Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Reliability and the four wheel drive system - 2016 Subaru Forester

asked by on

Was told to avoid the Subarus do to head gasket problems and four wheel drive problems..I didn't listen i got a 2016 i love this forester so fare..did i make the right move?

My car has 6000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hello. I will be glad to help you relative ...

Hello. I will be glad to help you relative to your question about the reliability of the 2016 Forester. "Reliability" data on all vehicles is available from at least two very significant and authoritative sources. The first is the NHTSA - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - database of complaints that is model year and make specific. Typically, if there is a systematic problem (e.g., head gasket in your query) with a "particular" model or year, you will see a lot of customer complaints logged into NHTSA’s online searchable database at NHTSA website.

You will also get an indication of any problem areas in specific vehicle systems by searching at that same site for Technical Service Bulletins (TSB’s) for your specific vehicle. I did a quick search of the NHTSA database for the 2015 Forester which revealed only 81 Complaints and 12 TSB’s none of which implicated the head gasket or 4-wheel drive problems. Furthermore, in my experience, to see merely 81 Complaints logged for a particular model year is really low. On some cars if you do random checks of the database as I have done over the years, you will see literally hundreds of complaints.

Another source of reliability data comes from the Consumer Reports annual survey of vehicle owners from which they have compiled (for many, many years now) extremely detailed statistical reliability reports for every major vehicle system for all of the makes and models out there. The data is reported on a model year basis, too. That data is readily available in the Library, or online by subscription. I did not look up the CR data but I doubt that you will find any significant indication of a problem, certainly nothing that exceeds "average" failure rates that are associated with cars.

To sum it up, if you want to gain a really detailed understanding of what issues have arisen for owners of your particular car, your best bet is to read the fairly detailed entries in the NHTSA database (i.e., in your case, the complete text of the 81 Complaints). But keep in mind, even out of these 81 complaints, many are quite irrelevant as people will often complain about very routine, unavoidable failures and will even report their own "crashes" as the facts disclosed have nothing to do with any particular vehicle fault.

The point is, as I would have expected, the number of complaints for Foresters covering any of the major vehicle systems is actually quite low. So you made a good choice. Your car will be reliable as long as it is well-maintained. But if you run into any issues, or need maintenance, feel free to get in touch with a certified technician from YourMechanic.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Need tips on changing my brake pads

Hello. A brake job is not a difficult job for someone who is mechanically inclined. Having the proper tools will also make this job easier. You will need the appropriate sockets and ratchet, a 6” or larger “c” clamp, brake...

Q: How often should I change the rear differential fluid on a 2016 Acura RDX?

Hi there. The fluid should be changed about every 15,000 to 20,000 miles to remove all contanimates and metal from the gears as they wear. I recommend having your differential serviced and use the OEM specified lubrication to maximize the...

Q: Car loses power once it warms up

If no error codes are present, this is generally an indication that the base air fuel ratio may be set up incorrectly by the ECM. This can occur if the mass air flow sensor and idle valve are reading/operating incorrectly,...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...