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CVT Servicing.


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Hi All,

I've got a 2010 2.5 Outback (EJ253)

It's got 107k miles and has an auto/CTV transmission.

When i got the car around two years ago, The AT Oil Temp light was flashing so i took it to Subaru Durham for a diagnostic. Whilst they had the car i asked them to service the CVT for me and made them aware in advcance that i was happy to pay whatever it cost. 

When i collected the car, they couldnt fhey couldnt find anything wrong with the CVT and they turned the OT oil light off. However, they didnt service the CVT for me. I was told that they had spoken to Subaru tech HQ and they were told that the CVT fluid is lifetime fluid and never requires replacing. I find it suprising that the dealer I dealt with didnt seem to have a foggiest until i asked them about it. Interestingly they are no longer a subaru dealer...

However, this is silly. No oil/fluid is lifetime. (MR Subaru1387 on youtube talks about this if interested). He argues that Subaru Japan state CVT oil changes every three years / 36k miles

Given that all subaru's now have CVT's fitted. I'd be interested to see if anyone else has had their CVT serviced and if so who did it.

thanks all.

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1 hour ago, tomgr7 said:

Hi All,

I've got a 2010 2.5 Outback (EJ253)

It's got 107k miles and has an auto/CTV transmission.

When i got the car around two years ago, The AT Oil Temp light was flashing so i took it to Subaru Durham for a diagnostic. Whilst they had the car i asked them to service the CVT for me and made them aware in advcance that i was happy to pay whatever it cost. 

When i collected the car, they couldnt fhey couldnt find anything wrong with the CVT and they turned the OT oil light off. However, they didnt service the CVT for me. I was told that they had spoken to Subaru tech HQ and they were told that the CVT fluid is lifetime fluid and never requires replacing. I find it suprising that the dealer I dealt with didnt seem to have a foggiest until i asked them about it. Interestingly they are no longer a subaru dealer...

However, this is silly. No oil/fluid is lifetime. (MR Subaru1387 on youtube talks about this if interested). He argues that Subaru Japan state CVT oil changes every three years / 36k miles

Given that all subaru's now have CVT's fitted. I'd be interested to see if anyone else has had their CVT serviced and if so who did it.

thanks all.

Yeap, that was another of my issues when I recently (March 2021) collected my new OB.  I asked the sales person why they're serviced in places like Japan 36K and Canada 50K, but not in Europe, the US or Australia.  He said it was due to the climate and humidity in Japan!! I didn't believe that - hogwash.  However, as someone pointed out on the US Subaru forum, if it was a massive problem then the forum would have been choked full of horror stories given how Subaru sell 700.000 cars a year in  US every year, and have been increasing their sales year on year for the last 20 years, so lots of 100K plus vehicles on the road.  I was reassured by getting one if the last Subarus with a 5 year 100K warranty too 🙂

 

Try emailing Subaru UK directly and asking customerrelations@imgroup.co.uk and write to the motoring press.  Subaru's new boss is keen to increase the sales of Subarus in the uK and has ditched poorly performing dealerships (Like Croxdale Durham) and is opening 15 new dealerships, apparently (Teesvalley and Penrith incuded).

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Hi

thanks for the reply.

The car drives lovely and to my knowledge the CVT is working perfectly fine. When Croxdale looked it at re the oil temp light they couldnt find anything wrong with it and i've not had any issues since.

I had noticed that croxdale had vanished off the subaru website a few weeks ago. I wasnt aware why though. You believe that they have been dropped by Subaru UK? Why would they do that I wonder. 

Good shout with the email suggestion. Who are customerrelations@imgroup.co.uk? I assume part of Subaru?

I've emailed an indy subaru garage in Hexham to get it booked in for some other jobs. So i've asked him what he thinks.

I think there is a dealer in Alnwick, but thats a good two hour drive from me. So not particually ideal. The new dealer in Darlington is closer, but again, depends on whether or not they do it, or have the knowledge to do it.

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7 minutes ago, tomgr7 said:

Hi

thanks for the reply.

The car drives lovely and to my knowledge the CVT is working perfectly fine. When Croxdale looked it at re the oil temp light they couldnt find anything wrong with it and i've not had any issues since.

I had noticed that croxdale had vanished off the subaru website a few weeks ago. I wasnt aware why though. You believe that they have been dropped by Subaru UK? Why would they do that I wonder. 

Good shout with the email suggestion. Who are customerrelations@imgroup.co.uk? I assume part of Subaru?

I've emailed an indy subaru garage in Hexham to get it booked in for some other jobs. So i've asked him what he thinks.

I think there is a dealer in Alnwick, but thats a good two hour drive from me. So not particually ideal. The new dealer in Darlington is closer, but again, depends on whether or not they do it, or have the knowledge to do it.

 

Hi Tom,

 

Re the email address IM (International Motors Group- based in Solihull) are the importers of Subaru cars in the UK.  I've made a few inquiries and they've been helpful.  Currently waiting to hear back about servicing intervals.

Here are a couple of car industry articles explaining the Subaru new annual target of selling 10,000 cars (they sold 976 last year!) and what other changes are afoot.  I was worried this last year that with such low sales figures Subaru might join Mitsubishi in pulling out of the UK and Europe - but all seems OK for now.

https://www.am-online.com/news/dealer-news/2021/04/21/subaru-uk-looks-to-fulfil-vision-of-being-better-with-four-new-franchised-dealers

https://www.am-online.com/dealer-management/manufacturer-insight/subaru-uk-we-have-not-treated-the-brand-correctly-in-the-uk

I'm also wondering about where to take the car when it needs servicing too and for the moment have decided to take it to the independent garage I always use in North Yorks (not Subaru).  I tend to avoid main dealerships and I also wonder if the mechanics at Darlington or Penrith new Subaru dealerships have a great deal of experience regarding working on Subaru anyway.  I think there was also one in Carlisle (Stan Palmer?) but not sure if they exist any longer.

One of the weird things about Subaru, is that given they sell so few cars they seem to have a relatively large number of regional dealerships across the UK.

If you find a good independent Subaru garage up here in this region (Cumbria, NYorks, Co Durham etc.) I'd be interested.  I can't see any on the net.

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thanks for the information, will take a look at the links.

I've used Martin from Sheffield Subaru Service before. Depending on where you are he may be fairly close.

I've also used Autotecnia, who are another independant subaru garage. Although, they are based in the peak district/buxton and not local to Cumbria, Durham, Yorkshire. They are very good though.

At the moment im looking at Gilesgate autocare, who are another indepentant subaru/4x4 garage based in Hexham / Northumberland. So not too bad from a durham / cumbria perspective. but a good 1-2hr drive from N.Yorks. http://www.gilesgateautocare.co.uk/

Other than those three indy garages i dont know of any other garages in the north.

But yes i'd wonder about the knowledge of the mechanics at the new dealerships.

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a quick update incase anyone is interested.

Gilesgate Autocare in Hexham are willing / able to change the Transmission fluid. But only if i supply the oil first.

I wasnt aware, but there are a few different types of Subaru CVT fluid and you have to use the correct one depending on which model CVT you have. If you dont, it could potentially cause problems. I havent even been able to determine exactly which fluid my CVT uses. 

To make it further difficult, Subaru dealers will not service them because they are considered to be lifelong sealed units.

And they only sell the fluid in 20ltr drums.

The CVT holds about 12lrs, but due to the design a a drain and fill will only change about 5 ltrs of that fluid and theres a whole process that needs to be followed.

So i've decided to leave it for now, in fear of it costing a fortune and incase a fluid change ends up causing problems for the CVT due to the exact drain and fill process potentially not being followed.

 

 

 

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  • 2 years later...

This is a topic that I am interested in.

I live in the Scottish Highlands and I regularly drive over Glenshee, the highest tarmac road in the UK. This means the vehicle is constantly driving up and down some very steep hills, usually heavily laden. I also I live 900 feet up a hillside, so again, the car is always on a hill when cold.

In the US, they seem obsessed with servicing and their service schedule for oil is every 6000 miles (it was 4000), and the CVT gets done at 70,000.

There vehicles are built in the US though, and it does appear the quality is not as good as our Japanese built vehicles.

However, I discovered that in both the UK and the US, Subaru have a “Severe driving” service schedule for the CVT, which is every 36000 miles if regularly towing, off-roading or driving in the mountains.

However, I cannot find a single UK dealer willing to do the service. They all say that it is only for extreme temperatures. Well, this winter I have seen -16 degrees C, and in the summer, plus 30, so I would say a 46 degrees difference is pretty extreme.

My last Outback, a 2019 Premiem SE had 42500 miles on it with no issues at all. My current 2023 Field is on 1900 miles, but shudders when the engine is cold if I am stationary, but in drive or reverse. By the time the oil temp is up around 70 degrees, it’s fine.

I have contacted the dealer twice (who is 140 miles away), but with no reply.

I would really like to keep this car, (if the shudder is not an issue), so want to do the 36000 mile CVT service.

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I'm just thinking aloud here, so please don't take any action on my say so but would welcome any comments on whether this might be a goer or worth further investigation.

Under a Subaru CVT is there a drain plug as well as a filler plug?  Assuming yes would it not be possible to buy a 20 litre drum of the correct CVT fluid and over the course of several hours, or days, drain and refil the gearbox sump with the exact amount that came out, then run the vehicle to mix the old with the new, rinse and repeat over several changes till you've used up most of the new oil, leaving a little for final topping up, which itself often isn't as easy as things once were requiring temperature checking for one.

I suggest this because i used this method on the 5 speed TC auto on my Prado sized Landcruiser, this later box loses the dipstick (bad move Toyota) so topping up is from a not easy to access filler plug.   The oil on these is supposed to be lifelong (don't follow Landrover down that path Mr T) but with periodic checks on its quality.   I wasn't going to disturb the sump pan and knowing how fast hydraulic oil can flow in these things wasn't going to try the heath robinson method of running the engine with the oil cooler disconnected pumping the old out at the same time as hoping to refil via the inlet side sucking fresh oil...visions of 5 gallons of Dexron 6 everywhere except in the gearbox, er no thanks.

I know this method doesn't drain all the old oil out where a torque converter is installed, but maybe that isn't such a bad thing, by the time you've changed 3 or 4 sumpfuls by the time you've used 20 litres you should have more than 50% fresh oil in the mix.

Its simple enough, if still messy, when i did the Toyota this way, and fortunately Toyota WS oil i actually Dexron 6 of which a 20 litre drum cost around £70 at the time.

Food for thought? or not on your nelly?

On our Forester auto transmission oil changes are easier than the engine, open the sump bung and 4 litres or so runs out, easy as can be feeding the same amount back down through the dipstick tube, i do this every other year, also the Foz auotbox has its own external spin on oil filter, which supposedly has no change date but i've changed mine...should mention at this point it seems some people have tried fitting a similar looking engine oil filter to the box because much cheaper, but the two filters work in completely different ways, an engine oil filter isn't designed to work like the transmission filter.

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  • 3 months later...

I've got an outback 2017 model with 67000 miles. , it's been serviced from new by Subaru Alnwick until they finished 4 yrs ago. Since then it's been Tweedmouth service station Berwick upon Tweed. 

They are a family owned garage that's been about for as long as i can remember. They have always had a good reputation as they are out on a limb and rely on local customers.

I've asked them about a CVT service before my car gets more miles on it. They are going to get back to me hopefully today. 

However Austin auto gearbox services also are willing to do the CVT service for 300+ vat they are based in North Tyneside, near shiremoor. So if Subaru won't it's going there at the end of the month. 

The guy at Austin's said sealed for life is a myth the oil breaks down gets contaminated, thinner etc  starts overheating then you have really big issues. 

They've been around for 40 yrs or longer i believe them over a bean counter at Subaru HQ. 

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46 minutes ago, jake1 said:

I've got an outback 2017 model with 67000 miles. , it's been serviced from new by Subaru Alnwick until they finished 4 yrs ago. Since then it's been Tweedmouth service station Berwick upon Tweed. 

They are a family owned garage that's been about for as long as i can remember. They have always had a good reputation as they are out on a limb and rely on local customers.

I've asked them about a CVT service before my car gets more miles on it. They are going to get back to me hopefully today. 

However Austin auto gearbox services also are willing to do the CVT service for 300+ vat they are based in North Tyneside, near shiremoor. So if Subaru won't it's going there at the end of the month. 

The guy at Austin's said sealed for life is a myth the oil breaks down gets contaminated, thinner etc  starts overheating then you have really big issues. 

They've been around for 40 yrs or longer i believe them over a bean counter at Subaru HQ. 

That's interesting, and thank you for the information.  From what I've gleaned checking out the CVT issues on https://www.subaruoutback.org/  they do service the CVT units more frequently in the US.  I'm not sure if that's down to different local laws re: oil viscosities or some other environmental issues.  I am aware from reading some of the threads that Subaru CVTs have some every specific requirements among CVTs generally, regarding the replacement of transmission fluids - although perhaps that just the manufacturers attempting to 'corner' the market. 

Let us know how you get on.

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I heard back from Tweedmouth Subaru they were very helpful, they say again it’s not a service item but can be done at my request. If they do it though they will remove the oil strainer and replace it, when they do the change - I think they must be following Subaru guidelines on complete fluid replacement who am I to argue. Again they have to buy in the large tin of CVT fluid and once opened can’t be stored for re use ( So im assuming it’s a bit like brake fluid in as much as once opened really it shouldn’t be stored due to the chance of contamination - that’s my interpretation) so it means a lot of wastage that I will end up paying for. The full fluid and strainer change is quite expensive at £600. But for me that’s maybe once every 7 yrs at current usage so I’m going ahead with it. 

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The reason I’m going through Subaru and not the independent is because of the correct Subaru fluid being used. even though that’s over £200 of the bill, then they change the strainer and clean out the sump area.
The independent uses an equivalent fluid which may or may not cause issues according to everything I’ve read on the internet. 
 

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That all makes good sense Jake, and I think that would be exactly what I'd do if/when faced with the need to change the transmission fluid.  I've heard that some dealers refuse to do the work as it's laughingly called 'sealed for life'.  However, if you read the OB manual it does say the transmission oil should be changed if the car is driven under 'severe' conditions, such as regualar heavy towing, etc. 

It's a shame there isn't a means to organise with other owners, so that the dealers could do more than one car at the same time and thereby sharing the costs and reducing the wastage. Too few Subarus on the UK roads though.

Thanks for the update.

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