1999 Subaru Forester L 2.5 from North America


Solid car with exception to the hesitation issue


Car hesitates badly when first started. This is the only time this occurs. All else works wonderfully.

General Comments:

Good reliable car... handles great in all conditions and doesn't empty my wallet at the gas station.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th September, 2003

9th Jan 2006, 13:28

I also had a hesitation issue. It was recently resolved after the valve cover gasket was replaced. I recently started using synthetic oil and it had leaked through the valve gasket covering all the spark plugs and wires in oil. The hesitation was there before. I speculate that the valve gasket was defective before synthetic oil was used, but there was no visible symptom except the hesitation. Since the synthetic oil is flows through the tiniest cracks, it helped me track down the leak. You may want to check out the valve gasket.

9th Jan 2006, 17:33

How would a leaking valve cover gasket be related to acceleration hesitation? It isn't like a blown head gasket, for which you might experience some loss of compression.

1999 Subaru Forester L 2.5L from North America


Of the 7 new car purchases I've made, this is by far the worst


Wheel bearing failed at 16,000 miles.

Ignition switch failed while driving, tow required, at about 20,000 miles.

Wheel bearing noisy and making clicks at 22,000 miles. Dealer 'adjusted' it.

At 24,000 miles, wheel bearing failed, smoked, 100 mile tow required.

General Comments:

Car once seemed OK for my everyday driving, but now I'm afraid to take it anywhere because of the rate of failures that are potentially fatal.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th August, 2003

1999 Subaru Forester L Standard from North America


A dollar hog and repair shop queen


This car started falling apart at about 90,000 miles. Before this, it ran great and I loved it. Now I will never purchase another Subaru. This was my first and last.

VERY BAD: Premature head gasket failures (both) and ensuing complete engine failure.

The driver's side gasket went at 140,788 miles. Took it to one of the two dealers nearby, neither of which was ever very satisfactory. The car never worked right again. It was in and out of the shop, until the next gasket went at 150, 235 miles. Took the car to an independent Subaru repair shop. One week after the second gasket was fixed, the engine blew, requiring a completely new engine. Total costs, counting rental cars, is approximately $4,300.00. Despite increasing evidence of a design flaw and materials failure in the head gaskets, Subaru would do nothing. The independent repair shop I went to, which has been repairing Subaru's for 32 years, has clear evidence that failure in the gasket materials was to blame. They had a 2002 Subaru WRX with the same problem. Though still under warranty, Subaru claimed that a minor fender bender voided the warranty.

BAD: Other major repairs & non-routine maintenance.




The care began knocking (piston slap) and using oil; something other owners are also experiencing.

NOT GOOD: Subaru customer service and dealerships.

There are only two dealers within an hour's drive of where we live. I have never been pleased with either. Subaru will not recognize and repairs done by other than dealerships, even after warranty.

THIS IS NOTE "YOUR DADDY'S SUBARU": The mechanics I have dealt with outside the dealerships, have all stated that they have been seeing problems in the new design of Subaru, which came on the market in 1998/99. These are quality and design problems that were not there in the "old" model Subaru's.

BACK TO HONDA: This is the first car I have ever owned, in 34 years of driving which has completely failed. The last Honda I owned was an Accord LX. I gave it away at 324,000 miles. It required only one non-routine piece of maintenance in all that time - the carburetor float stuck.

General Comments:

This is not a well-built vehicle. I kept up good maintenance, using quality materials, and I never drove it off road. It is a "light-weight" and not an SUV at all.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th July, 2003

4th Nov 2004, 18:40

Just got back from an oil change at the dealership this morning. I have 137,000 miles on my 1999 Forester, and was advised I might want to pick up some brochures in the showroom, because there is a leak in the drivers side head gasket. Went online to see if other Subaru owners experienced other problems, and found this review. We are now debating whether to repair the vehicle or not, and based upon this review, it may not be worth it.