2022 Subaru Forester Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Faulty headlights, cracking windshields, and issues with malfunctioning airbags and fuel systems are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2022 Subaru Forester includes standard all-wheel drive and features to carve a new path. In fact, the automaker claims it is “the SUV for all you love.” However, when windshields crack spontaneously, vehicles burst into flames, airbags fail to deploy, and headlights create a visibility hazard, you can’t blame customers for complaining.

Click on other model years to view more problems:  2019   2020   2021   2023

Most Common Problems with the 2022 Subaru Forester

Between February 28 and November 9, 2022, 32 consumers complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about their 2022 Subaru Foresters. Manufactured in Japan since 1997, it was originally launched as “SUV Tough, Car Easy.” But the 2022 model doesn’t seem to be that tough.

You don’t have to be superstitious to be alarmed that 13 consumers have experienced problems with their windshields cracking. All 7 of the complaints about exterior lighting focus on the vehicle’s headlights, which they say create a dangerous visibility hazard at night.

All other complaints, which span another 12 components and systems, reflect 1-3 complaints. Some, of course, mention more than one component. For example, complaints about the fuel/propulsion system are also filed as electrical system and/or engine problems. Two of these describe how the Forester burst into flames.

The 2 airbag complaints, both of which describe what happened when they didn’t deploy, are seen as vehicle speed control or forward collision avoidance issues as well.

Other components that are the subject of complaints include the powertrain, seats, structure, suspension, and steering, as well as lane departure.

2022 Subaru Forester Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Exterior Lighting
Service Brakes
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Fuel/propulsion System
Air Bags
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings

Cracking Windshield Problems

A total of 13 owners with windshield problems have filed complaints with the NHTSA under Unknown or Other, Visibility, and Visibility/Wiper.

An owner from California states that the windshield cracked on the driver’s side when the vehicle was two weeks old. The crack appeared while the SUV was stopped. There was no debris on the road at the time.

A Nebraska owner reports a crack on the windshield starting from the bottom, expanding to the driver’s side. It was “causing a visibility hazard.” All the dealer did was take a photograph and forward this to the manufacturer. “The windshield was not replaced.”

An owner from New York states: “This is my second Subaru Forester. On my first, I had a cracked windshield in 5 places due to small debris hitting the vehicle in a normal operating matter. This was replaced. My current vehicle, with less than 500 miles on it, already has 5-6 chips in the windshield due to some defect in the glass that causes the glass to crack under nearly no pressure at all. I can’t even imagine where the cracks came from with such low mileage and driving in near-perfect, normal operating conditions. It is only a matter of time before I will need to have the windshield replaced on this vehicle. It is also hazardous to know that it may shatter and injure me at any time. I have had the vehicle (for) less than 5 weeks.

And an owner from Alabama tells how the “Windshield spontaneously cracked while stationary on a level paved major thoroughfare. There was no impact on the windshield of any kind. No prior damage. Just sitting at a red light (with) no traffic approaching from any direction and the windshield cracked in the middle sections of the glass, on the right edge.”

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Faulty Headlight Problems

Multiple owners are complaining that there are serious safety issues with the Forester’s headlights. They report 3 major problems, all of which are perpetually moving and visible all the time because the headlights are steering responsive:

  1. Two large, shaded black spots appear directly in the driver’s field of vision. They are between 15 and 20 feet in front of the vehicle.
  2. The projection cutoff lines are irregular and jagged, with low points dropping downwards.
  3. Two rectangular, black areas below the cutoff area, but in the driver’s field of vision.

An owner from West Virginia states that his wife works nights. “She drives home in the dark and into work in the dark during half the year. This vehicle is horrible for night driving. I have never seen headlights so bad.”

A Pennsylvania owner states: “The first time I drove the vehicle at night I became almost completely disoriented and would have had an accident if I had been driving faster than 20 mph under cruise control. I stopped, got my bearings, and drove the last quarter mile home. I thought I had a brain seizure.​​”

An owner from New York is most concerned about the dark rectangular shadows. “This is very unsafe and definitely very annoying because all you see are those two shadows right in front of your eyes.”

Problems Relating to the Fuel System

Of the 3 complaints relating to the vehicle’s fuel/propulsion system, one vehicle exploded because of a faulty fuel line. Another caught fire, possibly because it was leaking oil. The third reportedly has issues with oil and onion-like sulfur smells, and possible exhaust fumes.

A fourth fuel-related complaint filed in the Unknown or Other category describes a “nasty, burning smell” in the cabin. The owner, from Oregon, also detected “an unknown fluid” leaking from under the engine when the Forester had only 100 miles on the clock. He says he “saw someone on Reddit who had their 2022 Forester catch on fire and burn up at 70 miles. Subaru blamed a hole in the radiator. I highly doubt that.”

The owner of a 2022 Subaru Forester from Maine states that a few months before a fuel line malfunction caused his Forester to catch fire and explode, the SUV’s engine was replaced after it had failed. The car exploded 600 miles later after he had smelt gas while driving on the highway.

Terrifyingly, he says, he “barely got out of (the) vehicle in time before (the) explosion.” He wasn’t injured but lost all his personal belongings that were in the Forester. A few weeks later, Subaru of America confirmed that a faulty fuel line had caused the fire and explosion.

The second incident involving fire also resulted in the total loss of a 2022 Subaru Forester. The owner states that he bought the vehicle on July 25, 2022. It only had 78 miles on the clock when it was destroyed on August 3, 2022.

“I was driving to work and my car started stalling. So I pulled into a parking spot and when I got out I noticed a trail of oil behind the car. I closed the door and the car started smoking and within seconds it was in flames.”

Airbag Problems

When airbags malfunction there is always a risk that people in the vehicle will be injured. This happened when the owner of a 2022 Subaru Forester from North Carolina crashed.

In a complaint filed under airbags and vehicle speed control, the owner states that while pulling slowly into a parking space, “the vehicle suddenly experienced unintended acceleration and drove over a curb and traveled up a hill before crashing into a tree. During the crash neither the driver nor passenger-side airbags deployed. The driver and front passenger sustained chest injuries. The vehicle was destroyed and towed away.” The cause of the failure had not been determined when the complaint was filed.

The second complaint from an owner in Texas also describes a crash where the airbags malfunctioned. Fortunately, there were no injuries, but the vehicle was badly damaged. The owner believes that the automatic emergency braking system may also have failed.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Not every 2022 Subaru Forester is a lemon, but it appears that there are multiple reasons why some may be. If you are plagued by issues that affect the use and value of your SUV, contact Lemberg Law for advice.

Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners. We have negotiated many deals for our clients. All you have to do is call our Helpline or fill out a contact form. We will assess your problem and advise you. You don’t pay us because the law says that Subaru must pay the legal fees of lemon law cases.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Gaitree

    Hello Brian, I am the owner of 2022 Forester Premier, I am scared of the purchase as I find when I slow down the engine cuts off and when I am ready to drive again it comes back on. Because this is new to me as I live in the city it happens often especially in a line of slow traffic or at a stop sign I would like to know if this is normal and how to deal with it.

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