You need a new transmission... Or do I?

So, I own a 2015 touring Subaru Forester. Recently, my dashboard started lighting up like a pinball machine with all sorts messages about just about everything on my car failing.

Hooking up by Bluetooth car computer thighy, it gave me three errors. See screenshot below. Clearing out would just bring them back the next time I started my car.

I went to my local mechanic who told me it probably best if I went to the dealer for this type of problem. The dealer basically looked at the codes and told me I needed a new transmission and told me it would be somewhere in the $2,000 range. I went to another transmission place that I’m pretty sure never ever looked at the car after 4 days but told me that more than likely the transmission would have to be replaced if it wasn’t a wiring/computer issue.

That last statement caused me pause.

The car was running fine. Both the dealer and the transmission guy told me I could still drive my car with this problem but I’d probably be doing with the dashboard lights and no computer-assisted anything until I get it fixed.

So, for the past two weeks I’ve been driving along and contemplating whether it’s worth the cost to get it fixed or to just buy another car.

Then it got down to 2° two nights ago. Since then, no errors on my car at all. I didn’t clear any errors from my car computer, and everything is working again.

This has me thinking it is a computer/ wiring problem. But who do I go to and try to stress that I need them to check the wiring and computer stuff and not the transmission?

I am not a mechanic but the problems all seem to revolve around the clutch pressure control solenoid. In other words, wiring. If you can find a good transmission place, they may be able to correct the issue without replacing the whole transmission. Ask friends, coworkers, etc. who they recommend.

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Subaru Forester CVT Transmission Problems: Explained - VehicleHistory

Subaru Issues Extended Transmission Warranty Program for Certain Vehicles (


When was the last time the transmission fluid/filter was serviced?


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According to that link it’s covered by the extended warranty. What does the dealer say?

It is a solenoid in the valve body, but it cannot be replaced in the valve body. It is covered by Subaru for 10 years or 100k miles. If you are over that limit, only the valve body needs to be replaced, not the whole transmission.

No filter in the transmission and the fluid is lifetime unless you tow a trailer.

Oh yeah, it does light up the dashboard. Subaru wants to make sure that you notice the CEL. It also disables cruise control and traction control.

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$2,000 would be for a transmission repair, to replace the transmission would cost at least twice as much.

I have no clue. I can tell you that around 6 months ago all my Christmas lights were going off again but my car was stuttering and barely able to drive.

I took it to the dealer who had to remove all fluids from the engine and then replace all the fluids (which bothered me to no end because I just got a full synthetic oil change two weeks before and they did another full synthetic oil change and charged me $70) , and run it through some sort of check and after that everything had been working fine up until this most recent incident.

So I’m going to guess the transmission fluid got checked at that last issue 6 months ago.

My car is over 100,000 mi so there is no warranty at this point.

The dealer didn’t even check anything. They literally just ran the codes and within 5 minutes after me dropping it off with them told me that I need a new transmission

I’m not a car person so I apologize if I’m saying things incorrectly. They told me I needed a new valve body cover for my transmission which was going to be $1,500 for that plus labor.

Oh yes. It literally disabled anything that the computer could possibly do. No assisted braking no Adaptive cruise control, hill assist, switching modes of engine ( normal, sport, or turbo). It basically just dummied down my car to be just a car that moves.

But the fact that now all of those warnings have gone away has me thinking it’s not actually been the solenoid but a wiring issue. Or am I crazy and it’s actually a solenoid issue and I’m just causing more potential problems for myself?

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Is there a good independent Subaru shop in your area? They might be able to fix it for less.

Less than FREE. How’s that work?

Not likely wiring. More likely the solenoid controlled valve has unstuck itself, but it will stick again. If you are under 100k miles, get it to a dealer and have them fix it. Since the dealer already has given you a quote, it is documented so they cannot deny the warranty just because the code has disappeared. It will come back. BTW, the reason they disable all that stuff is the possibility that if they didn’t, the computer could cause un-intended acceleration.

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Why free? He’s over 100k, so the extended warranty doesn’t apply.

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I missed that post. If not too far over the 100k, then he should call the Subaru Customer Service Rep (CSR), not the dealership because they can’t do anything, but the CSR listed in the owners manual and see if they will do a good will for all or part of the cost. Anyway, a valve body is a lot cheaper than a whole transmission.

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