Home Model Specific Issues 2017 Subaru Forester Problems: All That You Need To Know

2017 Subaru Forester Problems: All That You Need To Know

by Kelvin Yates

Subaru is known to design cars, SUVs, and sedans that are dependable, roomy, and most practical in their price range. With no pretense vehicles from Subaru, the Japanese company has made its mark. With this, they have secured the trust of vehicle owners around the world. Read this article to know all about the 2017 Subaru Forester problems.

In 1997, Subaru introduced yet another compact SUV model line known as the Subaru Forester. The 5 doors, four-wheel crossover compact SUV, is now upgraded to its latest 5th generation model of Foresters.

Likewise, from the 2014 redesign, the 2017 Subaru Forester was released with numerous upgrades. These concern the exterior design, interior styles, and added technologies.

Like its previous generation Subaru Forester models, the 2017 Subaru Forester problems aren’t a rare sight among its owners.  There have been questions and conversations about its engines, transmissions, and sometimes its reliability.

In this article, we focus on what complaints and problems are associated with the 2017 Subaru Forester compact SUV. Before getting into the problems, we’d like to give you an idea of why it has gained in popularity.

2017 Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester 4th generation models were upgraded through the years starting from 2014 to 2018. Revisions and upgrades on the model year 2017 included radiator and engine protective grill on the front of the car, and revised dashboard assembly. On the exterior, headlight redesigns in this model include noticeable bezel rings, coupled with Subaru Forester’s logo design.

With the practicality of a wagon, this compact SUV included the features to make it the best of both worlds. It can also be a sports utility vehicle, crossover, and an off-roader. The 2017-year model, securing a spot in the top 10 of the most affordable compact SUVs, the Forester manages to retain the rudimentary and simplistic design of the vehicle’s signature style. Nevertheless, the focus on outward visibility and ease of access is also prominent.

The all-wheel-drive crossover is built with a turbocharged engine as an additional option and has promising fuel economy as well. This might compromise the fuel economy but make sure power delivery is more competent. Reverse automatic braking was another feature that lifted Forester’s 2017 model further.

With function leading form on this model, the 6 different trims include the base models 2.5i and 2.0XT. In both these models, the structure of the 5 passenger four-wheeler refrains from the sporty look of SUVs with boxy windows and larger doors, standing upright at a considerable height.

1. Features And Safety

The 2017 Subaru Forester is offered in a total of 6 trim levels. There are two base model styles, which are the 2.5i and 2.0XT. The 2.5i model is available in Limited, Touring as well as Premium trim levels. Meanwhile, the 2XT base model comes in only Premium trim and Touring Trim. You can check out the price range here, which states that the most feature-rich touring Forester models of the year 2017 will cut off at $35,000 and start at around a base model price of $24,000.

The major upgrades include revised exterior designs, a heated steering wheel, and an optional turbo quad-cylinder engine. Apart from a considerable 8.7-inch ground clearance, the transmission can either be manual or CVT.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems 1

The Premium model of 2.5i, for instance, includes a panoramic moonroof, variable driver’s seat, and other features. This is all built on the base model characteristics such as a telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth, and digital display technology.

The 2XT model with Premium trim has an additional inch to the 17-inch wheels of the 2.5i Premium model. Both the Premium trim levels include all-weather packages and bigger braking handles. While Limited versions include a CVT transmission, leather seats, and power hatchbacks, the touring models are the only ones to have high-quality audio systems and automatic ignition design. Torque systems are part of the touring models as well.

2. Styling, Safety, And Comfort

The styling of the 2017 model remains as practical and as straightforward as you can expect a Subaru SUV to be. Apart from the vehicle standing tall and upright, with square and large windows, the new grille and the motifs on headlights are a sure shot upgrade from the previous year’s models. The five-seater is roomy and never short of cargo space either. Weather and audio controls on the digital display screens are further additions as well.

Additional collision aversion technology makes sure that the 2017 model of the Subaru Forester is one of the most reliable vehicles when it comes to safety. From head restraints to rear cams, these models exhibit all the necessary safety features. Premium models also include specialized Eyesight camera controls that help avoid collisions up ahead.

In the 2017 model, one of the major modifications has been the work done on the complaints about bothering noises. Soundproofing and surface insulations have added to the noise-cancellation effect. This is to make your rides less noisy, unlike the previous year’s models.

The window lines lie low. As you sit in the driving seat, you would get enough height as well as the front room. All the interior seating and cargo space is accompanied by soft and matte finish fabric all over. A low driveshaft placement and enough headroom all add to the ulterior comfort of the 2017 Subaru Forester model.

3. Performance And Fuel Economy

Whoever owns a 2017 Subaru Forester, defined their driving experience and performance of the car as fun and comfortable. Although the Forester does not qualify as the most agile or sporty of vehicles, the acceleration and drive handling are a notch above average.

With its integration of continuously variable automatic transmission, you can expect moderate power and smooth performance in its league. With the 2.5i driving at 170 hp, and the 2Xt versions provide an incredible 250 hp on their models. When it comes to performance, what is impressive about the 2017 Subaru Forester is how is it capable of both on-road and off-road performance.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems 1

Users cannot rave enough about the 2XT model’s turbocharged engine, where the vehicle can increase its power despite its size.

The multicylinder turbocharged vehicles like the Forester do better in fuel economy as well compared to vehicles with supercharged engines. The difference between the two engines results in the variation in efficiency, which may be greater in turbocharged ones.

The 3 different models offered by the SI-Drive system include Intelligent, Sport, and Sharp for the latter version.

Fuel economy statistics for the 2017 Subaru Forester suggest that the model has 7.2L/100km fuel efficiency. The four-cylinder has multiple options with 2 liters and 2.5 liters in both turbo petrol as well as diesel engines. Subsequently, the two capacities deliver different efficiencies with the former performing a 10kW at 6200rpm, while with 2.5 liters, the power increases to 126kW at 5800rpm

2017 Subaru Forester Problems

JD power ratings are a reliable way of getting a general idea of the performance, driving experience, and overall reliability of a particular vehicle. On the website, the 2017 model’s heating and AC systems are a few of the features that have lost marks. As for reliability, the website sees Subaru as an average vehicle, particularly when it comes to mechanical matters.

Apart from customer complaints about faulty powertrains to mechanical failures, over the years, the 2017 model of the Subaru Forester has exhibited several problems in its performance, quality, and driving experience. Some of the major and more recurring problems of the vehicle include the following:

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #1: Airbag

One of the most criticized parts of common Subaru Forester Problems is its airbag. User complaints are endless and the variations just don’t seem to stop. The major issue with most 2017 Subaru Foresters is the failure of the airbag to get deployed when the time comes.

Usually, a common reason for deployment failure in other vehicles is the type of impact the car has had. In the case of a Forester, users have complained about how the airbag sensors are mostly defective. Airbag sensors may become deficient due to many reasons.

The initial design, manufacture, software updates, as well as firing calibration, all contribute to faulty airbag sensors. After several complaints have been lodged, Subaru confirmed that loose wiring on the passenger side may be responsible for such recurring airbag issues.

It is true that in vehicles, airbag deployment failure is significantly dependent on the wiring of the vehicle. During crashes, more vulnerable locations having these wires result in severed wires, causing the airbag to fail when they are needed the most.

Severed wiring is not the only reason Subaru Forester’s problems regarding airbags never cease to leave the complaint list on the NHTA website. Broken airbag modules and flawed electrical components of the vehicle are also more logical reasons stopping the timely filing of an airbag.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #2: Transmission

Slow transmission resulting in a delay in the shift from reverse to drive is one of the most common transmission issues that have been part of Forester issues.

Unfortunately, the company claims that it is normal for the vehicle to be sluggish on the shifts as it is a continuously variable transmission system. For one, insufficient fluid has led to many failed transmissions among the 2017 Subaru Forester problems.

Other than that, the jerking and stuttering problems, particularly when the car is traveling at low speeds, have qualified as a real problem in the vehicle. Whether it is the 6-speed transmission or CVT selection, faulty powertrains can be a reason for accidents as well.

Collision avoidance could be delayed or deterred if shifting is not smooth. The bigger issue occurs when not enough fluid is available in the transmission while leaving the factory. Drivers of the vehicle take note and complain assertively in such cases. Yet, low transmission fluid can be caused by leaks, shifter cables, or some issues in the valve system.

Deficiencies in maintenance and accidental water intrusion can also cause problems in transmission fluid. Low fluid can lead to burning smells and low engine power of the vehicle if you are looking for signs of whether there is a transmission problem.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #3: Engine

What’s any vehicle without a perfectly functioning engine? Most precisely, an engine is to a car what the heart is to a body. Sadly, subsequent to the myriad of Subaru Forester problems due to airbags and transmission, the engine of the vehicle has also shown glitches during drives.

The main issue occurs when Subaru is contacted regarding cracked manifold, they divert the issue that it is an issue with a catalytic converter that a service can fix. However, it often turns out that other engine parts also require their attention, more labor time, and hence higher repair costs.

The main problem that most complaints were listed under was how the vehicle completely broke down in the middle of travel, especially when accelerating, mainly due to faulty interior parts like the piston.

If the piston, an important part of the engine, is unable to make a swift movement, adequate power would not be generated in turn. The engine in the 2017 Forester acts strangely at times, making noises, bucking, as well as backfiring from time to time.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #4: Manifold Cracking

One of the most common 2017 Subaru Forester problems that have taken the users by storm is the issue with exhaust manifold cracking on the engine. Repairing such a crack would require some expertise or professional help. If you’re facing a similar problem, this video could help figure it away.

Engine problem in the 2017 Subaru Foresters is not confined to a single cause. Oil leaks due to faulty oil filters have been previously reported as well. If the oil filter is not functioning properly, there’s a chance that they will not be able to filter out the contaminants. Eventually, this can lead to oil leakage.

Other than that, there could be engine failure caused by overheating problems as well. Although overheating is not the most common issue in this Forester model, defective coolant systems are not alien to the users either.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #5: Speed Control

Sadly, the speed control problem on the 2017 Subaru Forester commonly occurs, and it has to do with reverse acceleration.

One of the more detrimental problems has been specified by one of the customers who stated that as he parked the car, the speed control went haywire, and ended up reversing backward. This not only caused damage to the car but also put the driver in jeopardy. Additionally, the brakes were broken as well.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #6: Electrical System

Among the problems that drivers are facing with the 2017 Subaru Forester model involves its tailgate and its functions. Failed or drained battery is another challenge that has many drivers on their toes. They often notice weak battery life which needs to be changed with extra cost as well.

Frozen radio and stuck navigation systems are also a result of faulty electrical systems in the 2017 Forester. One of the customers complained about how they had to replace the battery 3 times in 4 years.

From parasitic drain to faulty charging, these can be the root cause for which electrical system leads to battery defects. If your alternator is faulty, you may also face similar 2017 Subaru Forester problems.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #7: Steering

The importance of a steering system and how it works is amplified when you realize, as a driver, that all your control is dependent on the power steering of the vehicle.

In the 2017 Subaru Forester, the steering problem mainly occurs due to the difficulty in turning the steering wheel in the middle of driving. Until the engine is restarted; the steering does not go back to normal. Ignition kept getting stuck in the steering is also another complaint that has been noted in this vehicle.

Moreover, the model has also shown signs of drifting of the wheels. Sometimes, a vibration of the steering is a part of a larger engine problem. Fluid leaks, electrical shorts, and low power steering fluid (which helps if you know where to put the power steering fluid) are all root causes contributing to the unstable steering problems of the 2017 Forester.

If there are additional suspension, calibration, or stabilizer issues within the vehicle, you may expect your steering to become out of order in your Subaru 2017 model. A failed airbag with a defective speed control might result in the most detrimental situation for drivers if not fixed or detected immediately.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #8: Fuel System

A properly functioning fuel system is essential for the smooth operation of any vehicle. Unfortunately, some 2017 Subaru Forester owners have reported issues with the fuel system. One common problem is the fuel pump failing, which can lead to the engine stalling or not starting at all.

Another issue is the fuel gauge not displaying the correct amount of fuel, which can be incredibly frustrating and potentially dangerous if you run out of gas unexpectedly. This can be caused by a faulty fuel sensor or a problem with the vehicle’s electrical system.

Additionally, there have been reports of a strong fuel smell inside the cabin, which can be due to a fuel leak somewhere in the system. Fuel leaks are a serious concern as they can lead to a fire. If you notice a strong smell of gasoline while driving or parked, it’s essential to have your vehicle inspected immediately.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #9: Air Conditioning and Heating

Another area of concern for the 2017 Subaru Forester is the air conditioning and heating system. Some owners have reported that the air conditioning does not blow cold air, or the system takes a long time to cool down the cabin. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as a refrigerant leak, a faulty compressor, or a clogged condenser.

On the flip side, some owners have also reported issues with the heating system not producing enough heat or taking a long time to warm up the cabin. This can be caused by a malfunctioning thermostat, a clogged heater core, or a problem with the blower motor.

It’s important to have these issues addressed promptly as a comfortable cabin temperature is essential for safe driving, especially in extreme weather conditions.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #10: Brakes

The brake system is one of the most critical safety features of any vehicle, and unfortunately, the 2017 Subaru Forester has had its share of brake-related issues. Some owners have reported a soft or spongy brake pedal, which can lead to a longer stopping distance. This can be caused by air in the brake lines, worn brake pads, or a problem with the master cylinder.

Another common complaint is a grinding or squeaking noise coming from the brakes, especially during low-speed stops. This can be due to worn brake pads, glazed rotors, or a lack of lubrication on the brake components.

Lastly, some owners have reported a vibration or pulsation in the brake pedal during hard stops. This can be caused by warped rotors, uneven wear on the brake pads, or a problem with the ABS system.

If you notice any of these issues with your brakes, it’s essential to have them inspected and repaired immediately.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #11: Exterior Problems

Some owners have also reported various exterior problems with the 2017 Subaru Forester. One common complaint is the paint chipping or peeling off easily, especially on the front bumper and hood. This can be due to poor paint quality, exposure to harsh weather conditions, or stone chips from the road.

Another issue is the windshield cracking or chipping easily, even without any significant impact. This can be due to a manufacturing defect in the glass or the installation process.

Additionally, some owners have reported problems with the sunroof not opening or closing properly, or making a noise during operation. This can be caused by a faulty motor, misaligned tracks, or a problem with the seal.

If you experience any of these exterior problems with your 2017 Subaru Forester, it’s essential to have them addressed promptly to maintain the vehicle’s safety and appearance.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #12: Interior Problems

The interior of the 2017 Subaru Forester has been reported to have several issues by some owners. One common problem is the infotainment system not working properly, such as the screen going blank, the system not responding to touch or voice commands, or the Bluetooth connection dropping frequently.

Another issue is the interior trim coming loose or falling off, which can be due to poor workmanship or the use of subpar materials. Additionally, some owners have reported that the seats are uncomfortable, especially on long drives, and that the upholstery wears out quickly.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #13: Suspension Problems

Some owners have reported suspension problems with the 2017 Subaru Forester. One common complaint is a clunking or rattling noise coming from the suspension, especially over bumps or rough roads. This can be due to worn bushings, loose bolts, or a problem with the shock absorbers.

Another issue is the vehicle pulling to one side while driving, which can be caused by a misalignment of the wheels, uneven tire wear, or a problem with the steering system.

Lastly, some owners have reported a bumpy or harsh ride, which can be due to a problem with the suspension components, tire pressure, or wheel alignment.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems #14: Visibility Problems

Visibility problems have also been reported by some 2017 Subaru Forester owners. One common issue is the headlights not being bright enough, which can be due to a problem with the bulbs, the electrical system, or the headlight assembly itself.

Another complaint is the windshield wipers not working properly, such as not clearing the windshield effectively, making a noise, or leaving streaks. This can be caused by worn wiper blades, a problem with the wiper motor, or a misalignment of the wiper arms.

Lastly, some owners have reported that the rearview camera does not work properly or has a delayed response, which can be due to a problem with the camera itself, the wiring, or the infotainment system.

In conclusion, the 2017 Subaru Forester is a popular SUV that offers many great features, but it also comes with its share of problems. It’s important to be aware of these potential issues and address them promptly to ensure your vehicle remains safe and reliable. Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent many of these problems from occurring in the first place.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems – Real Owner Complaints

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA lets you monitor and learn about the real-time problems faced by users of the 2017 Subaru Forester. This is a good way of understanding how problems translate into bad experiences while one is on the road. You can also check some of the complaints here.

1. Airbag Complaint

One of the latest complaints, among the 92 other complaints, about the vehicle’s airbag, sounds more detrimental than others, which says:

Vehicle was struck by a dump truck traveling approximately 50 mph that ran a red light. The impact was on the front passenger side. Although the collision was violent and there was substantial frontend damage, no airbags were deployed. The driver was the only occupant.”

2. Electrical System Complaint

Following the generous number of complaints about airbags, customers seem to be concerned about the electrical system of the 2017 Subaru Forest as well. One of the drivers of the vehicle states,

 “I’m having trouble removing the ignition key even with the car in PARK and pressing on the brake pedal, on level ground. It’s intermittent and both keys are involved. The steering wheel still moves freely. The car is out of warranty and I have not asked a dealer about it. I belong to a Subaru Forester user group and it seems to be a fairly common problem. This could endanger me if I wanted to exit the vehicle quickly and couldn’t remove the key. A carjacker could still start it just fine. No notices appear on the dashboard relating to this.”

3. Cracked Manifold Complaint

When it comes to the 2017 Subaru Forester problems, the cracked manifold engine is much talked about. Consequently, it has caused users to become out of favor with the company. One of the users in NHFST said,

“exhaust manifold cracked and needed to be replaced; was first advised that the catalyst converter was bad and would need to be replaced by a nonsubaru service provider. when I took to the Subaru dealer, was advised I had to pay for 2 hours of labor to “diagnosis” the exhaust before they could advise of issue/fix it; did not do at that time. next Subaru maintenance requested to have the situation diagnosed; was then advised that did not need to remove covers to diagnosis, they knew it was the exhaust manifold. the part was on backorder; ordered and then replaced; exhaust still loud and now have fumes that were not present prior to the repair”

4. Other Complaints

The suspensions, locks, and wheels seem to be the less problematic areas where customers have lodged the least complaints. One claimed that the vehicle vibrates violently when the car accelerates up to a certain speed. Or, it might occur at speeds around 50 or 60 mph.

One complaint on Edmund’s website calls the transmission terrible, explaining:

I had high hopes for this vehicle, it being the first *new* car I’ve owned. Sadly, it was a complete disappointment. The safety features are solid however, here are the areas it fails miserably. Transmission: Incredibly sluggish for a CVT. the gearing designed to simulate actual shifting is terrible. It is so awful that at low speeds the vehicle will jerk you around rather than driving smoothly because it can’t decide if you are driving in its fake 2nd or fake 3rd gears. Additionally, it appears that the transmission either slips or cannot decide whether it is time to engage when you hit the gas suddenly from a standstill. This is particularly dangerous if you need to accelerate to avoid a collision. Interior: The ventilation system is cheap.”

The steering problems might not happen as often as failed transmission or faulty airbags. However, they are also a common complaint. Users have vented about not being able to get out a stuck key in the ignition of the steering wheel.

2017 Subaru Forester Facts:

  1. The 2017 Subaru Forester has undergone considerable upgrades to deal with evolving buyer needs and the fast-paced developments in the compact SUV market.
  2. The 2017 Forester price starts at $23,600, and it competes with other SUVs in the segment like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Mazda CX-5.
  3. The Forester has 403 complaints and one recall, which might not seem worrisome compared to its sales figures of around 170,000 units, but some complaints have widespread impacts and require immediate remedies.
  4. Complaints related to the airbag system include the non-deployment of airbags and the malfunctioning of the Occupant Detection System.
  5. The Forester’s electric system complaints include a parasitic battery drain (you can diagnose this by learning what drains a car battery), an inability to remove the key, and service brake problems.
  6. Mechanical complaints include hesitant acceleration, transmission system concerns, steering system issues, and unintended acceleration.
  7. Structural complaints include a cracked windshield, which can affect the visibility of the driver.
  8. Subaru has introduced a recall for the airbag issue and is replacing the ODS sensor mat harness free of charge, but the replacement parts are on backorder.
  9. The 2017 Forester comes with a capacious cabin, potent engine options, and average off-roading capabilities, making it a pleasant inclusion in the compact SUV market.
  10. The 2017 Mazda CX-5 has the most dignified reliability record in the segment if you are looking for alternative options.

2017 Subaru Forester Problems: In Conclusion…

In our opinion, the 2017 base models of the Subaru Forester are practical, affordable, and might be among the more superior CVT-powered variants among its competitors. Unfortunately, like other vehicles, the 2017 Subaru Forester problems can be plentiful and common.

The most common one is faulty airbags and transmission issues causing slower shifting. The problem mainly surfaces when an internal vehicle issue concerns the safety of the occupants. That’s why engine or electrical faults, erroneous vehicle speed control, and congested steering wheels are where the primary customer displeasure and complaints center around.

You may also like


Norm Rozon January 4, 2022 - 10:15 pm

Well, after reding your many complaints, you have described a piece of unreliable junk. Only a fool would part with his money for a Forester!

Ed Scott November 20, 2023 - 11:13 am

I am the original owner of a 2017 Subaru Forester Touring, normally aspirated. I live in Wilmington, NC where it is relatively flat. It has 44,000 miles on it (November 2023.) I have had no problems with it, at all. I changed oil at 400 miles (yes, four hundred miles) and began using Amsoil 0W30 Signature series (not 0W20 as recommended in the manual.) I changed fluids in the front and rear differentials, and the CVT at 30,000 miles using Amsoil 75W115 (not the 75W90 as recommended in the manual) in the differentials, and Amsoil CVT fluid in the CVT. I did three flushes of the CVT at 30,000 miles. The only thing I have had to replace is the battery, which was a cheap 3 year battery. So far, I am completely satisfied with the performance of the car. My only complaint would be the fit and finish of the car – cheap paint and poor quality body work.


Leave a Comment