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2019 Outback Touring 3.6R
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Hello everyone. My 2019 Touring 3.6R currently has 48,800 miles. I do long daily commutes and the mileage adds up quickly. Because of this, I try to be vigilant with my maintenance to ensure my cars are trouble free. I've always performed oil changes and frequent transmission fluid drain & fills on previous vehicles. Being this is my first Subaru and first vehicle with a cvt, I'm hesitant to perform the service myself. Dealer pricing for this service is expensive but I'll gladly pay for peace of mind. I've read some posts here stating SOA will not honor the warranty on a cvt failure if the fluid was changed before 100k. I decided to contact SOA and asked the question. I'll post both my question and their answer below. I hope this helps.

To: [email protected]
Subject: CVT Service

Good morning. My 2019 Outback Touring 3.6R has 48,000 miles. I service my vehicle according to the maintenance schedule. I do a long daily commute and drive a lot of miles annually. I understand the maintenance schedule suggests a cvt service at 100k. I would like to have this service performed at 50k intervals. I have read on forum sites SOA will not honor warranty claims on vehicles whose transmissions were serviced before 100k miles. I doubt the forums claims because people who tow with their cars are required to service the cvt more frequently. Can you please clarify? Thank you.

Dear Mr. G:

Thank you for contacting Subaru of America, Inc.

We appreciate you taking time out of your day to contact us about your 2019 Outback.

The Subaru CVT transmission does not require regular fluid replacement, however it is recommended to check the fluid every 30,000 miles. It should only be replaced at these intervals if the fluid appears dirty, very low, or contaminated by water.

Otherwise, the fluid does not require replacement until the vehicle has attained a higher mileage, say 100,000 to 150,000 miles. If the vehicle is used under severe driving conditions as listed in the Subaru Warranty and Maintenance Booklet, then the CVT fluid change should be performed every 24,855 miles.

Having the CVT fluid changed at a Subaru retailer before 100,000 miles does NOT void or affect Subaru CVT warranty coverage.

For further guidance about the CVT, please talk with your local Subaru retailer service department.

Thanks for the opportunity to be of assistance.

Sincerely,

Grant Noble
Subaru of America, Inc.
Customer/Retailer Services Department
1-800-SUBARU3 (1-800-782-2783)
 

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2016 Outback 2.5
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581 Posts
I had mine flushed at 90K by the dealer. I figure if there was going to be a problem as a result it would occur before I hit 100K. I can't' see them denying warranty coverage if it was done at one of their dealers. I don't tow and don't fall under "severe service".
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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"Having the CVT fluid changed at a Subaru retailer before 100,000 miles does NOT void or affect Subaru CVT warranty coverage."
...
Grant Noble
Subaru of America, Inc.
Thanks for posting that; it will clear up a lot of confusion.

That said, it assumes that the work will be performed by Subaru-authorized techs, using the proper, specific Subaru CVT fluids. It does not mean that it's OK for the work to be performed by owners or independent shops, nor does it condone use of aftermarket CVT fluids.
 

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2018 Outback Premium 2.5
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263 Posts
Thanks for posting that; it will clear up a lot of confusion.

That said, it assumes that the work will be performed by Subaru-authorized techs, using the proper, specific Subaru CVT fluids. It does not mean that it's OK for the work to be performed by owners or independent shops, nor does it condone use of aftermarket CVT fluids.
There are laws to protect the owner so you can in fact have non dealership shops perform work without the risk of losing warranty.

I find it funny that the email from Subaru states suxh a large difference in mileage (good for 100-150k) unless severe conditions, then every 28k.
Sheesh.

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2012 OB , 2017 Impreza
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Something seems 'fishy' here... When my Subi is in the dealership to have the CVT fluid "checked" per warantee....all they do is LOOK FOR LEAKS. (no leaks=everything is OK) I specificcly asked them if they LOOK at the fluid and they said NO.

How does this align with the response you got from Subaru when they say "....appears dirty, very low, or contaminated by water."?
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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I find it funny that the email from Subaru states suxh a large difference in mileage (good for 100-150k) unless severe conditions, then every 28k.
Sheesh.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
The take away from all of this talk about “lifetime fluid” in transmissions is to change the transmission fluid as part of the routine maintenance as “oil is cheap” (much cheaper than a new transmission)

Seagrass
 

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Something seems 'fishy' here... When my Subi is in the dealership to have the CVT fluid "checked" per warantee....all they do is LOOK FOR LEAKS. (no leaks=everything is OK) I specificcly asked them if they LOOK at the fluid and they said NO.

How does this align with the response you got from Subaru when they say "....appears dirty, very low, or contaminated by water."?
maybe only if they see evidence of a leak, then they check and look for those things.
 

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Fishy indeed! The CVT is my main area or worry in my 2015 Outback. In cold weather, it appears to be noisy. With hard to discern screeches and clacking sounds. The noises are inaudible if I warm up the car until the engine revs drop to normal running levels.

I had my CVT fluid changed by a trusted private mechanic at about 100000km (62k miles).

Should I look at getting a dealer to change the fluid again? Is there a definitive test to determine if the CVT is okay- (oil test, etc)? What’s going to give me some peace of mind...
 

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2015 Outback Limited 2.5
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2015 outback 50,000 miles I changed 4 quarts of CVT fluid drained from pan then refilled.
$14 a quart from dealer $65 total.
very easy to change
 

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2018 Outback Premium 2.5
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The take away from all of this talk about “lifetime fluid” in transmissions is to change the transmission fluid as part of the routine maintenance as “oil is cheap” (much cheaper than a new transmission)

Seagrass
Exactly.
Our old mini countryman was the same (no way to check transmission fluid, and special tool to refill.
We had it done at local import shop, at 75k they said it looked pretty terrible.

Mini says lifetime fluid...

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2014 Outback 2.5i
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How would they know if the CVT fluid was changed if the proper refill procedure is used along with OEM fluid and one cleans up after themselves? If they sent the fluid out for analysis, which they wont, it still would not prove anything.

Having the CVT fluid changed at a Subaru retailer before 100,000 miles does NOT void or affect Subaru CVT warranty coverage.
NOTE: As a point of technical detail, he says nothing about warranty coverage being denied if a non-Subaru retailer does this work.
 

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2017 Subaru Legacy Sport
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Good information! Much more informative than the response I was able to get 2 years ago...

"We do not have any recommendations for changing the CVT fluid as we would recommend following the maintenance schedule in your warranty & maintenance booklet. Which as you mentioned advises inspecting the CVT fluid every 30,000 miles."

And then after follow up about what exactly they meant by inspecting (What test indicates and confirms that the fluid needs changed once inspected? Viscosity, color, smell, moisture content, certain ppm of metal contamination, any signs of contamination, etc...? ):

"As I mentioned we do not have any recommendations for changing the CVT fluid. This is why we refer you to the Warranty & Maintenance booklet as most vehicles do not require the CVT fluid to be changed. "

Syrie Sciulli
Subaru of America, Inc.
Customer/Retailer Services Department
1-800-SUBARU3 (1-800-782-2783)
Service Request Number: 1-30488886527
 

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Might be interesting to send a sample to Blackstone lab and actually have it tested after 50k or so.

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16 outback, 18 crosstrek, 05 wrangler, 81 corvette, 74 TR6
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2015 outback 50,000 miles I changed 4 quarts of CVT fluid drained from pan then refilled.
$14 a quart from dealer $65 total.
very easy to change
[/QUOTE]
A drain and fill should take 5.5 quarts if you follow the FSM procedure. It is true that 4 quarts will fill to the drain hole, but then you need to drive it and bring it up to temp. Then get under it while it is running in park and the other 1.5 quarts will go in. Only using 4 qrts is a sure way to burn out the CVT and the dealer will measure what comes out if it gets toasted.
 

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If 4 quarts was all that came out and he refilled it with 4 quarts, his CVT will be at least as good as it was prior to the change.
 

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2019 OUTBACK 2.5 TOURING
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If 4 quarts was all that came out and he refilled it with 4 quarts, his CVT will be at least as good as it was prior to the change.
Was the purpose to be "least as good" or to do preventative maintenance? If the capacity is 5.5 quarts, a complete change requires draining that amount and refilling that amount.
 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i 2003 Legacy L special edition (retired to backup)
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MR Subaru on YT has the correct CVT drain and fill procedure on a Gen 4 outback. pretty straight forward.
 
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