CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Subaru transmission issues

My first Subaru is presenting me with a puzzle. Can anyone shine a light on the cause?

This 1995 Legacy with automatic transmission will not upshift into 4th gear until the car is fully warmed up. (ten minutes’ driving time). My fellow commuters loathe me, as I creep along at 40 MPH in 3rd gear, trying not to over-rev my cold engine. Appeals to the dealer and to independent mechanics produce the same answer: Its all normal – just put up with it. Well, its got me pining away for other automatic transmission equipped cars I’ve had, which never presented me with this cold weather challenge. Any ideas or advice?

I had a '95 Legacy too and mine never did that at all. It had a few other issues, but the transmission was rock solid. Sorry that I can’t give you any other advice since I’m no mechanic myself, but that’s not something all Legacy’s do.

My 1995 Subaru Legacy did the exact same last winter: 40 mph until it warmed up. However, it stopped doing that after I changed the transmission fluid (though it still hesitates a little). Any neighborhood garage can do this. While you’re at it, you’ll want to have the transmission fluid filter replaced as well.

Changing the fluid on this transmission can be done on a driveway with a wrench and an oil drain pan. Changing the filter, however, is a lot messier and best left to a mechanic.

Hope this helps

I’d say it’s time to have the transmission fluid changed.