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2011 outback 2.5i limited cvt
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180 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
approaching the 30k mark and need to get my cvt trans drained and filled. would do it myself but the subaru fluid is sold in 5 gallon buckets. what have other owners paid for this service?
 

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2010 outback. base 2.5
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1,970 Posts
Who said your fluid needs changing at 30k? I thought it was lifetime. Also, if Subaru buys 5 gal containers why should the customer pay for all of it? They should charge you for just what they use
 

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2017 Limited 2.5i
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1,131 Posts
Unless you're using your Outback for taxi service or towing constantly, I'd wait until 60k (or even 75k). While Subaru claims it's "lifetime" I would change it, but not necessary at 30k IMO.
 

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2013 OB 2.5i Premium; CVT; Twilight Blue Metallic
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29 Posts
My warranty and maintenance booklet calls for a replacement of the CVT fluid after 24,855 miles (40,000 km) "when the vehicle is frequently operated under severe driving conditions." That would be us in rural Alaska with a couple of months of near zero average temps and repeated short distance driving (1.5 - 3 miles). So I'm curious too about replacement cost; though the only way to get our new Sube to a dealer is via a barge or cargo jet. Obviously, I'll need to do what maintenance I can myself or let one of our local shops take care of things I can't handle.

Since the specified CVT fluid is OEM only, I don't think dealers or Subaru can charge us for the oil.
 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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2,345 Posts
The fill drain proceedure is somewhere on this site and seems easy. They key is making sure the car is level and having the OEM fluid. I don't plan to do mine for the first 100k, unless I take up towing something.
 

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2012 Outback 2.5 Premium - Former: Golf TDI
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457 Posts
Keep in mind, I'm pretty positive that one CVT fluid change requires roughly 12 qts of fluid. While the 5 gallon bucket of it seems excessive, it won't even cover two fluid changes.

Most dealerships charge the fluid at $14/qt and 1 hour of labor. Thus, somewhere in the $200-$250 mark should be expected assuming $65/hour labor.
 

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2013 Legacy Lim CVT Car: 2011 OB Prem 6MT Car: 2006 Miata GT 6MT mc: 2003 Honda GL1800A * Reunite Gondwanaland *
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3,567 Posts
... assuming $65/hour labor.
Wow! Would be almost worth a drive to St. Louis for that rate.

...with a stop for lunch at Dressel's on N. Euclid,

Looby
 

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2012 Outback 2.5 Premium - Former: Golf TDI
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457 Posts
Wow! Would be almost worth a drive to St. Louis for that rate.

...with a stop for lunch at Dressel's on N. Euclid,

Looby
I'd recommend stopping by Urban Chestnut's Biergarten off of Washington as well if you pop through any time soon :29:

But, that is the hourly rate I had quoted the 2 times I've been to the St. Peter's location for any work. The midwest has a few advantages (the recent tornadoes, hail, and humidity over the past week are not included in them)
 

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Unless you're using your Outback for taxi service or towing constantly, I'd wait until 60k (or even 75k). While Subaru claims it's "lifetime" I would change it, but not necessary at 30k IMO.
Yep thats my plan

So far the new OB tows about 1000 miles a year I'm at 48K and planning on a CVT service around 60K. Will have the brake fluid done at that time also.

Also its probably not the best idea to be one of the early CVT's to be serviced by the dealer. LOL I'd like them to have a few drain and refill experiences before they do mine.
 

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2013 Legacy Lim CVT Car: 2011 OB Prem 6MT Car: 2006 Miata GT 6MT mc: 2003 Honda GL1800A * Reunite Gondwanaland *
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3,567 Posts
I'd recommend stopping by Urban Chestnut's Biergarten off of
Washington as well if you pop through any time soon
Thanks, I'll add that to the list, and at least stop in for a beer --
but Dressel's is my #1 favorite pub in the entire USofA (so far).
Be thru near solstice. Road trip to Santa Babs, Seattle, and ???.
We ALWAYS hit St. Louis -- at least in one direction. Great town.

Last time (2011) we drove the Miata -- lots of fun, top down for
6 weeks solid, except maybe 4-6 hours. This time, we'll probably
take the OB -- there are some CO and CA dirt roads we've been
itching to explore.

...retirement ROCKS!

Looby
 

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2015 OB Limited 2.5i PZEV MR, Keyless Access & Push-Button Start, Nav, Eyesight - Tungsten Metallic
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1,313 Posts
My warranty and maintenance booklet calls for a replacement of the CVT fluid after 24,855 miles (40,000 km) "when the vehicle is frequently operated under severe driving conditions." That would be us in rural Alaska with a couple of months of near zero average temps and repeated short distance driving (1.5 - 3 miles).
I don't think you're reading the maintenance schedule properly. When it comes to changing the CVT fluid not all conditions - like extreme cold weather, dusty conditions, stop and go driving and short trips - are considered severe driving conditions. Take a look at the notes that are included with the maintenance schedule - the only note for item #4 - which is changing the CVT fluid - is towing a trailer.



Forgot to include this:

 

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2017 Limited 2.5i
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1,131 Posts
I read it the same as you Lloyd. Even in Alaska, with the harsh conditions, I'd think it could go "lifetime" but 50k-75k would be playing it plenty safe...
 

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2011 outback 2.5i limited cvt
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180 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I have towed a trailer a few times with the cvt unit. you have to keep in mind though the warranty standpoint. warranty is covered 60k miles, so if your cvt take a crap at 65k, lifetime fluid or not, you aint getting a new trans. I would feel more comfortable replacing the cvt fluid at intervals too keep my cvt unit running good. Never hurts to change fluid more frequent than less frequent.
 

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2015 OB Limited 2.5i PZEV MR, Keyless Access & Push-Button Start, Nav, Eyesight - Tungsten Metallic
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1,313 Posts
Changing the fluid certainly can't hurt the CVT - as long as it's done right - something you should probably leave to a professional with a lift. In order to replace the fluid - or even check the level - the car has to be level. Trying to do this on your garage floor with limited underneath access could be difficult when trying to add up to 13 quarts of fluid against gravity.

I don't even think my dealer bothers to check. I was planning on trying to check the level this summer so I went to the parts department to buy a replacement washer and they couldn't figure out what the part number was. They were looking up exploded parts diagrams for the CVT and couldn't decide which plug was for the inspection/fill so it's not something they're ask to replace often if even at all. They told me that the technicians only look at the CVT for leaks and if they don't find any then they assume the fluid is still at the level as it came from the factory.
 

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2016 Outback Ltd 2.5 eyesight Nav push button Hole in roof, Lapis Blue
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738 Posts
Lloyd, according to your interpretation of those charts what would you say re: oil changes in so far as server service none of the conditions listed refer to item #1 oil changes. Or would driving in dusty conditions be the only reason for oil changes more frequently?
 

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2015 OB Limited 2.5i PZEV MR, Keyless Access & Push-Button Start, Nav, Eyesight - Tungsten Metallic
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Lloyd, according to your interpretation of those charts what would you say re: oil changes in so far as server service none of the conditions listed refer to item #1 oil changes. Or would driving in dusty conditions be the only reason for oil changes more frequently?
I think it gets confusing with the item # on the schedule and the note # on the other page.

Edit- Item #3 - oil change - on the schedule lists short trips, cold weather and towing as well as dusty conditions.

Edit#2 - Your point does bring up the fact that dustry conditions would be an additional reason to change the CVT fluid. I missed that before.
 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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2,345 Posts
Edit#2 - Your point does bring up the fact that dustry conditions would be an additional reason to change the CVT fluid. I missed that before.
According the the manual, no it's not. The CVT is a sealed unit, it doesn't mater how dusty the outside air is, it will not effect the fluid. The only this that does the most damage tot he fluid is heat. The only severe driving condition item on that list that is for the CVT is #11, towing only.

Now if you want to change the fluid because it makes you feel better, so be it. ;)
 

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2015 OB Limited 2.5i PZEV MR, Keyless Access & Push-Button Start, Nav, Eyesight - Tungsten Metallic
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1,313 Posts
According the the manual, no it's not. The CVT is a sealed unit, it doesn't mater how dusty the outside air is, it will not effect the fluid. The only this that does the most damage tot he fluid is heat. The only severe driving condition item on that list that is for the CVT is #11, towing only.
That's what I thought originally but, under the list of severe conditions, driving in dusty conditions doesn't have any exceptions so it would apply to all. I looked at the service manual for the CVT and it does have an air breather hose probably to equalize pressures so maybe there could be some dust that would work its way in under severe conditions.
 

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2016 Outback Ltd 2.5 eyesight Nav push button Hole in roof, Lapis Blue
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I think I'll change mine at about 60k, and every 40 or so after that. I don't think I'll be towing anything and don't want to be towed by anything either. I plan on keeping mine till the wheels fall off, I do have an unlimited miles / time power-train warranty on the car but I wonder about some of those deals ??? It does state that the repair can't cost more the the car is worth, guess they may sort of "total it out" and hopefully pay out the value.


I don't believe any lubricating fluid can be expected to last forever, in Subaru's case it only needs to last 60k or 100k if they sold extended care contract. I expect to go well beyond that!
 

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2015 OB Limited 2.5i PZEV MR, Keyless Access & Push-Button Start, Nav, Eyesight - Tungsten Metallic
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I think I'll change mine at about 60k, and every 40 or so after that. I don't think I'll be towing anything and don't want to be towed by anything either. I plan on keeping mine till the wheels fall off, I do have an unlimited miles / time power-train warranty on the car but I wonder about some of those deals ??? It does state that the repair can't cost more the the car is worth, guess they may sort of "total it out" and hopefully pay out the value.


I don't believe any lubricating fluid can be expected to last forever, in Subaru's case it only needs to last 60k or 100k if they sold extended care contract. I expect to go well beyond that!
I don't think they expect it to last forever. Part of the inspection process at those 30,000 mile intervals is to check the condition of the fluid and change if there's a problem - if not then go another 30,000.

If you really don't think the design engineers at Subaru know what they're doing then you'll need to look at other things you might want to change more often like the coolant. Also be aware that there's a CVT Fluid filter as well which Subaru says doesn't need to be changed but if you're second guessing their fluid recommendation then you might want to include that as well.

I plan to roll the dice and not change - I have a 7 year/100,000 mile warranty as well - but then I don't plan to keep beyond that as there are so many other things in a car that can break and leave you stranded at that point.
 

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