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Discussion Starter #1
As title says...
Local service company (dealer is long way away) drained Transmission fluid, instead of Engine Oil.
Followed by adding required engine oil to already oil full engine.
For what it is worth, service company did successfully change engine oil filter.


Amazingly, Subaru Ascent ran several miles without a hint of problems.
Then came first sign of problems, a slight whining noise from right front. Still Subaru drove on.

Followed by all sorts of warning lights, Check Engine, Temp warning on transmission, Brakes, Rear assist braking, Eyesight system disabled, Vehicle stability(?) failure, etc.

Next was randomly intermittent brief screech noise from right rear tire area. Accompanied by a jitter of Ascent.


Naturally, I am very concerned about CVT being permanently damaged having been run without fluid. Along with engine being damaged due to being 4-quarts over-filled. Over filling at least on engines where crank ends up slapping oil, causes oil to froth (air bubbles). Resulting in damage to bearings. Possibly piston rings and turbo-charger.

Question is: Anyone had same mistake made and what was outcome?

PS: This is not Subaru's fault in anyway. Local service company is totally responsible. They have changed oil & filter before without problems. This time, a new hire did work, and messed up big time.
 

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As title says...
Local service company (dealer is long way away) drained Transmission fluid, instead of Engine Oil.
Followed by adding required engine oil to already oil full engine.
For what it is worth, service company did successfully change engine oil filter.


Amazingly, Subaru Ascent ran several miles without a hint of problems.
Then came first sign of problems, a slight whining noise from right front. Still Subaru drove on.

Followed by all sorts of warning lights, Check Engine, Temp warning on transmission, Brakes, Rear assist braking, Eyesight system disabled, Vehicle stability(?) failure, etc.

Next was randomly intermittent brief screech noise from right rear tire area. Accompanied by a jitter of Ascent.


Naturally, I am very concerned about CVT being permanently damaged having been run without fluid. Along with engine being damaged due to being 4-quarts over-filled. Over filling at least on engines where crank ends up slapping oil, causes oil to froth (air bubbles). Resulting in damage to bearings. Possibly piston rings and turbo-charger.

Question is: Anyone had same mistake made and what was outcome?

PS: This is not Subaru's fault in anyway. Local service company is totally responsible. They have changed oil & filter before without problems. This time, a new hire did work, and messed up big time.
I would contact SOA (acknowledging it is not their responsibility) and get the issue fully documented. I would then have SOA determine the damages (and remedy) and make a full claim to the service company. Consider having an attorney write the letter. The service company needs to put in writing that they are fully responsible for damages.
 

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Sorry to hear this.
Write a polite letter to the owner of the service shop letting them know that they have already acknowledged their mistake. Then let them know that you are getting the car flat topped to the Subaru service department for diagnosis and repair. Your expectation is that they will cover the cost of all the resulting damages.
Best to get this in writing and acknowledged in writing. Don't immediately threaten lawsuit.

Personally, I'd be pretty sure that trans is cooked and wouldn't settle for anything less than a replacement.
 

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I would contact SOA (acknowledging it is not their responsibility) and get the issue fully documented. I would then have SOA determine the damages (and remedy) and make a full claim to the service company. Consider having an attorney write the letter. The service company needs to put in writing that they are fully responsible for damages.
@packout , we wrote our responses simultaneously. Even if an attorney writes the letter, I'd deliver it as a personal letter. The OP needs the written acknowledgement of responsibility before introducing the attorney which can make them defensive.
 

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@packout , we wrote our responses simultaneously. Even if an attorney writes the letter, I'd deliver it as a personal letter. The OP needs the written acknowledgement of responsibility before introducing the attorney which can make them defensive.
the letter even from an attorney does not need to be threatening at all. It can simply establish the facts and next steps. I think either way can work fine. I would also record all conversations with the service provider if the owner resides in a one party recording authorization state. The key here is to establish a written document trail with as many details as possible. the service provider will also be responsible for a equivalent rental during this process.

I do not see how old the vehicle is. The service center owes for a equal part not a new part, however if the vehicle is essentially new (not many equivilant transmissions or motors yet) they will probably need to pay for a new one. I would also require the work be done at a dealership and consider loss of value in the claim since this would show up on any resale.
 

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That is a terrible situation and further solidifies the reason why I avoid "local service companies." This is another reason why the choice of automobile brands ought to be based partly on the availability of the dealer service center for routine maintenance, if the owner is not going to perform the maintenance themselves. I am certainly not picking on the OP, because he did nothing wrong. Just hoping to help others down the line.

On a side note, the new Mike Shaw service center in Denver is shaping up quite nicely and will be an added benefit for Subaru owners in the Denver area.
 

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That is a terrible situation and further solidifies the reason why I avoid "local service companies." This is another reason why the choice of automobile brands ought to be based partly on the availability of the dealer service center for routine maintenance, if the owner is not going to perform the maintenance themselves. I am certainly not picking on the OP, because he did nothing wrong. Just hoping to help others down the line.

On a side note, the new Mike Shaw service center in Denver is going to shaping up quite nicely and will be an added benefit for Subaru owners in the Denver area.
I use the dealership in Golden and so far have never had any problems with them servicing my 2019 Ascent or my son's 2018 Impreza. Having more service options is a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for responses. I plan to have our Subaru Ascent Limited flat-topped to dealership.
Pretty sure transport will be at my expense, at least initially.

The service company (I am intentionally leaving name out of this for legal reasons), told me they would call Subaru and inquire about what do do. At which point I caught a ride back home.

After I had left, the head manager got involved, He decided to have his guys refill transmission, and test drive it.

Sometime after writing opening post, I decided I should call Subaru dealership where it was purchased, and asked if this had happened before and what outcome was. Answer by service person was, they had seen a few cases, and vehicle needed to be brought in, not driven in. Service person made it very clear not to drive it, till they could take a look at CVT.

I missed the local service company call, but got message from them that all is taken care of and I am ready to go (meaning Subaru Ascent Limited) is running fine. Calling back, I find out what was done and Ascent was taken on a test drive, no problems. When I asked if they test drove Ascent, they confirmed they had. At which point, I informed them by selling Subaru Service Department, that was very thing they should not have done.

Again, thanks for responses.


I have a double closing suggestion, since this mistake has been seen by Subaru dealer.

We need an after-market company to make a transmission drain plug with matching threads, but a special slot pattern, which requires a unique drive tool to remove. Such as a 3-point slot (think "Y") shape.

Or we need to come up with a plaque which can be fastened over transmission drain plug which blocks it's removal and says TRANSMISSION DRAIN.
 

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Sorry to hear about your troubles. I usually change my oil but I take lots of trips and may need to get it changed when I am out of town so I did this.

 

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Thanks everyone for responses. I plan to have our Subaru Ascent Limited flat-topped to dealership.
Pretty sure transport will be at my expense, at least initially.

The service company (I am intentionally leaving name out of this for legal reasons), told me they would call Subaru and inquire about what do do. At which point I caught a ride back home.

After I had left, the head manager got involved, He decided to have his guys refill transmission, and test drive it.

Sometime after writing opening post, I decided I should call Subaru dealership where it was purchased, and asked if this had happened before and what outcome was. Answer by service person was, they had seen a few cases, and vehicle needed to be brought in, not driven in. Service person made it very clear not to drive it, till they could take a look at CVT.

I missed the local service company call, but got message from them that all is taken care of and I am ready to go (meaning Subaru Ascent Limited) is running fine. Calling back, I find out what was done and Ascent was taken on a test drive, no problems. When I asked if they test drove Ascent, they confirmed they had. At which point, I informed them by selling Subaru Service Department, that was very thing they should not have done.

Again, thanks for responses.


I have a double closing suggestion, since this mistake has been seen by Subaru dealer.

We need an after-market company to make a transmission drain plug with matching threads, but a special slot pattern, which requires a unique drive tool to remove. Such as a 3-point slot (think "Y") shape.

Or we need to come up with a plaque which can be fastened over transmission drain plug which blocks it's removal and says TRANSMISSION DRAIN.
Confused. How did the car get back to the service shop? I thought you stopped driving and had it towed to dealer? Are you saying you had it towed to service shop and that manager filled it and test drove it? At this point, what is documented in writing and or recorded with the service shop?
 

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The fluid the shop used to fill the CVT is almost certainly not the correct fluid. Fresh fluid of any description might run okay on a little toot around the block, but it's not going to be a lasting solution. They drained the fluid and sent you down the road on an empty CVT. It then locked up due to lack of lubrication which undoubtedly has lasting consequences, even if later refilled. I'd absolutely have the car taken to the Subaru dealer and let them inspect the transmission.

I agree with non-threatening language in a letter if you do write a letter. Establish the facts, citing as many things as you can (dates, names of people with whom you've spoken, etc.). Even if you don't send a letter, writing down now, and as you go, all the facts that you can will help you later if the situation drags on.
 

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I missed the local service company call, but got message from them that all is taken care of and I am ready to go (meaning Subaru Ascent Limited) is running fine.
Nope nope nope. I'd settle for nothing less than a new CVT and maybe engine. Overfilled is better than empty I suppose but there could be long term effects on either component you won't know about until years from now.

Or we need to come up with a plaque which can be fastened over transmission drain plug which blocks it's removal and says TRANSMISSION DRAIN.
I'm glad RobertD posted his solution. At very least you could spray paint the head of it red.

The fluid the shop used to fill the CVT is almost certainly not the correct fluid.
Agreed. They probably put in a generic fluid not meeting subaru specs. Also, the filling process is quite involved if I recall.
 

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After I had left, the head manager got involved, He decided to have his guys refill transmission, and test drive it.
Ouch....there's a very, very specific fluid and PROCESS required for the Subaru transmission fluid to be changed/installed. You need Subaru to be dealing with this. issue...
 

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After I had left, the head manager got involved, He decided to have his guys refill transmission, and test drive it.
So sorry to hear of your experiences.

There is absolutely no way such a service shop had the right fluid. Sadly, using the wrong fluid will damage the CVT, and I've already had to help with a half dozen replacements because of that. On top of that, with quarts of original fluid in the valve bodies, cooling lines and radiator, they just mixed in who knows what fluid. There is also absolutely no way I'd believe they used the correct fill process. That too, even with the right fluid, can damage a CVT.

Get it writing what fluid they used, and where they filled from, and how they measured, if you can. Make sure they note that they drove the car (with the incorrect fluid, incorrectly filled, no less).

You can do that passively (not aggressively) by having them note:
"filled with (BRAND AND TYPE) fluid, number of quarts, test drove".
That's all you need. And perhaps a mention that they did so because they drained it by mistake.


That alone will indicate they drained it and sent you out, then improperly filled it, and then drove it while improperly filled.

There is absolutely nothing they can do to fix this, whatsoever. This must be fixed by a Subaru dealership that has the right tools, and the knowledge, and the Subaru computer, and the correct fluid, to fix this - or to replace and relearn the entire CVT. But first, before you say anything of the sort to them, get as much documented as possible so they're on the hook for the cost of your replacement CVT and labor.
 

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There is absolutely nothing they can do to fix this, whatsoever. This must be fixed by a Subaru dealership that has the right tools, and the knowledge, and the Subaru computer, and the correct fluid, to fix this - or to replace and relearn the entire CVT. But first, before you say anything of the sort to them, get as much documented as possible so they're on the hook for the cost of your replacement CVT and labor.
Big mistake letting the original screw-up shop "remedy" the damage they've caused. There's no legal reason to allow a service company "make good" on work they've already performed incorrectly. You have the absolute right to get the shop of your choice (Subaru dealer!!!) to examine and repair your car. That shop is hoping you go away long enough to disclaim responsibility.

@2020SAL you sound like you're an easy going sort but this is a case of negligence that will be very costly to you if you don't take the steps cited in this thread.
 

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I think it's pretty easy. An engine oil sump looks nothing like the TR580 or TR690 transmission pan.

To the average person? Sure, maybe. I can see that mistake being made.

But no one employed as an oil and lube tech, or as a car mechanic should EVER make that mistake.
 

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Sorry to hear about your troubles. I usually change my oil but I take lots of trips and may need to get it changed when I am out of town so I did this.

Just curious if you printed these at home or used a local graphic designer or something? This is a great idea - cheap too!
 

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so, is it because the container for transmission fluid is the same as the engine oil container? For the guy to make a mistake?
 
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