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


After owning a 2015 Honda CR-V with the CVT, all I have to say about the CVT is that I did not like the hesistation at low speed and the vibration I could not get rid of. So after only 3 months owning it, I got rid of it and bought a 2016 Mazda CX-5 with the 6 speed auto transmission and so far I am happier. Just my two cents.


You might want to look into having the fluid changed every 35-40k miles. Alot of these cars that have 100,000 mile or lifetime fluid changes are really screwing over the used car or long term buyer.


Rusty, they also found that most of the vibrations were from engine programming allowing a very low idle to deliver the best mpg. In 2016 they raised the RPM idle, and most of the vibrations went away. I bet they should have used a stronger engine mount because the Accord didn’t have as many complaints despite the nearly identical set up.


There were so many good things to love about our '06 Mazda3 that we bought new - on two lane blacktop mountain roads it was like riding on rails - great engine, great mileage, great manual gearbox, great cornering, great interior, rain sensing wipers that spoiled us forever and still aren’t available on other brands.

After 135K I’d say I’d never buy another Mazda. All the plastic was horrible and started breaking almost immediately. Getting all 4 wheels aligned was a total ordeal and the car came from the factory horribly out of alignment and with no stock adjustment to get it into alignment. The bushings on the rear suspension were so thin they fell out after 100K and it clanked over every bump.


This was my first Honda and honestly it left a bitter taste in my mouth. I’d not say no to another Honda but next time I’ll do extensive research first.


We are on our 11th Honda. In the 35 years of owning them, we lost one tranny at 185,000. I have a Pilot with 143000 and never a problem. That said, I am concerned about the longevity of the CVT in my wife’s 2015 Civic.


I don’t know what year CVTs were first introduced or what manufacturer offered it but we’re now at a time when for many buyers a CVT is all you can get if you want the car. That’s true for an upper trim level Outback. 2% of buyers now elect stick shift.

I wish the CVT manufacturers had hitched a trailer to their prototypes and driven them around a Phoenix proving ground in August until something failed. Manufacturers should not make their customers unwilling guinea pigs and then extend a warranty to 100K.


Most Toyota’s are NOT CVT. The hybrids are, but most other vehicles are not.


And the Toyota hybrid CVT is not a ‘cones and belt’ CVT, but a planetary transmission with managed input/output from the connected gas and electric motors.


Unfortunately, Toyota has gone ‘cones and belt’ CVT on the Corolla and Corolla hatchback.


if Toyota does that, I only assume that technology enters into a maturity stage

I hope they will not recommend “lifetime fluid” on their maintenance schedule and it will get some sense into the industry…


Maybe not unfortunately. Toyota has a reputation for reliability and when CVTs work they are nice transmissions and give the best mileage, often better than a stick shift. Personally I don’t need to feel shift points.

Elsewhere in this discussion a poster said when Toyota found a CVT problem they offered to extend the warranty to 150K, way more generous than Nissan or Subaru.


It took me a little bit of time to adjust to CVT’s gas pedal response, but I do not look back, from how it feels perspective

I know some people have issues because they tend to fiddle iwht gas pedal and CVT responds with revving engine up and down in this scenario, once you learn you have to have a “steady foot”, it works like a magic

I’m still not happy with my wife’s 2013 Sentra CVT failure at 42K miles, but our 2 Altimas (2007/2012) work great with 98K and 87K miles correspondingly, also made by JATCO, to relate back to this thread’s original point, CVT fluid changed every 30K miles.


I’m shy of the bleeding edge so will watch this one from a distance. From Wiki-

For the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Toyota created an all new CVT with a “launch gear” or a physical 1st gear from a conventional automatic transmission alongside the CVT pulley. From 0-25 mph the transmission would stay in this launch gear to aid in acceleration from a stop and improve durability of the CVT. After 25 mph, the transmission would switch over to the CVT pulley.[48]


I’ll be interested, too. They’re usually good at putting out reliable tech. I also like how some Toyotas have both direct and port injection, should reduce the chance of deposits.


Just wondering why you change the fluid every 30K is it part of the maintenance schedule? Subaru just says to inspect. Do you pull a trailer or do stop and go driving?


Yes, as a part of urban commute I do a fair amount of stop&go, same as a wast majority of other owners

Nissan (same as other brands) elected to go for super-lean minimal maintenance requirements, for marketing reasons, to make it appear that car is absolutely cheap to maintain, but in reality, it is in the best interest of the owner to stick with “premium” maintenance schedule and indeed perform the services like regular CVT fluid, brake fluid, etc… changes

Subaru is actually more honest about it, they define it as a “severe schedule” and IMHO a wast majority of owners qualify, if they read the manual :frowning:

In DIY mode, CVT fluid change costs me under $40 when using Castrol, which is compatible to NS2 and a lot of other vehicle-specific requirements, so I consider this to be an extremely cheap insurance

if one does not want to keep car past 80-90K miles, they can delegate the issues to the next owner, but I sleep better at night knowing I give my transmission a chance to live well past 100K


I don’t know where you got the idea that rain sensing wipers aren’t available on other brands

In any case, you’re mistaken

For example, Benz has had it for over 15 years, probably close to 20 years by now


I’ve never found Subaru automatics to be particularly unreliable.


I think you told before you worked on Subbies a lot, have you ever replaced that external spin-on transmission filter?

It was told “never needs replacement” in a shop manual, but I was always guessing if it is any benefit tto change it at high mileages, doing fluid changes anyways, that seemed like a good idea, but I’ve never got to it. Looks like with CVTs they followed the same external filter pattern.