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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess it serves me right for traveling during Covid, but yesterday on my way back from Iowa to Denver, my 2019 transmission failed in Grand Island, Nebraska. The closest dealer was in Lincoln and since it was the weekend and a day after a major holiday, no one was at the dealership to answer any calls. Had the car towed to the Lincoln dealership through roadside assistance, caught a ride with the tow company, rented a car in Lincoln, and drove back to Denver in the rental.

A few questions if anyone has dealt with this:

1. Will my car be fixed in Lincoln or Denver? If the former, any idea if Subaru will arrange for getting the car back to me? Lincoln and Denver are about 500 miles apart.
2. Will Subaru make sure I get a loaner in Denver (my original dealership was in Iowa) for however long it takes to figure this out?
3. Will Subaru reimburse for the rental car back to Denver / hotel room we had to rent in Grand Island while stranded?

All in all, it could have been a lot worse since it failed in a decent sized town and the weather was manageable, but I have a feeling this is going to be a bit of a logistical nightmare.

As for what happened, the car had been revving higher than normal and at a higher pitch; I chalked that up to not having the same quality gas in rural Nebraska/Iowa the last week. Driving west toward Omaha, we pulled into a rest stop and the car had a very hard downshift that all of us in the car noticed. Drove fine after a restart of the engine. We got off at Grand Island to get gas and lunch and coming off the interstate, the car downshifted significantly harder, almost causing the car to lurch. Coasted into a stop and when I hit the gas again, the rear wheels locked and then squealed, the car lurched forward, and all the lights came on. Baby’d it to the gas station and filled it up, thinking a 15 minute cool down would help. It just got worse with what felt like gear hunting, stalling, and wheel locking as we tried to get out of the gas station. Finally the AT Temperature light came on and was blinking. We finally pulled into a hotel parking lot to begin figuring out how to get back to Denver.

Thanks!
 

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That's a very unfortunate set of circumstances. I/m glad you were able to get safely back to Denver. The car will usually be repaired at the nearest Subaru dealer, so in Nebraska in your situation. As far as getting a loaner from your dealership in Denver, I doubt it since they are not the servicing dealer. New car warranties do not usually include lodging. Hopefully another forum member can be more optimistic in their evaluation of the situation.
 

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Sorry about your ruined travels. At least you managed to get towed appropriately and home safely.

Check with your credit cards. You might have trip interruption coverage if you used the right card for the rental car or hotel portion of your trip.

Good luck.
 

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I guess it serves me right for traveling during Covid, but yesterday on my way back from Iowa to Denver, my 2019 transmission failed in Grand Island, Nebraska. The closest dealer was in Lincoln and since it was the weekend and a day after a major holiday, no one was at the dealership to answer any calls. Had the car towed to the Lincoln dealership through roadside assistance, caught a ride with the tow company, rented a car in Lincoln, and drove back to Denver in the rental.

A few questions if anyone has dealt with this:

1. Will my car be fixed in Lincoln or Denver? If the former, any idea if Subaru will arrange for getting the car back to me? Lincoln and Denver are about 500 miles apart.
2. Will Subaru make sure I get a loaner in Denver (my original dealership was in Iowa) for however long it takes to figure this out?
3. Will Subaru reimburse for the rental car back to Denver / hotel room we had to rent in Grand Island while stranded?

All in all, it could have been a lot worse since it failed in a decent sized town and the weather was manageable, but I have a feeling this is going to be a bit of a logistical nightmare.

As for what happened, the car had been revving higher than normal and at a higher pitch; I chalked that up to not having the same quality gas in rural Nebraska/Iowa the last week. Driving west toward Omaha, we pulled into a rest stop and the car had a very hard downshift that all of us in the car noticed. Drove fine after a restart of the engine. We got off at Grand Island to get gas and lunch and coming off the interstate, the car downshifted significantly harder, almost causing the car to lurch. Coasted into a stop and when I hit the gas again, the rear wheels locked and then squealed, the car lurched forward, and all the lights came on. Baby’d it to the gas station and filled it up, thinking a 15 minute cool down would help. It just got worse with what felt like gear hunting, stalling, and wheel locking as we tried to get out of the gas station. Finally the AT Temperature light came on and was blinking. We finally pulled into a hotel parking lot to begin figuring out how to get back to Denver.

Thanks!
Call Subaru of America. They will arrange for a rental or reimbursement. They will also arrange with you to get your vehicle back. You should end up with no out of pocket expense.
 

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Thanks!
[/QUOTE]
Welcome back to Denver. These issues never come at a convenient time...do they? The 2019 Ascent was my first Subaru and while I had problems with it, the issues were all properly taken care of by Subaru under warranty and I have not had any repeat instances. My teenage son then purchased a 2018 Impreza (his first car) and had a couple of warranty issues but again Subaru took care of them. I did have one point of tension with one Subaru of America customer service rep who either was not properly trained or chose to ignore his training. In the end with the assistance of this forum, I was able to properly advocate to have a warranty item covered for the Impreza (the item was not unique to the Impreza) via a different SOA rep. My dealer service department in Golden (Subaru West) has been great. I did not buy from them. I always have been able to arrange for a loaner regardless of how long it took for the repair. It is always helpful to have reasonable expectations and develop an advocacy skill set that leverages all the key information, your rights and your relationships. Documenting as much as you can is always useful to assist in resolving a concern promptly and effectively.

If you had to stay over in that hotel due to the breakdown, let SOA know so they can reimburse you.

It sounds like you are someone who rises to the challenge and can get creative in finding solutions. All great traits when owning a car. My suggestion is to get your Ascent loaner, let SOA handle the diagnostics and repair and go about your life until they state the repair is completed. You can then evaluate whether the repair did the trick or not. Clearly the vehicle did not perform as it was meant to so the warranty will fully cover it. Keep the forum up to date on what the diagnostics indicate. Sometimes the forum members have enough experience to point both you and the dealer technicians in the right direction.

what local dealership do you use for service?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all for the advice. Getting a new transmission installed by the Lincoln dealer. It turns out the transmission fluid was extremely low, which they believe caused the failure. It’s odd as that has never been serviced — car only has 20k miles.

I have a call into SoA to see about getting the car back and a local loaner in the meantime. They weren’t nearly as easy to deal with as the Lincoln dealer, who has been great, but I’ll give SoA another day before escalating.
 

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It turns out the transmission fluid was extremely low, which they believe caused the failure. It’s odd as that has never been serviced — car only has 20k miles.
I'll admit that I'm being lazy about checking the owner's manual but does the Ascent have a user-checkable trans dipstick? If it's a "maintenance-free" no dipstick setup then there's no way for them to blame the owner.
 

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Has the oil always been changed at a dealership?
 

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I'll admit that I'm being lazy about checking the owner's manual but does the Ascent have a user-checkable trans dipstick? If it's a "maintenance-free" no dipstick setup then there's no way for them to blame the owner.
There's no way for most end users to check the fluid level. Alas, one common "blame the owner" thing is Jiffy Lube emptying the CVT during an oil change, but, yes, otherwise, other than for puncturing or damaging the CVT pan, I couldn't see how they'd blame an owner.
 

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Thanks all for the advice. Getting a new transmission installed by the Lincoln dealer. It turns out the transmission fluid was extremely low, which they believe caused the failure. It’s odd as that has never been serviced — car only has 20k miles.

I have a call into SoA to see about getting the car back and a local loaner in the meantime. They weren’t nearly as easy to deal with as the Lincoln dealer, who has been great, but I’ll give SoA another day before escalating.
Curious set of facts so far. Robert is correct that someone could have drained the incorrect outlet when changing the oil. The oil change records will point who that was if that was the case for any of the three engine oil changes that would have been completed. If it had been leaking for some time, I would think there would be signs of the leak down below and picked up through one of the multi-point inspections at your dealer.

I am not at all clear how this has progressed through warranty. Please clarify. You had to understandably leave the vehicle at the dealership in Lincoln. Was it already approved under the warranty or did you authorize the replacement and are now dealing with getting it covered under warranty?

In terms of a loaner, SOA can choose to directly reimburse the local dealer for the loaner or you if you rent a vehicle from a rental agency. The problem there is that you will not be able to rent a Subaru let alone an Ascent. The local rental agencies contrary to what I would have thought do not carry a Subaru inventory even in Colorado. They might have a few in the entire state.

If there is no record of who did the last three oil changes, I would be surprised if they cover it at all. In that scenario they would be looking at the scenario painted above, which would not be their responsibility. Another possibility is a very slow leak after the original manufacturing which would have gone undetected from leaks as well as performance. If there is a record of a Subaru dealership completing the last three oil changes SOA will certainly be having a conversation with them.

The first formal scheduled maintenance check for trans fluid would have been at the 30,000 mileage mark.
 

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That's a very unfortunate set of circumstances. I/m glad you were able to get safely back to Denver. The car will usually be repaired at the nearest Subaru dealer, so in Nebraska in your situation. As far as getting a loaner from your dealership in Denver, I doubt it since they are not the servicing dealer. New car warranties do not usually include lodging. Hopefully another forum member can be more optimistic in their evaluation of the situation.
So far, I was correct on two out of three. Work done in Nebraska and no loaner from Denver. Subaru is not as generous as some here believe.
 

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The first formal scheduled maintenance check for trans fluid would have been at the 30,000 mileage mark.
Formal check for trans fluid is likely just a visual inspection outside the case for leaks.
Though, even that slow of a leak should’ve left some residue over 20k miles.
 

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Though, even that slow of a leak should’ve left some residue over 20k miles.
Yeah, I think there would be a very obvious sign of an external transmission fluid leak if the system was almost empty. Either from the case itself or a fluid hose leak at the cooler, etc. If everything is buttoned-up and dry, and if there's evidence of tool use on the transmission drain plug, then Subaru can probably rightfully suspect a mistaken CVT drain event.

Though...this would be apparent very quickly to the person draining the fluid. The transmission fluid would very likely not resemble used motor oil (in appearance and smell) and a check of the oil level in an engine that would now have 10 quarts in it would make the mistake obvious. I have no doubt this kind of thing happens all the time...and any skipped "QA" step (like checking the oil level once complete) might less this pass right through.
 

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So far, I was correct on two out of three. Work done in Nebraska and no loaner from Denver. Subaru is not as generous as some here believe.
If it is a warranty repair soa will arrange for a loaner or rental. There is a difference between soa and a dealer.
 

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So far, I was correct on two out of three. Work done in Nebraska and no loaner from Denver. Subaru is not as generous as some here believe.
This isn't about Subaru's generosity. They don't own the loaner cars, so, Subaru doesn't authorize the loans of a dealer's loaner vehicle for travel to (and leaving in) another state or area. Subaru reimburses dealers for rentals of the dealer's loaner fleet. In the event something like this happens during a trip, Subaru generally assists in an outside rental or more likely a reimbursement for an outside rental.

From my understanding, in the event you've got a stellar dealership (or two) involved, they may trade or buy in a loaner vehicle, but that's rare and really well above and beyond what anyone should expect. And, sometimes, for "closer to home" scenarios, a stellar dealership may loan a vehicle and then send someone to retrieve it. That's also rare and a big hassle, and ties up two dealership employees.

At the distances we're discussing, neither of the above is likely to happen, and if I had to guess, the op will probably get some sort of rental assistance (reimbursement?).
 

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Formal check for trans fluid is likely just a visual inspection outside the case for leaks.
Though, even that slow of a leak should’ve left some residue over 20k miles.
Boy I sure hope not (assuming there is a dip stick). Checking levels is checking levels. Checking for leaks is not the same.
 

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There is no way to check the level of the fluid in a TR690 without trying to fill it, using the "convoluted" fill procedure.
 

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Dip sticks are generally relics of the past these days. "Cost" can be blamed, but I understand one of the benefits of NOT having them, at least as far as reliability goes, is the sealed nature of the transmission. It's not completely air-tight of course, but it's probably pretty amazing how much contamination can be traced back to the dip stick tube (dirt, foreign debris, incorrect fluid added, incorrect fluid level, etc.).
 

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Dip sticks are generally relics of the past these days. "Cost" can be blamed, but I understand one of the benefits of NOT having them, at least as far as reliability goes, is the sealed nature of the transmission. It's not completely air-tight of course, but it's probably pretty amazing how much contamination can be traced back to the dip stick tube (dirt, foreign debris, incorrect fluid added, incorrect fluid level, etc.).
Components which have been highly reliable and leak resistant have never had dip sticks. Ie: differentials and manual transmissions. As machining tolerances have improved and sealants and seals have better formulations, leaks have been reduced tremendously. Eliminating the dip sticks hasn't generally been a drawback, but for goodness sake, at least have a "sight glass" or inspection plug above the fluid level so a proper level check can be performed without losing fluid.
 
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