to carry on a conversation with someone in the back seat. If you want to listen to music, you have to turn it up so loud that I often don't hear my cell phone if it rings. I know this is under wind noise, but the wind noise is mostly caused by the rubber seal around the drivers side window. A lot of rattles and squeaks too. All makes for a loud and unpleasant trip"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Windows are rimless and do not fit tightly against car body"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Has wind noise even when traveling at low speeds or when there is little wind outside"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

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

What Owners Say

Cylinder head

"Blew the head gasket causing antifreeze leak"

Stephen G., MI (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Engine rebuild or replacement

"Coolant in oil caused overfilling. Oil light on. Drive shaft unharmed but other damage occurred. Now must use heavier grade oil and check level very frequently"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I suppose at 235000 it was ready for an engine rebuild"

Anonymous, SC (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Head gasket

"Cracked head gasket causing antifreeze to exterior, repaired easily with a gasket sealer called Irontight, worked very well and did it myself, cost $40 canadian"

Bert-Carol P., ON (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Daughter failed to keep oil level up, resulting in damaged engine. We had a replacement installed, and waited too late to report a leaking head gasket (which would have been covered under warranty)"

Anonymous, WV (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Others I have spoken to and what I found on the web indicate that Subaru has a continuing problem with head gasket failure with the aluminum cylinder heads."

Don W., WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Diagnosed as a minor head gasket leak- likely to get worse in next year"

Jim S., NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Knew it was failing, son who is a mechanical engineer fixed it all himself, so only cost was parts."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Went to dealer for an oil change, and they said I needed a head gasket replacement right away. Got a second opinion, and they said I'd need one soon, but not right away - had me use a product that Subaru made for head gasket, which the dealer conveniently forgot to tell me about. I didn't have it replaced for nearly 2 years, when I also needed to replace the timing belt. Waiting save me hundreds of dollars."

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gasket leaks were repaired twice during my ownership. It appears this is a chronic problem with this model year"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The head gasket on one bank is leaking antifreeze out of the engine"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The head gasket leaked after 80000 miles. Subaru had used a new material which they claimed was phased out before my engine was made. The results did not support their claim. They split the cost of repair with me after I sent photos of the defective"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Engine gasket replaced. Piston replaced. Timing belt replaced"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gaskets were replaced at 104,000 miles and failed again at 144,000 miles. Subaru covered replacement the second time at a total cost to me of 300 dollars 4 years later"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gasket was leaking. It had to be replaced. Dealer said newer models had different head gasket which lasted longer"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"finally fixed head gaskets (problem was diagnosed almost 5 years ago) so no more leaks, smells, etc. Runs great!"

Pamela L., WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gasket leaks and will need to be replaced soon"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Engine light came on which alerted me to a problem. Oxygen sensor was replaced. Head gasket problem found. Also replaced was water pump, all seals and gaskets, idler belt/pulley, etc. Timing belt had been replaced about 3 years prior. $3000 cost"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"repaired seeping head gaskets at 60,000 miles, leaking again at 96,500 miles. Well known Subaru problem CR never mentions!! $3500 repair"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Needs replacement and with it a bunch of other work to be done because it is convenient to do so at the same time"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Minor leak at time of timing belt replacement. Fixed, all is well"

Robert T., ND (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The head gasket is going out and the mechanic said it happens on all Suburus at 100,000 miles. The replacement cost equals half the value of the bluebook value for this model and year"

Anonymous, OR (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"It had to be replaced"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Both head gaskets failed at 90000 miles. Replaced both at 108000 for $2100"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"had head gasket replaced and work had to be redone. It still leaks"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The Subaru started leaking oil; it still uses lots of oil, have to replace oil every 1000 miles or so, but it seems to use the oil and not leak. Dealer said that year/engine was known to have to replace headgaskets and such at 100,000 miles or so"

Richard S., MN (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"head gasket leaked and needed to be replaced, taking three days to complete and costing about $3300 dollars, also replaced timing belt"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gaskets have failed and replacement cost is approximately $1400 CDN"

Anonymous, NB (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Very expensive - $2700 to replace, plus out of commission for a week waiting for parts"

Brad R., WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gasket was replaced at 60,000 miles and now the same Subaru dealer claims it needs to be replaced again at 115,000 miles"

Bradley J., VA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"oil leaking from head gasket. Because of engine configuration (the flat 4), the engine had to be removed to replace the gasket"

E S., NV (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Left head gasket replaced at 85K miles. Required replacing AGAIN at 116K miles. Subaru of America repaired it free. No one but the Subaru dealer has ever touched this car for any reason in the last 14 years. Subaru took 100% responsibility for this repair having to be made again"

R L., MD (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Oil leak pointed to valve cover gasket, discovered head gasket needed replacement, discovered head needed remachining"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Scheduled timing belt replacement

"It was convenient and cheaper to replace the timing belt when the other work was being done. Car is almost 12 years old"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Replacement only because of convenience during head gasket fix. This is the first time the timing belt is being replaced on this vehicle"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Replaced at 105,000 as per book. No issues"

Robert T., ND (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The work was scheduled and expected. Cost (>$3k) was likely more than average because we used a shop that we really trust and isn't cheap. Why doesn't Subaru consider timing chains instead of belts?"

Anonymous, OR (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Timing belt or chain

"Timing belt broke and bent engine valves; car not worth repairing."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Replaced at the same time as the new head gasket. Hadn't failed completely but was in need of replacement."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Timing belt Tensioner arm's retaining bolt sheared, caused loss of timing and bent 16 valves"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Subaru Forester XS 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

Alignment

"I went to have the alignment checked after a tire rotation. The mechanic said that three wheels aligned perfectly but the part that holds the fourth wheel inline was bent and had to be replaced."

William K., MT (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Ball joints

"Removed and replaced both front ball joints, followed by four wheel alignment."

John F., NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"car was a northern car as the mechanic put it. He could tell because the ball joints and the entire wheel assembly are rusted. I did not know what all the parts are, but everything was badly rusted."

Carlos G., NC (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Worn out"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Bushings

"had to have both front bushing housing replaced as old ones were torn."

Kelton M., NM (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Would not handle right on snow. Had it to 3 dealers before finding that it had a broken anti sway bar link"

Mary K., MI (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Power steering leaks

"To repair this I have been quoted about 2K which is one of the reasons I’m ready for a new car."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"took car to get a road safety inspection and oil change for a long trip, was told it was leaking power steering fluid, nothing too bad, but still it seems that everything is now starting to leak, not sure if it's because of age of car, but it's got under 80,000 miles and it's over 14 years"

Carlos G., NC (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"As stated flushed the system and added a new fluid with stop leak and it worked"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Power steering pumps and hoses

"I'm told that it needs a new power steering pump. The car is still operable, it is just noisy and difficult to steer in slow gear, especially when cold. Will be a pretty pricey fix according to dealer"

John P., IL (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

"Rear strut replacement on both sides coast nearly $1000. Was noisy and made vehicle ride and handling uncomfortable."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Had to install new struts, pricey, but after 16 years of driving this car in the Midwest (winter) and for the last few years over poorly maintained city streets, it doesn't seem odd that this was necessary. I don't criticize Subaru for this repair."

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"shocks and struts in the front and back both had to be replaced and like most things on this car it is more work than other cars, meaning they also cost more, 1300 dollars plus tax for the work"

Carlos G., NC (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The struts failed around 60,000 miles"

Anonymous, NE (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Normal wear and tear causing replacement"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Springs or torsion bars

"Sway bar linkage broke"

Stephen G., MI (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Started to feel a disconnect between steering wheel response to actions and road - loosey-goosey feeling. Took to Midas. After test drive they said the rack and pinion system was leaking slightly and was probably getting worn. Cost of repair est. at around $1000. Not dangerous at this point, so will leave it and consider buying a new car."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"rack and pinion needed to be replaced"

Franklin S., MD (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Vibration at high speed (60-75 mph) interstate hwy"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"apparant failure or inability to grease steering universals"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Had to completely replace steering rack/pinion, with accompanying alignment"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Subaru CA sent me a letter informing me that my 2003 Forester might have problems with the front lower control arms (transverse links). Subaru carried out an inspection of the affected parts and determined that failure was a possibility. Subaru C"

Roger V., ON (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rack and pinion leaking at outer ends, flushed and used a steering fluid stop leak which resolved the issue"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Tie rods

"Browncroft Garage did an excellent job of identifying and correcting the problem at a reasonable cost."

John F., NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"This was part of a recall for Foresters"

Don W., PA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Sub chassis support were rusted out and failed. They had to be replaced at great cost and work"

Anonymous, RI (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wheel bearings

"Right rear wheel bearing repaired. Not unexpected that this bearing problem would manifest, given age and mileage of vehicle."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Right wheel bearing needed replaced. So I replaced it"

Brian A., FL (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"replaced rear wheel bearings, which greatly reduced noise and improved ride"

Pamela L., WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Wheel bearings should last longer"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rear wheel bearing went bad making a terrible noise. Had to replace"

Vicki M., FL (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I had wheel bearing replaced on the rear drivers side"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Replace driver side front wheel bearings"

Anonymous, HI (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Worn out"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

Accessory belts or pulleys

"A/C Idler Pully - Bearing started to go, producing a high pitch whine at the top of the engine that changed frequency with RPMs (Higher pitch at higher RPMs). Replaced for around $200."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Pulley bearings failed"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"harmonic damping pulley died"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Difficult to fill up gas tank

"Started since Feb 2015--gas pump clicks off from backwash in the fueling hose/tube. Must go very slowly-- more frustrating than anything... Still trouble-shooting"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Engine computer

"twice we've been to the shop for engine light issues, once was the idle air filter once was fuel line to passenger side injectors"

Sarah Z., VA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Engine knock or ping

"Some 2003 Subarues have too short piston skirts. The result after 20,000 miles is a very load rapping noise that sounds like a Ford diesel engine. It gets somewhat better after the engine warms up. The dealer refused to change out the pistons"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The engine has a knock. Probably piston slap. Had it fixed once and it is doing it again. It is a defect in the pistons installed in this year engine"

Mary K., MI (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel leaks

"Fuel leaking onto the manifold caused heavy fumes in the cabin and created a fire hazard."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"rusted out fuel filler pipe."

Anonymous, ME (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"In severe cold weather, gasoline odor escapes, can fill garage with smell of fuel. Took to mechanic, says a common problem where injectors need to be tightened in cold weather"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"There is a RAW fuel smell in the cabin, but no mechanic can discover where the leak is. The fuel line looks fine. It is not causing any performance problems, just a bad smell"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Oil dripping from engine compartment"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"There a a smell of fuel in cold temperatures that came from the injector connections"

Anonymous, QC (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"With low mileage, fuel rail leaks causing safety issues"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Fuel line connection are effected by cold and leak small amounts of fuel during winter months. I have had these connections serviced several times. Subaru would not address problem do to age of car. Also, head gasket failed at 100000 miles. Many other forester owners had same problem Subaru would not address due to age of car"

Jody C., NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Oil leaks

"Loses about a quart/1000 miles"

Jay G., OR (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The oil pan rusted due to limited use - we don't drive enough to heat the system to eliminate water. Had to replace the oil pan"

John F., NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Oil leak around head. costly"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Last week the oil leak led to smoke coming out of the front end of the vehicle after the car went up a mountain over 6,000 feet in altitude. I am taking the car into service next week to fix the leak"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"replaced head gasket several years ago because it was leaking oil severely and needed about a quart a month, which was a lot for a car that doesn't get driven much. over the past 3 months the leak has started up again, first just a few drops in the garage, but now oil level is noticeably lowered when the oil gets changed"

Carlos G., NC (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Oil leaks due to head gasket problem. Too expensive to fix, just nursing it at this point"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Oil pan needed to be replaced because drain plug could no loner be tightened"

R L., MD (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"This vehicle goes through more oil in a month than my high school daughter goes through outfits. Even replacing the head gasket again, and replacing oil seals, this thing chugs the golden fluid"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Head gasket on car failed at 100,000 miles. Many other Forester owners experienced same issue. Subaru would not address because of age of my car and my use of independent mechanic"

Jody C., NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

"went bad had to replace"

John R., CT (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Check engine light came on and car started to shake, like it wanted to stop"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The catalytic converter went bad after about 130,000 miles"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"check engine light indicating cat converter malfunction"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Loose/rattling heat shield

"Have had shop fix a number of times"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"This is the second time I have had to replace the rusted heat shield"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The loose, rattling heat shield is a common problem on Subarus with the age and mileage of my cars. A muffler shop fixed the problems by welding a few pieces together"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Ongoing issues with rattling exhaust systems. Continually ask for this to be resolved but six months later this begins to rattle again"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I've tried to have this fixed several times but it keeps not getting fixed right"

Sara M., OR (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Constant problems with the exhaust heatshields. These have been replaced or re-tightened annually. The problem has never been resolved"

Robert M., ON (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rattling heat shield has recurred many times. Repair shop wants to replace the entire exhaust system (more than 3K)"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rattling heat shields have been a recurring event, but last year the rattle was actually from the catalytic convertor, whose mounting tabs had broken loose. The catalytic convertor was close to falling out from under the car. It had to be replaced, for many hundreds of dollars, the largest expense I've had with this car. Nonetheless, I still love the Forester"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The heat shield was loose and began dragging. Before I could pull over to get out of traffic, it fell off and into a field. I could not find it so now I have no heat shield"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Muffler

"Muffler developed an exhaust leak and had to be replaced."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The muffler rusted and had to be replaced."

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"hole in muffler was under warranty from midas"

Alison G., NH (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Other/unsure

"Problem found to be a wire connection under the front seat,"

Robert F., (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"airbag warning light repeatedly lights due to corrosion in connector under front seats."

Anonymous, ME (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Electrical wire connection under driver's seat constantly comes loose , resulting in airbag light turning on."

Anonymous, HI (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Pipes

"tubing burnout exhaust leak"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"While driving a very loud exhaust sound began. Since the car has well over 100000 miles I would not be surprised if the exhaust system was worn out. My normal mechanic estimated repairs at around $3000 which would mean the repairs would be more than the car is worth. It was very upsetting. However, this same mechanic looked into other options and found a special exhaust shop who was able to replace the pipe leading from the engine itself using some generic pipes and custom fitting it to the car for around $275. This was very reasonable and that shop will get all of my exhaust business in the future even though it is about 25 miles from my house. The car runs perfectly now."

George D., PA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"corrosion; coming loose from the underside"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Entire exhaust system had to be replaced"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Subaru Forester X 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

A/C compressor

"ac compressor needed replacement, as well as ac pulley system"

Franklin S., MD (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"No longer works"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I know little of this, save that when I identified a 'squealing noise' coming from the engine compartment, the mechanic determined the the compressor wasn't functioning. Given the estimated cost to replace it , the car's age and our relatively limited amount of hot weather, I opted not to carry out the repair.."

Anonymous, NB (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The air conditioner stopped working after 15 years."

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Diagnosis using dyed refrigerant reveals a small leak in the compressor, which would require compressor replacement to remedy permanently. Since the refilled refrigerant is still keeping the A/C working 2 months after the refill, I have not yet paid the $725 cost to replace the compressor."

David B., NC (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Would not engage"

Anonymous, ME (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"AC compressor clutch started to fail intermittently -- when operating at ambient temperature over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the AC would work fine for approximately 30 minutes, then cut out for about 30 minutes, then resume, etc. etc. Apparently the magnetic coil did not generate a sufficiently strong field when hot to engage the clutch. Was told by the Subaru dealer that this is a common failure"

Ignacio P., VA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Ac clutch bearing makes grindig noise and ac idler pulley is siezed"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"We have decided not to replace the A/C. We use the car mostly in winter (when snow/ice are likely), and have been able to stand hot days (city driving only, windows down, etc). In comparison to the worth of the auto the cost of A/C would be too expensive"

John F., NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The belt broke on the A/C compressor. My husband tried to replace the belt and broke the adjustment lever. The repair shop wanted $1500 to fix, so we decided not to fix it"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Automatic climate control

"Just doesn't work very well. Little heat, virtually no AC"

Paul L., CA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Not Automatic"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Blower (fan) motor

"Blower motor ceased working because coupling to controls melted/burned out. Subaru does not sell this part (worth a few dollars) but instead only sells complete wiring harnesses (for ~$1400.00). Was able to get junked wiring harness for ~$200.00 an"

Anonymous, TN (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"blower does not direct air to windshield when defrost/defog is selected. No air to windshield. will not defog or defrost. need to use a towel to defog"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Electrical failure

"A sensor in the climate control of my 2003 Forester failed which caused erratic operation. The problem was promptly found by my favourite mechanic and repaired at minimal cost"

Roger V., ON (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Heater system

"replaced water pump and timing belt"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Refrigerant leaks

"failed condenser"

Anonymous, ME (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Over the course of about 1.5 years since I purchased this high mileage used vehicle in 2005, the A/C became incapable of cooling due to loss of refrigerant. I had the system refilled, with dyed refrigerant. After 3 weeks of use, the dye revealed that there is a small hole in the compressor, which I have not had repaired."

David B., NC (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Radiator cracked, left us stranded"

Cecil L., NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The high pressure line was leaking and that was replaced"

William W., TX (2003 Subaru Forester X 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)

"Catalytic converter failed, very expensive to replace with Subaru parts."

Anonymous, GA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Required $500 repair. 1 Day out of service"

Christopher B., IL (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Replaced them in order to try to pass emission test, was not successful"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Catalytic converter replacement"

David W., CT (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel cap

"check engine line keeps going on even with cap replaced"

Laurie M., NH (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Engine lights would turn on but would never go off. Mechanics kept telling there were no problems repeatedly. After nearly 6 months they are now saying there is a sensor problem. it is not yet fixed"

Konasale P., PA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel gauge/sender

"the check engine line goes on due to the cap or the fuel gauge sender. At this point we just keep having the ck. engine line reset to get it through inspection"

Laurie M., NH (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel pump

"In hot weather, the fuel pump has been vapor locking"

Anonymous, NE (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Sensor had to be replaced to pass state emissions test."

Brian D., WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Front O2 sensor failure."

Anonymous, GA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The vacuum pressure sensor at the top of the gas tank activated the Check Engine light. After three smoke tests it was determined that the sensor was bad. That bad sensor had no affect on the performance of the car. Replacement costs $750, half fo"

George J., NY (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Intermittent camshaft position sensor failure, which took 2 shops to diagnose"

William T., TX (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"it is still with the dealer. we are not aware of the outcome"

Konasale P., PA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Front and Rear O2 sensors failed, probably due to oil burning from engine. Could never get it to pass emissions test. It also needs a new catalytic converter, but have not gotten one"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Check Engine light remains on most of the time. Can sometimes smell exhaust fumes in the car. Have not checked the problem as the vehicle is used only occasionally"

Terry K., FL (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"CEL won't turn of! Cost me a couple of hundred so far"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"replaced front O2 (air/fuel ratio) sensor, around 180,000 miles"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I have replaced the sensors twice. I replaced the catalytic converter last year. The vehicle continues to have emissions issues"

Paula T., NH (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The Check Engine light came on and the computer indicated that the car needed a tune up. When that didn't solve the problem, further testing revealed that the O2 sensor was not working correctly and was sending too much fuel through the system"

Lea W., CO (2003 Subaru Forester XS 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

Body control module

"Both the idler controller and oxygen sensor had to be replaced during the past 12 months."

Robert F., WA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Cruise control

"cruise control did not function. Replaced s/o clock spring that fixed problem sun roof does not work, not spending money to repair it"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"Both front fog lights quit working after about 10 years."

Robert F., (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"When I bought the car last year, I knew that the turn signal didn't work. I thought I could just replace the flasher and fix it, but that didn't work, so I took it to a mechanic."

Anonymous, OH (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rear stop light bulb had to be replaced"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The fog lights burn out frequently and are nearly impossible to replace without tearing in to the underside of the vehicle. This is a horrible design"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Gauges

"Almost all the Gauge lights went out. Easy fix by mechanic, but annoying."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Instrument lights are dim"

P S., WI (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Headlights

"Left headlight burnt out. I went to Autozone and purchased two top-of-the-line Sylvania halogen bulbs and installed them myself. It wasn't a problem because I had replaced both bulbs once before."

William K., MT (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Headlight halogen bulbs have to be replaced frequently 3 to 4 months"

Cecil L., NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Heated or cooled seats

"electrical problem with heater on driver seat. decided not to spend the money to repair it"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Interior lights

"dash lights not working"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"This turned out to be a simple bulb replacement issue for the gear shift console. One mechanic had said he'd need to take the whole thing aboard, luckily I found a better service provider who diagnosed and fixed the problem simply.."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Keyless entry

"The remote on the key had to be replaced. My dealer did not know that one was available. I had to call Subaru to get the part number so my local dealer knew what to give me. It works but not very well"

John F., MN (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

"O2 sensor warning light led to expensive repair at local shop, but I think this was due to less than professional service rather than what would have been standard. I also have had recurrent issues with the motor in my right passenger window, which I have previously replaced."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Drivers side seat belt warning light often remains on until a connection under the seat is re-established; this is difficult to do"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Check engine light comes on for apparent reason"

Anonymous, NM (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wiper motor or washer

"Rear window wiper motor quit, needed to be replaced. Correct motor could not be found, by Subaru or aftermarket."

Charles W., MI (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"rear wiper motor died"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Clutch replacement

"I live in an NYC outer borough. I was visiting in the northern suburbs. While returning to NYC on a parkway the car stopped responding. I was able to roll onto an exit. AAA towed the car to a Subaru dealer I specified in NYC. I have been driving standard transmission cars my whole life. I have driven at least one of them about 200,000 miles. This is the first time in my life a clutch has failed."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The clutch went out. Can't even start a manual car if the clutch doesn't work. They said it usually happens around 150,000 miles tho so yay mine was late."

Stephanie P., MD (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"In theory this is the fourth clutch in this vehicle , however I suspect that on one occasion I was charged but the clutch was not replaced"

Anonymous, BC (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"What a mess. Burnt out the clutch because the anti roll kept engaging. Towed 3 times before problem was identified. $$$$$$$$$$"

Anonymous, DC (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Clutch has gone out twice"

Anonymous, MO (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"have had to replace clutch 2 times"

Anonymous, AK (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Our mechanic asked if we had ever had the clutch replaced. As far as we know, it was the original clutch"

Dorothy S., NE (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Gear shifter was loose in gear and wobbly - needed a new clutch"

Harley R., CO (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"slipping"

Anonymous, ME (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Torque converter

"The Subaru dealer also replaced the torque converter. The prior comments about the clutch also apply."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

"Head gasket design is all wrong in this model Subaru. I have already had the complete service performed, and now I am being told it's needed again. It costs $ 3800 to $4500 each time, to do this work."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Transmission started whining at high speeds, and the it got louder and louder. Went into the dealership, and at 47K miles, I just made it under the wire. Dealership opted to fix rather than replace...years later, my transmission doesn't always shift to drive. So, I'm not happy with it."

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"the awd was not working. I took it back to selling dealer 3 times and everytime they would say it was fixed but when winter came along car was usless in snow. finally took it to another dealer my brother had dealt with and was told the automatic tran"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Driving in the cold on the interstate this past winter and the transmission went out. Engine ran fine to keep me warm while tow truck came and got me. Had it replaced with a used transmission and so far so good. Also, had a wheel bearing go out too!"

Richard S., MN (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"In last year, spent over $2K replace transmissions, cylinder 3 & 4 had electrical failures"

Anonymous, NY (2003 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 molding around the doors has had to be glued several times"

Anonymous, KY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Loose interior trim or moldings

"Trim on inside of windshield, passenger side, came loose"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Paint on the hood and other door trim area are fading"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The paint on the hood, tops of door panels and outside posts have started chipping."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Paint on top of car is peeling. Back bumper has also lost paint"

Anonymous, KY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Overall loss of luster on paint"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Parked outside always Fading and chalking of paint"

Michele W., CA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"paint on one side has faded and is peeling"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

"Part of the chassis rusted so bad that we had to get it replaced."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Corrosion, two spots in the upper portion of the rear left wheel well. Holes are about 1 diameter. They have impacted strut support such that wheel has begun to 'lean' outward from where it rests on the ground. The repairs are not yet done but the shop warned me the weakness in the body may be more severe than is immediately evident. Parts of the undercarriage must be removed in order to determine the extent of the problems. If serious, (ie expensive) and given the car's age and mileage, I may opt to retire the vehicle rather than attempt to repair it."

Anonymous, NB (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rust in rocker panel needed repair to passs safety inspection."

Anonymous, NB (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"reat wheel well rust"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"hole in rocker panel. numerous rust spots recently appearing above lower vinyl trim"

Gerald M., MA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rear wheel wells are badly rusted. Rocker panels need to be replaced"

Anonymous, NB (2003 Subaru Forester X 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

Doors or sliding doors

"rubber tube under the door came out"

Anonymous, VT (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Heated or cooled seat controls

"The driver's seat heating element failed"

Peter-Elizabeth C., NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Locks and latches

"Rear Hatch latch is severely rusted/deteriorated to the point that it will require replacement within the next year or two"

Robert M., ON (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Mirrors

"Wind noise since new. Fixed twice under warranty. Returned!"

Anonymous, KY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The compass on the interior rearview mirror failed. I'm having the mirror replaced next week"

Elizabeth C., NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Seat controls - temperature

"driver seat heat failed"

Anonymous, AK (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Sunroof

"Wind deflector mount broken. Difficult to close"

Anonymous, KY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Windows

"Window controls no longer all work"

Anonymous, MO (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Front windows fell off theirbtracks"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"replaced electric motor"

Gerald M., MA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"the driver's window quit operating. It needs a new motor"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"After-market windshield came loose"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Subaru Forester X 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

Calipers

"The front calipers froze and overheated, so needed immediate attention"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Master cylinder

"Had a lot of trouble trying to correct it"

Paul L., CA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Normal routine brake wear

"squeaking"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The caliper & rotor replacement was normal wear & tear maintenance."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I replaced the rear brakes, resurfaced the drums and replaced the rear cylinders"

William M., CA (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"cost"

James H., NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

"rear brake cylinder froze destroying the rotor"

Philip S., GA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rotors

"Because of the calipers overheating, the rotors needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaking

"Step on brakes after vehicle has sat for extended time (like overnight) and brakes squeak first 2 or 3 times they are used"

Dorothy S., NE (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Needed new brake pads"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"rust in brakes due to proximity of ocean"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Subaru Forester 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

Alternator

"Alternator.stopped working approximately 2 years ago"

John C., TX (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The alternator went out suddenly on the freeway"

Anonymous, OR (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Alternator failed to charge--warning light on dash let me know of this problem. The alternator was replaced"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Battery (not hybrid or electric)

"Battery was unable to keep its charge--needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Coil

"Original coil failed and required replacement"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"One part of it burned out, resulting in the car jerking. It gave some warning and car did run when it failed. Was able to replace and car working fine again"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Electronic ignition

"Related to coil failure"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Engine harness

"Rodents chewed several of the wires"

John C., TX (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Ignition switch

"Occasionally can't turn key. Must pull hard on steering wheel. afraid of breaking something"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Subaru Forester X 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

Hydraulics (clutch master or slave cylinder)

"This may not be the correct term, but I had to replace the head gaskets and that cost $1600. It was a know problem that should be a recall item"

Anonymous, AB (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rough shifting

"some clutch slippage. can still drive"

Anonymous, UT (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission leaks

"This is one of several problems occurring with the car now and I am looking to replace the car. I’ve been diligent servicing the car and even had a full service done las5 year which included draining the transmission, etc. I’m spending about 1500 a year maintaining this vehicle which is too much."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"leaking transmission fluid slowly."

Anonymous, VT (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Watching a slow leak of fluid; trying ti avoid major work"

Anonymous, IA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Dipstick tube leaking at the base requiring new oring"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"transmission oil pan was cracked"

Anonymous, TN (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"last 3 months have had a spot on garage floor of fluid about the size of a half dollar. Had it fixed but is still dripping"

Anonymous, SD (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

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

What Owners Say

Antifreeze leaks

"I'm not certain what the head gaskets leaks were leaking. I do not know if it was oil or antifreeze"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Overheating

"radiator clogged. caused overheating. drove too long and one head was remilled and gaskets replaced"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Radiator

"Radiator crack near neck of radiator. Lots of blow-by under hood, accompanied by smell (probably coolant escaping). Had entire radiator, all hoses, and thermostat replaced"

Carol W., CA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"overheating, ended up replacing the radiator"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"leak"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Both radiators in both our Subarus failed at the point of the intake hose nipple. The nipple sheared off in both cases requiring replacement of the radiator"

Anonymous, KY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Water pump

"water pump failed when engine overheated"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Subaru Forester 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Engine overheated. Mechanic said water pumps never fail on Foresters, but then he was surprised when it actually was the water pump!"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Subaru Forester XS 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

4WD/AWD components

"the awd problem was solved when the transmission was replaced"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"trans clutch grabbing"

Judith B., WA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
CV joint

"The CV boots had to be replaced, a major but predictable repair"

Richard P., NC (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Differential

"Rear differential worn ring and pinion - makes a howling sound above 30 mph"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Driveshaft or axle

"Bearing failed"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Left rear wheel bearing, complicated by frozen bolt in stabilizing bars making repair complicated"

Mark F., MN (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Wheel-bearings...passenger side...Front and rear"

Anonymous, ME (2003 Subaru Forester X 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

"The player is a Subaru multi-disk changer. I have one disk stuck in the changer that I'm unable to eject. I researched the problem via online forums and tried those suggestions, but none were successful. I've begun searching for a replacement."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"CD is stuck in player and will not play or eject"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Disks jammed and would not eject"

Kirk G., CA (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen goes blank

"The trip odometer stopped working, and then all the dash dials/lights failed. I had the entire instrument panel replaced"

Peter-Elizabeth C., NY (2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
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