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Discussion Starter #1
Since I am new to Subaru and CVTs, I do not have an idea of how often to change the CVT fluid. The manual says to inspect the CVT fluid at 30K and does not give a replacement schedule. I live in the hot south Houston area and have ~26K on the Ascent already. Some of you long time Subaru owners should know when to change the CVT fluid. So when do you plan to change the fluid on the CVT?
 

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Since I am new to Subaru and CVTs, I do not have an idea of how often to change the CVT fluid. The manual says to inspect the CVT fluid at 30K and does not give a replacement schedule. I live in the hot south Houston area and have ~26K on the Ascent already. Some of you long time Subaru owners should know when to change the CVT fluid. So when do you plan to change the fluid on the CVT?
 

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I have a Gen 4 Outback and at around 50K the dealer had a big discount on service work so I let them do a CVT fluid drain and fill. I had intended to replace it around 60K anyway. This was for my own peace of mind, and I intend to keep the car to 100K or maybe longer. IIRC this listed for $350 or so and most of that is for the fluid. I will say the CVT felt like almost like a new unit afterwards.
I know the manual does not list a fluid replacement interval, but I see no harm in doing so. However I consider it a proprietary service and I'd only let a Subaru dealer do it. If you can get it done there as an ala carte service item for a fair price, and trust the shop (talk to a mechanic there, not just the service writer, to find out what they are going to do) , and if you intend to keep the car for a longer time, I'd get it done.
 

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Here's a good video talking about the CVT service intervals. This guy actually has a lot of very good videos that cover a lot of things.

 

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Service interval is in the back of the Warranty and Maintenance book.

I don't have mine handy at the moment, but Cars101 says:
"under severe driving replace the CVT oil should be replaced under severe driving at 24,855 miles"
Otherwise, it's lifetime.

The parts site is incorrect about which fluid to use. SOA748V0300/SOA635312 is the correct part number.

It cannot easily be changed at home, and I strongly suggest letting a dealership do it, or following the service manual to the letter.

You cannot use aftermarket CVT Fluid and cannot use different Subaru CVT Fluid... it will damage the CVT, as I helped a tech realize after he burned out two.

There's currently zero compatible aftermarket fluids.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I’m definitely not a severe service driver which is good because 24,855 miles sounds way too soon. The lifetime fill sounds like a bad idea. The video was interesting towards the end where he mulling over all the conflicting information because that is what has been going on in my mind about the change intervals.

So where is the optimal change interval? If you fall under the severe service the question is easy to answer and if you don’t it’s tougher to answer. Subaru has it down for lifetime but a lifetime to them is only 100,000 miles and the warranty is no longer alive. A lifetime for me is usually 200,000 to 300,000+ miles and I expect the engine and transmission to last with good care and fluid changes.

So where is the optimal change interval? I don’t know but I think I might be aiming for somewhere between 30-50k miles.

I normally change the fluids on a conventional auto trans and it’s not a problem. There is no way I would have the CVT done by me or anyone other than the Subaru dealer.

PS I am interested in knowing when Robert M. plans to change his. Would you mind sharing your plans? Gotta trust a guy with a good name like that. :)
 

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It is pretty crazy that Subaru is ambiguous on the service interval. I've always done my own maintenance (oil, coolant, brake, and AT fluid) but have zero interest in dealing with the CVT. Theres too much hassle/risk involved. Its 'sealed' for a reason. If something happens after the dealer flushes and refills, then its totally on them. If you do it at home and it fails 20,000 miles later, chances are it will not be covered under warranty. Will they 'know' you tried to do a change? Maybe, maybe not. An analysis of the fluid will probably be able to tell them whether or not its ever been changed. Even if you could change the fluid, the filter is internal and cannot be accessed without major work. I think 30-60k is a reasonable interval considering they either say ~25k or lifetime.
 

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The dealership will be doing my first one (I'm obviously very severe duty, lol), but I might do mine next time, if I can acquire the tools, but, I have all the related service, maintenance and rebuild manuals.

Even so, I will probably be terrified I did something wrong for at least a few thousand miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks. I’m like you I would also like to get the tools to do change out the fluid but only if I can do it right.

My Ascent does not fall under the severe service but I am severe obsessive maintenance so I will probably take mine in sometime before 40k.
 

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We took our ascent for it's first service, we are at 5900 miles. Better safe than sorry. I asked about the CVT fluid, the advisor said 100k miles if towing, or lifetime for standard service. I am skeptical so I am going to call the dealer we bought it from and see what they recommend.
 

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We took our ascent for it's first service, we are at 5900 miles. Better safe than sorry. I asked about the CVT fluid, the advisor said 100k miles if towing, or lifetime for standard service. I am skeptical so I am going to call the dealer we bought it from and see what they recommend.
24,855 miles is the correct answer. Kinda. Page 31 of the Warranty and Maintenance book, bullet #4. I have no idea how that figure was determined.

So, define "frequent". ?

1405


1406


1407
 

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That info is also in the service section of the mysubaru app. I found it while cancelling our appointment for Novemeber service.
So, I think I am a "Frequent" Severe Driver... but I am still not sure how to define "frequent". Sigh...

...at least things like that are easy for me.

Please let me know what your dealership says. I plan on asking mine when I see them to get my CVT serviced. We can compare notes on what "frequent" means. :ROFLMAO: :unsure:
 

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24,855miles = 40,000km.

Since the United States is behind the times when it comes to standards of measurement they do the conversion for us.
 
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24,855miles = 40,000km.

Since the United States is behind the times when it comes to standards of measurement they do the conversion for us.
yet oil change is at 6000miles not 6213miles

Lol, and this why, as I said, I'm finally the lucky one in all of this. I'm definitely frequent severe duty, by any definition, and above any service number, SAE or Metric.

But yeah, dividing by ten is much easier. :ROFLMAO:
 

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Heh, I've towed 3,000 miles now with 24,000 on the odo. Is that "frequently"? :D :D
 

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@Robert.Mauro I called the dealer I purchased from and asked again about the cvt service, and the adviser absolutely said use the severe service interval. Apparently once a month is considered frequent, but once a year is not...that was the "answer" I received on the matter. I am thinking it is going to come down to towing more than a few times a year is going to be frequent, and even if you tow once a year but its a lot of miles it would be worth using the 24.8K mile interval. I will be taking it to that dealer to have the CVT service done, my local one is kind of shady on their recommendations.

Now the next logical question: Who is doing 3k mile oil changes to coincide with the more frequent CVT change interval?
 

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I’m definitely not a severe service driver which is good because 24,855 miles sounds way too soon. The lifetime fill sounds like a bad idea. The video was interesting towards the end where he mulling over all the conflicting information because that is what has been going on in my mind about the change intervals.

So where is the optimal change interval? If you fall under the severe service the question is easy to answer and if you don’t it’s tougher to answer. Subaru has it down for lifetime but a lifetime to them is only 100,000 miles and the warranty is no longer alive. A lifetime for me is usually 200,000 to 300,000+ miles and I expect the engine and transmission to last with good care and fluid changes.

So where is the optimal change interval? I don’t know but I think I might be aiming for somewhere between 30-50k miles.

I normally change the fluids on a conventional auto trans and it’s not a problem. There is no way I would have the CVT done by me or anyone other than the Subaru dealer.

PS I am interested in knowing when Robert M. plans to change his. Would you mind sharing your plans? Gotta trust a guy with a good name like that. :)
I am thinking of replacing it at about 50,000 (about 2 years). I see little downside (other than a lighter wallet) as long as the dealer does it. I live in Colorado so mountain driving is normal. Not much towing expected but some off roading (nothing too severe). I too plan on keeping it to 300,000 miles. I will probably first talk to my dealer about warranty consequences and process to protect CVT cleanliness during process. Do they have one special tech who does this?
 
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