really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
101,000 miles
Total Complaints:
9 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (6 reports)
  2. not sure (3 reports)
2011 Subaru Outback transmission problems

transmission problem

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2011 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #9

Jun 252019

Outback 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,000 miles


Car stalled and hesitated, RPM's went way up, check engine light, traction control, brakes and whatever other lights on dash came on. Took to our local mechanic who checked code and found it to be a transmission issue. Reset the code and asked us to drive locally for a few days to see if it would come on again. the problem recurred, they checked again and same code. I did some research and found that multiple people have had this issue, Subaru even extended the transmission warranty on these vehicles to 10 years/100,000 miles. ours has 143,000 miles but is LESS than 10 years obviously. Contacted Subaru of America, spoke to Martina Brown who said we needed to bring it to an "authorized Subaru repair center" for diagnosis before they could review our claim. Car was still driving and running fine when it was dropped at Subaru on 7/29, the earliest they could get us in and give us a loaner to use. Received email from Martina today who indicates that the transmission does need to be replaced, but since it's over 100,000 miles, there is nothing they can do. Although they did offer to give us 1K toward the purchase of a new Subaru. What a frigging joke! We had already been offered more than that from another car dealer as a trade in, but were led to believe that Subaru would do the right thing and pay for the repair on a KNOWN MANUFACTURER DEFECT. What a slap in the face. A RECALL NEEDS to HAPPEN on these cars for this issue!

- Kelly D., Northfield Falls, VT, US

problem #8

May 302019

Outback Premium 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 104,000 miles

Purchased car used in August 2016 with 52379 miles. Since owning it rarely the car would act like it was going to stall while sitting at a stop light. Within the last 6-12 months the car would occasionally actually stall while sitting at a stop sign/light. Recently, I have been able to replicate the issue with some consistency by coming to a harder stop than I normally do while driving, so I decided to take the car into a Subaru dealership to have it checked. The dealership's diagnostics determined that the car needed a new torque converter and transmission, which would cost $8,608.90.

I contacted Subaru of America (SOA). SOA, because I purchased the car used, has offered me $2500 goodwill toward the repair or the purchase of a new Subaru. I have escalated that I am not please with their goodwill offer because, after investigating on the internet, this is a known issue with this model between 2010-2013. My issue may have been occurring for over a year or more, it just did not become problematic for me because of the way I drive, so I believe Subaru needs to repair the car.

- Dennis C., Mableton, GA, US

problem #7

Sep 012018

Outback V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 116,000 miles

Subaru has know for sometime about transmission failure in 2011 Outbacks. Since my car was just over 100,000 ...not covered under extended warranty they offered. Since the failure of transmission nearly got me killed on interstate...it's dangerous and a recall should be offered (in my opinion). Cost of repairing transmission quoted at $9597.70.....leaving me shell shocked.

- Georgia V., Portland, US

problem #6

Apr 042016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,929 miles


About 5 and 1/2 years after getting my car, the transmission went out. The warranty had expired after owning the car for 5 years. It cost me almost $5000. The staff was friendly, helpful, and gave me a loaner, but the cost was the problem.

- Roman C., Culver City, US

problem #5

Feb 052016

Outback Limited 2.4L V4

  • CVT transmission
  • 109,000 miles

I have a 2011 Suburu Outback 2.4, 4 cl with a CVT transmission. I noticed a problem when I was driving and the car would rev up for a sec or two, the needle would jump up, then go back to normal. After a little investigation we took it to a transmission shop. The transmission needed replaced at 109,000 miles. We were told that the CVT transmissions are only making it to around 1000,000 miles. Because they are a sealed unit, your options are a new one, at about $7000-$8000 a factory second at about $6000 or a rebuilt one at $3000. Not a cheap proposition whichever way you choose. The CVT's are only in the 4 cl. models. I am regretting not getting the 6 cl. So after paying a lot for the car to begin with and paying a lot for the transmission now I feel like I've put too much into it to get rid of it.

- Pam R., Kent, US

problem #4

Apr 012016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Car stalls when coming to a stop such as at a light, usually occurs when the speed is <5mph. The car completely stalls, requiring a shift into park and restarting the car. Had the fuel injector cleaned, no change. This occurs intermittently and I never know when. This frequently occurs when there are cars behind me, putting me at risk for being rear-ended. This is thought to be an issue with the CVT system. There are no warning lights or anything to suggest a problem otherwise.

- bseng, Roswell, GA, US

problem #3

Jun 192016

Outback Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles


Got 2 codes that indicated solenoid problems. Dealership said it could be the electrical harness around the transmission or the valves, but they'd need more time to explore it. Could be a lot worse. Took it to my mechanic, he opened the transmission and said it was totally gunked up inside, nothing was circulating. I called the dealership to see when the routine scheduled transmission flush was recommended, and they said at 100,000 miles. Car has 101,000 on it. My mechanic said it needs a transmission rebuild or total replacement. Could run anywhere from $3600 for rebuild (not at dealership) to $6-7000. He says the transmission shouldn't be failing at 100,000 and that there are a lot of complaints about this.

- robynrobyn, Winchester, MA, US

problem #2

May 082015


  • CVT transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I purchased this car because I wanted a car I could keep for a long time. I put a lot of mileage on a car and wanted one I could depend on. A $7300 repair seems ridiculous when I have kept cars for 200,000-400,000 miles in the past. I cannot even use a rebuilt transmission because it is a CVT. At 100,000 miles the car needed a new catalytic converter. That's $10,000 worth of repairs! I wouldn't buy a Subaru ever again, and I would advise anyone that owns one to sell it well before 100,000 miles. Additionally, I would recommend that NO ONE ever buy a used Subaru.

- bdh, Fort Worth, TX, US

problem #1

Jun 042015

Outback Premium

  • CVT transmission
  • 64,000 miles

There was no forewarning of any sort of transmission problem. Despite following all the recommended care and maintenance, the National and Regional offices as well as local dealers refused to accept that it was defective and offered no assistance. I was quoted $9500 from the dealer's service dept to fix it.

The reputable transmission shop I then went to said that there are no new transmissions to buy, there are 110 on back order which will take months from the manufacturer, and this CVT cannot be rebuilt. He then found one with 25,000 miles on it and is replacing it now. Subaru did nothing to make amends and only caused me to waste nearly 1 month holding out hope that they'd actually stand by their product.

I will never buy a Subaru again after no only a defective car, but also the worst customer service I've ever experienced.

- Nancy D., Richmond, VT, US

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