2002 Subaru Forester S+Series 4 cylinder from North America


I should have stayed with Chevrolet. If you like bad service and like to gamble don't buy a Forester


Two months after I purchased my 2002 Forester S+ series, I had an O2 sensor go bad.

I have had an engine RPM problem ever since day one, & it seems to happen more often when the outside temp. is below 50 degrees. Upon starting the RPM needle winds up to 2-2,500 Rpms & then drops almost to zero (car starts sputtering) and then climbs back up to above 2. The rpm needle then settles after giving it a bit of gas. The dealership has never fixed the problem & the vehicle only has "38,000" miles currently!

In addition I have had the R. front speaker blow twice, & then the CD player.

The clock & temp has stopped working (these are usually the last things to go), window seals warped on passenger door window & front window, motor on power windows is going bad (sounds like a creaky door opening when engaged, and the leather on the side of the drivers seat has been cracking since 15,000, even with regular moisturizing/cleaning. I only weigh 110 lbs, so it's not from body weight!!

It would seem that the car has a short somewhere, but of course they deny it & indicate they checked.

Unfortunately I'm not done yet; I don't want to forget about the bad charcoal cannister "they claim" was struck by some object, but were unable to show me an impact mark!. They actually pointed at a nut on a screw & said "see here on the nut where the silver is showing, something impacted it here". I replied "I see where some grease has been wiped off maybe by a wrench". I left & when I got home, I took a cloth with some degreaser and wiped it clean! There was absolutely NO evidence of impact on the "Plastic" Charcoal Cannister, & the nut they pointed to is just part of the mounting bracket. They wanted $365 to do the work (it's a 30 minute job).

I called another Subaru repair shop, & the owner advised me that they should have done a smoke detector test, & asked me if my check engine light was still on & I replied "yes". He advised to disconnect the battery cables on the car for 10 minutes & then reconnect to see if it came back on. I followed his instructions & 1,100 miles later still NO Check Engine Light!!!. I even told the headquarters office about the whole visit (4 hours wait with appointment & about the result of resetting/clearing the computer that I did on my own). I asked them to look at it again free of charge, since it seemed to me they didn't examine it good the first time, & I had already paid them $95 for their so called diagnosis. They actually denied my request, & said if I wanted it a new canister, they would take $60 off. They even admitted that I have had more problems than the average Forester owner.

I also notice after shifting gears, that the transmission seems to slip/jolt if you step on the gas too quickly. I unfortunately was in an accident the other day, which consisted of a T-bone impact into my front left fender & front bumper. The "Honda Pilot" only hit me going about 35mph, but according to the inspector for the Ins. Co. & Auto body shop, my axle was broke, hood bent & the front end was pushed 3 inches to the right!!! My car has been deemed a TOTAL LOSS!! (indicated $17,000 in damage). The air bags did not deploy, & for a Honda Pilot to do that kind of damage only going 35mph; all I can say is totally RIDICULOUS!!

I only have one positive comment, & that is I like the "full" moonroof, but they stopped putting those in after 2002!.

Thanks Subaru for making my "first" brand new car purchase so pleasant.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th August, 2007

29th Aug 2007, 20:16

Well maybe you’re lucky the car was totaled. By the way, the reason modern cars get so much damage is the same reason you were OK. The car bends and crumples to absorb the impact instead of transmitting it to you. Also, the front air bags are not designed to deploy in side crashes. Sounds like the car performed well on its last day.

1st Jul 2010, 14:42

ONLY 35?! That's highway speed! You should feel lucky you walked away from that unhurt.

Look, things happen. It's how you choose to address those things, and how to treat the other people, which determines how good (or bad) your experience is.

If you go into something thinking you're gonna get ripped off, you probably will. Perception is 90% of reality.

Have fun in your Chevy :)

1st Jul 2010, 17:40

"I should have stayed with Chevrolet. If you like bad service and like to gamble don't buy a Forester"

Okay this says the original poster should have stayed with Chevrolet. But then it goes on to say if you LIKE bad service and DON'T like to gamble... DON'T buy a Forester...

To me this means if you buy the Forester, you'll get great service, but it may be a gamble! Did I miss something?

2nd Jul 2010, 11:19

In all fairness, the Forester has an excellent safety record and has won much praise as a well-built, affordable and safe vehicle. We drive GM because of the better warranty, greater reliability than Japanese cars, and the fact that they are products of an American company. I still regard the Forester as a very good vehicle, however.

14th Jan 2011, 18:21

I have no clue why your car gave you so many problems. I have had issues with the car, in which it was in the shop for a couple of hours, and it was fixed.

2002 Subaru Forester S Premium from North America


Great All weather car


Replaced 2 Oxygen Sensor/Air Fuel Ratio Sensors. The first one was Feb. 13 2002 with 8,272 miles on the car, about 6 months after purchase. I was told they (the sensors) should last about 100000 miles. RIGHT - The car is in the shop today Nov. 12, 2004 getting another Oxygen Sensor/Air Fuel Ratio Sensor. hummm. That is 31,178 miles between sensors. The car is not under warranty, but the part was so it will not cost me a thing.

I am still having trouble in shifting into first. You have to "force" the gears into place. The dealership cannot find anything wrong. It does not happen all the time. (note: I do put the clutch in to shift!)

I agree with a lot of people - the cup holders are placed wrong.

General Comments:


The car is great on ice.

I enjoy driving the car long distance. Over 18 hours driving at a time.

I work with computers, and the back is great for keeping stuff like towers and parts.

The large windows are great to see what is going on around you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th November, 2004