15th Mar 2004, 20:35

I disagree about the dealers. In the US, Subaru of Morristown (NJ) takes pride in taking care of my Forester. I get excellent service from them, and they do NOT rip me off (--unlike the Toyota dealer I once used!!! The Toyota dealer (AUTOLAND in NJ) was extremely rude as well. They had an attitude. They felt they owned the US market, and could do as they pleased--at the expense of customer service.

As an example of dealer service: at Subaru of Morristown, I once has a flat, and the dealer could have sold me an additional 4 tires at high prices. They did not. The mechanic just plugged the tire (the rupture was on the end of the tire, not the side), and the mechanic notified me that he plugged the tire because he didn't want to sell me a brand new set of tires. (AWD vehicles need to have all tires evenly worn, or it may place strain on the AWD system). That was a year ago. Tire still works fine after being plugged. How many dealers would refrain from selling you additional services or merchandise at inflated prices? Yet, Subaru of Morristown did.

Another time, I asked for a brake bleed, and the mechanic asked me if I really, truly, needed it, since opening up the brake system may be unnecessary. As he put it, "we prefer not to open up the car if it's not really needed".

At any other Toyota, dealer, just mentioning a "mushy brake" would lead them to sell you a "full brake job", bad shocks, broken shock absorbers (the mechanics =tore it on purpose to get the sale).

Subaru of Morristown, tells it, sells it, (and fixed it) like it is. Plain and straight.

I am very impressed with the quality of the Forester and the AWD system, and the service provided by Subaru. If the high quality between the car and the service continues in their future cars, --they have a customer out of me for LIFE.

26th Apr 2004, 13:31

To Subaru Owners Everywhere.

I have burned up TWO transmissions on my 1999 Subaru Forester! Yes, not once, but twice during attempted routine oil changes at car service shops, the transmission drain plug was mistaken for the oil drain plug, and removed, and the transmission drained dry. Moreover, as if the oil-change technician or mechanic didn't feel embarrassed enough, in both instances more engine oil was added to the engine even though it was already full. Fortunately, no damage was done to the engine in either case, only to the transmission.

The price-tag to replace the "ground-up" transmission in each case has been $5,000 - $6,000 and was eventually paid in full by the shop/business responsible...however, not without some contention, confrontation, and threatening of legal action. At any rate, I hope that Subaru has corrected the problem on newer models by perhaps clearly labeling the appropriate drain pan and/or plug, or relocating the "look-alike" plugs.

One should not have to be fearful of having the oil changed. It is relatively simple and routine car maintenance that ought to be done by any auto mechanic, shop, or oil-change business. However, if you look under your car and see more than one drain plug/pan in plain sight, you may want to play it safe, and have the lube-oil-filter task performed by your local Subaru dealer.

Experience is a hard teacher, and expensive too,

Rich J.

16th Apr 2005, 15:42

I gave up on the quickie oil change places.

I have had everything happen from leaking loose fitted oil filters to oil pan bolts tightened down so heavy that it took a breaker bar to get it loose again.

Something as important as oil changes should'nt be trusted to a rookie who has had all of 5 or 10 minutes of real training on how to change vehicle oil.

12th Jul 2005, 21:09

As a Subaru Technician, I felt this review directed negativity towards the Forester model, when it should just inform others about an error. I work on these every day, and there are no defects in the transmission, or its design. It's just another one of those cases of somebody working on a vehicle they are not familiar with. Have you looked underneath the Forester? It is only easy to confuse the two plugs if you have no idea what you're doing. There is a removable, plastic tray that covers the bottom of the engine, and any modern technician should know the difference. All in all, take your Subaru to the people who know these unique vehicles inside out, your dealer. They can also keep track of recalls and factory scheduled maintenance for you. One more thing, all Subaru oil drain plugs require a special, one time use, crush washer, that only the dealers have. I have seen too many come in for oil leaks because the generic "lubrication station" reused, used a solid washer, or didn't use one at all. Bottom line, (and this is coming from a lifelong auto enthusiast, not a Subaru employee) take your car to the dealer. It may cost a little bit more, but it is well worth it in the long run.

26th Nov 2005, 10:51

I cannot see how you could drain off gearbox oil instead of used engine oil.

The engine oil will be dark because it will be full of soot from combustion.

The gearbox oil will be crystal clear (unless it has been run monstrously beyond the normal service intervals). Some automatic gearbox fluid also has a red dye added.

6th Dec 2005, 19:01

Every time I have taken my forester to the dealership for repairs it has come back with something else wrong with it. First it was the auto dimming mirror, second it was the transmission and third it was the shifter not working.

14th Mar 2006, 21:15

Read the above comments with interest. I've owned a total of six 2.0-litre turbo Subarus, grey imports in UK and the self-same vehicles in Japan. Presumably the point about confusing the gearbox (transmission) drain plug with engine drain plug only applies to manual transmission. On a Legacy, I did have the differential filler plug fall out even though I had never touched it, let alone removed it. This can be bad news (the rubber mounts can literally catch fire under the petrol tank), but on the auto there is or was a fuse you can insert under the bonnet (hood) to change the car from four wheel drive to front wheel drive. Agree about UK Subaru dealers: Charge like a wounded rhino and so inflexible. The mark up can be three times compared with the part from a Subaru dealer in Japan, although I hear this has changed recently. The cars I had were bought at auction in Japan, and the service history log showed dealers did the work. Interesting about the crushable washer on the drain plug. Assumed this was simply a copper washer. Never had a problem, but if you do the work yourself you only remove the splash shield once and never put it back. Then you can always visually reassure yourself that the drain plug/s are in place and confirm the oil filter is tight. But so many men today are raised without any practical skills, especially where a woman is head of the household.

However, with all the Subarus I've had there was an engine oil smell. The Subaru dipstick is a bit imprecise, so it takes a while to confirm the oil is disappearing. Fortunately in Japan, car accessory shops like Yellow Hat sell a "stop oil leak" product which seems to do the trick.

15th Dec 2006, 17:22

I wanted to express my appreciation to the salesman who did a wonderful job in helping me choose my Subaru. Bill Norman made my experience at Subaru of Morristown a wonderful experience and would highly recommend him. Thank you again and I will be sure to use him in the future.

23rd Aug 2007, 12:14

Hi to everybody! Anybody knows what is the difference between engine oil filter and Spin on type transmission filter. They look very similar. I put the engine oil filter on transmission. I could not find the proper one for that.

What can go wrong with my transmission?

21st Jun 2008, 15:46

OK. I give up. I cannot spot the front differential dipstick in my automatic transmission 2001 forester. The book says it's on the left of the air filer... I swear it's not there. I can't find a hole where it should have been, or?

Also, I'm having a whining, high pitched sound that gets only louder as I hit 35-40. Sounds like it's the in front and ONLY when I have the gas pedal depressed. Not when I'm coasting with foot off pedal?


8th Jan 2009, 12:05

I also have a 2001 Forester and spent a lot of time looking for the front differential dipstick. It is there (several inches below) the air filter housing. Look for a yellow "finger loop". I can't see how to pull it out to check the level without removing the filter housing and pushing a lot of lines and hoses around to get at it.