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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I tend to like Scott Kilmer's videos from YT. A recent one discussed his opinion and experience with Subaru transmissions over the years and what he had to say was definitely not very flattering, particularly about the CVTs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymtiAMUPYRU

Doing a bit of Googling, it does seem that Subaru has had to extend drivetrain warranties on certain recent models and years of their vehicles in response to customer complaints to the NHTSA. Here's a link to a Forbes article from about a year ago that also discusses it.

When it comes to the Ascent, the CVT is brand new due to the higher torque requirements, so it seems reasonable to learn more about possible future problems down the road. I have never owned a Subaru before, but I keep seeing and reading many good things about them. I have an Ascent Touring on order and am concerned about what I am getting myself into here. $45k is a lot of money and time spend on a vehicle (if you're doing it on a loan over 5 or 6 years) and a core problem such as poorly engineered transmissions is something to consider in a buying decision. This isn't one of those things that waiting a model year or two will fix if the core is bad. Any experiences or opinions anyone can share on this matter?
 

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Hello,

I tend to like Scott Kilmer's videos from YT. A recent one discussed his opinion and experience with Subaru transmissions over the years and what he had to say was definitely not very flattering, particularly about the CVTs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymtiAMUPYRU

Doing a bit of Googling, it does seem that Subaru has had to extend drivetrain warranties on certain recent models and years of their vehicles in response to customer complaints to the NHTSA. Here's a link to a Forbes article from about a year ago that also discusses it.

When it comes to the Ascent, the CVT is brand new due to the higher torque requirements, so it seems reasonable to learn more about possible future problems down the road. I have never owned a Subaru before, but I keep seeing and reading many good things about them. I have an Ascent Touring on order and am concerned about what I am getting myself into here. $45k is a lot of money and time spend on a vehicle (if you're doing it on a loan over 5 or 6 years) and a core problem such as poorly engineered transmissions is something to consider in a buying decision. This isn't one of those things that waiting a model year or two will fix if the core is bad. Any experiences or opinions anyone can share on this matter?
Working for a dealer, I can tell you we have significantly fewer Subaru's in for service than the other brand I sell...significantly. I wouldn't be concerned about the transmission any more than if you were buying any other car.

The only transmission issue I can think of from a Subaru lately was a 2012 non-CVT Legacy (that had never had it's transmission serviced in all 180k miles)
 

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I'm a fan of CVTs but not the way Subaru has programmed in shiftpoints. That said I am not sure where he is getting his data from. I'd love to see some hard data not opinions based on "I heard...".
 
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Before you read my post. Know that I’m not defending CVT technology, I’m simply pointing out the facts.

First know that the jump from 5spd traditional ATs to 6+ gears is a giant step up in complexity and number of moving parts. This translates to far higher cost and more opportunity for points of failure.

Todays CVTs contain nearly half the number of parts than the 6-10spd traditional AT has.

Regardless of the ingrained butt dyno effect that a solid shift from a traditional AT has. CVTs have far far more potential than traditional AT regarding lower cost, better performance and lower failure rates.

Not liking a technology is a subjective thing.

The Subaru cvt I have is the first car I have ever owned thats not a Manual Transmission car. I never bought an AT car because I found the 3spds, 4 speeds to be horrendous regarding performance. Don’t confuse performance with durability you can a machine with horrible performance and great durability.

CVTs are more prolific today than traditional AT. CVTs cover more miles today than traditional AT vehicles. The numbers don’t lie the new reality is that CVT transmissions are the choice and direction vehicles are going.

Do vehicle operators need to change their bad habits? Yes probably but those bad habits destroy higher cost far more complex Traditional AT also.

Failures in complex mechanical machinery which have thousands built will happen. Flawed parts get into the supply chain all the time.

The point of differentiation is how the manufacturers track batches of parts and address cases where a vehicle may contain a faulty part. With todays big data technology it IDing all vehicles affected by s bad batch of parts should be no more than a click of the mouse on a data base filter option.

My Mercedes 7spd is insanely complex it has multiple torque converters. Subaru cvts have one Torque converter.

The cvt is a simpler less complex solution with greater capability regarding ratios. And its a proven technology today.

Do I worry about my cvt? No but I do know fluid quality is essential to its durability and operational life so I have Subaru service it every 60,000. Yes I have had dealers tell me all sorts of stupid irrelevant BS. But in the end its my machine I own it, I depend on it, its my call not the dealers lazy profit driven non written ie verbal BS response.

Do I do my own maintenance work? Some but I leave the more messy more complex to the dealer or local shop. But I do look up the job and learn what’s involved to properly service the vehicle. As a result I know BS when I hesr it, I have caught dealers that didn’t do the service I paid for, I have caught dealers that did absolutely crappy half arse fixes too.

Knowledge is power people. Learn about your second biggest purchase you make in your life. Knowing/ understanding the mechanics can save you thousands of dollars, avoid self inflicted damage and it makes you a engaging person in life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Before you read my post. Know that I’m not defending CVT technology, I’m simply pointing out the facts.

First know that the jump from 5spd traditional ATs to 6+ gears is a giant step up in complexity and number of moving parts. This translates to far higher cost and more opportunity for points of failure.

Todays CVTs contain nearly half the number of parts than the 6-10spd traditional AT has.

Regardless of the ingrained butt dyno effect that a solid shift from a traditional AT has. CVTs have far far more potential than traditional AT regarding lower cost, better performance and lower failure rates.

Not liking a technology is a subjective thing.

The Subaru cvt I have is the first car I have ever owned thats not a Manual Transmission car. I never bought an AT car because I found the 3spds, 4 speeds to be horrendous regarding performance. Don’t confuse performance with durability you can a machine with horrible performance and great durability.

CVTs are more prolific today than traditional AT. CVTs cover more miles today than traditional AT vehicles. The numbers don’t lie the new reality is that CVT transmissions are the choice and direction vehicles are going.

Do vehicle operators need to change their bad habits? Yes probably but those bad habits destroy higher cost far more complex Traditional AT also.

Failures in complex mechanical machinery which have thousands built will happen. Flawed parts get into the supply chain all the time.

The point of differentiation is how the manufacturers track batches of parts and address cases where a vehicle may contain a faulty part. With todays big data technology it IDing all vehicles affected by s bad batch of parts should be no more than a click of the mouse on a data base filter option.

My Mercedes 7spd is insanely complex it has multiple torque converters. Subaru cvts have one Torque converter.

The cvt is a simpler less complex solution with greater capability regarding ratios. And its a proven technology today.

Do I worry about my cvt? No but I do know fluid quality is essential to its durability and operational life so I have Subaru service it every 60,000. Yes I have had dealers tell me all sorts of stupid irrelevant BS. But in the end its my machine I own it, I depend on it, its my call not the dealers lazy profit driven non written ie verbal BS response.

Do I do my own maintenance work? Some but I leave the more messy more complex to the dealer or local shop. But I do look up the job and learn what’s involved to properly service the vehicle. As a result I know BS when I hesr it, I have caught dealers that didn’t do the service I paid for, I have caught dealers that did absolutely crappy half arse fixes too.

Knowledge is power people. Learn about your second biggest purchase you make in your life. Knowing/ understanding the mechanics can save you thousands of dollars, avoid self inflicted damage and it makes you a engaging person in life.
Not sure if you were referring to zulater or me in this post or not, however, I too am a fan of CVTs. What they offer in terms of obtaining optimum efficiency from a gas-power engine is one way we move forward in terms of making better cars and trucks from a consumption perspective. I only wrote my original post because I am trying to understand what I am committing myself to for the next 6-8 years (the average time frame I own a vehicle for) or longer. I want that vehicle to be an Ascent because I really like its comfort, looks, performance and technology as compared to the competition; it was the vehicle that checked off the most boxes in terms of features that were important to me.

Learning new information allows me to make a better decision. For example, I am likely to purchase the extended warranty knowing the *potential* for expensive transmission repairs may be higher on Subarus (this isn't proven, of course).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Working for a dealer, I can tell you we have significantly fewer Subaru's in for service than the other brand I sell...significantly. I wouldn't be concerned about the transmission any more than if you were buying any other car.

The only transmission issue I can think of from a Subaru lately was a 2012 non-CVT Legacy (that had never had it's transmission serviced in all 180k miles)
May I ask what department of the dealer you work for? Service, parts, sales?
 

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If you plan to any serious off roading i'd take a look at this video. Poor little CVT:) Seems like it cuts power to prevent breaking the CVT belt/chain??? I know this is an outback and not sure how much better or worse the Ascent is, but something to consider.

 

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Not sure if you were referring to zulater or me in this post or not, however, I too am a fan of CVTs. What they offer in terms of obtaining optimum efficiency from a gas-power engine is one way we move forward in terms of making better cars and trucks from a consumption perspective. I only wrote my original post because I am trying to understand what I am committing myself to for the next 6-8 years (the average time frame I own a vehicle for) or longer. I want that vehicle to be an Ascent because I really like its comfort, looks, performance and technology as compared to the competition; it was the vehicle that checked off the most boxes in terms of features that were important to me.

Learning new information allows me to make a better decision. For example, I am likely to purchase the extended warranty knowing the *potential* for expensive transmission repairs may be higher on Subarus (this isn't proven, of course).
My 2010 cvt has been faultless. As is the 2010 Legacy I bought Grandma. My 2010 OB tows trailers. It hauls tools and 4+ on a regular basis. 107,000 on it now. The 60k drain fill on the cvt and differentials is coming up soon. My only complaint my local Subaru dealer was purchased two yrs ago by a big auto group. The cvt drain fill quote after telling them I don’t need the xxx service package all I want is a cvt drain fill quote was 3x the price the prior dealer charged and they gave me a price the minute I asked no waffling or BS service package crap.

My local guy has said he can do it but also suggested only having Subaru do it given Subaru has been helping customers with faulty cvts.

So really my beef is with the scummy local dealer now.
 

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I would suggest taking everything Scotty says with a HUGE grain of salt.

There is some good information on his channel, but a lot of it is "clickbait" and this video was one of them. He's been in some weird YouTube beef with a few YouTubers that have called them out for that exact reason. Spreading misinformation is not cool.

I watched that video and the only thing truthful I heard was Toyota Camrys and Corollas are very reliable.
 

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I would suggest taking everything Scotty says with a HUGE grain of salt.

There is some good information on his channel, but a lot of it is "clickbait" and this video was one of them. He's been in some weird YouTube beef with a few YouTubers that have called them out for that exact reason. Spreading misinformation is not cool.

I watched that video and the only thing truthful I heard was Toyota Camrys and Corollas are very reliable.
I second this whole hearty! I have watched many of Scotty's videos and one thing I heave leaned is the guy bases very little on fact and is quick to run his mouth just so he can be heard on youtube. He is full of a lot of hot air and many fall for it think that what he says is gospel and nothing else. Now that is not to say that that many of his videos have some good points because they do but unless it is a late 90s Toyota, he wants nothing to do with all the new tech in autos today.
 

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If you plan to any serious off roading i'd take a look at this video. Poor little CVT:) Seems like it cuts power to prevent breaking the CVT belt/chain??? I know this is an outback and not sure how much better or worse the Ascent is, but something to consider.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjmIke01KqE
Sooooo this is not the CVTs fault! This is very much the little weak 2.5 that is 9000 ft in elevation cannot get out of its own way let lone climb a mountain in Colorado. Nothing wrong with the CVT as the CVT cannot help that the 2.5 does not have enough power in the higher altitude air. On a side note the CVT is NOT cutting power, it is just the 2.5 does NOT have the power to give!
 

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I second this whole hearty! I have watched many of Scotty's videos and one thing I heave leaned is the guy bases very little on fact and is quick to run his mouth just so he can be heard on youtube. He is full of a lot of hot air and many fall for it think that what he says is gospel and nothing else. Now that is not to say that that many of his videos have some good points because they do but unless it is a late 90s Toyota, he wants nothing to do with all the new tech in autos today.
Not a huge fan of his videos, but i can see how he gained such a following. Being so sure of yourself does draw people in.

It is hard to beat late 90's to early 2000's Toyota. I've worked on enough cars to know quality and these are a notch above the rest. Just pulled the Mass Airflow sensors out of most of my cars including GM, Subaru, Ford and Toyota to clean them all at once and the Toyota part was just quality all around from the clamps to the plastic and overall build quality. Felt like i could spike it on the ground and it wouldn't break where the others would crack and fall apart. Over built on most things.....even when starting my Toyota it sounds like it could start a diesel with the amount of power it puts out....in the winter my 2013 Subaru could use that type of power as sometimes is really struggles.

The interior on my 01 Toyota Solara blows away even most newer cars. Sure newer cars look better in most cases, but most don't have that solid feel... could take a hammer to the interior dash and would take alot to break it...my GM truck or Subaru would break in 1 or 2 swings.
 

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Sooooo this is not the CVTs fault! This is very much the little weak 2.5 that is 9000 ft in elevation cannot get out of its own way let lone climb a mountain in Colorado. Nothing wrong with the CVT as the CVT cannot help that the 2.5 does not have enough power in the higher altitude air. On a side note the CVT is NOT cutting power, it is just the 2.5 does NOT have the power to give!
does the car have that feature though where it would cut power at lower altitude to prevent CVT failure?? I know some cars shut down cylinders to prevent overheating and thought Subaru maybe used this tech to prevent CVT failure....

Also don't think that engine is that much weaker than the jeep?? Or maybe the it's the way they are driving the jeep that is helping it get up that hill??
 

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If you plan to any serious off roading i'd take a look at this video. Poor little CVT:) Seems like it cuts power to prevent breaking the CVT belt/chain??? I know this is an outback and not sure how much better or worse the Ascent is, but something to consider.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjmIke01KqE
No word of any kind in they used x- mode? or take TC off Plus, I think the Ascent or a 3.6 Outback would of done better
 

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No word of any kind in they used x- mode? or take TC off Plus, I think the Ascent or a 3.6 Outback would of done better
Watching others with the same CVTs in their vehicles I think the video Magnumb posted is just user error. They seem to be the only ones with issues.
 

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No word of any kind in they used x- mode? or take TC off Plus, I think the Ascent or a 3.6 Outback would of done better
At 15:57 they confirm over radio that x-mode is on, traction control is off. Though they do call x-mode a "mystery button".

It's interesting they completely blame the CVT for not getting the Subie up the hill, how do they know? Is that something an engineer told them or are they making that assumption based on a feeling?
 

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Thanks I missed that. Again, Fast lane always seems to have a bone to pick with Subaru. I mean really what normal buyer is doing this with his/her Ascent/Forester/Outback.? IMO they do really good for what the mission of the car is. Perhaps it's the very high exceptions that everybody seems to have with this product especially in off road ventures
 

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if i had a nickel for every time i've heard "I don't need snow/mud tires, my car is AWD...and also another nickel for every time said person has endured some sort of mishap due to that kind of thinking...i'd have a lot of nickels.
 

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This thread cracks me up. Heck I remember a GMC pickup we loaded with cut oak did the same exact thing. Hint not enough power to turn wheels ie climb etc. We had to strap up a second pickup to help drag the loaded GMC up the steep hill.

Nothing wrong that old GMC it just didn’t have the power we needed.
 
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