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2019 Outback Limited 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #1
Don't know how much this has been discussed but I took my son's 2017 Forester to the dealer today to get the fluid changed in the CVT. The service manager says that Subaru has told all of the dealers to longer change the fluid in the those transmissions. Says that it screwed up some of them and Subaru had to replace them. Says it is a lifetime fluid and they will longer service them.
 

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2019 Outback Limited 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #4
No, that's just what the local service mgr told me today. Can't imagine why they pass up the opportunity to make some money on it if they could.
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2017 Outback Limited 2.5, Twilight Blue/Ivory, Eyesight. Also 1995 BMW 525i with 240,000 miles
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No, that's just what the local service mgr told me today. Can't imagine why they pass up the opportunity to make some money on it if they could.
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Unless SOA puts it in writing I would question it.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6 Limited
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No, that's just what the local service mgr told me today. Can't imagine why they pass up the opportunity to make some money on it if they could.
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I would take this with a grain of salt then. They could just not want the work.

If Subaru recommends 25k fluid changes when towing then I'm going to need something more than "I know a guy" to go against that.
 

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18 Outback 3.6r Touring
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Don't know how much this has been discussed but I took my son's 2017 Forester to the dealer today to get the fluid changed in the CVT. The service manager says that Subaru has told all of the dealers to longer change the fluid in the those transmissions. Says that it screwed up some of them and Subaru had to replace them. Says it is a lifetime fluid and they will longer service them.
First... this is an Outtback forum.
Second, YES! My Outback‘s CVT is a filled for life unit with a 30k mile inspection. So sayeth my warranty booklet. As such I have it in writing from the manufacturer.
 

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Super Moderator
2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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I don't believe it until it's in writing on official Subie letterhead.

Sounds to me from OP that the dealers are messing up the CVTs and that is a dealer issue and not the owner.

So if the OP got the right info, a dealer won't change my fluids bc their techs mess up. After they allowed to change diff fluid and brake fluid?

I need to see it in writing otherwise this is a scared dealer who is being charged back for the replacement trannies bc the teardown shows the techs were at fault.

I'll bet this is a non-issue with Honda and Nissan, among others
 

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2019 Outback Limited 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #9
Hey guys, I was just relaying what the local dealer told me. It was not an owner issue but a dealer issue for screwing up some transmissions. You may be right that it only applied to this specific dealer. Your car, do whatever you want. If your dealer says different then I would go by what they say.
 

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2019 2.5 touring Outback & 2016 2.5 limited Outback
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I believe I got something in the mail last year from Subaru, that they changed the fluid change interval from 100k to 70k. I did mine on my 2016 just as piece of mind. Cost was on $119.
 

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Hey guys, I was just relaying what the local dealer told me. It was not an owner issue but a dealer issue for screwing up some transmissions. You may be right that it only applied to this specific dealer. Your car, do whatever you want. If your dealer says different then I would go by what they say.
A quick call to SoA, the numbers in your owners manual, will clear this up. Might also score a free Yeti or Dyson for your troubles.
 

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2015 3.6R Limited w/ES
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Having spent a good chunk of time in the Gen 5 forum since buying my 2015, it's no secret that many dealers are reluctant to service the CVT fluid. I've never asked a dealer myself, but my local indy Subaru shop suggests a minimum 90k interval, preferably sooner given the traffic conditions in the NY metro area (and lead feet of many of their customers ;)).
 

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2019 2.5i Limited Forester (hers) (4th Subie), 2014 Impreza Premium (mine)(#5)
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! My Outback‘s CVT is a filled for life unit with a 30k mile inspection. So sayeth my warranty booklet. As such I have it in writing from the manufacturer.
Actually ... this is supposed to be correct.

I had this discussion with my old service department.

The Subaru warranty book says lifetime fluid. What service departments have been doing is using the industry standard that 90,000 - 100,000 miles is considered the lifetime. So they've been changing the fluid at 90,000 miles, because in one section it says to replace all fluids at 90,000 - even though in another section, it says (basically) unless you're doing towing and heavy usage (where you DO need to change the CVT oil), you should just leave it alone. Forever.

And that odd mileage number (24,855) comes from 40,000 km - because 40,000 km = 24,854.8 miles.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6 Limited
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...en though in another section, it says (basically) unless you're doing towing and heavy usage (where you DO need to change the CVT oil), you should just leave it alone. Forever.

And that odd mileage number (24,855) comes from 40,000 km - because 40,000 km = 24,854.8 miles.
This is what I've found to be true as well.

But isn't the definition of heavy use so broad and vague that the majority of drivers would fall under the category?

Myself excluded I figure I'm an exception with the silly things I do. But I thought it said things like "mountains, traffic, dust" etc?
 

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There are a number of factors listed that qualify as severe service for various maintenance items, but just one applies to the CVT fluid - repeated trailer towing. I've never seen anything in writing that says "all fluids" should be replaced at 90k. The first coolant interval is way more than that.
 

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2019 2.5i Limited Forester (hers) (4th Subie), 2014 Impreza Premium (mine)(#5)
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This is what I've found to be true as well.

But isn't the definition of heavy use so broad and vague that the majority of drivers would fall under the category?

Myself excluded I figure I'm an exception with the silly things I do. But I thought it said things like "mountains, traffic, dust" etc?
Severe driving is
Constant repeated short trips, stop-and-go, extensive idling
Rough, muddy, dusty, wet, humid, cold, mountainous, salty conditions (basically any coast, country, or winter driving)
Frequently towing a trailer.
Racing
/\ - From Cars101.com

I think you can tell lawyers were involved with the weasel words. Under realistic (meaning you're not driving in Chicago / NYC during the winter, or LA at any time, or it's your particular Outback, since I use your videos as sales aids on what an Outback can do - everyone loves the election day one when you put the rear end way up in the air) driving conditions, you're probably good forever.
 

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'15 Outback 2.5i Premium
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My dealer explicitly did not want to replace the CVT fluid when I asked them to at 60,000 miles. When asked why I wanted it changed, I showed them the inspection report from another dealer at the 54,000-mile service (I was on the road more than 1000 miles away when it came due) where they marked the transmission fluid as "due soon" (yellow), and the service manager commented that inspection showed that it would be a good idea to have it changed the next time it's serviced. My local dealer said they inspect the fluid as part of service and would make a recommendation accordingly. After finishing, they said "it's fine, leave it alone."

This is something I'd really prefer to have a dealer do than an independent mechanic (or myself). If the dealer doesn't want to do it, however, I don't really want to pressure them into doing it anyway, so I have to either shop for a different dealer (nearest is 100 miles away), use an indy, or leave it alone. For now, I'm opting for the last option. As I approach 100,000 miles I may re-think that if necessary. At some point I'm likely to have it serviced elsewhere again, and will see what they have to say about it. For now, knock wood(!), the transmission seems like it's working fine (for an automatic transmission, anyway).

Not that it may matter much, but in case it doesn't get changed and fails sometime after the extended warranty, I do have on record the recommendation from one dealer to change it and the request to and refusal by another dealer to do so.
 

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Actually ... this is supposed to be correct.

I had this discussion with my old service department.

The Subaru warranty book says lifetime fluid. What service departments have been doing is using the industry standard that 90,000 - 100,000 miles is considered the lifetime. So they've been changing the fluid at 90,000 miles, because in one section it says to replace all fluids at 90,000 - even though in another section, it says (basically) unless you're doing towing and heavy usage (where you DO need to change the CVT oil), you should just leave it alone. Forever.

And that odd mileage number (24,855) comes from 40,000 km - because 40,000 km = 24,854.8 miles.
This kind of goes back to old school thinking and experiences from decades ago with transmission fluids. Don't know if the chemistry of the fluids have changed. But we would do fluid changes at 20-40K miles. If someone came in with a vehicle that had 100K+ and never changed it we left it alone. All kinds of bad things happened if you changed after that long because of how abrasive the new clean fluid was back then. We would tell customers to just continue driving it after that point till the trany failed instead of the flush and fill. Then have it rebuilt.
 

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There are a number of factors listed that qualify as severe service for various maintenance items, but just one applies to the CVT fluid - repeated trailer towing. I've never seen anything in writing that says "all fluids" should be replaced at 90k. The first coolant interval is way more than that.
According to every service adviser around the country I talk with, everywhere you live is considered severe service. Living in TX is subject to severe service. Living in FL, MA, PA and CA is considered severe service. I just choke it up to unnecessary marketing for uneducated service people. When warranty time comes I'll deal with SoA and show my service records according to their requirements and then the burden will be on them to prove that geographically where I live and travel justifies severe service.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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The service manager says that Subaru has told all of the dealers to longer change the fluid in the those transmissions. Says that it screwed up some of them and Subaru had to replace them.
If true, it sounds to me like Subaru may consider the risk of CVT failure due to fluid age to be lower than the risk of failure due to dealer techs refilling with the wrong fluid or introducing contamination. There are currently at least two specific Subaru CVT fluids to choose from ... different for the Gen 1 (TR690) and Gen 2 (TR580) transmissions ... and using the wrong fluid in the CVT is far more serious than using oil with the wrong viscosity range in the engine.

Consider that the contact pressure between the Variator chain and pulley faces in a Subaru CVT ranges up to ~150,000 psi (per Subaru) ... which is on the same order as the contact pressure between the drive wheels of a steam locomotive and the steel rails it rides on.
 
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