Brian(formerly neon4891)
Brian(formerly neon4891) MegaDork
1/4/22 9:49 a.m.

It looks as in the next few months I'll be offered a "family deal" on my parents '14 CVT Legacy.  My main hesitation is CVT longevity. The car is currently around 120k miles. My only other experience with CVT was in my soon to be ex's '13 Accord. That popped last year around the 130k mark and the extended warranty we opted for when we bought it used paid for itself. 

I know the situation is still fluid, as they may get a good trade in offer with the current car market and I wasn't planning on replacing my current '09, 200k+ civic for 2 more years anyway. 

mikeatrpi HalfDork
1/4/22 10:12 a.m.

This is relevant for me as well; the family hauler is a 14 forester with 112k miles.  It's on its fourth engine due to oil consumption (took em a few tries to get a reman engine without a knock).  Besides the CVT the fb itself gives me some worries too.


On the plus side, subaru has been in the CVT game for a long time now.

rslifkin UberDork
1/4/22 10:18 a.m.

I don't know much about the Subaru CVTs, but I do know that I have a hard time trusting any Subaru engine that makes a triple digit number of horsepower. 

karplus2 GRM+ Memberand Reader
1/4/22 11:00 a.m.

Wife had an 11 Legacy with the CVT. CVT was never an issue on that car.

We traded it with a little over 100k miles because my wife had 2 instances where she tried to stop and the ABS system went crazy and did nothing to slow down the car. I managed to make the car do something weird but I did get it to stop. We took it to the dealer twice and they could never find an issue. She was terrified to drive it after that so we traded it.

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/4/22 11:03 a.m.

I am interested too. SO's car is a '13 Legacy 2.5 CVT. It has needed nothing, but only has 40k miles.

Take solace in knowing that 13/14 are the final years of 5th generation, so any production issues are likely ironed out by then. 

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/4/22 12:38 p.m.

Subaru's CVTs have a reputation of being well ahead of the competition in longevity/reliability, that's all I know about them.

fornetti14 GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/4/22 1:18 p.m.

I know several people that have replaced them, but at 200,000 miles and mostly 2010-2012.  

I think they were $7,000 new to replace and $2,500 if you could find a used one.  That looks real expensive to me, almost more than the car is worth in some instances.  

Sometimes the early CVT's just need their torque converters replaced but I don't know how they determined that.  The old Subie 4EAT trans would outlast the dang car so I'm not sure how much the CVT improved things vs. the trouble they give.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/4/22 5:39 p.m.

Have never seen an issue with Subaru CVTs.

The largest issue with the FB25 is failure to keep oil in the engine.  They consume some oil due to ultra light piston ring tension, and if you burn 4 quarts in 3000 miles with a 5 quart oil capacity and never check/add oil, you aren't going to be doing too many more oil changes with that engine.  Lightly driven models seem to be worse for oil consumption.  I would not bother with synthetic oil, instead run a decent non synthetic 5W20, which seems to help reduce oil consumption.  (Less bore glazing?  Spitballing here)


I have had these engines apart for major repairs and the opening verse is always "I did have to add five quarts last week" or (my favorite) "It runs poorly when the red oil light starts coming on."  You think?  

The oil consumption is not the best, but it's really easy to check and add oil on these engines...

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
1/4/22 6:16 p.m.
Brian(formerly neon4891) said:

My only other experience with CVT was in my soon to be ex's '13 Accord. That popped last year around the 130k mark ...

Brian, can you tell me more about this?  Did she have the car since new, and did the fluid get changed at the specified 60k mile intervals?  Asking because I have a '14 Accord with this same transmission since new with 150k miles on it, and have done the 60k fluid changes.  I am not having any known issues now, but am starting to contemplate what is next and when.  Thanks!

Brian(formerly neon4891)
Brian(formerly neon4891) MegaDork
1/5/22 6:16 p.m.

Great info, thanks. As far as the engine, it's going strong, very little oil consumption. 

On the Accord, we bought it used around 80k. I could go into a VERY long rant about my ex and her cars. I'm unsure of it's service history. But CVT was the reason I opted for the extended warranty. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/5/22 6:58 p.m.

In reply to Brian(formerly neon4891) :

I have only witnessed one CVT problem: The oil pressure sender somehow unscrewed itself on a Civic CVT and all of the fluid pumped out.  Vehicle came in for "shakes and hesitates".  It was the transmission shuddering horribly and slipping.  The rest of the fluid (about a quart) was burnt in ways GM automatic transfer cases could only aspire to.

New sender, added fluid, drove, drained, refilled, and that was 10,000 miles ago and it still works great as of the last service.


Mostly Nissan gave CVTs a bad name.  Honda has the benefit of a maintenance reminder system that calls out what services are due and when, and a lot of people actually adhere to that if they go somewhere that pays attention to what a B125 or whatever is.

EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/6/22 8:09 a.m.

The only issue I have heard of with the subaru CVTs is solenoids in the valve body, maybe torque converter lockup solenoid? My girlfriend's 15 Forester had the dash lights all come on and threw a few codes about 6 months ago (110k miles), I looked it up and it isn't uncommon. The solenoids are available for $1-200 and replacement seems not difficult. I cleared all the codes and have kept an eye on it but no issues since. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/11/22 9:15 p.m.


I drained a half quart of oil from this one.

It did not come in for anything but an oil change.  On telling the customer that it was so low on oil that moving the car made the oil light come on, the response was "Yeah, I hear that from people when I take it to get the oil changed."  surprise



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