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My Subaru Forester is a Lemon!

I purchased a 2007 Forester 3 months ago, it was a very bad experience! Many dashboard rattles,and the dealer they could fix only a few, I realized the car was cheaply made, after 5 times (they had the car 4 weeks of the 9) and with Subaru Corp. just telling them to fix it yet they couldn't, I dumped the car and got a Honda CR-V, its well made and a steal at a comparable price as the Forester. But after my experience and talk with a few other people who owned them,was wondering why Car&Driver and Edmunds would rate the car high?? My personal experience would rate the car as a poorly built 'rattle trap'.


  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    They may not have the fit-finish of the Honda, however their long term durability is there. You aren't going to be left stranded by a dash rattle. Not making excuses just what most people who buy Subarus look for are long term mechanical durability.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    No problems here, and we're on our 4th Subaru.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    9 years with my '98 Forester and nearly 100k miles, and no rattles to speak of.

    You got a Friday 5pm build. ;)

  • b10609b10609 Posts: 37
    Your experience is the worst I've heard of to date. My wife's '03 Forester was traded last month with the 5 year warranty expiring this fall & time to go. Engine rebuild and then a transmission done as well last year under warranty. Others we've had in family were bullet proof. Subaru Canada covered everything 100% so no complaint there. My wife chose a new Nissan X-trail to replace it and is very happy. Your Honda should be a good car.-WATERLOO
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,153
    Ugh. Rattle trap indeed. But I am not going to discuss my '07 Outback. I will just agree with Mike and say it is, thus far, absolutely sound.... mechanically! :sick:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Shouldn't the title read: My Subaru Forester WAS a Lemmon! (he had it less than 3 months)

    Though I agree that rattles in general and dash rattles in particular are extremely annoying, I personally wouldn't consider a vehicle to be a lemon due to them. My definition of the term lemon is any unrepairable defect that renders the vehicle undriveable for practical purposes.

    Hmmm, I guess in cases of extreme OCD, a dash rattle would fit that description :P

  • driver56driver56 Posts: 408
    My definition of a "lemon" is a vehicle that does not live up to its reputation.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870
    My definition of a lemon is "the yellowish, acid fruit of a subtropical citrus tree". :P

    For a vehicle a lemon is a vehicle that is defective in one or many areas. Legally the term is applicable in most instances when the defect can not be repaired after multiple attempts.

    Neither are relevant to the situation described by the originator of this topic.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Hmm so then I'd have to say that any Ford that doesn't blow it's trans is a lemon? hee hee Since it's their reputation to blow transes :)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My definition of a lemon, and most states agree, is a serious defect in the first 12 months of ownership that the dealership has attempted to fix 3 times or more and failed.

    Here is the legal definition for each state:

    I'll let you folks debate whether a rattle is considered serious.

  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870
    I'll let you folks debate whether a rattle is considered serious.


    Hmmm....would a dash rattle cause death or serius injury? :sick:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,153
    I think Alaska laws are typically vague, but it states the provision as:

    "An owner may not receive a refund or replacement under AS 45.45.300 - 45.45.360 if the manufacturer or distributor shows that the nonconformity complained of does not substantially impair either the use or the market value of the motor vehicle"

    :surprise: That's a tough one to prove either way. That's when you tell the arbitrator, "Check please!" :P
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I guess it depends on how prominent that rattle is. I don't think it impairs use, but it might hurt the market value if it's something a buyer would notice immediately.
  • pretzelbpretzelb Posts: 64
    [quote]why Car&Driver and Edmunds would rate the car high?? My personal experience would rate the car as a poorly built 'rattle trap'.[/quote]

    And if we find a CRV with the same issue we can question the entire C&D and Edmunds rating of the CRV also?

    I don't think C&D or Edmunds rates something has high with the assumption that there will NEVER be a problem. I also don't think the rating is meant to account for bad dealerships.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    One of the few mags that does measure that stuff is CR, and they consistently recommend Subaru. Note they gather large samples, so one car doesn't mean much.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870
    Note they gather large samples, so one car doesn't mean much.

    Consumer Reports does NOT gather large samples. They only survey their subscribers and the number of survey's returned is often quite small for many makes and models.
    The sample size used by CR is much smaller than that used by JD Power.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    IIRC they don't publish data if they don't have 100 samples, something like that.

    JD Power may have a bigger sample but I wonder about how they measure "quality". They rated the H2 poorly due to low gas mileage, and that really has nothing to do with quality.

    In fact, the H2 consumes fuel with the best of 'em. :D
  • bought a 99 forester, 2.5 liter in august, with 80,000 miles. had to replace the motor a few months later.
    the heads on these are attached with 4 bolts. so the pressure on the head gasket is uneven. Depending on use, around 80,000 - 100,000 miles, the head gaskets go. When the head gasket blows, a bunch of bad stuff can happen. Sometimes, due to coolant loss, the motor can overheat, and since the blocks are aluminum, that means new motor. In other cases, like mine, the gasket leaked antifreeze into a cylender, constantly washing oil off of the cylender wall, reducing lubrication, destroying the piston ring. And because of the aluminum construction, and the boxter design, you can't just pull the motor and rebuild it like you can a chevy. You need a new motor. Several thousand for the motor itself, and a couple thousand for the install.

    Creaks and groans are one thing. But a new car should need a new motor after 80-100 thousand miles. Even if you catch the gasket problem early, and only need new head gaskets, that a couple thousand dollar repair. That shouldn't happen either.

    And, to boot, Consumer Reports doesn't seem to publish this issue widely. So its hard to know if the newer models will be better, or if they are gonna go starting at 80K, too.

    Buy a Honda.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    So you bought a car at 80k miles and you are blaming the manufacturer? How do you know if it was taken care of? The HG issue is a known factor in the DOHC 2.5L engines, however the 99 is a SOHC.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    the heads on these are attached with 4 bolts


    They use 6. Whoever gave you that information, well, let's just say they are a very unreliable source.

    Here's a pic that clearly shows the SIX bolts.


    Think about it - if your mechanic only used 4 bolts, NO WONDER the gasket failed! LOL :D

    Buy a Honda.

    I presume you used the same source for that recommendation? :P

    I mean, c'mon, nobody's perfect. Ask any last generation TL/CL V6 owner about their transmission. Half of them aren't on their first.
  • tazerelitazereli Posts: 241
    what year did the DOHC start running? I have a 2002 Forester approaching this something to be proactive about or wait until they go? i also have a timing belt change coming (within 20K i think) so may be do it all at the same time?


    PS..."questionable" trolls are amongst us...
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    DOHC Foresters were only in 99 IIRC. Definitely gone by 2k.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Actually, my 1998 Forester was a DOHC.

    The 99 model was a bit of a hybrid - they went to SOHC but they still used the short block from the 98 models.

    By 2000 they were using the new block design and kept the SOHC.

    The Outback and Legacy waited until 2000 to get the SOHC design (at the same time as the redesign), which is probably what paisan is remembering.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Ah ha, yeah that makes sense the Forester and Impreza went to SOHC in 99 and were both DOHC in 98. Legacies moved to SOHC in 00.

  • I just test drove the 2008 Forester 2.5x (w/ Premium) and Honda CR-V (EX) yesterday and the Subaru won hands down for me.

    The CRV was literally shaking while idling, and I could hear something rattling in the back as I was driving. It was also fairly windy out and the CR-V felt like it was really getting blown around. The Forester on the other hand felt tight and well built. Guess anyone can have a bad day on the manufacturing line. ;-)
  • dt63944dt63944 Posts: 66
    Glad to see you joined the forums to complain about your Forester. I'm on my third one since 1999 and they've all been rock-solid reliable, my 2004 being the best yet. When I have to be anywhere at any time in any kind of driving conditions, the Forester will get me there. The CRV is also a very good car.
  • mb789mb789 Posts: 89
    RE: Forester Rattles

    I bought a 2006 Forester X, and at first the clear plastic covering the spedometer, etc. on my dash squeaked, but it does not do it now.

    Overall, it's been a dependable car so far, but at first I thought it had some annoyances -- probably because I had a good vehicle before the Forester that had many more features (sunroof, multi-CD player, etc.). I think it was my mind trying to pick the Forester apart and that I had a so-so dealership experience that left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth at the start of ownership.

    I switched to the Forester because it had a better safety rating and better fuel economy than my previous vehicle.
  • aka57aka57 Posts: 10
    My 04 XT (100% Japan build and parts) has had a (at times very annoying!) dash rattle since almost day one. Sube Service tried 3 times to fix it - rattle keeps coming back. So it goes. Given all the excellent attributes of this vehicle and the bargain price, I can accept this minor annoyance. I am looking forward to buying an 09 XT as soon as they hit the streets.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,153
    Does it sound like it is coming from deep in the dash, near the windshield?

    There is a TSB out regarding this issue in Outbacks, not sure about Foresters - go to and click the "technical info" link under the Owners section. You cannot look at the TSBs there without paying, but it will give you a TSB name and number. The one for the Outback is called, simply enough, "Dash Rattle."

    My dealer is equally incompetent at hearing & fixing this rattle. I finally found and printed out three TSBs relating to interior rattles my car has. I took them to the dealer today and set up an appointment for the 28th. I hope it is cold that day and the technician's ears work because I really want a rattle-free car when I get it back.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • aka57aka57 Posts: 10
    Thanks for the TSB tip, xwesx - yes, my rattle is deep - at first I thought there might be a loose clip or something along the lower edge of the windshield/dash junction. Service just keeps replacing the ‘dash basket’ to no avail. sigh.
    Good luck - here’s to a Rattle Free future!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,153
    Yep, sounds identical to the problem I have with mine (and I had with my last Outback as well!).

    For the Legacy/Outback, the TSB is 12-96-06. Go to and you can look at the entire TSB. Dash clips are indeed the problem. The "fix" itself seems somewhat hokey, but if it works and the dash remains securely attached then no big deal. I will try to update once my car has gone through the ringer again on Monday.

    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Just unloaded my 2010 Forester 2.5x at 4,800 miles, it was a cheesy car. The cabinet noise was so loud that I didn't need the radio. Plus, the radio in the car was lousy...static most of the time. I traded it in for a Nissan Rouge SV w/P package. Love it! If you haven't brought the Forester yet, don't buy it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Something must have happened between 2008 and 2010. I did quickly change my 2008 to quieter Michelin tires, but after that it was an almost silent touring car. I have made high speed trips from Kentucky to Minnesota, Maine and Florida. No problem with the radio, either, though I prefer listening to the iPod through it.
  • What a coincidence; my older brother's wife had a Nissan Rouge SV as well as my aunt in North Carolina. Both of them no longer have the Nissan Rogue because they traded it in after less than 1 year of miserable ownership.

    Yet they don't go around saying the Nissan Rogue is a horrible car based just on their experience. Then again, it's not like people with half a brain will pay heed and take words like yours to the grave. Those who do, I wonder how they've gotten this far in life.

    Funny how the people in this world act based just on their own personal experience.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What do you call a guy who posts one severely negative comment and then vanishes?

  • My husband had a 2004 subaru forester xs, now for sale w/ 131k miles on it, and the only reason we are selling is because a friend of the family wanted to buy a brand new car and so she was selling her 2007 forester w/ 40k miles. Lost a few of the "extra" features, but gained a newer less mileage car.
    My husband is in love with the foresters, we have had no mechanical problem in over 3 years, only had to replace brake pads, we did replace front rotors although they probably would have been okay, and of course tires.
    I traded my old Santa Fe in for a 2008 CR-V in February, with only 12k miles on it and I love my CR-V but its not the same in the snow, its more comfortable than the subaru, but they each have their pros and cons.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,786
    Oh, wow!

    It has been years since we had a troll on these boards.

    Welcome and lets have some sport with you!

  • clarkkentclarkkent Posts: 154
    edited September 2011
    It just depends (sometimes on the luck of the draw.)

    I have 3 jeeps. NEVER had any trouble with them and they all have over 200k on them. 91 Cherokee, 2000 GC 98 Wranger.

    I have had 5 Subarus. Never a problem.

    I have had 1 Honda, 1988 Van-O-Wagon. Biggest POS I have ever had.
    And Hondas are good cars. However, the CRV 4x4 system is very poor.

    Hondas are great cars. I just got a very poor example of their work.

    I have 3 Honda MC and they are all Fantastic. No porblems at all.

    So it really is just the luck of the draw sometimes.
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