Reverse jumps in my 2001 Subaru

Hey guys,

Bought a 2001 Subaru Outback (automatic), and now I realize that after it’s been parked overnight, it jumps as hell when shifting into reverse (sometimes a bit of a delay after shifting and the actual shift-jump). Other gears shift fine, and when warmed up, reverse might have a tiny bit of a kick, but nothing like when first started… ideas/solutions? thanks!!!


Mileage on this car? Do you know its maintenance history? Has the transmission ever been rebuilt? Have you checked the transmission fluid level, color, smell??

165K, have story, looks clean, no rebuilts (that i know of, of course); no, haven’t checked transmission fluid yet, are there kinds of transmission fluid or things i should be looking for/aware of?

There should be a DIPSTICK for the transmission. With the engine warmed up and running in “park”, check it the same way you would check the motor oil…It should look almost clear with a nice red tint to it. It should have almost no odor. Sometimes, stamped on the dipstick, it will say what type of transmission fluid to use…Words like DexronII or Mercon… Don’t add any until you know what type to use.

You should be aware that 164K miles is about the normal service life for one of these transmissions…If the fluid looks murky and brownish in color and has a strong odor, having it changed MAY provide some help. Insist that the pan be removed and the internal filter changed. An independent transmission shop is the best place to have this done. If they claim they can “flush” it without dropping the pan and changing the filter, find another shop…Good Luck…

thanks! i guess this means maybe transmission is hitting the bucket? this is going to be expensive, eh?..

Lets not jump to conclusions…If reverse is the only problem, maybe you can work around that…Try putting it in “Drive” for a few seconds, THEN shifting to reverse. Maybe that will take some of the “jump” out of it. Have the motor mounts checked. A broken mount will let the engine shift position when you put it in gear…You will feel a thump or bump as the engine flops around. You can check this yourself by simply observing the engine when this problem occurs…It should not move more than 1/2 inch when you hold the brake and give it a LITTLE gas in both drive and then reverse…If a mount is broken, you will see the engine lift up alarmingly…Mounts are not very expensive to replace…

If you bought the car cheap enough, repairing the transmission might be feasible…With most Subaru’s you are looking at $2500-$3200

ok, will do! thanks!!! :slight_smile:

“165K, have story, looks clean, no rebuilts…”

That sounds suspiciously like you are relying on a Carfax report. If you are, you should be aware that those reports leave out much more information than they include. It is possible to buy a car that has never been maintained, or has been rebuilt after a wreck, or has been a salvage vehicle (post Katrina), and yet the Carfax report shows a “clean” vehicle.

In my opinion, there is no substitute for getting the actual maintenance records of the car, plus having it vetted by a trusted mechanic. Instead, people tend to believe–in error–that a Carfax report will alert them to negative information.

I guess that Carfax is better than nothing, but it is not a whole lot better than nothing.

Hi, thanks, I agree w/ you. I actually have the whole maintenance records of the car (including oil changes!)
thanks again