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2018 Subaru Forester Problems and Most Reported Complaints!

2018 Subaru Forester Problems

2018 Subaru Forester problems are related to faulty airbags, bad powertrain, and unreliable steering system.   

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Subaru was the first automaker to introduce SUVs to American roads. These SUVs got very popular and attracted thousands of customers each year.

Introducing the 2018 Subaru Forester, super argues that this vehicle provides “the SUV for all you love!”

While many customers loved the new 2018 Subaru Forester, immediately after they drive it for a couple of years, they discovered that the vehicle is plagued with tons of mechanical problems.

According to automotive experts, the top reported complaints about the 2018 Subaru Forster indicated significant airbags, problems with the powertrain, and some defection in the steering system. 

If you are planning to purchase a used 2018 Subaru Forester, you need to make sure that you're familiar with any reported problems to determine whether it's worth purchasing this vehicle or not. Also, when you have a good idea about what problems expect, you can determine what to look for during your test drive.

If you are a current owner of the 2018 Subaru Forester, understanding what problems you might face is a good and crucial point in your several lifetimes. The vehicle will introduce some problems at a certain point of its lifetime, and thus, by knowing these problems and at what mileage it will occur, you will be prepared and determined when it's worth fixing this car or selling it instead.  

2018 Subaru Forester Overview 

If you're looking for a good compact SUV V, the 2018 Subaru Forster should be your way to go. It was featured on many larger platforms for its great cargo capacity, the long list of safety features, and the great MPG rating. 

The vehicle was ranked as #8 in the best 2018 affordable compact SUVs with the rank of 8.2 out of 10 according to cars.usnews.com

The 2018 Subaru Forester seats up to five passengers, and it's equipped with an all-wheel drivetrain. 

The 2018 Subaru Forester is equipped with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder or 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. This engine is associated with A continuous variable or six-speed manual transmission.

The towing capacity of the 2018 Subaru Forester is about 1500 pounds. With this vehicle, you can achieve between 170 and 250 horsepower. The vehicle achieves up to 26 miles per gallon on city roads and 32 miles per gallon on the highway. 

2018 Subaru Forester problems 

Yes, the 2018 Subaru Forster is the SUV that you will love! However, be prepared for some major mechanical problems during the lifetime of your future 2018 Subaru Forester!

A good number of reported complaints to larger platforms indicated significant issues with this vehicle.

Our team conducted an in-depth review of all reported complaints to larger platforms like carcomplaints.com, edmunds.com, repairpal.com, and more. 

According to automotive experts, “There is a long list of defective equipment included with this vehicle. Many items seem to malfunction from the airbags to the powertrain and steering system.”

In general, most reported 2018 Subaru Forester problems have to do with the windows, interior, electrical system, steering system, AC and heating system, and more. 

  • 2018 Subaru Forester Airbags problems: airbags not deploying! 


When you purchase a modern vehicle, you would never think of any safety features, especially those like the airbags. However, this was not the case with the 2018 Subaru Forester.

A good number of complaints indicated that the vehicle does not have an active airbag and can increase the risk of injuries when someone gets involved in a car accident.

Luckily, the automaker decided to release a recall to address the problem, and we will address this recall in the following sections in detail. 

Customer complaints #1

Ever since I purchased the car, the passenger air bag indicator light has shown ‘OFF.’ The NHTSA site shows numerous people have had the same experience. Some of those people were advised by Subaru service technicians that they must have spilled something on the seat, affecting the sensor. I was told the same when I took my car in. Subaru techs ran a diagnostic that indicated no error codes.”

Customer complaints #2

Front passenger airbag has been intermittently on and off, with and without a passenger, with and without items on the seat. This is the third or maybe fourth occasion vehicle is at the dealer. One of the first times they inspected the car, and their solution was to relocate the “module” (whatever the module is) for that seat. They stated it will solve the problem. A month later the car started to do the passenger airbag warning light on and off again. Car back again to dealer but then light was gone off. Yesterday, sep 23, 2019 car was dropped again at dealer with light on and the car still on, in order not to lose the situation at restart. They just called me and state the seat airbag was replaced $1,100 under warranty, car is 6500 miles or so. That we could not locate anything other than a passenger on that seat. Any item, cellular, tablet, computer, battery, bags, pursues, shopping items, papers, documents on that seat will possibly cause the situation again and they wont cover it under warranty. Also nothing in front of that seat by the floor..??? Not possible to recline the back of the seat…. What? This is my first car doing that. I don’t care what they say to us, it’s their responsibility and a deadly risk drive this car with the passenger light on and a passenger in it and been involved in an accident. This happens with the car on, but parked, stopped waiting for a light to change, moving, going forward, going reverse, and is intermittent.”

  • 2018 Subaru Forester Steering problems: loud, weird noises and vehicle jerking! 


One of the tops reported complaints about the 2018 Subaru Forester has to do with the steering system issues. Several customers indicated that driving this car can be very dangerous because steering problems affect the handling of this car which can be critical in emergencies.

Again, Subaru did not recall any vehicle regarding this problem. However, they documented some service bulletins capturing steering locking, rattling, and other issues. Subaru recommended that technicians consider investigating the loud noises coming from the steering system without detailed recommendations about what needs to be done. 

Customer complaints #1 

This is the noisiest car I have ever owned.  Terrible wind noise through the windows and the sunroof.  I consider the steering to be dangerous, as it almost pulled me off the road on a curve and constantly jerks to the right even when I am directly in the middle of the lane.  I’ve read complaints from others that this appears to be connected to the lane sway feature of the electronics (not the lane departure feature).  The dealer says it’s all in my head, although the loaner car they gave me was like a normal car that had smooth steering and the steering wheel didn’t jerk once.  I consider my car a lemon and I regret buying it — especially when the men who sold me this car keep ignoring my complaints.”

Customer complaints #2 

On straight highway sometimes will give a jerk to the right. Had vehicle in for issue they found steering shaft bolt loose. They retorqued to spec. Drove to florida still has same issues. When in a banked turn does not hold turn properly. When on absolutely straight highway steering wheel appears to be slightly to the left of 6:00. Making appt with dealership again. Don’t know when it started, wife had been driving due to my medical issue.”

  • 2018 Subaru Forester Transmission problems: Vehicle stops and slow movement! 


Modern vehicles do not have major issues in significant components like the transmission or the engine. However, several owners indicated that the 2018 Subaru Forester has tons of transmission issues that affect the overall driving experience with this vehicle.

Unfortunately, Subaru did not release any recall to capture these problems, and they, however, have some service bulletins addressing issues in the CVT assembly. Super indicated that they'd done a detailed investigation looking into transition problems and found that some fluids from the oil pump might reach their way to the shaft oil seal. Thus, technicians are recommended to remove the chain cover and clean the surfaces. 

Customer complaints #1 

Just got a 2018 Forester with cvt transmission. I no more than got it home and the car would cut out 1-2 seconds or more from a stop or slow movement. Apparently this can be a problem with some cvt transmissions. It is dangerous in close traffic or pulling out into oncoming traffic. Took it back to the dealer who told me it takes a while for the car to get used to my driving habits. I can’t buy this. Once the car cuts out it starts back up with a sudden jerk forward. This is unacceptable and am considering evoking the lemon law. Also the speedometer is set back under a cover and is hard to read.”

Customer complaints #2

Occasionally when i slowly accelerate from a stop, as when i pull into a driving lane from a parking lot a stop sign, the car will move a few feet and then stop. The engine will still be turning approx. 2000 rpm but the car will not move . When i apply the accelerator the rpm does not change and the car still will not move. After anywhere from 3-5 seconds the car will accelerate normally. Otherwise the car performs normally and there is no hesitation at higher speeds. As a result, i am sitting helpless in a traffic land with cars bearing down on me. S far we have not been hit. I have been unable to replicate this problem and it may occur a few times in one day or nit for several days. I took it to my local subaru dealer and they were unable to duplicate the problem on a test drive. However, a service writer with the same model did describe a similar experience. The service dept. Ran diagnostic tests and said that everything is normal. Subaru customer service said that unless they can duplicate the problem there is nothing they can do. When i googled this problem i found several similar complaints involving several subaru models and also that subaru is aware of the problem but apparently has not found a solution.”

  • 2018 Subaru Forester Windshield problems: windshield cracking! 


While windows problems are not considered one of the top in the 2018 Subaru Forester problems, it can be very risky, especially when driving on the highways and dealing with windshield cracking suddenly!

A good number of complaints indicated that this vehicle's windshield might crack without any pressure indicating a low-quality material.

Another group of people indicated that the windows might not function properly and you might deal with situations where windows don’t roll up.

So we also do not recall any safety issues about this vehicle; however, they've discussed in their service Bulletin things regarding replacing the cushions or the IP and the windshield glass. 

Most windows problems occurred at around 15,000 mile sand it cost customers about $1,200 to replace the windshield and recalibate the eyesight system. 

Customer complaints #1 

The contact owns a 2018 Subaru Forester. Approximately one month after purchasing the vehicle, a crack suddenly appeared in the windshield. After having the windshield replaced weeks later, another crack was present after a small pebble made contact with the windshield. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer and local dealer were notified of the failure.”

Customer complaints #2

“I’ve had my 2018 forester for just one year and two windshields have cracked from minor rock strikes. The factory windshield was replaced at 11,670 miles on 12/17/2018 and was replaced with subaru oem glass. Now at 24,000 miles the replacement windshield has cracked from a minor rock strike. I was driving the vehicle when a car passed me. The sound of the rock strike was barely noticeable and i didn’t notice the damage until my passenger pointed it out to me. Subaru windshields are too fragile and break easily which is a safety risk. I will be replacing this second subaru windshield with aftermarket glass.”

Customer complaints #3

“before entering freeway, at low speed, a crack appeared on the windshield. Seems to stem from the lower black strip on the windshield. There is a small impact point stemming from the black strip along the lower side of the windshield and the crack immediately grew to about 10” vertically upward from that. The next day, the crack curved and grew another 10-15” in length across the passenger side. I did not notice anything impact the windshield. A car was ahead of me but was about 2-3 car lengths ahead at low speed as it was a frontage road before entering the freeway ramp.”

Customer complaints #4

“i have had this car since april 2018. During my first week of ownership a small rock hit my windshield while driving on the highway and put a crack in it i got repaired. I’m constantly getting chips. I avoid driving behind semis and other large trucks.i have been reading that this is a very common problem with late year subaru’s. I feel subaru needs to improve the quality of glass they use. I want my experience with subaru documented. Hope something can be done. I’ve never had such a brittle windshield before.”

Customer complaints #5

“noticed small crack in windshield last tuesday, starting just above a clip on wiper. Assumed, at first it was dirty windshield from light rain & wiper use, but then saturday it moved about 6 inches mid day parked then halfway across driver side a couple of hours later parked. I have not been hit by anything big or small. I have read that this windshield issue has been in every subaru models. I want subaru to pay for this!”

Are there any recalls on the 2018 Subaru Forester? 

Yes, Subaru released two recalls and collected some 2018 Subaru Forester vehicles.

The first recall was on July 10th, 2018, focusing on issues with the tires.

Subaru indicated that some of the vehicles might have the wrong wheel size or tire size and, in some scenarios, wrong air pressure. Since these issues caused compliance with the federal motor vehicle safety standards, some were decided to recall all of these cars and get the problem resolved; otherwise, incorrect wheels and tire specifications can cause some risk of crashes. 

On October 3rd, 2018, many vehicles from the 2015 to the 2018 Forester model years were also recalled. The problem was related to the airbag sensor and the heated seats. Super indicated an issue with the electrical connection in the passenger’s seat that has to do with the occupant detection system.

A loose occupant detection system can cause the airbag not to deploy at the right time. Thus, any crashes would result in two injuries with these vehicles.

All owners were asked to visit the nearest Subaru dealership to get the problem resolved free of charge. 

How to avoid purchasing a 2018 Subaru Forester with mechanical problems? 

If you are planning to invest thousands of dollars in purchasing a 2018 Subaru Forster, you need to be very careful about inspecting the vehicle to prevent buying a car with major problems.

You have two options to get an idea about any problems in your used vehicle: you can either test drive the car or hire a professional mechanic to test drive the vehicle and pinpoint the problems. 

Automotive experts recommend that you add professional mechanics who have better experience in detecting any major mechanical problem. The problem has long experience making him able to easily detect any problem without spending so much time or effort.

However, many car shoppers think that bringing a mechanic can be a little pricey. However, they forget that they're spending thousands of dollars purchasing their vehicles, and it doesn't hurt to spend additional hundreds of dollars to bring a mechanic.

Imagine after purchasing this expensive vehicle, and someone had to deal with major mechanical problems?

The other option is to rely on your test drive if you think it's still not worth bringing A professional mechanic. When test driving the vehicle, you need to keep an eye and ear for any abnormal noises or behaviors of this vehicle.

For example, you might need to look for symptoms of a bad transmission, symptoms of a bad engine, symptoms of a bad steering system, etc.

Consider also checking the minor components in your 2018 Subaru Forester. While these minor components might be skipped quite by many shoppers, they can give a headache down the road.

Therefore, spend some time checking the radio, air conditioning, the heated seats, etc. These components can be very pricey, especially if you're living in an environment where you need to use them every day. 

Even if you had a great deal come on if you could elevate the situation properly and ensure that you're not tricked with a good-looking vehicle with major problems hidden. 

Is the 2018 Subaru Forester reliable? 

When it comes to the JD power reliability ranking, the 2018 Subaru Forester did not rank as other competitors from the same class. It only scored three out of five.

Although this vehicle did not reach what other competitors got, it is still considered above average reliability ranking. 

While they were liability ranking is a good way to judge whether a vehicle is good or not, you also need to consider what customers have to say about their experience with this vehicle.

However, the reliability ranking is not the only information you need to keep in mind before purchasing a used 2018 Subaru Forester. Some of the reported complaints indicated major mechanical issues with this vehicle. Thus, you need to consider those and have your mechanic inspect the vehicle, searching for any major problem before purchase. 

Is Subaru Forester a safe vehicle? 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2018 Subaru Forester is considered a safe vehicle. It received a score of five out of five based on its crash tests. It also received a score of four out of five in the rollover and frontal crash tests.

The bottom line

The 2018 Subaru Forester is an amazing vehicle. It got very popular in a very short time. The vehicle comes with a long list of amazing features attracting customers every day.

However, after customers tested the vehicle for a couple of years, they realize that it is equipped with tons of mechanical problems, and some of them might affect the driver's safety.

According to several automotive experts, “There is a long list of defective equipment included with this vehicle. Many items seem to malfunction from the airbags to the powertrain and steering system.”

Therefore, if you plan to shop for a used 2018 Subaru Forester, you need to spend time and effort testing this vehicle, so you don't end up with a faulty vehicle.

On the other hand, if you are a current owner of a 2018 Subaru Forester, before spending a penny fixing this vehicle, you need to validate the situation and ensure that it's worth fixing it. Otherwise, you need to consider selling your car to Cash Cars Buyer.

Cash Cars Buyer guarantees to buy your car despite its type or condition, and we will pay you the top dollars along with free towing despite your location around the United States. 

We can come to your house or office and remove your 2018 Subaru Forester free of charge on weekends, evenings, the same day if that works for you! 

If you would like more details about our process and our company, you can always give us a call at 866-924-4608 or visit our home page click on the free instant online offer.

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