Shuddering And Jerking

2017 Subaru Forester

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Subaru dealer.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
4,650 miles
Total Complaints:
20 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (18 reports)
  2. replace torque converter, lockup solenoid & change cvt (1 reports)
  3. transmission software adjustment solved problem (1 reports)
2017 Subaru Forester transmission problems

transmission problem

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2017 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #20

Feb 012022

Forester Touring 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 30,000 miles


The problem is the Torque converter and torque converter lock up solenoid not actually the CVT. (Think of it as a clutch on a manual but for an automatic transmission, located in between the engine and transmission)

These transmissions are actually extremely robust and have been used by subaru for a long time,made by a company called TransTec for Subaru, driven by a chain rather than a belt.

It is very important to change the fluid every 20,000 miles or 12,000 under heavy use and wait for the blue light to turn off before driving.

Mine was in the shop for a total of 6 months before I ended up finding the problem myself and telling the dealership what to fix.

Hope this helps everyone.

- Matthew L., Canaan, NH, US

problem #19

Jun 182018

Forester 2.0XT Premier 2.0L H4 F Dohc 16v

  • CVT transmission
  • 18,815 miles

The problem I’m having seems to be what everyone else has been complaining about. The car shudders when I accelerate. While the problem itself is more of a big annoyance I put a significance on this because of the amount of time my car has been in the Subaru shop. However, it shuddering like that while getting on a highway can be a big deal when it’s not accelerating appropriately. At one point it spent an entire month with them. It’ll go away and they think they have fixed but then a month later, it starts again. This is the seventh time we have brought it in for this and still no fix. The Subaru dealership I go have been very friendly, it’s just the car. I’m tired of it and will be taking the problem to Subaru corporate next week.

- dudster, Denver, CO, US

problem #18

Oct 162016

Forester 2.5I 2.5L Block

  • CVT transmission
  • 1,781 miles

My wife and I love our 2017 Subaru Forester. Our love for it has been spoiled by 3+ years of the same problem it has had from the beginning. Subaru has admitted that there is a problem and has even extended the warranty to 10/100,000. However, this is not the recall Subaru owners deserve. There still has been no solution to the continuing problem.

Earl Duff's Subaru has tried on multiple occasions to fix the problem but it continues. The car now has about 29,000 miles on it. It is low because we parked it for a year waiting for Subaru to fix it. The problems are:





The problem exist whether or not it is reproduced by the dealer's representative. I'm telling them again and again that the problem exist; Subaru admits that the problem exist and hundreds of other Subaru Forester owners are saying the problem exist. Why no fix? It has nearly caused several finder benders.

Personal Note: I am highly offended that it says on my complaints, at the dealership, that I ride with my foot on the brake pedal. I have driven now for 56 years and not one time have I driven with my foot on the brake pedal. I have driven hundreds of cars while working a leasing manager and have not had this performance in any of them. I have asked Subaru of America for a fix, asked them to buy back the car, even asked them to assist me in trading the car for a newer car. Each one was denied.

Sincerely Submitted, Dr. M. Dennis Ellis

- Dennis E., Madisonville, TN, US

problem #17

Oct 012016

Forester Limited 2.5L V4

  • CVT transmission
  • 100 miles


CVT transmissions are awful, and the one on our vehicle is one of the worst. Almost every time you go from a stop into first gear, there is a hesitation and a huge lurch forward. We have had many things spill, fall, tip over, etc. due to this jerking motion. I'm hoping it never causes a wreck.

I asked the guy at the Subaru dealer service center if Subaru had found a fix for this problem, and he sheepishly said they had not. He tried to say it is improved on newer models. That's not exactly high praise.

If we could afford it, I would get rid of this SUV now, and buy a Mazda or some other vehicle that does not have CVT. To make things worse, Subaru, along with many other manufacturers, now include the dangerous stop/start feature on all their new models. Talk about making a bad problem worse!

I will never buy another Subaru, and I hope never to buy any vehicle with CVT and/or stop/start.

- Patricia L., Grimes, US

problem #16

Oct 272016

Forester Limited 2.5L 4-cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 0 miles

The CVT transmission on the Forester is horrible. I had severe roughness and took to dealership about 6 months ago. They did a software update on the transmission, which made it slightly better, but is substantially rougher still than any other car I've driven.. If the CVT is not corrected by the next time I go to buy a new vehicle, then my next vehicle will not be a Subaru..

- Jon P., Rochester, US

problem #15

Jul 292017

Forester 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 7,500 miles

Shudders. Got the recall done, still shudders. Got the software updated, still shudders.

- mrmacpattypm, San Diego, US

problem #14

Jun 042017

Forester Limited 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 5,000 miles


2017 Subaru Limited has issues almost always from a dead stop at low acceleration. It is like the CVT cannot make up its mind what gear to be in. It shutters & jerks & I absolutely hate it. Especially going up a hill from a slow speed or a complete stop, it jerks like crazy. When I turn a corner & then press the gas a little to pick up some speed it jerks. Making a turn from a stop & trying to slow & then give a little more gas it starts to jerk. Took to the dealer & they did the software update. It got about 70-80% better for almost a week. Then it got at least as bad or maybe worse than before the update. I took it back 2 1/2 weeks later. They had me do a test drive with a mechanic. He drove it (warm of course) and it did not seem to do the same thing. we went to a hill because I told him it is worse going uphill. Then we changed drivers & I drove & he could feel the jerking a bit more. It was not as bad as when I am driving it in various situations. He asked me if I use Costco gas, I said yes. He suggested that I drive the gas out & then fill up 2 times with another major brand of gas. I am still on the Costco gas right now & will need to see later. But I am very logical & asked him, "if it got better after the software update & I was driving with the same tank of gas, what makes you think it is the gas?" He said try it & bring it back in if that does not work. If I bring it in one more time I want to pursue getting my money back or having them give me a new car. Love the car's features, but will not keep it if this cannot be corrected.

- John M., Whittier, US

problem #13

Sep 142017

Forester 2.5 Limited 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 5,592 miles

While driving, the transmission jerks. This is abnormal.

- Nicholas R., Toronto, Ontario, Canada

problem #12

Oct 302016


  • CVT transmission
  • 1,000 miles

I bought my 2017 Forester in October 2016. Within the first week of driving I noticed a hesitancy when going from "reverse" to "drive" but was told by the dealership that it was common to the engine and I just had to get used to it. I began almost immediately also to notice that it shuddered or lurched at times. I tried to pinpoint when it was happening. Most commonly it is at very low speeds but can also occur at random times, even driving at an even speed down the highway. My husband is usually along as a passenger and he notices it even if I don't say anything. Dealership says they can't replicate the problem so there's nothing to fix. They suggest early morning cold driving causes it. Not true, because it is random. I'm taking it back to them again next week to see if they can feel it happen. If not, I'm dumping the car. No way am I going to make car payments on a car that annoys me, even though I love everything else about the car. If there's a class action or some way to get this fixed, I'd love to know about it.

- Elizabeth O., Woodleaf, US

problem #11

Jun 012017

Forester Limited 2.5i

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles

This problem is only noticeable when driving 60MPH or higher, No problem during regular city driving. This vehicle only has a little over 4,000 miles on it !! I have an appointment to see the dealership in Covington, LA. Will see what they suggest.

Update from Aug 27, 2017: Dealer agreed there was a problem. They worked on the software for the transmission. Problem solved!

- hme9421, Ponchatoula, US

problem #10

Jun 222017

Forester XT Touring Turbo

  • CVT transmission
  • 8,000 miles


Exact same problem as TB., from Greenville, US complaint on 3/12/17. New car, 8 months in, car begins to shudder and all the lights come on. Towed to dealer. They said that there was "nothing wrong", but it needed new software download and the levels for the warnings needed to be recalibrated. Brought the car home. Within 3 weeks the exact same thing happened again, but this time was out of state on business and had to tow the car to the nearest dealer (Indiana - I live in Illinois). Right now car is stuck in Indiana. Dealer where I purchased the car won't pay to have it towed back to their dealership. Subaru won't pay either. And, the codes that are coming up in the diagnostics are VERY similar to the first problem. Now the dealer (Indiana) is pointing the finger at the remote starter we had added (not by Subaru) after purchasing. Really!!!! Any suggestions on how to proceed? Start lemon law?

- djg1, Highland Park, US

problem #9

Nov 232016


  • CVT transmission
  • 100 miles

We ordered this car. Picked it up and drove it home on the interstate. Noticed once we got in our neighborhood the car would jerk or buck between 15 - 40 MPH. Called the dealer and was told I had to drive it for several thousand miles and it would adjust to my driving. Took in to two service departments and they could not duplicate the problem. Also contacted Subaru corporate and was told "there was no problem". I have Multiple Sclerosis and every time the car jerks it throws off my balance, making me feel dizzy. NOT GOOD! I have now had one dealer agree that it is a problem and they reset the computer. Unfortunately this did nothing and may have made it worse. Subaru has to figure out a fix! Other than this issue we love the car and all the safety features. Guess selling it is my only option!

- Mary G., The Villages, US

problem #8

Sep 252016

Forester XT Touring 2.0L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 987 miles

I owned a 2015 Subaru Forester XT Touring which also had the same transmission issue I'm currently having with the 2017 model. When accelerating, the car hesitates then stutters/ jerks and then the engine makes clicking noises. I take my foot off the accelerator and the car sluggishly changes gears. It's occurs more often in lower gears going up a slight hill like a freeway onramp. Subaru agreed to buy back my 2015 Forester and I took a gamble on purchasing the 2017 Subaru Forester XT (thinking there is no way in hell's name I would have the same issue). For the first few weeks the 2017 Forester XT drove fine but right around the 1,000 mile mark it started having the tranmission issue. I've had the car serviced once by the delareship I purchased it from and of course the dealership could not replicate the issue. I'm going to send a letter to Subura of America and start the lemon buyback once again. No more Subarus for me.

- bobbacon, Cypress, CA, US

problem #7

Jul 182016

Forester Premium 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 875 miles

Brand new car that started bucking at low speeds on the 3rd day of ownership.

Traded in a 2014 Forester that was doing the same thing, but not as severe. I was told, by the dealer, that it was just the nature of the beast with the 2014, and that there was nothing wrong.

Traded it on a new 2017 on July 17, 2016 with the promise that the problem no longer existed. Not true.

The 2017 is worse. I want my money back.

- John S., Naples, FL, US

problem #6

Mar 122017

Forester Limited 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 6,750 miles

Bought this car new (my first), and six months into ownership, the car begins to shudder and the following warning lights came on:

Check engine at oil temp


Vehicle Dynamics Control

Hill Start Assist

Bad luck or total lemon???

- T B., Greenville, US

problem #5

Aug 152016

Forester Limited 2.51

  • CVT transmission
  • 200 miles

new car, drove home from dealer, when I stopped at a light or stop sign and stepped on gas it would jerk 3 or 4 times before it would drive smooth. told mechanic and they told me that is the way that car drives. never had a car act like that before.

- loretta green, Zephyrhills, US

problem #4

Jan 042017

Forester Premium M

  • CVT transmission
  • 1,000 miles

I've had my Forester since 12/23/16. At first, car felt great, but after about a week or so of owning, I've noticed that the car would feel like it was slipping or shuddering before it went to the next 'gear'. I first felt it going up a hill and thought it was the wind pushing back on the car, but since then, I've noticed it more frequently, especially in lower 'gear'. My issue is that it seems inconsistent, so if I do bring it in, how is anyone going to recreate it on a short test drive? Also, it seems to happen when I'm not being heavy with the gas pedal or am letting off gas. Anyone else feel this? And suggestions???

- H H., Sparta, NJ, US

problem #3

Jun 012016

Forester Premium 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 1,000 miles

I bought my 2017 Forester 2.5i about 6 months ago. I soon started noticing a jerking or shuddering of the CVT transmission at around 20 mph and then again around 60 mph - it also would do this sometimes at other speeds and even while cruising on the interstate. It feels like the CVT belt is slipping or something...I mentioned it to the dealer and was told that others have complained but that there is no fix. I also got a recall notice recently that my vehicle was under a recall due to the CVT fluid being too low due to a manufacturing glitch - I had the recall done and it was found to be a quart low so they fixed that - I hoped this would solve the CVT issue but it did not. The vehicle overall is very well done - handles well, rides smooth, simple controls, great visibility and good cargo room BUT this incredibly annoying CVT behavior completely ruins the driving experience and makes me dread driving it....that should not be the case with a new vehicle. I test drove a CR-V before deciding on the Forester due to the better visibility and the advantage of Subaru's legendary all wheel drive security but the CR-V's CVT was very smooth and felt a lot like a normal transmission. I am so disappointed and hoping Subaru will do the right thing and come up with a reprogramming fix for the CVT - no way this is the way they intended the CVT to perform. If no fix is developed, I won't keep this car long - I want to enjoy driving my vehicle every day and I can't help but think that with the CVT fluid recall issue and the behavior of this CVT, it will be troublesome in the future and probably fail prematurely...

- Richard J., Lakeland, FL, US

problem #2

Nov 192016

Forester Premium 2.5i

  • CVT transmission
  • 250 miles

Two days after buying a 2017 Subaru Forester Premium 2.5i started feeling a surging, shuddering/jerking type feeling when driving. Started out about 19/20 miles during acceleration and then again around 40/45 and again at a constant speed of 65. Has the same feeling of my old GMC fuel pump going out, not quite a transmission or engine miss but a slight jerking.

Called the dealership and was told that it's because I am a new Subaru owner and I needed to get use to the CVT engine that it has so I thought about it and gave it another week. Same thing happens every time I drive it. Took it to the dealership 9 days after purchase, the service adviser told me the same thing about being a new Subaru owner, I listened, let her finish and said I hear what you're saying and in another situation it would make perfect sense, but when you're going at a constant speed of 65 you're not shifting gears and it's still jerking so something is going on.

They drove it, felt the same thing as I did, put it on the machine and everything came back normal. She called the home office and was told they are aware of the problem but no solution is available at this time. She then again told me that it's because I was a new Subaru drive and I needed to get use to the way it drove. This upset my husband very much. He's been in the automotive/management business for over 20 year. When there's a problem, there's a problem! So far no one has called me back so I'm basically 30K+ in debt with a car that I love, but is annoying to drive.

- khb, Dauphin Island, AL, US

problem #1

Oct 042016

(reported on)

Forester Premium 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 400 miles

I have found many people with this same issue on National Forums. Subaru of America claims this is not a problem. I have spent a lot of time investigating this claim and am certain that it is a problem. I am looking to file a class action against Subaru so that they can no longer claim this as a non-issue and am looking to find people willing to join me in filing the lawsuit. There will be no cost unless we win. Help me put an end to this unethical practice. Here is more detail on how I know that this is a problem: 1. Internet research: This jerkiness is not typical according to all the forums that I have been in. Since you sent the above email I have spent some time looking into torque converter clutches and signs that these clutches might be going bad. One common issue was that the vehicle will "shudder". This happens rather frequently (not as frequently as the single jerk) in my feels like I am hitting multiple speed bumps in short concession. 2. Talking with other Subaru owners: I had a friend with a 2016 Subaru Forester (her second Forester) drive with me while the vehicle was experiencing "jerky" behavior. She said that she had not felt anything remotely like the jerkiness that my vehicle exhibits in her own 2016 Forester. I have talked with 4 friends and coworkers that own Subarus, including the one above, about each of the problems that my vehicle is having, including the particular issue that you are referencing in the above email and none of them have been able to relate to any of these issues. 3. Driving another new Subaru with a CVT: My first 2 day rental from xxx dealership was a 2016 Legacy. I spent a lot of time trying to replicate, with the Legacy, what my vehicle had been doing with no luck. It always transitioned smoothly and I was unable to notice anything remotely similar to ANY (if you look back through the emails and the letter that I wrote you, you will find a myriad of other problems that my car has experienced that have not been addressed) of the problems that my vehicle has experienced. 4. Told by Subaru dealership that there is a problem: I was told by xxx, xxx Service Manager, that misfire codes had been pulled for the vehicle in question. I had the service foreman tell me that the vehicle was misfiring on multiple occasions. 5. Told that SOA was sending recommendations to remedy the problem: After the misfire codes were pulled, according to a Subaru representative, the Subaru dealer pulled the engine and were give direction from Subaru of America on how to remedy the problem. Problem being the key word.

- Peter R., Portland, OR, US

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