The Subaru Forester has recalls for transmission problems for the model years of 2001 and 2002 which concerned 172,564 Subaru Forester owners, according to Repair Pal. The newer models have not had recalls for this same transmission problem, but Subaru owners have complained about some other transmission problems with the Forester.
2001 and 2002 Subaru Forester had a transmission recall from the manufacturer because the parking rod was installed incorrectly on over 170,000 vehicles. The Forester could not remain in park on the automatic transmissions of the Subaru because of this improper installation. The Forester owner could put the vehicle in park, but because of the parking rod being installed wrong it would roll or move as if the vehicle was in neutral. This transmission problem has a corrective action available from the dealership and does not cost the Subaru Forester owner anything for the repair.
The 2004 Subaru Forester was investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) for problems concerning the power-train of the transmission. No recall was instituted by the manufacturer because the concern from the NHTSA did not reveal a widespread problem, but some owners have experienced problems with the transmission power-train. The power-train of the Subaru runs the gears of the engine and transmission causing power to be supplied to the axles of the all-wheel drive or two-wheel drive Foresters. This transmission problem allowed the Forester to move and change gears, but caused the vehicle to jerk when changing from gear-to-gear. The Forester owner must take the Subaru back to the dealership to have this problem corrected.
The transmission fluid level must not get too low which causes the Subaru Forester to jerk during take-off, slip when shifting gears, or not move at all. Another transmission problem attributed to low transmission fluid level has been in the 2006 Forester and causes the vehicle to slam into low gear when slowing down the Subaru or deceleration. Forester owners need to check the transmission fluid level periodically to ensure the fluid is not too low and add new fluid when the level shows a low fluid level on the dipstick. The Subaru owner must not overfill the transmission fluid level which can create additional transmission problems.