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


I am currently driving my third Outback, and I have never had any transmission problems, even up to 130k miles.

My first Outback is still being driven by a young distant relative, and despite her apparent aversion to regular maintenance, that car is still going strong with well over 180k miles on the odometer. Perhaps my practice of changing the fluid and filter every 30k miles provided her with an extremely durable transmission.


I’m actually scratching my head about buying one when I get ready to dump my Altima and attaching “6th” free badge of ownership on the back.

Heck, I was happy with my 5 Subarus, why not to get 6th? :slight_smile:


Yes, I’ve changed the spin-on filters and to me it’s no big deal.

Almost every failed Subaru automatic I’ve seen failed due to someone mistakenly draining the final drive while attempting a motor oil change.

There has been a few that failed (long time ago) due to some shaky seals which allowed loss of final drive oil into the automatic compartment. Same thing as the botched motor oil change scenario; just much slower.

Subaru also had a spell of manual transmission issues regarding gear gnash which was caused by poor synchronizer ring manufacturing.

All in all, the vast majority outlast the car. As VDCdriver correctly mentions; servicing the transmission every 30k miles will do wonders for longevity.


Funny about those synchros gnashing - I was working at a Honda dealer in the mid-70s when first Civics and Accords were flying out the door with the motto “We Keep it Simple.” The synchros were terrible and manual transmissions got rebuilt constantly. 20 years later a friend bought a new high trim level Accord with a 6 speed and guess what from the start you could hear gnashing on downshifts.


I used to have 2003 Outback with manual, this problem was present on 65K miles or so when I bough it.

I routinely used a nano-ceramic additive on my “new old cars” having this type of problem, and it made it substantially better until I sold that car at around 100K miles.

What I never liked in this and other (bought new!) Subarus with manual transmission is the excessive lash in the final drive, leading to the jerks when you are coasting and go from the slight acceleration to letting car just coast: it would be like somebody kicks the car in the back. I had that effect in both 2003 Outback and 2007 Impreza I bought new.


I bought a new 2018 Crosstrek to give my dually a rest driving 18 miles to work each day. It has 10k and has had the trans replaced twice!! Leaked antifreeze at first and now this. I told them I did not want that lemmon back. They said they would get with Subaru and promised to take care of me. Driving a loaded Outback for now. Maybe they will let me keep it. Not likely.


What do you mean? My 2018 crosstrek with <10k has only been replaced twice over the previous month. Prior to that it was a mysterious coolant leak. The first trans repair bill that would be charged back was $8,800. I do have a 1up bike rack and regularly carry two mountain bikes. Might be the issue.


If a Lemon Law action is going to be pursued, it must be initiated by the car’s owner, not by a dealership.


Unless those bikes are made of neutronium or have large sails attached to them, absolutely not.

If they were able to fix the problems (temporarily) and the car wasn’t in the shop for an inordinate amount of time (check your state laws for its definition), the lemon law probably won’t apply. I’m guessing the dealer is trying to get some sort of goodwill relief for you from Subaru.