Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Eastern ON Canada
Car: 07 OBW 2.5i D-4AT
Feedback Score: 5 reviews
ATF for MY07– which oem Subaru fluid to use, standard (Dexron III type) or HP type?
My question is not about synthetic or aftermarket AT fluids of which I know there are choices. Rather, it’s about the correct Subaru AT fluid to use in my MY07 OB (mfr 09/06). My problem is an inconsistency in the Subaru documentation.
I don’t know if it is the same for the models sold in the US, but the Subaru owner’s manual that came with the car (which appears to be intended for both US and Canadian markets) recommends only Subaru HP AT fluid or equivalent. (Maintenance and service section, page 11-23). Dexron III is not listed at all for the AT. Moreover, on the next page there is the following bold-font “NOTE” in regard to the 4-speed AT:
[quote] For 4-speed automatic transmission:
For optimum transmission performance, only use the automatic transmission fluid that is recommended and provided by Subaru.
If the recommended automatic transmission fluid is unavailable, Dexron III may be temporarily used. If the Dexron III is used continuously there will be a noticeable increase in the vibration and noise from the automatic transmission. [end quote]
Well, I’m not interested in increased vibration and noise, so if I understand the Owner’s Manual, I should not use Dexron III at all; rather, I should stick to the Subaru HP (or equivalent recommended) fluids.
However, in addition to the Owner’s Manual, the car came with the “Subaru Warranty/Maintenance and Roadside Assistance Booklet”. This is Canada-specific and has in it, on page 23-24, the “2007 Canadian Minimum Maintenance Recommendations” (i.e. periodic maintenance schedule). On the line for the 4EAT transmission fluid there’s a note, #3, which says:
[quote] Replace every 48,000 km (USE ATF - Dextron [sic] Fluid only) [unquote]
So the Owner’s manual and the warranty/maintenance book seem to be at odds – one says use HP, the other says only Dexron.
I checked the 07 Service Manual (downloaded from Subaru America) and it too mentions only the HP-type fluid. And to top this off, the December 2006 issue of TechTIPS (page 2) notes that “Starting with the 2006MY, all 5A/T and 4DAT transmissions are required to have the ‘HP’ designated transmission fluid.”
I don’t know if there is a difference in the ATF required for OBs with the 4EAT assembled for the US market versus those intended for Canada, but I would find that rather surprising.
I asked at my dealer’s service department. They entered the VIN number in the parts computer to find the “proper” ATF fluid. The number that came up was for “Subaru ATF” (one litre black plastic bottle, red label), but this was not the HP version. The parts department noted that they also do stock the HP fluid. (The Subaru ATF bottle that I was shown did not say whether it is Dexron III type, but it certainly was not HP.)
Unfortunately, the Subaru Canada website does not have any “contact us” information otherwise I would write to them.
I’m really puzzled. I now have about 11,000 km on the car and had planned to drain and refill the AT sump (4 - 5 litres) regularly (more frequently than the maximum 48,000 km). I certainly don’t want to risk unnecessary noise and vibration, and I do want to not only meet the Subaru requirements but also do what I can to ensure longevity. But how can I find out what fluid was originally intended/installed and what it should be?