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#3310506 - 03/13/14 11:39 AM How reliable are the Subaru CVTs?
7055 Offline


Registered: 01/10/08
Posts: 287
Loc: KS
I'm thinking about buying a '14 or '15 Subaru Forester with the 2.5i but I'm unsure about the reliability of the CVTs. I don't want to get a manual. I could get a different Crossover but I like the Subaru far better than any of the other competition. Can anyone provide input on if this is a car that could last for 10 or 20 years? Are there any high mileage CVTs on this board?


Edited by 7055 (03/13/14 11:40 AM)
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#3310522 - 03/13/14 11:55 AM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: 7055]
ARCOgraphite Offline


Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 9686
Loc: N.H, U.S.A.
Had 7 or more Subies, I would say the EJ engine and 4spd drivetrain is good for 200K easy - though the FB25 is a new engine architecture with a wet timing system which could be toast at 150K or so - look to the 3.6 for more predictors of engine reliability. I would say , frankly, that suspension and exhaust RUST through would be your biggest enemy to attain 10-20 years (at 5-7K or so a year).
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#3310527 - 03/13/14 11:58 AM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: 7055]
KCJeep Offline


Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 6044
Loc: Mahzurrah!
I believe a lot of CVT's are outsourced from an Asian company I can't recall the name of. Nissan uses them, as did Jeep for a while. I believe those are quite good, CVT's are their specialty. I don't know if Subie's CVT's are theirs or not though.
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#3310532 - 03/13/14 12:01 PM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: KCJeep]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 9790
Loc: NE,Ohio
Originally Posted By: KCJeep
I believe a lot of CVT's are outsourced from an Asian company I can't recall the name of. Nissan uses them, as did Jeep for a while. I believe those are quite good, CVT's are their specialty. I don't know if Subie's CVT's are theirs or not though.


subaru makes their own CVT's they do not buy them from JATCO etc.

They are also much better than the cvt in nissan, dodge IMO.

obviously a subaru marketing piece but info on their cvt

http://www.subaru.com/engineering/transmission.html
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#3310543 - 03/13/14 12:06 PM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: 7055]
dparm Online   content


Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 12724
Loc: Chicago, IL
The Subaru CVT programming is excellent. I've had some of their cars as rentals through Hertz, and it doesn't have that weird rubberband feeling you get in a Nissan CVT.
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#3310553 - 03/13/14 12:13 PM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: dparm]
7055 Offline


Registered: 01/10/08
Posts: 287
Loc: KS
Originally Posted By: dparm
The Subaru CVT programming is excellent. I've had some of their cars as rentals through Hertz, and it doesn't have that weird rubberband feeling you get in a Nissan CVT.


Is it good for offroading?
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#3310570 - 03/13/14 12:25 PM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: 7055]
rockydee Offline


Registered: 03/09/14
Posts: 257
Loc: VA
Originally Posted By: 7055
Originally Posted By: dparm
The Subaru CVT programming is excellent. I've had some of their cars as rentals through Hertz, and it doesn't have that weird rubberband feeling you get in a Nissan CVT.


Is it good for offroading?


Define off-roading.

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#3310572 - 03/13/14 12:26 PM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: 7055]
7055 Offline


Registered: 01/10/08
Posts: 287
Loc: KS
You must be talking about the optional x-mode
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#3310600 - 03/13/14 12:47 PM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: dparm]
Miller88 Online   content


Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 10176
Loc: Onondaga County
Originally Posted By: dparm
The Subaru CVT programming is excellent. I've had some of their cars as rentals through Hertz, and it doesn't have that weird rubberband feeling you get in a Nissan CVT.


Having done some research on the Subaru CVT they build (learn something new every day, I thought they were sourced from Aisin), they tend to be relatively problem free. Unlike the Nissan (JATCO) CVTs that can barely make 100K miles without significant failure.
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#3310633 - 03/13/14 01:10 PM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: 7055]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 8341
Loc: Buffalo, NY
7055, you will love it. I had a leased 2012 Legacy 2.5i CVT for ~3yrs/42Kmi. Currently have a purchased 2014 XV Crosstrek w/ 5spd manual (to keep costs lower). I do love the 5spd, but kind of regret not going with the CVT again.

Yep, I thought it was an Aisin sourced unit as well. It's not. It's a Fuji Heavy/Subaru unit with some German parts in it.

There's 2010+ Legacy owners with ~100Kmi or so on their CVT equipped cars. I've never read of a failure with them.

Drain/fills are relatively easy on them and they have a separate gear oil reservoir on them for their internal differentials.


Edited by JTK (03/13/14 01:15 PM)
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#3310641 - 03/13/14 01:18 PM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: 7055]
ColdCanuk Offline


Registered: 11/21/09
Posts: 46
Loc: Calgary, Canada
Forget about the CVT, worry about the oil eating FB25 engine.

Take 5 minutes and ask to look at the owners manual before you buy it:
1 quart per 1000 mile consumption is normal.

They actually come with a 'low oil light'.

As long as your good with that buy away!

It's like buying a 2 stroke car


Edited by ColdCanuk (03/13/14 01:20 PM)

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#3310649 - 03/13/14 01:22 PM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: ColdCanuk]
Mykl Offline


Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 1764
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: ColdCanuk
Forget about the CVT, worry about the oil eating FB25 engine.

Take 5 minutes and ask to look at the owners manual before you buy it:
1 quart per 1000 mile consumption is normal.

They actually come with a 'low oil light'.

As long as your good with that buy away!

It's like buying a 2 stroke car


Yeah, but what manufacturer is that not true of? What are the odds that you'll get one that burns a quart even every 1500 miles? (I honestly don't know, I have no experience with new Subarus)
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#3310663 - 03/13/14 01:33 PM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: ColdCanuk]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 5186
Loc: MI
Sad, Cold Canuck. If I remember correct, just about a year ago you were here all excited about your new Forester.

Here is a link to the ongoing 203 page thread regarding the oil use issue: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/...2/index203.html

It's difficult to judge the current status of the problem: how many engines, the upgrade effectiveness, and how well SOA is assisting owners.


I bash all brands equally, but I find it amusing that Consumer Reports ranks certain vehicles at the very top, and they fail to even mention these serious issues: i.e. - Forester oil consumption and Honda Variable Cylinder Management: http://www.autoblog.com/2013/10/23/honda-settles-class-action-lawsuit-engines/
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#3310672 - 03/13/14 01:42 PM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: doitmyself]
Mykl Offline


Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 1764
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: doitmyself
Sad, Cold Canuck. If I remember correct, just about a year ago you were here all excited about your new Forester.

Here is a link to the ongoing 203 page thread regarding the oil use issue: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/...2/index203.html

It's difficult to judge the current status of the problem: how many engines, the upgrade effectiveness, and how well SOA is assisting owners.


I bash all brands equally, but I find it amusing that Consumer Reports ranks certain vehicles at the very top, and they fail to even mention these serious issues: i.e. - Forester oil consumption and Honda Variable Cylinder Management: http://www.autoblog.com/2013/10/23/honda-settles-class-action-lawsuit-engines/


I wonder how much this has to do with the weight of oil being put in it. The first post I read stated with Mobil 1 0w-20 it used a quart in 3770 miles. I wonder what effect a good 0w-30 would have.

I also had an odd experience with Mobil 1 5w-30 in my 2004 STi. I changed the oil then went on a road trip. 500 miles later at my destination I checked the oil and it wasn't even touching the dipstick. I poured in another quart and for the rest of the oil change it didn't use a drop. The easy explanation is that I didn't put enough oil in it during the change, but my oil change ritual is fairly meticulous; I line up each quart and as I pull them off the table I line them up with the open cap sitting in front of them, so this is unlikely.

The next change I used GC, and it settled into an acceptable one quart per 3000 mile consumption.
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#3310687 - 03/13/14 02:13 PM Re: How reliable are the Subaru CVTs? [Re: 7055]
gofast182 Offline


Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 1182
Loc: NJ
Most current iterations of CVT designs are so new there's not really an accurate way to answer your question. Just because someone has one with high miles on it would more likely mean they were easy highway/commuting miles. I'd imagine Subaru's unit is pretty good or they wouldn't have brought it to market.

Someone said the units Jeep used were good? IIRC they were a train wreck (unless they got a new supplier) and is part of the reason they are transitioning to conventional ZF boxes.
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