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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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Those X/5 scores are RELATIVE to other vehicles of the same age.
1/5 = much worse than average
2/5 = worse than average
3/5 = average
4/5 = better than average
5/5 = much better than average

Read this (not behind pay wall):
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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2,383 Posts
To our original post and the question - is a 2014 Forester a reliable vehicle. And the answer is yes. And maybe.

No matter what CR says (and let's face it, most of what they're going off of is a combination of prediction and owner reports. But in most cases, it may be a VERY slim margin of owners. Sure, they have "hundreds of thousands" of members (aka paid subscribers) and out of those, let's just say for simplicity sake out of say 500,000 members, how many drive a Subaru? And how many of those Subaru driving members are driving Foresters? And how many of them are 2014 Foresters...? Probably not that many. So their recommendations are a bit flawed to begin with. I'd much rather take the word of actual owners (and thousands of them) that are on these forums... And as for the concept that they're selling it for a reason - maybe they just do not need the Forester any more and it's a 2nd car that doesn't get used and they want the other car more... Who knows? People sell cars for all sorts of reasons - and not all of them are bad or related to an issue on the car. Assuming and stating that somebody sells a car only because of a mechanical issue is just ... well, never mind.

Yes, the 2014 was the first year for some items (like the CVT)... but the CVT had been attached to the 2.5 liter flat motor in the Outback for a few years and was not a "new" drivetrain to Subaru. Just to the Forester. Other bits also were new to the Forester but had been on the Outback previously. So some of the scary "oh my - new tech" is a bit false and not always an issue. Even the chassis and many components were not new as they came from the previous generation (SH) and other product lines (the Forester was based on the Impreza structure and shared some components there and others from the Outback - as mentioned).

Now, as to predictive reliability.. My 2014 Forester is my 2nd Subaru. My first was a mid-80s Subaru "DL" 4WD wagon. I bought it used with over 250K miles. It went to about 320 before a head gasket popped and the cost of repair (about 1200 bucks) was not justifiable on a car that I bought for 700....

My current Subaru has only 51,000 miles (under at this posting) and I bought in August 2013. I've had some issues - some repairs - but nothing major and nothing that has left me stranded or without a car. I have had concerns about the oil consumption issue - but both times I've been tested, I've not failed the test... It was done the first time when my oil light came on for no real reason on a road trip. It was a touch low, but probably more about it was low when the last oil change was done.... who knows. The next test was more about finding a way to possibly replace the motor due to a clattering noise (much like a ping from bad gas) that I've had for many years and miles.

I've had the recalls done (rear springs, brake light switch, rear hatch struts) and some other repairs (all under warranty) for some issues that were due to the original part provider and was updated during the production year...

Going back to the original post - you're saying that you are looking at a 2014 Forester and hoping it will go to 200K miles or more... So some questions.... (apologies in advance if they've been asked)....
  • How many miles currently on the Forester you're considering?
  • How much is the price they're asking? Current KBB values are from about 9,000 to about 15,000 - based on trim, options, condition, history and miles.
  • Are you buying from a private party or a dealer or even a Subaru dealer? A more reputable dealer will not be putting a problematic car on their sales lot, as they don't want to deal with the issues if you have some....
  • Are you buying the car for cash or making payments? If making payments, can you afford to put a few bucks off each month into an account that you use ONLY for repairs to the car? If you're paying cash - same question. Or do you have enough available room in a credit card (or three)..?
  • Do you have an idea of the service history of the car? And no, a "clean Carfax" doesn't count as Carfax is only as complete as the information put into their system. Most owners and many shops do NOT report repairs and such to Carfax. Some do, many do not.
  • What are your reasons for buying the Subaru? Is it for the safety reasons? The AWD? The MPG? What's your reason for buying the Forester and why are you possibly focusing on the 2014 model year and not some other years? The SJ generation started production in 2013 (for the 2014 model year in most countries) and ran until 2018. The SK generation comes along in 2018 (2019 model year) and is the current model for another year or two.
There are many instances of Subaru vehicles going many hudreds of thousands of miles. Some of them may have well done the mileage without any major repairs and just routine and regular maintenance... Others have had work done. That's one of the reasons to keep a buffer or an account for a possible big repair that may need to be done...

Note that some of the costly repairs may not impact the drivability of the Forester. For example, I had a repair done (warranty) for the Cam Carrier Seals. It's not a big job - it is just resealing those cam carriers... the reason it's expensive, however, is that the engine need to be pulled out of the car to get to that spot to make the repair.

That's a possible "negative" to the flat-4 motor structure and construction - some repairs need a lot of labor just to get to the spot. But that's about the only negative of a flat-4 motor (or the flat-6 in some other Subaru models and in a lot of Porsche models)...

Like with any used car, there can be concerns and issues and problems - it's a used car.

Be sure to have whatever Forester (or other car) checked out by a mechanic and be sure to have that way to pay for a repair (savings, credit card, whatever).

Good luck.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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2,279 Posts
And as for the concept that they're selling it for a reason - Assuming and stating that somebody sells a car only because of a mechanical issue is just ... well, never mind.
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I think you are the only one that said that FF.
For the record, I stated that "Most people don't sell a car because it doesn't have any problems", which I thought should be self evident..
Apparently not.
It is a very common reason for people to sell to avoid putting more money into a car than it's worth.
This forum and many others are rife with people buying used cars that have issues.
In any case, the discussion is moot, as the OP is apparently looking elsewhere after his single post.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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2,383 Posts
... and I was certainly not calling you out at all ... just countering the concept in general.
 

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I think you are the only one that said that FF.
For the record, I stated that "Most people don't sell a car because it doesn't have any problems", which I thought should be self evident..
Apparently not.
It is a very common reason for people to sell to avoid putting more money into a car than it's worth.
This forum and many others are rife with people buying used cars that have issues.
In any case, the discussion is moot, as the OP is apparently looking elsewhere after his single post.
That's the first thing that has always comes to my mind the times we have bought used cars. ....which is really rare. I prefer to buy new since we keep our cars typically for 10+ years at a time but when I do buy used, it will only be from sources and/or a rock solid history.

Not saying buying used is a bad move. Hell, my brother always bought used and it has served him well over the last 40 years. ...but most of the cars we have traded in were beginning to have more problems than what we wanted to deal with.
 

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2015 Forester2.5i Premium CVT
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The data is real but cannot be examined nor is the methodology made clear. If you want to share specifics of what they wrote, please do so. I guess you must be right about the dumbing down of America when so many people decided to buy Subarus over the past decade despite Consumer Reports warnings about the ''sub quality vehicles''... If you look at sales figures they have only increased by 300% over the past decade.
There is plenty of public-facing information about CR’s methodology and standards. You don’t read the publication, and can’t be troubled to learn anything about it before deciding to bash it in public, then clearly I would be wasting my time trying to enlighten you.
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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1,218 Posts
Your dialogue is not just with me. I was just asking for more specifics, and pointing out how the actual car market seems to contradict some of what you are advancing regarding reliability. If I have been reading a much more negative tone into what you wrote than you intended, I apologize in advance
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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811 Posts
With regard to oil burning, the following is the clearest explanation of the issue and cause that I have heard.
He goes on about the frequency of changing the oil. But (I watched only 3/4 of the video) he doesn't really make it clear that to reduce how quickly gunk gets built up, what is really needed is clean oil in the engine. You can have clean oil in the engine by changing the oil more frequently, sure. But he also talks about people making short trips, which doesn't give the engine time and temperature to evaporate the contaminants out of the oil and suck them through the combustion path.

I do the occasional 15 min trip during the week. But I do go on a one-hour highway trip once a week (and one hour back), and another one of same duration about once a week that is a mix of highway and city. I change the oil every 10,000 km (6,214 mi) using modern "good" oils (Quaker State Ultimate Durability or Pennzoil Platinum). I wonder how clean my oil is, and whether or not it's clean enough to avoid the problems described in the video. (Someone will suggest an oil analysis, but I'm not going to do that because I think others have done it.)
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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Well, basically I liked how he explained how oil debris can foul piston oil rings which begins stage 1 of the process of oil burning issues. In the end, he explains that if your engine is in stage one or two there is a possibility that an engine oil cleaner can be beneficial and free up the rings somewhat, and then good regular short interval oil changes can be done for maintenance. The main takeaway is that to avoid such issues altogether it is best to do regular shorter 3K to 5K mile intervals with good oil. Henceforth, I am going with 6 months max and 5,000 to 6000 KM change intervals.
I do more city driving than you and even less regular highway.
PS I posted the video because I liked the presentation, but also to make others more aware that this is not a unique Subaru problem.
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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Well, basically I liked how he explained how oil debris can foul piston oil rings which begins stage 1 of the process of oil burning issues. In the end, he explains that if your engine is in stage one or two there is a possibility that an engine oil cleaner can be beneficial and free up the rings somewhat, and then good regular short interval oil changes can be done for maintenance. The main takeaway is that to avoid such issues altogether it is best to do regular shorter 3K to 5K mile intervals with good oil. Henceforth, I am going with 6 months max and 5,000 to 6000 KM change intervals.
I don't know what he considers "newer" engines with weaker rings, but I had a 1990 Civic. When I got it, it had something like 150,000 km on it. I don't remember what the recommended oil change interval was for it, but I did the changes whenever the odometer was divisible by 5,000, and if I did it right, that was more often than recommended. One day I was going up a hill in 3rd and gunned it. I was going up the hill and then there was weird noise and the car ran like crap. I limped it to work, and then limped it home at the end of the day. Compression test showed no compression in one of the cylinders. Sticking a coathanger down the hole showed that the piston was moving up and down (I think we rolled the car) so the piston rod was okay. Taking it apart we found one valve had a chunk missing off the face.

I got a new valve and we replaced that valve, and all the valve seals, piston rings, did valve surfacing, etc. I was holding a valve and cleaning it with the wire wheel, and the valve slipped out of my hand and got sucked into the grinder. By the time I hit the power button and things stopped, there was a big gash in the valve stem, so I had to go get another valve. What was my point. Oh yeah, on at least one piston, some rings were stuck, and there was a chunk of ring land loose, held in place by two compression rings. So I had to get another piston as well. There was no damage to the cylinder wall so we just honed the cylinders and put everything back together. We found some sort of procedure to do to seat everything, like accelerate in a certain gear from this speed to that speed, and did that. After driving it around, I found that the car didn't have more power, but if I kept the pedal at a certain point, the car would continue accelerating and I could release the pedal a bit, unlike before, where if I kept the pedal at a certain point, the car would stop accelerating and I'd have to press the pedal more. And emissions tests came back SO CLEAN.

I eventually traded that car in for my 2007 Forester. It had about 250,000 km on it. The dealership offered me only $500 for the car, so I sold it to a friend for $500 instead of trading it in. I think my commute to work back then was about half an hour one way, some on the highway, and I was doing "frequent" oil changes, so maybe the bulk of the gunk buildup happened before I got the car.

The problems you can inherit when buying a used car.
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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He was describing more recent engines that have been known to consume oil. I had a 1990 Civic back in the day. The first car I bought new and the last car I ever got that did not have air conditioning.
 

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2002 Forester S auto
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I am looking to become a first time Subaru owner via purchasing a 2014 Forester. My bottom line question is: can I get 200k miles out of this car through regular maintenance? Buying and selling cars every five years isn't an option for me and making my dollar stretch through investing in a reliable vehicle is key.
Is there a 200k club thread on those forum for this generation of Foresters?
2002 forester. 197,000 miles. Change oil every 3K.. quite as a mouse.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5 manual
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33 Posts
Just to chime in here, and this is just my experience. I've got a 2016 with a manual tranny.
I love driving it, and thought this new purchase was going to last 10-15 years.
It has 106,000 kms and next week it's getting it's second short block replacement. Also, I replaced the clutch at just over 100,000 kms. I knew going in that Subaru would replace the block under warrant, but a second time ... hats off to Subaru; yes they do provide great service. However I babied the clutch. I wanted this one to last so no aggressive downshifting, keeping hands on the shifter, etc. I'm really disappointed, we are an all-manual car family and I had a KIA Sportage that got over 170,000 kms before the clutch had to be replaced. So even though I meticulously maintained it ... I lost the crap shoot. And with respect to Consumer Reports, they only reported on the excessive oil consumption after it had become well known in other media.
Good luck with whatever you purchase.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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@DragonSubie7 @Botnik - that's the exact reason I do not drive an XT and have not (will not?) make the change to a Forester Sport (SK gen).... even with AC.... I've found Japanese AC systems have a tough time dealing with 100-plus degree heat - something I live with 3 out of 12 months...
 

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2003 Forester Auto
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I am looking to become a first time Subaru owner via purchasing a 2014 Forester. My bottom line question is: can I get 200k miles out of this car through regular maintenance? Buying and selling cars every five years isn't an option for me and making my dollar stretch through investing in a reliable vehicle is key.
Is there a 200k club thread on those forum for this generation of Foresters?
A friend had a '98 Forester & had nearly 300,000 miles on it when he traded it in! Don't under estimate the longevity of a Subaru!!!!!!
 

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2015 Forester with 60k. Not one problem. We do our own maintenance on a strict schedule and love our Subaru. We typically get 250k out of our cars. Many long trips awaiting now that COVID is in the rear view. Best of luck. Great car for the high heat desert - a/c is top notch
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i
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I am looking to become a first time Subaru owner via purchasing a 2014 Forester. My bottom line question is: can I get 200k miles out of this car through regular maintenance? Buying and selling cars every five years isn't an option for me and making my dollar stretch through investing in a reliable vehicle is key.
Is there a 200k club thread on those forum for this generation of Foresters?
My purchased new '16 Forester base 6 speed manual was running like a champ (except for clutch failure) when I traded it after five years of ownership at 110k miles & the only reason I didn't keep it longer was because after spending $1900 to get the clutch replaced I decided it was time to trade for a CVT Outback. For me the key to maintenance which promotes drivetrain longevity is staying on top of engine oil & filter (as well as the engine air filter) changes per the maintenance schedule. Also not driving like I'm racing at Indy.
 

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I am looking to become a first time Subaru owner via purchasing a 2014 Forester. My bottom line question is: can I get 200k miles out of this car through regular maintenance? Buying and selling cars every five years isn't an option for me and making my dollar stretch through investing in a reliable vehicle is key.
Is there a 200k club thread on those forum for this generation of Foresters?
As an owner of 6 Subaru's there is no way you can assume you will get 200K from a 2014 without major ($4,000) repairs. Virtually all of that vintage will require a head gasket and possibly a new cvt. If you want to be assured of 200K trouble free miles, get a Toyota or Honda..If you doubt this google Subaru head gasket's...
 
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