2019 Subaru Forester Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Visibility, vehicle speed control, structural and electrical issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

The Forester has been a mainstay in the Subaru lineup since 1997. To stick around that many years, it must have done something right. Ask anyone that owns one and it’s likely they’ve owned many models. Subaru tends to have a tight-knit group of followers. When it comes to the newest model, the automaker claims it is the “Subaru for all you love.” Sadly, enthusiasts don’t agree that the 2019 Subaru Forester has anything they like. In fact, the visibility issues, electrical problems, structure design and malfunctioning vehicle speed control are causing many fans to jump ship.

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Visibility

When a driver gets behind the wheel of a modern vehicle, it’s expected that there will be no difficulty seeing through the windshield. Unfortunately, the design of the newer Forester leaves a lot to be desired.

Read this one review left on Edmunds. “I just bought a 2019 Subaru Forester Premium.  This is my 5th Subaru. I love the car but I am very afraid to drive it at night.  When driving at night, there is a dark line across the entire windshield.  When driving downhill this line lowers down covering the windshield.It’s almost like pulling a shade down. The low beams do not illuminate the next uphill and it’s very scary.  It’s just not me the first time I drove at night there were 3 other people in the car with me who experienced the same thing.  Took it back to the dealer who said they could not replicate the problem.  My neighbor then drove my car and experienced the same problem.  I do not want to own a car that I can’t drive at night. This is my last Subaru.”

Other complaints are rampant regarding windshields cracking for no apparent reason. There are no service bulletins from the company about either of these issues. Between the visibility concerns with the headlights and trouble with the windshield, driving this car is like traveling down the road blind.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Subaru Forester Windshield Problems:

HUSBAND WAS DRIVING HOME AFTER GRAVEYARD WORK SHIFT, WITH NO OTHER CARS ON THE HIGHWAY, WHEN HE HEARD A CRACK. HE NOTICED A CRACK COMING FROM UNDER THE WINDSHIELD WIPERS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FRONT WINDSHIELD, CLOSER TO THE DRIVER SIDE. HE DID HAVE THE DEFROSTER ON. THE NEXT DAY THE CRACK HAD SPREAD AND 2 MORE CRACKS APPEARED ON THE WINDSHIELD. WE CALLED THE DEALER AND NOTIFIED THEM AND THEY SAID WARRANTY DOES NOT COVER THAT SINCE WE DIDN’T PURCHASE ADDITIONAL WARRANTY, AND IT IS NOT A FACTORY DEFECT THAT THEY ARE AWARE OF. IT IS A NEW 2019 SUBARU FORESTER.

WINDSHIELD HAS CRACKED TWICE ON A 2019 SUBARU FORRESTER. EITHER THE ANGLE OF THE WINDSHIELD, OR THE QUALITY OF THE GLASS IS A VERY POOR DESIGN. I THINK THIS SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED, BECAUSE I’M SURE THIS WILL BECOME A COMMON PROBLEM.

WINDSHIELD QUALITY – 2019 SUBARU FORESTER SPORT WINDSHIELD CHIP VERY EASY. CAR PARKED ON DRIVEWAY AND IT WAS HAILING FOR 2 MINUTES; COUPLE TINY CHIPPED/PITTED WERE FOUND ON WINDSHIELD; NO CRACK. THIS ONLY HAPPEN TO THE SUBARU, BUT NOT THE OTHER VEHICLES I OWNED. SUBARU WINDSHIELD CHIP/PITTED EASILY ON VEHICLE WITH EYE SIGHT EQUIPPED. THE WINDSHIELD SEEMS THINNER COMPARE TO OLDER MODEL AND OTHER VEHICLE BRANDS. THIS ISSUE ALSO APPLIED ON HIGHWAY DRIVING AS ANY TINY OBJECT WILL CAUSE CHIPPED ON WINDSHIELD EASILY WHERE THIS DOES NOT APPLIED ON OTHER VEHICLES.REPLACEMENT IS EXPENSIVE AS WINDSHIELD HAS TO BE SUBARU CERTIFIED OTHERWISE EYE SIGHT WILL NOT WORK. FURTHERMORE, EYE SIGHT CALIBRATION IS AN ADDITIONAL COST ON TOP OF THE WINDSHIELD REPLACEMENT AND IT IS NOT COVER BY DEALERSHIP WINDSHIELD WARRANTY PACKAGE.

Electrical

The electrical complaints regarding this vehicle are endless. From the audio system to the malfunctioning tailgate, there’s no end in sight of the faulty wiring.

Just check out this review from an Edmunds user. “What is a problem is the software on this car – it’s extremely glitchy.  Within the first few hundred miles I had to take back to dealer to open the trunk for me –  it has the automatic gate lift and the system had to be rebooted manually by detaching the battery and draining the electrical system.  Dealer blamed it on the computer.  The infotainment system is a disaster – every other day something is not working – the CD player won’t play, there’ll be no sound on the radio, Pandora won’t load.  Even when working the system is poorly designed.  My concern is that all the safety features are computer-controlled and I don’t have a lot of confidence in their software.  Looking for an Apple operating system experience and I ended up with Windows Vista! Hopefully they’ll get their act together and put out some updates to their software.”

The company isn’t trying to hide that they have electrical problems to work out. They currently have 18 service bulletins for the electrical system ranging from air conditioning issues to the navigation system faults. As a driver gets behind the wheel of this Forester, they will likely experience one electrical problem or another, because very few seem to work correctly. It might be easier to list all the things that do seem to work instead, but the list won’t be long.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Subaru Forester Electrical Problems:

THE REAR, AUTOMATIC TAILGATE PERIODICALLY FAILS TO OPERATE AND EFFECTIVELY LOCKS ONE OUT OF THAT AREA. THERE IS NO KNOWN BY-PASS OR WORKAROUND AND BASED ON SUBARU USER SITE, APPEARS TO BE A WIDESPREAD PROBLEM. IT ALSO SEEMS THAT SUBARU ITSELF DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE ISSUE AND HAS MANY EXPLANATIONS BUT NO SOLUTION OR WORKAROUND. IT REPRESENTS A SERIOUS SAFETY ISSUE SHOULD A PET BE IN THE BACK OR PERHAPS A PERSON AFTER A CRASH. WHEN IT FAILS, THE ELECTRONIC KEY, DASHBOARD BUTTON AND BUTTON ON THE GATE ALL FAIL TO OPERATE AND ONE IS EFFECTIVELY LOCKED OUT FROM THAT PART OF THE CAR. THE “WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN” QUESTION NEEDS TO HAVE MULTIPLE ANSWER OPTIONS. MY WIFE AND I BOTH OWN A 2019 SUBARU FORESTER TOURING AND WE BOTH ARE HAVING ISSUES..

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2019 SUBARU FORESTER. WHILE TURNING THE VEHICLE, THE ENTIRE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM SHUT OFF, INCLUDING THE POWER STEERING AND EMERGENCY BRAKING SYSTEM. THE CONTACT WAS ALMOST INVOLVED IN A CRASH DUE TO THE FAILURE. THE CONTACT PULLED OVER, SHUT OFF THE ENGINE, AND RESTARTED THE VEHICLE, BUT THE ELECTRICAL FAILURES REMAINED. THE VEHICLE WAS SLOWLY DRIVEN BACK TO THE CONTACT’S HOME. ST. CLOUD SUBARU STATED THAT WATER MAY HAVE CONTACTED THE WIRING UNDER THE HOOD AND CAUSED THE MALFUNCTION. THE CONTACT WAS WORKING ON HAVING THE VEHICLE TOWED AND RECEIVING A LOANER VEHICLE FROM THE DEALER. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 1,500

Structure

One of the aspects that Subaru has always prided itself on is the safe and secure design of the vehicle. With the 2019 Subaru Forester, it doesn’t appear they got that right either.

Here is yet another complaint from Edmunds. “I have been to the dealer a lot, had the computer reset, done everything they’ve told me but it’s like this car has a mind of its own. Sometimes my trunk works,  sometimes  it doesn’t, sometimes my moonroof opens sometimes it won’t, sometimes the car voice assist understands me sometimes it doesn’t,  sometimes the volume when talking to someone hands free through the car works fine sometimes volume goes down and won’t come up. Dealer basically tells me everyone complains about the lift gate (trunk) but there’s no fix yet.”

Sadly, this isn’t the only structural complaint addressed by the automaker. In Service Bulletin #07-155-19, they talk about how the rear gate won’t open when it should. To resolve this, they recommend making adjustments to the PRG control module. In Service Bulletin #12-260-19, the company discusses trouble with a metallic rattle in the A-pillar while Service Bulletin #12-259-19 points out the gap left between the cowl panel and the windshield. With all these structural issues, one would think that a kid put this car together as if it were a set of LEGO bricks. That’s not true – the kid might have done a better job.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Subaru Forester Structural Problems:

HAVE TAKEN MY BRAND NEW 2019 SUBARU FORESTER SPORT TO LOCAL DEALERSHIP A TOTAL OF 5 TIMES IN 2 MONTHS REGARDING THE REAR HATCH NOT OPENING. THEY STATE TO RESET IT I NEED TO DISCONNECT THE BATTERY AND LET IT DISCHARGE, THEN CONNECT THE TERMINALS. THIS IS A HEADACHE AND A MAJOR INCONVENIENCE TO HAVE TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE LOADS OF ITEMS YOU NEED TO LOAD INTO THE VEHICLE. THIS IS DEFINITELY DEFECTIVE AND NEEDS TO BE RECALLED BY SUBARU TO FIX. DOESN’T MATTER IF THE VEHICLE IS ON A FLAT SURFACE OR IF IT IS AT AN INCLINE. THE REAR HATCH WILL GET STUCK AND CAN’T OPEN IT.

THE 2019 SUBARU FORESTER WITH THE ELECTRIC REAR DOOR, HAS AN ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE MANUAL RELEASE MECHANISM FOR THE INTERIOR REAR HATCH DOOR (THE 5TH DOOR AT THE REAR). A LITTLE PANEL HAS TO BE REMOVED USING A SCREW DRIVE TO ACCESS THE MANUAL RELEASE. THERE IS NO SIGN OR INDICATION THAT THE PARTICULAR PANEL HAS THE RELEASE BEHIND IT.IF FOR SOME REASON THERE IS AN EMERGENCY THAT NECESSITATES THE EMERGENCY USE OF THAT REAR DOOR, THE VICTIM WILL NEVER GET THE DOOR OPEN UNLESS (1) THEY KNOW OF THE PANEL AND (2) THEY HAVE A SCREW DRIVER WITH THEM!

Vehicle Speed Control

When it comes to the vehicle speed control of a car, everything must work the way it should. One small adjustment faster or slower could lead to a dangerous collision.

That’s exactly what Forester owners have found. Just read this review on Edmunds. “Cruise Control does not adjust in very small increments.  Seems like it speeds up or drops down in more extreme increments rather than more reasonable 2 mph increments.”

This is one of those instances that Subaru has chosen to remain silent instead of fixing the problem. Maybe they felt if they addressed anything else, they might lose valuable customers that didn’t recognize this car is a lemon. The trouble with that thinking is, most owners already know that. It doesn’t take the automaker to acknowledge the problem, especially when the drivers are the ones experiencing it. While the Forester has been around for more than 20 years, it’s likely it won’t continue in the lineup much longer like this. If future models continue to be made of this quality, the Forester will be a distant memory.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Subaru Forester Speed Control Problems:

TL-THE CONTACT OWNS A 2019 SUBARU FORESTER. THE CONTACT STATED THAT WHILE HIS SPOUSE WAS DRIVING AT APPROXIMATELY 5-10 MPH, WITHOUT WARNING, THE VEHICLE INDEPENDENTLY ACCELERATED AND CRASHED INTO TWO OTHER PARKED VEHICLES. THE CONTACT SUSTAINED LACERATIONS TO HER ARM WHICH REQUIRED MEDICAL ATTENTION. NO POLICE REPORT WAS FILED. THE VEHICLE WAS TOWED TO A COLLISION CENTER IN ANNAPOLIS, BUT CURRENTLY HAS NOT BEEN REPAIRED. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT DIAGNOSED. AN ATTEMPT WAS MADE TO CONTACT ANNAPOLIS SUBARU INC BY PHONE BUT WAS NOT SUCCESSFUL. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOT CONTACTED OR NOTIFIED OF THE FAILURE. THE APPROXIMATE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 6,000.

VEHICLE QUICKLY DEVELOPED A “SURGE, SPUTTERING, JERK” TYPE ACTION WHEN COASTING OR MAINTAINING SPEEDS ABOVE 35MPH. ALSO WHEN BRAKING, THERE IS GOOD AND PREDICTABLE SPEED REDUCTION UNTIL ABOUT 10MPH WHEN THE TRANSMISSIONS SEEMS TO UNLOCK AND THE CAR LUNGES FORWARD SINCE THERE IS SUDDENLY NOT ENOUGH BRAKE PRESSURE BECAUSE THE TRANSMISSION HAS SHIFTED FOR SOME REASON. DEALER HAS BEEN ABLE TO REPLICATE THE ISSUE BUT HAS NO KNOWN FIX. BRAND NEW CAR 1 MONTH OLD AND IT RUNS LIKE A BRAND NEW CAR SHOULD, UNTIL YOU GET TO MAINTAINING CRUISING SPEEDS

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

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