19th Oct 2004, 16:42

We have a 2002 Subaru Forester that my wife drives, the car gets great gas mileage and has been somewhat dependable.

We have replaced the oxygen sensor three times and now the rear wheel bearings need replacement. It seems that with such a common problem these parts should be available at any local auto parts dealer, but these particular part's can only be bought at Subaru orientated places. It seems like a pretty good money making item to me. Once I get the car fixed this time I, ll be trading it in on a more reliable vehicle without a wheel bearing problem.

3rd Apr 2005, 06:05

When replacing wheel bearings is a 30-minute, Sunday morning job, and the cost is a bearing set at trade, you tend not to see wheel bearing failure as such a wrist-slitting disaster. In many advanced capitalist countries, the middle-class are paying a through-the-nose hourly rate for a mechanics' time, and retail plus for the parts. As repair shop mechanics do not drive BMW and Porsche, you have to figure repair shop overheads soak up some 70% of what you are charged. Solution: Learn to do repairs yourself or employ a mechanic directly. Naturally the warranty is invalidated and the service history trashed, but face it, they were instruments of blackmail in the first place. So when you buy, negotiate the price down for no warranty, get the servicing done for less than half the price you're paying now, and when the time comes, give the car away to a favourite nephew. Good thing I'm in Japan or the motor trade would have a contract out on me.

Legacy bearing on a Forester is a good tip. Cheers.

6th Jul 2005, 20:56

I bought a '98 Forester in fall '97, did only highway/town driving. Right rear wheel bearing went at 60K miles, went again at 80K miles, at 97,500 miles it was making noise again. First two fixed under warranty... we traded in the car... for a 2005 Forester, as we love the car, except the "problem." If problem persists with the new car, I swear the s**t will hit the fan at Subaru. My private mechanic swears the newer ones are pretty good... we shall see. From all the previous comments, obviously this is a major, major problem they did not address, letting owners (and dealers when under warranty) soak up the cost.

22nd Aug 2005, 18:27

I bought the Forester 2001 in the middle of 2000 as an extra car since I love it so much. I just replace the left rear wheel bearing with only 44K miles today, which costs me $490. I's told by my local mechanic that I will need to replace the right rear one. After reading all comments on web, I'm considering to trade in to get Toyota. Stay away from Subaru.

8th Feb 2007, 14:41

I purchased my Subaru 2001 Forrester S new in Sept. 2000. I have driven all over the U.S. under all conditions (example: North Dakota in January, Louisiana in August, etc.). The Forrester has performed flawlessly. It has received regular maintenance.

Currently, the vehicle has 215,000 miles on it. I replaced the timing belt twice (every 100,000 miles), the catalytic converter at 200,000 miles, and now I have to replace a rear wheel bearing. Based on the mileage, I believe these repairs to be well within reasonable expectations for the kind of driving I do.

I purchased a 2003 Outback for my wife and she loves it. To date, no issues with her car.

15th Apr 2007, 13:17

More of the same here...'99 Forester with 93K miles. Have replace the right rear bearing at 35K, and again at 58K, now its going out again at 93K. It's a wide spread problem it seems, and Subaru has cost themselves a lot of future sales by ignoring it.

30th Sep 2007, 21:54

99 forester - bearings bearings bearings. Oh! now delayed engagement.

30th Nov 2007, 10:26

I have a 2000 Forester with 100,000 miles and the left rear bearing just went out. I think that even with 100,000 miles this is too soon for this to happen.

Question--has anyone had their transmission go out? I had to replace all the soft parts on mine at about 80,000 for $2,000; again, premature breakdowns on a Forester. I would recommend that no one buy a Subaru, but instead looks to the Toyota or Honda. According to Consumer Reports info, they are MUCH more reliable makes for cars that are more than 4 years old.

14th Mar 2008, 12:48

1999 Forester with 165,000 miles - same complaints - three sets of bearings, the first going out at 80,000. Auto transmission had to be rebuilt at 90,000.

Head gasket too at 150,000. Yea, it's a lot of money to put into the car - but with two college payments I don't need a car payment on top of them this year. And the total cost of ownership is still modest - very low insurance and registration fees.

Still gets 23 on the road in winter, 27 in the summer.

Still - its going on ten years. With only one kid in college next year, the next big repair is pushing us into the TOYOTA dealership to buy a 2009 Prius.

5th Jun 2008, 17:54

My 1999 Forester has had a re-built transmission put in at 121,000m iles, the A/C gave out at 100,000 miles-needs a new compressor but too expensive to fix! The car had a recall at 80,000 for the head gaskets and the dealership put in a bottle of sealer or something for the fix which extended the warranty to 100K...BIG DEAL - now at 160,000 miles both head gaskets are leaking so I have no choice but to sink another $1700 into the car. I really hate this car. I wish I had my toyota back - got 300,000 with no problems.

Does anyone know if Subaru doing anything about the head gasket problems?

19th Jun 2008, 22:36

My 1999 Subaru Forester L (5-speed) has been OK. I've always had issues with where they chose to put the cup holder, but overall I like the car, especially the visibility. Regarding the wheel bearings, my first one failed (don't remember when but it was very early) and I had a mechanic replace it but he put the same type of bearing in as a replacement. When the second one failed, I did some research and found that it was a very common problem so I called SOA and they paid to have the second one replaced. When the first one I had replaced failed I might have been able to get them to replace that one too but didn't try. My understanding is this, Subaru apparently chose the wrong wheel bearings for this particular application. They changed to the same bearings as in the Legacy and the problem went away. I just had the clutch replaced this week at 105,000 miles. Mechanic told me that there was some kind of boot thing on the front axle that was going to need attention in the near future. Guess it's time for a new timing belt as well.

27th Feb 2009, 18:41

Have a late 2008 Forester, and have had several small problems with it.

Low gas light comes on at 1/2 a tank.

Radio squeaks.

Windows squeak when going up and down.

Burning smell comes in cab, smells like burning belts.

Passenger air bag won't come on with a 120 lbs person in seat.

Loud dash cracking as if a rock hit the windshield.

Wiper blades wear out after 5 months of use.

Stitching in front seats are fraying.

Gas door freezes shut.

High pitched noise from motor at speeds above 60 mph.

Dealer fixed most of problems. But why so many problems with such a high quality car? I drove Honda's for the last 14 year's with not one problem, I will be going back to Honda. I was wondering has anyone else experienced any of these problems?