Subaru owners of vehicles equipped with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Subaru recently released an updated Service for the CV Transmissions from NO recommended interval to 25,000 miles if under "severe duty". This now aligns with our recommendation where normal driving is actually "severe" duty. Previously, tampering with the drain plug would have VOIDED the 100,000 mile Subaru warranty, discouraging anyone from doing a service. A survey of nearby dealers revealed that they are now accommodating service
requests. There is clear evidence that while Subaru CVTs are one of the better, they are not without major break-down issues. Keeping good fluid is the only hedge the transmission has to lower the risk of sudden failure, expensive repairs and the down time. Our experience says that it is worth it.
IF PAST DUE WE URGE EARLIEST ATTENTION
Subaru CV Transmission issues:
Full list of vehicles equipped with CVT Transmissions:
FLUID SERVICE ALL CVT EQUIPPED VEHICLES
ALL REQUIRE FREQUENT FLUID SERVICE
TO MINIMIZE THE RISK OF CATASTROPHIC FAILURE
AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION (CVT) SERVICE : replace all fluid, and filter, if so equipped. Those that have a torque converter require multiple drain and fills to completely refresh the fluid.
FREQUENCY: 24 months (or 25,000 miles if earlier)
WARRANTY CAVEAT: AutoWerks can perform the Service using BG Products CVT fluid that exceeds dealer specifications, or, for your increased comfort we can use the Manufacturers' O.E. fluid, or, for even higher comfort, you can elect to have the service performed by the dealer so it is on their record.
From the beginning CVT's were short lived and not repairable, requiring unit replacement, i.e. Nissan Versa only 100k to 125k miles and approximately $4000. Short and/or local drive are particularly hard on CVTs. Unlike traditional automatically shifted transmissions that when they start to slip, a fluid service likely will cure it, CVT failure can be sudden and total, sometimes preceded by a shudder and/or stalling the engine. There are times when this becomes a safety issue. The working component's heavy loads and constant flexing make it highly dependent on the quality of the lubricating fluid. Good fluid was the only hedge to preserve it for as long as possible. The manufacturers recommended intervals were way beyond or NOT AT ALL (notably Subaru), citing that they had a “Lifetime” fill, with 30,000 check with no guide to tell when fluid had "gone off", implying it wasn't the fluid's, but by inference it meant yours, or the universe, or, perhaps the transmission's. When the fluid is dead, it kills the machine. This is true for all working fluids. Since there is no way to determine if the fluid is "dead" and there is no downside to fresh fluid, so, early replacement is the only advisable solution.