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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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For the same CVT in Canada, SubaruCanada clearly REQUIRES that the fluid be changed at approximately 60k miles in order to maintain the Canadian extended CVT warranty:

"9. ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MAINTAINING THE CVT?

Following the periodic inspection and maintenance services prescribed in your Warranty/Maintenance and Roadside Assistance Booklet is the best way to ensure your Subaru runs smoothly for years to come.

It is not necessary to check the transmission fluid level on a regular basis. The only regular maintenance requirement for the transmission is replacement of the CVT fluids and differential fluids at the following intervals:
  • 2010 to 2011 Vehicles: Replace fluid at 6 years/96,000 km's (whichever occurs first)
  • 2012 to 2018 Vehicles: Replace fluid at 5 years/100,000km's (whichever occurs first)"
 

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........which is why I mentioned the "contradiction in SOC's schedule that does require replacement in what is the same unit. " That to me is the one biggest contributor to my lack of confidence in SOA regarding their stance on this.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i CVT
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182 Posts
Discussion Starter #23
I caught up with everybody's posts and thank you all again. As my car is now used for 90% parkway commute, I figure that buys me some time, but eventually that fluid is getting changed. I especially appreciated the word that independent shops will not likely use the factory fluid unless I provide it, and as I cannot lift and level the car where I live to do it myself, will remember this for future reference.
 

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I'll just throw it out there that I agree with others that believe it is very important that whoever does the fluid change follow the procedure exactly as required. As some of have mentioned, the risk of contamination, etc. can also have consequences due to the apparent sensitivity of the CVT to such things so that's a factor to consider too.

I have no idea how these things are assembled at the factory but it's certainly different than what you would see in a shop environment. If this wasn't a factor, I wouldn't even have any qualms about it.

Personally, I'm still on the fence but I've got about 60k miles before I'll even consider it anyway. .....but I'll likely go the route of having it done at the local dealership I happen to trust if I do.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i Tour CVT
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after way too much reading and YT videos.. I decided to do mine myself.. a $50 ODB-LX read, a free subaru ODB app, $50 worth of amsoil CVT, and a new Amsoil hand pump and about 1 hr of time it was DONE!!..

Its not that complicated, and with the ODB reader you know exactly when the transmission hits about 97* so can you open the fill plug and let the oil come out until it hits 100*.

I did mine a second time a few weeks later as well - Im at about 70% new fluid.

Brian
 

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2014 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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175 Posts
I do most maintenance myself, except some heavy things as where I live I cannot lift the car. At annual NYDMV inspection yesterday at 84000 mileage I wanted to prioritize the CVT as I had a few hundred to give back to a great car, but the Service Manager politely refused. "We do not change the CVT as it is a long life fluid. We save you money!" Thus I had to settle for my second choice, both differentials flushed and not a bad price for a dealer either ($225 + tax.)
However with many experts from Scotty Kilmer to John Cardogan insisting this CVT policy is slow transmission suicide, this job is still coming. I will start looking for a good foreign car shop to do it as soon as my Subaru 100000 mile extended CVT warranty expires, I cannot let outsiders near it until then.
If I don't get this done and it fails at 160k, I'm sure they will be happy to sell me a new car!
Why not do as the maintenance schedule states and get the fluid tested for contamination? I agree with your dealer. Unless it keeps you up at night just follow the maintenance schedule and drive the car. CVT's are bullet proof. The '14 model year had control solenoid's that went bad but SoA fixed them way after the warranty period ended (I know because mine bonked out), but I think that was about it. Probably the basis the folks you quoted reporting dire things for you unless you change that fluid. I think they even have an internal filter. Forget about it....
 

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Why not do as the maintenance schedule states and get the fluid tested for contamination? I agree with your dealer. Unless it keeps you up at night just follow the maintenance schedule and drive the car. CVT's are bullet proof. The '14 model year had control solenoid's that went bad but SoA fixed them way after the warranty period ended (I know because mine bonked out), but I think that was about it. Probably the basis the folks you quoted reporting dire things for you unless you change that fluid. I think they even have an internal filter. Forget about it....
Because dealer does not test fluid. They just do an inspection for leak and read the CVT fluid deuteration rate calculated by the car. If dealer open up the fill hole and extract CVT fluid, are they going to run the same procedure and refill it back up to the correct level? Please ask your dealer and see if they are that nice.
I refuse to pay extra $300 for just "visual" inspection of CVT (not fluid) and use the scanner to read the deterioration rate.
 

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2014 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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Because dealer does not test fluid. They just do an inspection for leak and read the CVT fluid deuteration rate calculated by the car. If dealer open up the fill hole and extract CVT fluid, are they going to run the same procedure and refill it back up to the correct level? Please ask your dealer and see if they are that nice.
I refuse to pay extra $300 for just "visual" inspection of CVT (not fluid) and use the scanner to read the deterioration rate.
My dealer was the one who told me about the fluid test. I gave my daughter my '14 Forester with about 250k miles on the clock and it has never had the fluid changed to my knowledge.
 

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Well, I don't know what they were doing for the 2014's, but I can say that there is no test for contamination mentioned in the fluid inspection procedure outlined in the 2020 FSM. The fluid inspection is only to make sure the fluid is at the right level, there are no leaks, etc.

The FSM is adamant that "When there is no severe conditions or intrusion of water, etc., replacement of CVTF is unnecessary." The only mention of a fluid condition check is when the fluid is drained to be refilled again. ....and it's visual, otherwise the inspection should only involve removing the filler plug and making sure the fluid is at the bottom of the filler hole. If it is below, the tech is to inspect for leaks and add more fluid.

Either way, I agree with @Yarameme about asking your particular dealer what exactly what the fluid inspection procedure involves for those concerned about it. ....because essentially, all I can see is that they would hook up the monitor, get the trans up to temp, remove the filler plug, check the level and seal it back up.
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x 4EAT
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You have a few shops relatively close to you.... Phone call is a quick way to see what other dealers say. Try Bill Kolb across the river, Rye Subaru, and either Prestige or White Plains (depending on who you normally go to), and see what they say. Can get a price while you're at it.
 

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2014 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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My dealer was the one who told me about the fluid test. I gave my daughter my '14 Forester with about 250k miles on the clock and it has never had the fluid changed to my knowledge.
To add to t
Well, I don't know what they were doing for the 2014's, but I can say that there is no test for contamination mentioned in the fluid inspection procedure outlined in the 2020 FSM. The fluid inspection is only to make sure the fluid is at the right level, there are no leaks, etc.

The FSM is adamant that "When there is no severe conditions or intrusion of water, etc., replacement of CVTF is unnecessary." The only mention of a fluid condition check is when the fluid is drained to be refilled again. ....and it's visual, otherwise the inspection should only involve removing the filler plug and making sure the fluid is at the bottom of the filler hole. If it is below, the tech is to inspect for leaks and add more fluid.

Either way, I agree with @Yarameme about asking your particular dealer what exactly what the fluid inspection procedure involves for those concerned about it. ....because essentially, all I can see is that they would hook up the monitor, get the trans up to temp, remove the filler plug, check the level and seal it back up.
Yeah, best not to perform maintenance that's not required by the manufacturer.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i Limited CVT
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I had my CVTF changed at 60k miles and it made a difference. Imho, and really a fact, no oil is lifetime. Any and all automotive lubricants will break down and deteriorate. Also, I would not use any CVTF other than Subaru OEM.
It's what the engineers in Japan designed into the CVT trans. I would also get my info from Subaru Japan, not SOA,
which is just corporate HQ. Paper shufflers really. Japan will have the best information.
 

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2014 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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I had my CVTF changed at 60k miles and it made a difference. Imho, and really a fact, no oil is lifetime. Any and all automotive lubricants will break down and deteriorate. Also, I would not use any CVTF other than Subaru OEM.
It's what the engineers in Japan designed into the CVT trans. I would also get my info from Subaru Japan, not SOA,
which is just corporate HQ. Paper shufflers really. Japan will have the best information.
Curious how one gets Subaru info from Japan.
 

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2017 Forester Touring CVT
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1,263 Posts
John L
Ramsey Subaru will do it. And they are experienced doing the job.
They are close the NY/NJ border.


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