1998 Subaru Forester from North America


A lemon


Catastrophic engine failure due to blown head gasket ($6,500.00) at 190,000 Km.

Multiple brake rotors replacements, this car is 95% highway driven.

Clock quit working.

Cruise control quit working.

Multiple indicator lights failures (Air conditioning, cruise control, fog lights).

Air conditioning system failure that could not be fixed by dealer, they wanted to change everything, eventually taken to a reliable garage, they found a bad sensor, works like a charm.

Rear window wiper motor burned out.

Starter is about ready to pack it in.

Alternator started to overheat.

New engine oil and coolant levels going down, no sign of any leakage on the engine itself, can only go out through the exhaust system.

I have invested over $11,000.00 in upkeep in the last 5 years.

General Comments:

This car of mine is a typical example of a lemon. I have had no (zero) support from Subaru Canada.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th March, 2004

21st Dec 2004, 15:05

I loved my 98 Forester until the head gasket went at 115K miles. I really liked the car so I replaced the engine, clutch, radiator and other critical systems. The engine only had 80k miles so I thought I would have another 80-100K mikes. Well I did not! I started to overheat whenever I drove for over 20 minutes on the highway. It turns out I have a small leak in the head gasket! It appears that this is a very fragile engine. I am obesessed with regular maintenance and the car is cared for with kid gloves so this is not a maintenance issue.

This engine is a Lemon! My mechanic believes it is only a problem in the Subaru cars that have 4 cams the 2 cam engines are OK.

3rd Apr 2005, 05:43

Internet reports from USA indicate that the 2.5-litre version is prone to head gasket failure, especially the 4-cam turbo version. Fortunately for us Brits, the 2.5 was for the North American market only. Threats of a class-action suit forced Subaru to get their act together with a better head gasket. The 2.5 is only just being introduced in the Japanese market, and recently the 3-litre, 6-cylinder engine is being fitted in the Forester. Perhaps that's the answer. At auction in Japan, it's by no means unusual to see a 10-year-old Subaru with 25,000 km on the clock, in fact I got a Legacy Estate GTB like this for some Stg.450. The UK punter will simply not believe a car like this has not been clocked. Course once the UK government took its pound of flesh it was Stg.2,000 plus on the road.

1998 Subaru Forester S from North America


The rear wheel bearing have failed 6 times.

Engine crank cover leaking oil at 68,000, repaired and leaking again.

General Comments:

I never had a auto before that the car Dealer could not fix it problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd March, 2004

1998 Subaru Forester S 2.1 from North America


I'm disappointed with the reliability of this vehicle


Front crank seal, twice, 120,000 kilometers and 160,000 kilometers. Dealer refused to fix under warranty.

Extremely loud heater fan - makes a chirping noise. No solution according to dealer.

Internal cam shaft belt tensioner replaced at 120,000. Dealer refused warranty.

Loud piston slap noise - no solution, according to dealer.

Replaced rear brake rotors, 75,000 kilometers.

Replaced front brake rotors, 150,000 kilometers.

Clock fixed once under warranty, broke a second time.

Low fuel warning light quit functioning.

Air conditioning "on" indicator light quit functioning.

General Comments:

No rust yet in our hostile Montreal climate.

In the future, I'll stick to Honda or Toyota. Both of these makes have given me outstanding performance and reliability.

I bought a first year model, always a risky venture.

Roomy car that handles well, but reliability and dealer services are below what I expect from Japanese automakers.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th November, 2003

27th Feb 2004, 05:55

Why is this person giving distance units in kilometres?

14th Mar 2004, 15:31

It's in kilometers because the car is in Canada.

14th Apr 2007, 18:21

The whole world doesn't use miles as its measure. My Forester has been superb thus far. We also own an 03 Outback 3.0l premium and that is even better!

20th Jun 2007, 17:16

The U.S. is the only place in the world that uses miles.

15th Aug 2007, 19:37

Not true, the United Kingdom uses the mile as well. Look it up.