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Subaru Outback 2009

I have a 2009 Outback with automatic transmission that I bought in March 2009. It has 18K miles on it and I absolutely love it. A year ago, I noticed a small clicking sound coming from the gear shifter area. The noise happened when I was slowing down to a complete stop, probably around 1-2 miles per hour.

I took it in to have my dealer look at it. They at first said they didn’t hear anything, but after a few calls explaining it, they called back and said that it was the shift lock solenoid and that it was normal for it to click. The tech supervisor even said his 2008 OB does it but “he doesn’t really notice it because he has the radio on.” I can hear the click even with the radio on - at least at normal volumes. After the third time I brought it in they replace the part and the noise went away. Now its back!

Now that I know that it’s the shift lock solenoid, I started to notice the click when depressing the brake pedal when in “P”.

I have many, many friends with Subarus and starting asking around if they have similar issues. No one did - even a person with a 2009 Legacy turbo (same engine, transmission as my OB) said that his was silent.

My question is should I “live with it” as the tech implied or should I push the dealer to make a repair?

My thought is that they said it is operating normally and thus they don’t want to replace it. But if it wasn’t under warranty, and I said I wanted it fixed, I am sure they’d be happy to take hundreds of my dollars to fix it. I spent the most I ever have on a vehicle and now I have to live with a clicking sound for the next 7-10 years? I have owned many Hondas with automatics and they never clicked.

What do you all think?

The problem that exists right now is that it’s been replaced once under warranty. The dealer will not likely replace it again, or even dig much further, because the chance of warranty paying for a second go-around is about zero.
If the dealer does this again odds are they will eat the cost because Subaru of America (SOA) is not in the habit of paying repeated warranty claims for the same repair.

Without a wiring schematic to go over I cannot tell you what the problem is. On a guess, and a very wild one at that, I might venture that the shift lock solenoid is tied into the brake light switch. Maybe the issue is not inside the shifter console but is instead down in the brake pedal area.

You might try contacting SOA and see if they will step in on this although there is a chance you may get a boilerplate answer about seeing the dealer, etc.

If your Outback is not turbo (no scoop in hood) than the transmission is different from yours. The turbo Outback/Legacy has a 5 speed automatic while the normal aspirated Outback/Legacy uses a 4 speed unit. They drastically different so not comparable.

I would contact Subaru customer care and see what they say. They are pretty generous in keeping customers happy. Majority of current Subaru buyers are repeat and they have grown a lot in sales.

Thanks. Funny that you mention the breaks because the issue first surface last year after there was a problem with my break booster.