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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Thanks for the response.

    True, the Forester has the lowest TCO of the vehicles stated, but I'm more curious as to why the maintenance cost is $4k+. Does the AWD nature of the Forester require frequent maintenance? Or is Subaru maintenance just expensive?

    If you drill down in those vehicles, the Subaru has the 2nd-highest maintenance costs (above the Passat 4motion, BMW, and Audi). Of course, the BMW and Audi come with some scheduled maintenance so it's not a fair comparison -- though I think the comparison in TCO is rather suspect given that we're talking significantly higher price classes, period.

    A better comparison would be to a CR-V or RAV4. The RAV4's number is very similar, slightly lower. The CR-V comes out about 15% cheaper.

    I'm not knocking the vehicles, just curious whether the Edmunds number is accurate or not. Are people really paying over $4k for maintenance over a five year period? If they are, what about the maintenance makes it cost that much?
  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    Got back from my first all-highway trip in 'Lucky' - my new 2003 Forester XS Premium (AT, leather, premium audio). With 2,000 miles on it and a fresh change of oil (dealer insisted on 10W-30 for summer driving despite owner's manual recommendation of 5W-30), I achieved an impressive 27.6 MPG on the PA Turnpike from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia... WITH the A/C running the whole time. Guess the thicker oil didn't hurt.

    I am impressed because my old '99 Forester never got more than 25 MPG, usually 24, highway driving. I think the lighter weight and improved aerodynamics of the new Forester does make a difference, not to mention I do not have a bug deflector on my new one -- much less drag.

    I found that my odometer reads 1-2% high. The trip has always been exactly 300 miles in the 5-6 cars I've ever made the trip in, but each way I logged about 305 miles. Oh well. I don't think that's out of spec enough to raise a stink to my dealer.

    The ride was smooth and quiet, and even my wife was impressed with the long-term comfort despite her high standards from her cushy VW Passat.

    While cruising down the highway with my auto-dimming mirror, auto-changing 6 disc CD, and automatic climate control, I put on my automatic cruise control and in a moment of delusion thought the car could drive itself and I let go of the steering wheel. ;-) LOL.

    Dare I call this a near-luxury mini-SUV?

  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    I can't speak to the Forester, but I have compared TCO numbers for an '02 Quest to my '99 Quest. Predicted maintenance for the '02 for 4 years is $2086. I'm five months short of 4 years on my '99 and my maintenance to date is $2005. I did throw my canoe rack and factory manual into my spreadsheet along with the oil changes and new tires, so I'd really a bit less than that, but not too far off the prediction. ymmv ;-)

    Anyone with an older Forester who keeps TCO kind of records who can comment?

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  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Thanks Steve! And that's basically what I'm curious about. If a Quest over five years requires about $2k of maintenance, why would a Forester require $4k+? Is it because the labor and parts for an AWD vehicle is higher and/or service is more frequent and/or Subaru just charges a lot? I'd tend to think the first one since the CR-V and RAV4 are also in the same ballpark as the Forester.

    I realize it may seem silly to cross-shop a Forester with, say, a Passat non-4motion, but you've seen everyone cross-shop everything here! (A lot of cross-shopping is done by price limit!)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The only difference from your basic FWD maintenance is that there is a rear differential. Some people change that oil at 30k miles, but most wait until 60k, so it depends on how many miles you drive in those 4 years.

    Even then, it's easier than chaning engine oil. Remove two 1/2" drive bolts from the back of the pumpkin, drain, replace lower bolt, pour in 75w90 until it begins to spillout, replace upper bolt. About 20 minutes of labor. If your shop charges more than $100, find a more honest mechanic.

    I've had Sandy for 4 years, and she hasn't cost me $200 in maintenance. I've done 8 oil changes and the 30k service all myself. Plus tire rotations, fluids, stuff like that. It's not different from FWD until you get to the differential fluids at 60k.

    I have been to Fitzgerald for a recall, and my wife took her car there for a free oil change offer. Their service was good, and they are in Rockville, FWIW.

    Our 2002 Legacy L is also named Lucky, BTW.

  • Does anybody know where I can find the specifications on the new 16 inch steel wheels that are standard on 2003 Foresters?

    I believe the bolt pattern is the same, but the offset may have changed.

    Thanks for any help.
  • mckeownmckeown Posts: 165
    Ricardo, Tire rack list the very same wheel list for the 2003 as for the 2002 (in the 16" size). Since I was calling for another question, I asked about the Stock number of 1 of the wheels for the 2002 and the rep said the same number would also fit the 2003. So for this particular wheel the answer would be yes. If all Offsets for wheels are the same, then the overall answer would be yes. Just FYI since I saw you post just before I was calling.
  • laumannlaumann Posts: 10
    The estimated Maintenance cost in TCO for the Forester requires a correction. The parts cost for timing belt replacement in the 2nd and 4th years was inadvertently included at approximately $140 for each. The labor cost included is, however, for inspection, not replacement. These parts costs are now being deleted from the TCO tool and from the Maintenance tool on the site.

    The only timing belt-related cost that should be included is for inspection at 30,000 and 60,000 miles. Keep in mind that Maintenance cost in the Maintenance tool is scheduled maintenance only. Maintenance cost in the TCO tool includes both scheduled and unscheduled (wear items) maintenance.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    (Laumann is our guy who works on the TCO for Edmunds).

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  • rsunicorsunico Posts: 82
    Has anyone dealt w/ ?
    They seem to have better pricing that and w/ free shipping to boot! Looking to put Yokos on the 01 Forester.

    Also what a diff. a few months makes... checked out pricing and they actually have some 03 Foresters for below invoice (and more WRX wagons below inv).

    Am waiting 1 year for a turbo Forester. If it does not show up.. WRX wagon (blue).
  • still under 3k miles but i finally got to go on a nice trip, san fernando valley to grover beach, san luis obispo. about 200 miles one way. (when i finish shooting the roll i'll link a pic or two of my baby on the beach)

    the way there was mainly 101, nice drive; 5th at 4000rpm was smooth and sweet. the way back we cut through the road that goes by cachuma lake, tight handling despite the lack of LSD, i was drooling the whole time.

    at grover beach there were mainly ford 250 4x4's and such, but i did see an impreza wagon rubbing shoulders with the big boys.

    ok, i didn't take the forester into the dunes, (used the rented atv's there) but i wonder...could i have? anyone know the place i'm talking about? i was tempted to but besides the dirt bikes, atv's and a few dune buggys i only saw two street vehicles on the dunes, both were huge trucks and one was having a hard time

    anyway it was a blast to drive the forester!

    got 26.8 mpg for that tank, filled on way back in santa paula

    BTW, my oldest kid brought some modern music along and the sound system really impressed me, guess the classical music cd's that i listen to are extremely weak, but the base SS + tweeters did a super job with the modern stuff, must be getting old...


  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    >>Am waiting 1 year for a turbo Forester. If it does not show up.. WRX wagon (blue).<<

    Renato, that's cool, but in public you should say: "…If it doesn't show up, I'll go with the A4 or Jetta Wagon." That's what I do ;)

    Seriously, if a large fraction of potential Forester Turbo buyers can easily be redirected towards the WRX wagon, we'll never see the Turbo Forester in the US. I do believe that there are sufficient differences between these two cars for me to consider other makes, as well.

    - D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thanks Laumann. But while you're correcting it, the intervals recommended by Subaru only call for an inspection at 90k miles, then a change at 105k. So you could inspect it at 30 and 60k, but even those aren't necessary.

    That does explain a lot though. Good to know Edmunds is interested in accuracy.

    Renato: yes, I bought my rims and tires from them. Thumbs up. In fact, Tire Rack said 225mm tires would not fit, and Discount Tire said they would. 20k miles later, Tire Rack was dead wrong - it has not rubbed once.

    j: air down and you're fine on sand, but keep pushing to find its limits and you'll get stuck. In fact, that's the only way to find the limit on any vehicle - getting stuck.

    D: I jokingly called for a total boycott of Subaru until we get the Forester turbo. ;-)

    But what I'd really like to see are MANY vehicles that are performance leaders in their class, so that my next Subaru becomes a difficult choice. Hmm, WRX STi, Forester 2.0XT, Blitzen, or Baja H6? Now you're talking...

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Dietmar- My thinking exactly. We shouldn't let SOA think they can get away with not bringing over the turbo Forester and still keep us in the Subaru fold. While I might "settle" for a WRX wagon, a turbo Forester would better suit my needs/desires. And yes SOA, if you don't bring over the turbo, I will cross-shop!

    -Frank P.
  • nypaulnypaul Posts: 35
    Hi Folks,
    I haven't posted in a while so I thought this would be a good time. On our vacation to Pennsylvania last week our '02 L model got 27.8 MPG hiway driving with the a/c on the whole time. On the trip home to Long Island I did find the seating to be a bit uncomfortable. But that is probably because the wife and I had just spent the last week backpacking in the Cumberland Valley, on the Appalachian Trail. I guess my muscles just weren't used to being in one position so long. It sure was nice to ride with the cruise control set, the a/c on high, and our favorite music in the c/d player. The car handled the hiway just fine as well as the smaller PA roads.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I will cross-shop anyway. That keeps pressure on Subaru to make continuous improvements.

    For instance, I'd like to see the mud flaps brought back, Foresters look naked without them. And I mean standard. The cargo liner, too. Mine has been used so much I'm almost ready for another one!

    Then give me 200+hp and it'll be a front runner.

    I'd also look at the Baja (IF a more powerful engine appears), Pilot, Outlander EVO (again IF it gets 200+hp), and maybe a Matrix or Element if the budget is tight.

  • 4wdisfun4wdisfun Posts: 55
    I am planning to buy a car for my wife. I am deciding between a 03 Forester and a Impreza wrx. I know on weekends the Impreza will be all mine, but the Turbo Forester is also nice. I am concerned about security. We have only one child (7) and my car is a SUV. She hates SUV´s and i am looking for AWD, ABS, and 5 rating frontal crash tests (both have excellent ratings). Any advice will be appreciate it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 7 year old and your wife may have more fun in the rex. If you think your stuff will fit in it, go for the WRX.

    Sedans go for about $22,800 and up, and remember you should use premium fuel for that high-psi turbo.

    The Forester can hold a lot more cargo, but you already have a vehicle that meets that need, just plan ahead and carefully.

  • gened1gened1 Posts: 256
    That is interesting that you found the odometer reads more "generously" than it should. I've been thinking that this same thing might be happening with my 02 odometer. it seems as though the miles pile up faster than on my other cars. Hummm I'll have to check it out.
    Thanks for the heads up. I just thought it was me .
  • Is that big cardboard pan needed? Any tips or tricks to changing oil/filter in a 2001 L? Pouring 4 quarts in always shows up too high on the measuring stick. What's up ? I remember that there was a posting awhile ago on this. Edmunds has made navigating to all the Town Hall Forums tricky now.
    The local dealer says to get rid of's in the way of oil and filter changes.
    And no, we do not name our vehicles here Downeast.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's actually plastic, with a layer of fiberglass insulation above it.

    I used snips and cut an access hole for the oil filter, so that I could do it without removing it. It does tend to keep the engine bay cleaner, but I doubt it's necessary (other Subies with the same engine don't have it).

    4 quarts and it reads high? Mine takes 4.6 or so. Make sure the engine is warm before you start to drain it, and remove the oil filter, too, to make sure all the oil drains out. Also try to keep it on relatively level ground. Finally, if you only put 4 quarts, make sure to check the level again after a short drive.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    A friend of mine who owns a GPS has found out that his Forester's speedo overstates vehicle speed by at least 3mph. That could explain the odometer reading high. Interestingly, the speedo error is consistent on either a Forester S or L.

    4 quarts shouldn't show high on the dipstick assuming you've completely emptied the oil pan before refilling. The dipstick is a little tricky to read, however -- does it show high on both sides? I go with the lower reading.

  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    Speedometer and odometer readings are not necessarily linked. On my Forester, extensive testing (I'm a member of the OCD Club) revealed that the speedo read ~ 3% high, the odometer just under 1.5% high. BTW, I found trying to get an accurate dipstick reading a real pain.

  • Interesting. As compared against a Garmin Street Pilot Color Map and an eMap, the speedos on both of our 2002 Foresters read within a fraction of a mph of the speed shown by the GPS. The GPS always lags a little so it's hard to tell exactly what that fraction is but my guess is that it's less than 1/2 mph with cruise set at 70 mph. If true, that makes the speedo accurate within less than 1 percent. Don't know about the odo nor believe that GPS "trip" mileage should be used to gage it.

    St. Patrick, our "older" Forester is back at Martin Subaru for a third attempt to get the Duelers balanced. Is this bad service or are these tires just difficult to balance (as in, out-of-round)?

  • rsunicorsunico Posts: 82
    I've put 26k miles in 1 year w/ my Forester. The Duelers are suprisingly holding up (thought they'd be worn by now). Even wear front and rear but I did rotate every 5-6k. Frankly I've been hoping they'd wear out so I can get rid of em (hate em and have 16 inch WRX rims waiting to be installed on the Forester). BTW, the Forester's name is Tadashi. -R
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You'll love the 16s, I made the switch and I sure do.

    I got 28k miles out of my Duelers, and also couldn't wait to do the swap.

  • burnsmr4burnsmr4 Posts: 318
    My 2002 Subaru Forester S turned 10K miles this weekend. Of course, I sang Happy Birthday, which made my wife cringe, shake her head, and roll her eyes. The car runs great, and the gas mileage miraculously improved after the 10K mark. Maybe it was sheer dumb luck. Who knows? I'm switching to synthetic next oil change. Dealership said they'd knock $10 off oil change price if I brought my own. I might do that, seeing as I'm not allowed to change oil/service car in apartment complex parking lot.

    Of course, while my Forester's getting better with age, my poor wife's 1998 Volvo S70 cost us $500 this week. Well, actually, it was my wife and her treatment of the Volvo that cost us $500. She hadn't maintained her Toyo tires at all (now it's my job to), and it came back to bite her in the [non-permissible content removed], stranding her in north Atlanta with a blown tire. You could see metal coming out of all four tires.

    She got about 35K miles out of 65K mile treadlife tires. Pathetic. She will be keeping her new Pirellis balanced, rotated, and properly aligned from here on out. Ahhh...the trials and tribulations of marriage translated into automotive terms.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Be happy it was just $500 and not an accident or something worse. Glad to hear she'll do better next time around.

  • domettgdomettg Posts: 55
    Does the 2003 Forester have a flipper glass on the rear hatch? I thought the lack of this was a real deficiency on the original since you can't open the glass in order to carry an 8 foot 2x4, etc.
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