2014 Subaru Forester - TCM repair just out of warranty

I have a 2014 forester 3 months out of warranty with a problem with the TCM(TRANSMISSION CONTROL MODULE) told by Subaru that it will cost me $4000.00 to replace this faulty part in the gear box. I feel this is a manufacturing fault and should be at Subaru cost.

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Maybe you could start a class action suit against Subaru…you are probably not the only one with this problem.

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you may be covered by this:

2014-15 Forester 2.5L NA CVT
In the interest of customer satisfaction, Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) is extending the New Car Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage for the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) on the above listed models and model years from the original ve (5) years or sixty thousand (60,000) miles (whichever comes rst) to ten (10) years or one-hundred thousand (100,000) miles (whichever comes rst). This change is not in response to any speci c condition, rather it is to provide customers with added assurance regarding the function and overall performance of their CVT.

I’d push it up the Subaru chain, since your dealer is not honoring this.


I’m a little confused, to be honest

What you just posted seems to cover the CVT assembly itself, which I would consider mechanical

Yet from my interpretation, OP has a problem with the control module, not the actual transmission. That said, I’ve seen some transmission control modules which also had somewhat of a mechanical aspect to them, because they were integrated with pressure switches, solenoids, etc.

I see possible wiggle room for Subaru to deny coverage, either based on the wording of the coverage itself, or possibly by the nature of OP’s exact problem

But I feel that Subaru should pay all . . . or at least a substantial portion of the repair, because the car is barely out of warranty.

If not under the extended coverage, it might be considered goodwill. But I’ve seen that go a long way, and sometimes the customer buys another car from the same dealer and/or buys the same brand again, based on the dealer’s willingness to help them

$4000 seems like a lot of money to replace the module alone, when the existence of the extended coverage makes me think the cvt transmission itself is known to have mechanical issues, whether Subaru admits it or not. Those extended coverages don’t exist if everything’s fine and the part is a strong and reliable design. And that applies to all brands, not just Subaru. It would be crazy if OP payed to have the module replaced, only to have the cvt transmission itself fail shortly thereafter

The OP implied that the control module is IN the CVT itself, which, to me, makes it part of the transmission and should be covered.

If it’s a separate box, then it’s a bit shaky, but I’d still argue that the module is a functional part of the transmission.

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The more recent Benzes have the module inside the transmission, but it typically can be replaced separately.

A few years ago, I replaced a module on a GM truck, which was integrated with a lot of other stuff. The valve body had to come out, and the module sat on top of that. but it was a straightforward repair.

In both cases, the repair was rather involved, but the transmission did not have to come out

I’m thinking possibly due to the nature of the cvt itself, the transmission has to come out and the module is replaced on the bench, so to speak.

If this were my car, I’d be trying my darndest to have Subaru fix the problem on their dime. It’s ironic that if OP had a problem with the transmission itself, rather than just the module, it would be easier to get them to pay for it. This is one of those situations where the service manager, or maybe even the zone rep, should get involved.

I tend to agree that an internal transmission module, especially if it’s an integrated one with switches, solenoids, fluid passages, etc. is a functional part of the transmission. But I wonder what the Subaru legal team would say . . . ?

When did you take ownership of this 2014 Subaru? How is it possible to have a model year 2014 Subaru that is “Three months out of warranty?” The warranty overage starts when you take ownership and extends five years on that drivetrain component. That means the current warranty covers cars sold as far back as March 25, 2013.
Did you somehow find a model year 2014 car for sale in late December of 2012? What are we missing? The Transmission Control Unit is specifically listed in the drivetrain warranty as covered. (ps - I own a 16 Forester with the CVT and I am always interested in any Subie story and how dealers handle customers in need)

I think I know what may be going on here now . . .

OP bought this 2014 Subaru in December 2014, and the new car warranty, which was 3 years, expired about 3 months ago, and the dealership guys are keeping quiet about the standard powertrain warranty, much less the extended coverage

According to what John just posted, the module should be replaced at Subaru’s cost. Seems like the extended coverage may not even come into play. By my estimation, the standard powertrain warranty is still in effect for well over a year, and the module is listed

I wonder if this is incompetence, meaning the guys at the dealership are unfamiliar with how the powertrain warranty works?

Or greed . . . meaning they hope the customer pays for something which they should be getting on the house, so to speak

Or something else entirely, such as a car with denied powertrain coverage, for some bizarre reason


db: good point. It’s up to the OP now to handle this.

OP: the phone numbers to escalate this are in the owner’s manual … somewhere … (I just looked, could not find it)

found this online: 1-800-SUBARU3 (1-800-782-2783)


Actually the powertrain warrantee is 5 years or 60k miles, so the OP may be out of warrantee due to the mileage limit. Then I’d try for the extended warrantee of 100k miles.

Actually, the powertrain warrantee online does NOT mention the CVT or “transmission”, but it does mention “Electronic transmission control unit”. Strange, it covers transaxle, differential, and CV joints, but not transmission. Probably not a deliberate omission, as the extended warrantee, via a letter I received, does say it is covered.


@ALAN23, please comeback with some more information. Did you get a check engine light but the transmission seems to be working fine? If you did get a check engine light, do you know the code? If the dealer gave you a written estimate, it should be on the estimate. Please tell us what that code was. If you are still driving it with the CEL on, you can get the code read for free at most AutoZone parts stores, ex in Taxifornia.

Your Subaru has a 5 year, 60k mile powertrain warranty and the 14-15 models with a CVT have an extended warranty to 100k miles. The problem mainly is a solenoid in the valve body, which also houses the transmission control module. I had mine replaced not too long ago just before the 100k extension came out, but mine was at 57k miles at the time. No cost to me.

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Isn’t the transaxle the transmission, differential, and axle in one unit? I’m not sure why they’d then call out the differential separately, but it sounds to me like the transmission is expressly included.

I would like to know how you pursue this with Subaru. I have a 2012 Outback with low mileage due to our proximity to public transit in an urban area. It blew head gaskets 6 wks ago at 27,400 miles, which is preposterous. Our mechanic, who repairs Subarus regularly was appalled, though research reveals plenty of Subaru history with major mechanical problems that cost a bundle. I’ve debated about contacting Subaru, since I’ve heard it’s a big waste of time. Life is short. There will be no more Subarus in my household, and if Subaru lacks the integrity to address its flaws, word of mouth advertising is a screwed customer’s best ally and a car manufacturer’s Achilles heel.

In the vehicle manual there will be numbers to call.

25k new, 12k used. owned for 5 yrs. cost 2400/yr.
25k new, 4k repair, sell for 12k. cost you 3400/yr.
not that bad