Subaru Forester 2019-2024 Owners Manual / Driving tips / On-road and off-road driving

Subaru Forester: Driving tips / On-road and off-road driving


  • In a rollover crash, an unbelted person is significantly more likely to die than a person wearing a seatbelt. You the driver and all your passengers should fasten the seatbelts before starting to drive in order to minimize the chance of serious injury or death.
  • Do not make sharp turns and quick maneuvers unless absolutely unavoidable. Such actions are dangerous as you may lose control, possibly resulting in a rollover which could cause death or serious injury.
  • Always maintain a safe driving speed according to the road and weather conditions in order to avoid having an accident on a sharp turn, during sudden braking or under other similar conditions.
  • Whenever strong crosswinds are present, slow down sufficiently to maintain control of your vehicle. Remember that your vehicle, with its higher profile and center of gravity, is more likely to be affected by crosswinds than ordinary passenger cars.
  • Always use the utmost care in driving – overconfidence because you are driving an All- Wheel Drive model could easily lead to a serious accident.

Your vehicle is classified as a utility vehicle. Utility vehicles feature a higher ground clearance which enables them to be used for wide applications including offroad driving. But please keep in mind that your vehicle is neither a conventional offroad vehicle nor an all-terrain vehicle. A higher center of gravity in relation to the tread width as compared with ordinary passenger cars makes vehicles of this type more likely to roll over. In reality, utility vehicles have a significantly higher rollover rate than other types of vehicles. The high ground clearance of this vehicle is a real advantage, giving you a better view of the road and allowing you to anticipate problems earlier. However, remember that your utility vehicle is not designed for highspeed cornering comparable to ordinary passenger cars and that your vehicle could roll over if you make a sharp turn at high speed.

If you take your SUBARU off-road, certain common sense precautions such as those in the following list should be taken.

  • Make certain that you and all of your passengers are wearing seatbelts.
  • Carry some emergency equipment, such as a towing rope or chain, a shovel, wheel blocks, first aid kit and cell phone or citizens band radio.
  • Drive carefully. Do not take unnecessary risks by driving in dangerous areas or over rough terrain.
  • Slow down and employ extra caution at all times. When driving off-road, you will not have the benefit of marked traffic lanes, banked curves, traffic signs and the like.
  • Do not drive across steep slopes. Instead, drive either straight up or straight down the slopes. A vehicle can much more easily tip over sideways than it can end over end. Avoid driving straight up or down slopes that are too steep.
  • Avoid sharp turning maneuvers, especially at higher speeds.
  • Do not grip the inside or spokes of the steering wheel. A bad bump could jerk the wheel and injure your hands. Instead drive with your fingers and thumbs on the outside of the rim.
  • If driving through water, such as when crossing shallow streams, first check the depth of the water and the bottom of the stream bed for firmness and ensure that the bed of the stream is flat. Drive slowly and cross the stream without stopping. The water should be shallow enough that it does not reach the vehicle’s undercarriage. Water entering the engine air intake or the exhaust pipe or water splashing onto electrical parts may damage your vehicle and may cause it to stall. Never attempt to drive through rushing water; regardless of its depth, it can wash away the ground from under your tires, resulting in possible loss of traction and even vehicle rollover.
  • Always check your brakes for effectiveness immediately after driving in sand, mud or water. Do this by driving slowly and stepping on the brake pedal. Repeat that process several times to dry out the brake discs and brake pads.
  • Do not drive or park over or near flammable materials such as dry grass or fallen leaves, as they may burn easily. The exhaust system is very hot while the engine is running and right after engine stops. This could create a fire hazard.
  • After driving through tall grass, mud, rocks, sand, rivers, etc., check that there is no grass, bush, paper, rags, stones, sand, etc. adhering to or trapped on the underbody. Clear off any such matter from the underbody. If the vehicle is used with these materials trapped or adhering to the underbody, a mechanical breakdown or fire could occur.
  • Secure all cargo carried inside the vehicle and make certain that it is not piled higher than the seatbacks. During sudden stops or jolts, unsecured cargo could be thrown around in the vehicle and cause injury. Do not pile heavy loads on the roof. Those loads raise the vehicle’s center of gravity and make it more prone to tip over.
  • If you must rock the vehicle to free it from sand or mud, depress the accelerator pedal slightly and move the select lever back and forth between “1”/“D” and “R” repeatedly. Do not race the engine. For the best possible traction, avoid spinning the wheels when trying to free the vehicle.
  • When the road surface is extremely slippery, you can obtain better traction by starting the vehicle with the transmission in 2nd than 1st. For models with manual mode, refer to “Selection of manual mode”.
  • Never equip your vehicle with tires larger than those specified in this manual.
  • Wash the vehicle’s underbody after offroad driving. Suspension components are particularly prone to dirt buildup, so they need to be washed thoroughly.
  • Frequent driving of an AWD model under hard-driving conditions such as rough roads or off roads will necessitate more frequent replacement of the following items than that specified in the maintenance schedule described in the “Warranty and Maintenance Booklet”.
    • Engine oil
    • Brake fluid

Remember that damage done to your SUBARU while operating it off-road and not using common sense precautions such as those listed above is not eligible for warranty coverage.

    Driving tips for AWD models


    Winter driving


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