WTF? Got a letter from Subaru saying the CVT transmission may fail


Subaru defines severe as used for towing a trailer.


“Subaru defines severe as used for towing a trailer”

not according to the document I have. you qualify for severe if you ever drive in the winter, along the coast, in the mountains, stop and go driving, and, yes, pulling a trailer or racing.


Driving in the winter is severe? Never heard that before. Along the coast? Well, that’s flat and a temperate temperature so what’s the problem? Salt air gets into the fluid? Too windy? Ships on the horizon cause overheating? Maybe Subaru ought to say if you take the car out of the garage you’re on your own.


What does your maintenance manual state as severe driving? You probably have the same maintenance manual as Bill does.

“Winter driving” is rather vague, manuals usually state something like:

“Repeated trips of less than
five miles in temperatures
below 32° F or 0° C”


I’m not sure I understand the nature of the original complaint in this post. Subaru has noted a higher than normal failure rate for some of their transmissions. Therefore they have extended the warranty coverage on those transmissions to 100,000 miles. Sounds like pretty good coverage to me.

No company in their right minds is going to warranty anything for over 100,000 miles. Cars are machines made of moving parts and they wear out. At some point the customer has to assume responsibility for maintenance and repair costs. Any transmission in any car can fail at 100,000 miles.


Hard to say what planet you live on Mr. Master. I’m vague on warranties and car reliability on Mars and some other planets.

Earth to Master: Subarus are often listed as one of the three cars that go to 250,000 miles along with Toyotas and Hondas. Acknowledging a design defect and extending a warranty to less than half the expected life isn’t good coverage, it’s a continuation of their corporate denial along with their oil consumption screwup. And let’s not get into the head gasket problems.

You’re perfectly welcome to buy cars expecting them to wear out at 100,000 miles but you’re living in the far distant past and thank goodness for the rest of us that we don’t.


@Lee_T, you have an unrealistic understanding on warranties, life of cars, maintenance required, on and on … @asemaster knows about what he speaks about. Many cars last 250,000 miles however there is a cost in maintenance and repairs. You cannot expect any car to run that long with only paying for gas tires and oil. Once any car hits 100,000+ miles you can expect to pay higher costs to keep it running. Many times that cost is well worth it and while the car is old after the repair it is still reliable. Some times the cost is not worth it. Subaru gave you an extended warranty at no cost. I would be very happy with that.


I live on Earth like the rest of you.

As a lifelong professional mechanic, I tend to buy and drive high mile vehicles. I buy a 10-12 year old car with 150K+ miles, drive them for a few years until they’re all worn out, and buy another one. It’s rare that I get rid of a car before 200K miles. But I fully understand the risks of driving old cars. You’re suggesting that Subaru warranty your transmission for as long as you own your car? That seems kind of out there to me.

My Samsung TV developed a problem that left it almost useless. Some research showed that a particular circuit board failure was a common problem for that model. But when mine failed the warranty period expired, so I was responsible for the repair out of my pocket. By your train of thought Samsung should warranty the circuit board for as long as I own the TV, right?


The cult were buying WRXs with manual transmissions, drifting in Japanese mountain ranges

I don’t understand why the general public buy into the smooth, no shift shock CVT argument, but I refuse to own a car with traction type CVT. This precluses many Japanese cars for me. There are engineering papers written on the slippage of those transmission and mitigating, not eliminating, the slippage reduces efficiency.

I’m not talking about slippage between metal gears as they slide on a film of lubricating oil or the viscous effect in the torque converter. This is slippage between metal parts as they are squeezed together to prevent excessive slippage.


About 10-12 years ago I was taking my dog for a run past a Subaru dealership, and the dog stopped & started sniffing on the patch of grass between the sidewalk and the street. YOu know how dogs do, the get the scent of something, usually another dog, and want explore further. One of the salesmen yells out to me (from quite a distance away) “get your (expletive deleted) dog off our lawn!!” … lol … as a technical side note, it wasn’t even their lawn, between the sidewalk and street is city property. But I complied straight away anyway, yelling back “ok, we’ll stay away, and you can be sure I won’t come back here to buy a Subaru either”. To this he screamed “Good, we don’t want your business!!” … lol … I have to say that we’ve both kept up our ends of that agreement. And I have no CVT problems either.


Subaru is just like all other car makers when it comes to maintenance recommnendations. They make they skimpy and for one reason only. It’s to promote the idea that your car actually needs little maintenance.

The way I look at it is if they’re going to state lifetime trans fluid and so on then warranty that transmission for as long as the customer owns the car. Not gonna happen…

I do the same thing as asemaster with car purchases. A 10 year old with 100k or more miles bought after a good lookover. The only difference is that I keep mine for another 10 to 15 years.


Those salesmen were complete idiots

When I was working at the dealership, our service director told us in no uncertain terms, that EVERYBODY walking around on the property or near it is a potential customer, and you should treat them as such

I don’t blame you for the way you reacted . . . I’d have done the same thing


The OP has not indicated that his transmission is malfunctioning in any way. He is not entitled to a new transmission, no matter how much he insists, unless his transmission fails within the new extended warranty period.


My attention span isn’t nearly that long. 3 years is about it for me for a daily driver, sometimes less than that. Then I get bored with the same thing over and over, so I sell one and look for another. I’ve probably had 40 cars in my life.


Actually my understanding is quite realistic. Talk to any dealership used car manager and he’ll tell you the decision to send a trade-in to auction or to his used car lot depends solely on whether the drivetrain is still good or not. No realistic car buyer expects his drivetrain to be finished at 100K.


You are confusing an extended warranty to 100k with some guess that it’ll fail at 100k +1. Why? Subaru did this because of some problems with the CVT, sure, but you’re making it sound way more devious than I think it is.


A quick rereading of my post will show I never said Subaru should warranty our CVT forever. It said that since they know they have a problem they shouldn’t leave me holding a wet bag of crap at 101K.


Lee, calm down. You just received an extension on the regular warranty . Not sure what that was but what ever it was you would have the expense of repair after that. Somehow this seems like an decent move by Subaru.


+1 to @VOLVO_V70 comment

Lee, very likely your transmission will last well past 100K, this campaign is to weed out units which will fail prematurely, and it’s quite decent of Subaru to do that notice, unlike Nissan who shares the same JATCO CVT manufacturer

still, if you expect to use your car past 100K, regardless if this is Subaru or any other brand, you better maintain it properly, which includes regular CVT fluid flushes


Extended warranty = acknowledged design defect.

Design defect = early failure.