Subaru Transmission Problems: Quick Diagnostics Guide

Subaru transmission problems can include delayed shifting, unusual noises, slipping gears, and leaking fluid. These issues are common across various Subaru models and years, leading to concerns about the reliability of Subaru’s CVT transmissions.

Drivers may experience rough gear shifts, grinding sounds, or issues with acceleration due to worn internal components like clutch plates. It’s important to address these problems promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the longevity of your Subaru vehicle. Stay informed about potential transmission issues and seek professional assistance if you notice any of the warning signs mentioned above.

Regular maintenance and timely repairs can help mitigate Subaru transmission problems and keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come.

Subaru Transmission Problems: Quick Diagnostics Guide


Subaru Transmission Troubles: Initial Signs

Recognizing the early indications of transmission troubles in your Subaru can save you from costly repairs down the road. By understanding the common symptoms and early detection tips, you can proactively address potential issues and ensure the longevity of your vehicle’s transmission.

Common Symptoms

  • Delayed or rough gear shifting
  • Unusual noises, such as grinding, whining, or clunking
  • Slipping gears, where the engine revs but the car doesn’t accelerate accordingly
  • Leaking transmission fluid or a burning smell

Early Detection Tips

Regularly monitoring your Subaru’s transmission and addressing any signs of trouble promptly can prevent major issues. Keep an eye on the transmission fluid level and color, and pay attention to any changes in the vehicle’s performance. Additionally, scheduling routine maintenance and promptly addressing any warning signs can significantly extend the lifespan of your Subaru’s transmission.

Decoding The Warning Noises

When it comes to Subaru transmission problems, decoding the warning noises can be crucial in identifying potential issues early on. Certain warning sounds can indicate specific problems within the transmission, helping you address the issue before it escalates. Understanding these warning noises is essential for maintaining the health and performance of your Subaru.

Grinding And Whining Sounds

Grinding and whining sounds emanating from your Subaru’s transmission can be indicative of significant issues. Grinding noises often signal worn-out gear synchronizers or a low transmission fluid level, while whining sounds may suggest problems with the torque converter or a damaged bearing. If you notice these noises, it’s imperative to seek professional inspection and potential repairs to prevent further damage to your transmission.

What Those Clunks Tell You

Clunking sounds can provide valuable insight into the condition of your Subaru’s transmission. These noises can be a sign of damaged universal joints, worn-out CV joints, or issues with the transmission mounts. Addressing these clunks promptly can help prevent more extensive transmission damage and ensure the continued reliability of your vehicle.

Gear Shift Woes

When it comes to Subaru transmission problems, gear shift issues can be particularly frustrating. Whether you are experiencing difficulty shifting gears or noticing slipping gears affecting your vehicle’s performance, these problems can significantly impact your driving experience and overall vehicle reliability.

Difficulty Shifting Gears

If you find it challenging to shift gears in your Subaru, especially when moving between different speeds or driving conditions, it could indicate a potential transmission issue. This difficulty can manifest as resistance when trying to engage a specific gear, leading to a rough and unpleasant shifting experience.

Slipping Gears And Performance

Another common transmission problem in Subarus is the issue of slipping gears. This occurs when the engine revs, but the vehicle fails to accelerate as expected, resulting in a noticeable decrease in performance. Additionally, you may experience unusual noises such as grinding, whining, or clunking, which can further impact the overall driving experience.

Leakage And Odor Issues

Experiencing leakage and odor issues with Subaru transmissions can indicate potential problems. These signs may point to internal damage, such as worn clutch plates or transmission fluid leaks, leading to rough shifts and grinding gears. Addressing these concerns promptly can prevent further damage and ensure smooth operation.

Leakage and Odor Issues are common problems that Subaru owners face with their transmissions. These issues can be caused by a number of factors, such as worn-out seals, gaskets, or even a damaged transmission case. If left untreated, these problems can lead to serious transmission damage, resulting in costly repairs. In this section, we will discuss how to spot transmission fluid leaks and burning smells, their causes, and concerns.

Spotting Transmission Fluid Leaks

One of the most common signs of a transmission problem is fluid leakage. Spotting transmission fluid leaks can be easy if you know what to look for. Here are some signs that you may have a transmission fluid leak:
  • Puddles of reddish-brown fluid under your vehicle
  • Low transmission fluid levels
  • Difficulty shifting gears
  • Unusual noises while shifting gears
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take your Subaru to a trusted mechanic for an inspection. Ignoring a transmission fluid leak can lead to serious transmission problems, which can be expensive to repair.

Burning Smells: Causes And Concerns

Another common issue that Subaru owners face is a burning smell coming from their transmission. This can be caused by a number of factors, such as overheating, low fluid levels, or burnt transmission fluid. Here are some causes and concerns related to burning smells:
  • Overheating can cause the transmission fluid to break down and produce a burning smell
  • Low fluid levels can cause the transmission to overheat and produce a burning smell
  • Burnt transmission fluid can cause serious damage to the transmission and result in costly repairs
  • Ignoring a burning smell can lead to serious transmission problems and put you at risk of a breakdown
If you notice a burning smell coming from your Subaru’s transmission, it’s important to take immediate action. Schedule an appointment with a qualified mechanic to have your transmission inspected and repaired if necessary.In conclusion, leakage and odor issues are common problems that Subaru owners face with their transmissions. Spotting transmission fluid leaks and identifying burning smells and their causes can help prevent serious transmission damage. It’s important to take your Subaru to a trusted mechanic for regular inspections and maintenance to ensure that your transmission stays in good working condition.

Models And Years: A Troublesome Timeline

Explore the troublesome timeline of Subaru transmission problems, affecting various models and years. Experience issues like delayed shifting, strange noises, slipping gears, and fluid leaks signaling potential transmission failure. Stay informed to address Subaru CVT problems effectively.

Affected Subaru Models

If you own a Subaru, you may have heard about the transmission problems that have plagued certain models in recent years. The following Subaru models have been affected by transmission issues:
  • 2014-2018 Forester
  • 2015-2019 WRX
  • 2015-2019 WRX STI
  • 2012-2017 Impreza
  • 2013-2015 Crosstrek
  • 2014-2016 Crosstrek Hybrid

Historical Problems And Recalls

Subaru has had a history of transmission problems dating back to the early 2000s. In 2010, the automaker issued a recall for the 2010-2012 Legacy and Outback models due to a potential defect with the CVT chain. In 2015, another recall was issued for certain 2015 Legacy and Outback models due to a potential transmission fluid leak.In 2018, Subaru faced a class-action lawsuit over the reliability of their CVT transmissions. The lawsuit alleged that certain Subaru models equipped with CVT transmissions were prone to premature failure, resulting in costly repairs for owners.Subaru transmission problems have been a cause for concern among Subaru owners for many years. While some models have been affected more than others, it’s important to be aware of the potential issues and take steps to address them as soon as possible to avoid costly repairs down the road. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of a transmission problem, such as delayed or rough shifting, unusual noises, or slipping gears, it’s important to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic.
Subaru Transmission Problems: Quick Diagnostics Guide


The Cvt Quandary

Subaru’s Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) has sparked discussions and debates among car enthusiasts and owners. The CVT, known for its smooth driving experience and fuel efficiency, also comes with its own set of challenges. Let’s delve into the Pros and Cons of CVT, CVT Longevity and Care, and the ongoing issues surrounding it.

Pros And Cons Of Cvt

CVT offers seamless acceleration and improved fuel economy. It eliminates the need for gear shifting, providing a smoother driving experience. However, some drivers may find the lack of traditional gear shifts less engaging.

Cvt Longevity And Care

Proper maintenance, including regular fluid checks and changes, is crucial for maximizing the lifespan of a CVT. Neglecting maintenance can lead to premature wear and potential transmission issues. However, when well-maintained, a CVT can provide reliable performance over the long term.

Recalls And Manufacturer Support

Subaru Transmission Problems

When it comes to addressing Subaru transmission problems, understanding the manufacturer’s response is crucial. Recalls and manufacturer support play a significant role in providing solutions and peace of mind to Subaru owners experiencing transmission issues.

Recent Subaru Recalls

Recent Subaru recalls have aimed to rectify transmission-related concerns, ensuring the safety and reliability of affected vehicles. These recalls demonstrate the manufacturer’s commitment to addressing potential issues promptly.

Warranty Extensions And Repairs

Subaru has provided warranty extensions and repair solutions for certain transmission problems, offering support to impacted vehicle owners. This proactive approach highlights the manufacturer’s dedication to resolving transmission issues and maintaining customer satisfaction.

Diy Diagnostic Tools And Tips

When it comes to diagnosing Subaru transmission problems, having the right tools and techniques can save time and money. Here are some DIY diagnostic tips and tools that can help you identify potential issues with your Subaru transmission.

Home Troubleshooting Techniques

If you suspect transmission problems with your Subaru, there are a few home troubleshooting techniques you can try before seeking professional help. Check the transmission fluid for discoloration or a burnt smell, as this could indicate a problem. Look for any leaks underneath the vehicle, and listen for unusual noises while the car is running. Pay attention to any delay in gear shifting or slipping gears while driving. These simple checks can provide valuable insights into the health of your Subaru transmission.

When To Consult A Professional

While DIY diagnostic tools can be helpful, there are times when it’s best to consult a professional. If you notice persistent transmission fluid leaks, experience persistent slipping gears, or encounter any warning lights related to the transmission, it’s essential to seek the expertise of a qualified mechanic. Professional diagnostic tools and expertise can pinpoint the exact issue and ensure a proper resolution for your Subaru transmission problems.

Cost Considerations

When dealing with Subaru transmission problems, understanding the cost considerations is crucial. Repairing or replacing a transmission can be a significant expense, so it’s important to weigh your options carefully.

Repair Vs. Replacement

Deciding between repairing or replacing your Subaru transmission depends on the extent of the damage and overall cost-effectiveness. While repairs may be cheaper initially, a replacement could offer long-term reliability.

Estimating Your Transmission Repair Costs

Estimating the costs of repairing your Subaru transmission involves factors like labor, parts, and the severity of the issue. Getting multiple quotes from reputable mechanics can help you determine the most cost-effective solution.

Subaru Transmission Problems: Quick Diagnostics Guide


Improving Transmission Life

Ensuring the longevity of your Subaru’s transmission is essential to avoid costly repairs and maintain smooth driving performance. By following maintenance best practices and avoiding common mistakes, you can significantly enhance the lifespan of your transmission.

Maintenance Best Practices

  • Regular Fluid Checks: Check transmission fluid levels and quality periodically.
  • Scheduled Servicing: Adhere to manufacturer-recommended service intervals.
  • Proper Cooling: Ensure the transmission is properly cooled to prevent overheating.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

  1. Ignoring Warning Signs: Address any unusual noises or gear shifting issues promptly.
  2. Overloading: Avoid exceeding the vehicle’s weight limits to prevent strain on the transmission.
  3. Neglecting Maintenance: Regular maintenance is crucial for transmission health.

Seeking Solutions: Repair Or Replace?

When faced with Subaru transmission problems, a common dilemma arises: repair the existing transmission or opt for a replacement. Let’s delve into the decision-making process to help you determine the best course of action for your vehicle.

Assessing The Damage

Before deciding whether to repair or replace your Subaru transmission, it is essential to assess the extent of the damage. Look out for signs such as delayed gear shifting, unusual noises like grinding or whining, slipping gears, or leaking transmission fluid.

Making The Smart Choice

When evaluating whether to repair or replace your transmission, consider factors like the age of your vehicle, the cost of repairs versus replacement, and the overall condition of the transmission. If the repairs are extensive and costly, it might be more economical in the long run to opt for a replacement.

Community And Forum Insights

When it comes to troubleshooting Subaru transmission problems, tapping into the collective wisdom of Subaru owners on various online communities and forums can be invaluable. From Reddit discussions to shared experiences, learning from others can provide crucial insights.

Reddit Discussions On Cvt Issues

Reddit serves as a hub for Subaru enthusiasts to discuss their experiences with CVT transmissions. Users share common problems, solutions, and tips for addressing CVT issues.

Learning From Other Subaru Owners

Engaging with fellow Subaru owners on forums allows for a deeper understanding of transmission problems. By sharing experiences and advice, owners can navigate issues more effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Subaru Models Have Transmission Problems?

Subaru models that have transmission problems include the Outback, Forester, and Legacy, particularly in the years 2013-2015.

What Years Did Subaru Have Cvt Problems?

Subaru CVT problems were reported in various models from 2011 to 2018.

Is There A Recall For Subaru On Transmissions?

Yes, there is a recall for Subaru on transmissions. Some Subaru models were affected by transmission issues.

How Long Does A Subaru Cvt Transmission Last?

Subaru CVT transmissions typically last around 100,000 miles. However, this can vary depending on factors such as maintenance, driving habits, and road conditions. Regularly servicing your vehicle and being mindful of how you drive can help extend the life of your transmission.

Keep an eye out for signs of transmission problems, such as rough shifting or unusual noises, and address them promptly to avoid further damage.

What Are The Common Subaru Transmission Issues?

Common Subaru transmission problems include rough shifting, grinding gears, and slipping gears.


Addressing Subaru transmission problems promptly is crucial. Regular maintenance and early detection of issues can prevent major breakdowns. Keep an eye out for warning signs such as unusual noises or slipping gears. Taking proactive steps can extend the lifespan of your Subaru vehicle.

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