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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know Subaru mentions fluid change for the CVT every 100k but are people having that serviced sooner like 30k or 60k and if so you have to use an independent mechanic?
 

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Subaru states fluid change every 24k if your usage falls under their 'extreme use' categories, which includes almost everyone its kind of a joke. I am having it done soon, at a Subaru dealer, in order to avoid any warranty claim rejections down the road. 10yr 100k warranty is not something I want to compromise.
 

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Two dealers in my area don’t want to do it at all if there is no troubles. They claim it is a sealed unit.

I made sure to get the “refusal” in writing (twice).
 

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Where did you read that CVT fluid needs changed at 24k miles?
Warranty and Maintenance Booklet page 31 Note #4 under severe driving replace the CVT oil should be replaced under severe driving at 24,855 miles

Examples of Severe Driving Conditions:
•Repeated short distance driving and/or extended idling
•Driving on rough and/or muddy roads.
•Driving in dusty conditions.
•Driving in extremely cold weather.
•Driving in areas where road salts or other corrosive materials are used.
•Living in coastal areas.
•Repeated trailer towing


Copied the above from post #29 in this Thread

So if you never drive in traffic, never take short trips, or live in the perfect area where it doesnt snow and your arent by the ocean... you dont need to worry about it. Seems like almost anyone would qualify for their severe use conditions. 30K interval that most are follow is reasonable as no one is towing all the time, over dirt roads, while its cold, and theres salt on the road....

I tow a trailer + motorcycle 5000 miles a year, and live in Colorado where it can be cold, and they use salt. Sometimes do dirt roads, often do short trips.... makes sense to follow this schedule for me
 

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If the CVT is a "sealed unit" then what impact can salted roads or living near the coast have on it?
 

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One of The subaru dealers here would do anything I ask, no matter what it is and thats because If they are asked to do something, they say they did it, but didnt..
 

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2018 X3 M40i / 2016 X3 xDrive35i
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If the CVT is a "sealed unit" then what impact can salted roads or living near the coast have on it?
It's their definition of severe conditions, not necessarily all of them would be a direct impact on the component they are describing them for
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So if the dealer won't do it, then what options do you have? I talked to one mechanic on the other side of the country and he said he has seen a lot of high mileage CVTs failed that never had their fluids changed before 100k and none with the ones that do every 30. My subie dealer around here not that great and an independent mechanic said he didn't have the tools to change the fluid. Guess I can check with a dealer in the outlying towns. Just looking to get a Foz and am old school like the A/Ts not so keen on the CVTs but cant deal with the cheap interiors on the 10s-13s was maybe hoping for a 16 which has a more modern feel and improved materials but then stuck with CVT. Guess if they have their 10 year 100k warranty thing ok but I usually keep my cars 15 years. Somehow doubt I'm getting 15 out of a CVT.
 

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Warranty and Maintenance Booklet page 31 Note #4 under severe driving replace the CVT oil should be replaced under severe driving at 24,855 miles

Examples of Severe Driving Conditions:
•Repeated short distance driving and/or extended idling
•Driving on rough and/or muddy roads.
•Driving in dusty conditions.
•Driving in extremely cold weather.
•Driving in areas where road salts or other corrosive materials are used.
•Living in coastal areas.
•Repeated trailer towing
THIS IS NOT ACCURATE.

The Subnote 4 you mention specifically notes that the increased interval (24,855 miles which is 40,000 kilometers) ONLY APPLIES IF YOU HAVE BEEN TOWING. This is DIFFERENT from the "Severe" driving rules that pertain to oil change intervals.

Also, some food for thought: Subaru Canada requires CVTF changes every 100,000 kilometers, or about 60,000 miles.

@Clef - if it helps you have more peace of mind, change it around the 90k interval when you do a major service interval, anyway. Or change it the same time you change your super coolant. Whichever. But, it is absolutely NOT necessary to change this aggressively as a 30k interval as people in this thread have suggested.
 

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^ I just looked and can confirm this is accurate, see highlights



So, replacement isn't required, but we should be inspecting the fluid condition every 30k miles. Replace if fluid is showing signs of contamination or burn. I plan on replacing every 60k miles regardless of results
 

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Two dealers in my area don’t want to do it at all if there is no troubles. They claim it is a sealed unit.

I made sure to get the “refusal” in writing (twice).
Look elsewhere, call around, check the web, ask friends/coworkers. I've found two independent shops near me that do Subarus, I've tried both and they are pretty trustworthy.

Good on you for getting refusal to service CVT in writing. What is Subaru thinking....oh wait that you'll trade it in around 50/60k for a new one and they'll never have to worry lol.

If the CVT is a "sealed unit" then what impact can salted roads or living near the coast have on it?
There's a vent tube on right side that goes up and then curls in a 180 to point down to help keep debris and water out. However if it wasn't vented like this the fluid would expand out past the seals every time it came up to operating temperature, must be vented. Would be way better if vent hose had a clamp on it, extended up to just below the hood and had a small air filter on the end. This is how I ran my Toyota 4x4 for deep water, mud and dust.

One of The subaru dealers here would do anything I ask, no matter what it is and thats because If they are asked to do something, they say they did it, but didnt..
Call and/or write to SOA and get that reported, unacceptable!

So if the dealer won't do it, then what options do you have? I talked to one mechanic on the other side of the country and he said he has seen a lot of high mileage CVTs failed that never had their fluids changed before 100k and none with the ones that do every 30. My subie dealer around here not that great and an independent mechanic said he didn't have the tools to change the fluid. Guess I can check with a dealer in the outlying towns. Just looking to get a Foz and am old school like the A/Ts not so keen on the CVTs but cant deal with the cheap interiors on the 10s-13s was maybe hoping for a 16 which has a more modern feel and improved materials but then stuck with CVT. Guess if they have their 10 year 100k warranty thing ok but I usually keep my cars 15 years. Somehow doubt I'm getting 15 out of a CVT.
There's couple dealers in my area, bummer is one of them is well known liars and crooks, the one I use is usually pretty good. I prefer and have found couple independent shops that are little cheaper, use quality (usually Subaru) parts and aren't scared to do ALL servicing. They also have actual experience doing the work on many cars unlike the dealers that have zero experience! Shame on Subaru for not properly training their mechanics, dealers, and service advisors.

^ I just looked and can confirm this is accurate, see highlights



So, replacement isn't required, but we should be inspecting the fluid condition every 30k miles. Replace if fluid is showing signs of contamination or burn. I plan on replacing every 60k miles regardless of results
Perfect, thanks for the double check and picture with hilights! :)

Had my first CVT service about 45k miles, fluid was dirty and very stinky, wish I'd done it at 30k based on the fluid condition! Will be doing it again at 60k and from then on every 25/30k.
 

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Interesting discussion. If dealerships make more profit on service work than the actual sale of the car, why are they not encouraging/requiring the CVT fluid be changed at specific intervals?
Ive received the same feedback from my Mazda dealer as far as tranny fluids.... sealed unit... blah blah.. they don’t want to do the change.
What am I missing?
 

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@Natedog

There's more to fluid than just the color and odor of it. While color and odor could be an indication of something going on, for example brownish/milkshakey type coloration of engine oil could be caused by coolant mixing (head gasket problems), it's not the only indication.

The only way to truly tell is to compare a virgin oil analysis with a used oil analysis, professionally. Blackstone Labs, for example.

There was a guy on here a few years ago that had around 150k miles on his Forester and he did his own CVTF "flush"... He sent his oil in to Blackstone, and they told him to go longer next time. The computer/OBD Dongle suggested that the CVTF Deterioration Rate, which is an experimental value, because they don't "Fail" at a specific number like 100%, was around 25%. His driving was unique because it was almost all hilly, and I think his location was somewhere around the San Francisco area, which is extremely hilly.

Keep in mind also that this one of the first Foresters with the CVT, and not only has the fluid changed (the original C-30 is discontinued and there are several variants), but the tuning is also different. Part of the reason you car stays revving high and doesn't let you get cabin heat from the vent while it's cold is because the computer has a priority to warm up the CVTF. Again, reference my Canada comment before, due to the "extreme" cold weather in Canada, they have a more aggressive fluid change interval. It goes to say that the CVTF must be in a goldilocks zone as quickly as possible and kept there as long as possible. This is why the modern CVT's in the last couple years of Subies has the CVT coolers - to keep it in that zone and not get too hot. But, you also need to get it warm enough to prevent wear and tear, which is I guess what's happening when it's too cold.

Too cold: not enough lubricative properties, excess wear and tear
Too hot: fluids begin to form varnishes and fail
Just right: that sweet, sweet Subie rumble...

Yes, the Factory Service Manual does say to visually inspect the CVTF, but I'm a little skeptical if it's done or not, since it's not listed on the "inspection" sheet ever. And I've had 2 30's done on my old 2011. I'll never have that problem on my 19 Foz because I'm leasing and I'll be out of that car before I hit the milestone.

So, my point in all this, is that you can't just go off the color and odor. There are millions of these cars on the road now. They do NOT self destruct at 100,001 miles.




OTOH, thinking about Toyota's planetary design they use in the Prius. That could be cool to get in any Hybrid variant Forester (or other Subie)...
 

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@Pilot1226,

Yes I knew all that about lubes, temps, etc. but thanks for clarifying for all. Color, smell and particles suspended in oil is generally a good enough guide to condition but sure Blackstone test is better, I've been working on cars long enough to know by look. smell, miles driven and type of driving

Yes, I'm skeptical any CVTF inspection has ever been done on any Subie tranny unless customer complained about it. That's the problem, these cars are built for leasers and those who trade in every 4-5 years, not the long haul like they used to be before Toyota got the hands on partial ownership. This was beneficial for Subaru for several years, but not anymore, quality is going down and gadgets are going up. Shoulda kept your 2011 (and me my 2010) they're both better built cars than the current stuff.

Actually some do at 100k, some way before and some right around 110-120k after any warranty and when Subaru finally admitted last year that maybe the fluid isn't 'lifetime'. I asked how much to drain, flush and fill CVT fluid awhile back at my more trusted dealership and they said lifetime fluid. I asked the service writer if it was their lifetime or transmission, he laughed lol.
 

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About $208 genuine Subaru fluid at independent shop, that's parts and labor, took about 6qts. One dealership said about $250 and my main dealer said about $400 (LOL). Also had quote (only one for drain and refill twice to better flush old fluid and crap out) using BG products synthetic fluid for $289.
 

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Thats not bad i just hit 45k in my 2014 xt and will try to call around to get this done. Id love to hang on to it for a long time but the CVT makes me second guess it.

Sent from my LM-Q710.FG using Tapatalk
 

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Yep. I'd hang on to it, don't worry about CVT, most of them are fine, but they all need regular fluid changes just like every transmission! From now on I'm doing it every 25-30k miles.
 
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