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Discussion Starter #1
I just got my Touring XT last week and love it so far but I've noticed a high pitch whining sound from about 20-70mph. I'm not sure if the sound goes away at 70'ish mph or if it's just too hard to hear at that point due to wind noise.

It almost sounds like the constant whine of a cicada on a hot summer day, or the whine from a supercharger. It's not unbearably loud but very noticeable, enough to know that it shouldn't be there.

The sound is not affected by pushing the throttle or revving the engine. It does not increase in loudness as the mph increases. The whining decreases and stops as the vehicle comes to a stop.

The vehicle is brand new, I took delivery with about 100 miles on the odometer (was transported from another dealer). I've only had the vehicle for about a week but the sound has been there from the start.

I'm going to take it to the dealer so they can have a look but was wondering if anyone has any ideas.
 

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2020 Black Subaru Outback Touring XT
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I noticed that as well, and I honestly can't say when it went away, but it did. I've had my touring xt for 36 days and have around 2200 miles on it so far, picked it up with 50 ish miles on it. I'm pretty particular of sounds and rattles, I chalked it up to the new engine groaning.
 

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I suggest using the app Sound Analyzer with the option Spectrum Analyzer to document the sound frequency signature. This app could also help determine if the sound stops after 70 mph if that is important information. I originally downloaded this app before I got my Outback with the idea comparing the dB in the cabin at different speeds. Of course this app is not calibrated to specific phones but interesting and useful anyway.

More about the sound. You are right to be concerned about a noise which is usually the result of friction.
 

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2020 Subaru Outback Touring XT Autumn Green
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Definitely have the dealer check it. We picked up our 2020 OB Touring XT and have not noticed any strange noises other than when turbo kicks in.
 

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I don't seem to have that sound that I've noticed. What's curious is the 20mph transition of the sound, and yet it's otherwise unaffected by engine RPM or vehicle speed.

If the sound is subtle, you could make videos using your smartphone to capture the nature of the high pitch whining sound, so that you can show it to the dealer/service writer. That way they'll have a better idea of what to listen for, or what to do if they need to do a test drive to re-create the problem. Odd things can go un-reproduced at the dealer when they're not paying attention to the specific thing you're noticing, unless it's so loud that any passenger would immediately notice it (like belt squeal).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dropped it off at the dealer today. Will keep you guys posted.

I noticed that as well, and I honestly can't say when it went away, but it did. I've had my touring xt for 36 days and have around 2200 miles on it so far, picked it up with 50 ish miles on it. I'm pretty particular of sounds and rattles, I chalked it up to the new engine groaning.
Did the whining/whistling noise you had behave like the one I'm having? (begins at above 20mph, constant regardless of throttle, goes away when coming to a stop)

I'm tempted to just wait it out too instead of the dealer techs tinkering with it but I don't want to risk ignoring something that can cause issues later.
 

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2018 Outback Limited, Tungsten/Ivory
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I took a test drive in a 2020 OB Limited and there was a whining noise emanating from the front wheel. Turns out there is a shield around the brake rotor that got bent and was rubbing. Not sure thats your problem since your issue is occurring after reaching 20 mph. But maybe there is a physical rubbing issue>?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Dealer still has the vehicle, haven't heard anything from them yet. Their master tech is trying to figure it out.

The fact that the whining isn't there below 20mph leads me to believe it's something related to some sort of gear or belt or some engine part that isn't engaged until the vehicle reaches 20mph'ish speeds.

It sounds like a jet engine winding up, then the sound pretty much stays consistent until I slow down to a full stop. When slowing down to a full stop it almost sounds like a jet engine winding down to complete stop/silence.
 

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2019 Outback 3.6R Touring
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Dealer still has the vehicle, haven't heard anything from them yet. Their master tech is trying to figure it out.

The fact that the whining isn't there below 20mph leads me to believe it's something related to some sort of gear or belt or some engine part that isn't engaged until the vehicle reaches 20mph'ish speeds.

It sounds like a jet engine winding up, then the sound pretty much stays consistent until I slow down to a full stop. When slowing down to a full stop it almost sounds like a jet engine winding down to complete stop/silence.
Did you check under the hood, maybe they dropped in the wrong engine...


Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

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Dealer still has the vehicle, haven't heard anything from them yet. Their master tech is trying to figure it out.

The fact that the whining isn't there below 20mph leads me to believe it's something related to some sort of gear or belt or some engine part that isn't engaged until the vehicle reaches 20mph'ish speeds.

It sounds like a jet engine winding up, then the sound pretty much stays consistent until I slow down to a full stop. When slowing down to a full stop it almost sounds like a jet engine winding down to complete stop/silence.
Outback, in case your dealer can't birddog this noise.... for giggles....

Take your car up into the speed range where the noise appears.

Put the tranny in Neutral and coast.... if the noise continues, quickly & lightly rev the engine - note if the noise changes.

If not - I'd suspect that it's something that it's tranny/differential/even brake-related.

If they have a real master tech looking at your ride, I'd think that he should at least be able to identify the source.

Good luck!
 

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You may have already determined that it’s not the tires. But I was browsing recommended tires for the Legacys and Outbacks on TireRack.com and the Yokohama Avid Ascend GTs were highly recommended, I believe it’s just the Avid GTs on the 2020s I’ve seen but they may have the same characteristic. Even though the TireRack testers really liked them there were a multitude of buyer reviews that complained bitterly about a whining, droning sound from the tires. Many attempted to return them or replace them early. Conversely there were also reviews that stated they were quiet. So what the difference is I don’t know
 

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2020 Subaru Outback Onyx XT
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I have the EXACT same issues but mine is only noticeable from 25-55MPG seems to not be there before that speed or after. Its not very loud at all but its crazy annoying and I'm just too busy to take it in and get checked. Please keep us posted once you find out! It sounds like its either the Front passenger tire area or around that area of the engine. ughhhh its been driving me crazy.
 

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Important UPDATE:

The service department determined the sound is definitely abnormal and is the result of a transmission issue. They were unable to determine the specifics of the problem. They contacted Subaru directly to work together to pinpoint the issue. The service department manager told me that they wanted to "flush the transmission fluid and/or open up the transmission" to investigate further but Subaru would not allow them to. Subaru instructed the service department to replace the entire transmission and send the faulty transmission back to them. I would assume Subaru wanted to analyze the transmission themselves to determine a possible manufacturing issue.

I've barely owned this vehicle for one week, the majority of the mileage on the odometer was from the delivery of the vehicle from another dealership. The whining sound was present when I took delivery of the car and I immediately notified my sales agent the next day when I started to suspect that it wasn't normal. Due to the whining nature of the sound I can see how someone who's not a "car-enthusiast" might almost suspect it is normal, but even a "non-enthusiast" would know that the whining is intrusive and a sign that something might be wrong. I'm pretty upset at this point, I paid for a new vehicle and I was promised by the service department that my vehicle "will be JUST LIKE NEW once they're done". I'm working with the dealership to resolve the issue.

I strongly recommend that if you are experiencing a similar whining/whistling-like noise that seems like it's a little louder than it should, get the vehicle checked out. This is a completely redesigned vehicle and it's important Subaru knows if there's an issue that they need to correct.
 

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I just got my Touring XT last week and love it so far but I've noticed a high pitch whining sound from about 20-70mph. I'm not sure if the sound goes away at 70'ish mph or if it's just too hard to hear at that point due to wind noise.

It almost sounds like the constant whine of a cicada on a hot summer day, or the whine from a supercharger. It's not unbearably loud but very noticeable, enough to know that it shouldn't be there.

The sound is not affected by pushing the throttle or revving the engine. It does not increase in loudness as the mph increases. The whining decreases and stops as the vehicle comes to a stop.

The vehicle is brand new, I took delivery with about 100 miles on the odometer (was transported from another dealer). I've only had the vehicle for about a week but the sound has been there from the start.

I'm going to take it to the dealer so they can have a look but was wondering if anyone has any ideas.
Interesting. I haven't noticed the noise. Also interested to see if it changes when you cycle the Climate control on or off. Possible noise when the ventilation ducting gets pressurized. Let us know and I hope they get it sorted out.
Mike
 

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Important UPDATE:

The service department determined the sound is definitely abnormal and is the result of a transmission issue. They were unable to determine the specifics of the problem. They contacted Subaru directly to work together to pinpoint the issue. The service department manager told me that they wanted to "flush the transmission fluid and/or open up the transmission" to investigate further but Subaru would not allow them to. Subaru instructed the service department to replace the entire transmission and send the faulty transmission back to them. I would assume Subaru wanted to analyze the transmission themselves to determine a possible manufacturing issue.

I've barely owned this vehicle for one week, the majority of the mileage on the odometer was from the delivery of the vehicle from another dealership. The whining sound was present when I took delivery of the car and I immediately notified my sales agent the next day when I started to suspect that it wasn't normal. Due to the whining nature of the sound I can see how someone who's not a "car-enthusiast" might almost suspect it is normal, but even a "non-enthusiast" would know that the whining is intrusive and a sign that something might be wrong. I'm pretty upset at this point, I paid for a new vehicle and I was promised by the service department that my vehicle "will be JUST LIKE NEW once they're done". I'm working with the dealership to resolve the issue.

I strongly recommend that if you are experiencing a similar whining/whistling-like noise that seems like it's a little louder than it should, get the vehicle checked out. This is a completely redesigned vehicle and it's important Subaru knows if there's an issue that they need to correct.
Check lemon laws for your state. I'd would be beyond pissed had that happened to me. Would definitely try to get new car.
 

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2020 Outback Limited 2.5 Hi-Yo, Ice Silver! Away!
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At least the dealership thought it was defective and Subaru wants the whole transmission back.

I do hope the car is repaired fine.

But I am also glad to see Subaru going the extra mile to investigate.

Don't feel too bad. This may be the only major repair you do on your car in its lifetime.

But while looking into lemon laws makes sense, I think you're still supposed to let the manufacturer / dealership repair it first and if that fails, then you can consider it.

Once you get a loaner, then just sit tight.
 

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2020 Outback Onyx XT
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At least the dealership thought it was defective and Subaru wants the whole transmission back.

I do hope the car is repaired fine.

But I am also glad to see Subaru going the extra mile to investigate.

Don't feel too bad. This may be the only major repair you do on your car in its lifetime.

But while looking into lemon laws makes sense, I think you're still supposed to let the manufacturer / dealership repair it first and if that fails, then you can consider it.

Once you get a loaner, then just sit tight.
Lemon laws most probably won't apply here. For lemon laws to apply, there are specific number of times the car has to be in the shop for repairs and a specific amount the car is to be off the road. On top of it, the dealer has to make 'reasonable' attempts to fix the issue as well.

 

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2018 Subaru Outback Premium w/Eyesight package #14
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Definitely an aggravating experience. And I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. It seems though that both your dealer and Subaru are doing everything right. You experienced something that didn't seem right, they got you in, they took you seriously, they looked at the vehicle, concurred with you and diagnosed the issue as being the tranny, and now they have agreed to replace it - all quite quickly. This type of customer care is almost non-existent, except in all but a handful of high end, luxury brands and another really good reason to own a Subaru, in my opinion. Hang in there! Hopefully, you'll be back in your own vehicle very soon and everything will be just as it should be. Keep us posted as to your progress. We're all crossing our fingers for you! (That's what Subaru family is all about ;) ). Be well.
 
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