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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I made a bonehead move and mistakenly drained about 1-1.5 quarts of CVT Transmission fluid from my 2013 2.5 Outback. I called the local dealership and they do not sell the fluid. They also recommended that I do not drive the vehicle (tow it to them). I think they are being overly cautious for only 1-1.5 quarts being drained. My questions:

1) I know the manual says you can only use Subaru CVT transmission fluid. Since this fluid is not available does anyone know if there are after market alternatives? The dealership said that the fill process involves hooking the car up to the computer, is this really necessary if I know exactly how much fluid is missing?

2) If I do need to have the dealership do this, does anyone have thoughts on driving the vehicle 15 miles into the dealership versus towing.

Thanks!
 

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2010 2.5i Outback, 2015 2.5i Legacy w/Eyesight
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Considering my dealership did not even want to change my transmission fluid on my 2010 at 60k miles (they said it was because the CVT was manufactured in a clean room and that if ever needed to be changed, then there was something else more seriously wrong with the car), I do not think your dealership is being overly cautious about this. Granted, they have changed the transmission a bit for MY2013, so maybe it's a different animal.

Think about it though, a new CVT costs 8k. How much would it cost to take it to the dealership? Let's say you do it completely correct, but something else happens to the transmission while your car is under warranty. I don't know if you told the dealership who was calling, but if there are any indicators that something was done to the transmission that wasn't recorded to have been done by a dealership, I say good luck to you on getting the warranty coverage.

Personally, I would take it in and pay the dealership for my mistake for assurance later if it is less than a few hundred (flatbed tow included).
 

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2012 limited, white, no moonroof or nav
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The Subaru correct fluid is sold in 5 gallon pails. If you have any other dealers near you, it would be worth checking with them to see if they stock it. Not much point in bringing it in to a dealer without the proper fluid.

Just for your info, the CVT hold between 12 and 13 quarts.......So, if you are accurate about only draining 1-1.5 quarts, you should be safe driving it to the dealer of your choice for the top up. Good Luck.
 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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The CVT is very dependent on fluid being exact, but I don't see how driving it 15 miles could hurt it as it won't really hit operating temp by the time you get there.

Just don't tow 5000# on your way there and I think you should be fine.
 

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13 blk Outback 2.5i cvt AW package, bunch of other OEM accessories...12 blk F350 6.2 gasser 4x4...10 Goldwing red nav ...04 JD 4510 loader/bhoe
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Valvoline might have it

Hi, Valvoline Synpower CVT fluid might be the fix.
1st, check out availability.
Looks like qt bottles and 5 gallon pails might be available.

Your liable to verify compatability.

If you can and its verified to be Viable substitute you should add about what you think you lost and drive to the dealership for final check.
Ultimately it's your call.

Good luck and be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys. 4wheeldog, that is exactly what happened. It was the combination of being in a hurry and performing the first oil change on a new car that I am not familiar with - not very smart. I should have known better. The guy at the dealership said they have serviced a few CVTs after the quick lube places have done the same thing - which made me feel a bit better.

At the end of the day I decided to have it towed. It was only 70 bucks, so as statueim said, why risk it? Thanks guys.
 

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2016 Outback Ltd 2.5 eyesight Nav push button Hole in roof, Lapis Blue
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use ONLY Subaru fluid in the CVT

Even LubeGard who makes the best transmission additives and fluid to "convert" different fluids for other applications and have their own CVT universal fluid states ONLY use the Subaru fluid in our CVTs. I have used their products in my Honda, Ford and Chevy and can tell you there the tops!

http://www.lubegard.com/pdfs/2010_LUBEGARD_CC_FINAL.pdf

Funny Subaru states it never needs to be changed, I know mine will be changed by 60k I say no fluid can be permanent, and if you tow they say change it every 24k or so. I'm Surprised any dealer would not carry it in stock.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
They have it in stock for their service department, they just don't sell it. They led me to believe they have a barrel of it.
 

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2016 Outback Ltd 2.5 eyesight Nav push button Hole in roof, Lapis Blue
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Why do they say you never have to change the CVT fluid ?

Interesting enough since the only fluid for the CVT is Subaru's own they may be stating it never needs to be changed because they would have to GIVE it to use for FREE !!

. Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and general principles of the FTC Act a manufacturer may not require the use of any brand unless the manufacturer provides the item free of charge under the terms of the warranty. Basically if a consumer is told that only the OEM product will not void the warranty, that consumer should request the OEM product to be supplied free of charge. If the consumer is refused or charged for the OEM product the customer should ask for a copy of the warrantor's approved FTC waiver if this is not supplied the manufacturer will be violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act or orther applicable laws. Visit Federal Trade Commission for more information!

Of course you would have to pay for the labor or do it yourself.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Maybe they are giving it away. You would have to find someone that has had service on a CVT for any odd number of reasons and look at their invoice. If there is a charge for the fluid, it would be a "gotcha".

I don't know how reliable it is at this point in time, but the fluid has an inspection interval every 30k under normal service and replacement interval every 15k under severe. So obviously its not a "never needs replacement" fluid. I highly doubt that Subaru engineering has achieved a completely sealed transmission that does not have some sort of porosity in a hose, joint, line or seal that may allow moisture in, nor has any oil company manufactured a lubricant/hydraulic oil that does not brake down with heat and pressure. Sure its run with a band, but pressure is still required to alter the gear ratios and flow is constant.
 

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2016 Outback Ltd 2.5 eyesight Nav push button Hole in roof, Lapis Blue
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So what did they charge to top it off then?
 

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First post on this forum, but I've been reading a LOT, especially in the last 24 hours. I actually just made the same mistake. Total idiot move, first time oil change on my 2013 2.5L. Car was on the ground, had enough clearance to get under it. Came at it from under the passenger side door. Found the CVT pan and it looked like the oil pan,drain plug and all. Assumed i was an idiot and reading the manual wrong. Unfortunately, I confirmed that I am an idiot and drained the CVT, then not knowing what I had done I added 5 qts of oil, changed the oil filter and started it up to let it get the oil where it needed to be before I checked the levels and topped it off. Everything seemed fine, went to move it back in the driveway to clean up a small spill from my stupid leaky oil drain pan and saw the check engine light/at tran temp etc. lights on. Vehicle moved 2 feet or so. Immediately shut it off and investigated. When i crawled under from the front I quickly recognized what I had done and, after a short freakout, ran to the store, got new oil, drained all ~10 qts of oil and refilled w/ correct amount. CVT is still 5 qts low, at least that's what I poured out of my drain pan. I'm mortified about voiding a warranty due to idiocy on my shiny brand new bad-ass perfect for everything car. Having it towed to the dealership today so they can refill the CVT and check/reset any codes. Anyone know, based on experience, if I have already shot myself in the foot regarding the warranty? Bought an additional service package as well, 120000 mile bumper to bumper, which makes it that much more important that I get this one right. Stupid stupid me.......Should have known when I saw the BLUE CVT fluid coming out that I was doing something wrong and it wasn't just what oil looks like coming out of a new car. My last vic was a 165,000 mile rust bucket....Didn't put 2 and 2 together on that one....RTFM!!!!! So would you random internet people who I've never met agree that towing it to the dealer is the right move?
 

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So would you random internet people who I've never met agree that towing it to the dealer is the right move?
Absolutely. If you have paper documenting the final, successful oil change, tow & trans fluid correction done by the dealer, you won't get pushback on possible future warranty issues. Keep your cool and don't let them rib you too much- or too little. :)
 

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I just did the same (stupid) thing. My first Subaru, first oil change on the car. I caught it and only drained out 1/2 quart (I measured it). Is this a problem? We don't tow anything.

Also, where is the fill hole? I looked and am guessing that it is under the heat-shield type material on top of the trans. Why do they call this a sealed unit when the drain plug is so easily accessible? I think they just don't want would-be techs to put the wrong stuff in.

I called the dealer and they said they would add the fluid for "about" a half-hour of labor and $18 for a quart of the special sauce.

Thanks in advance.
 
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