2013 Subaru Outback transmission problems: transmission failure

Transmission Failure

2013 Subaru Outback

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

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2013 Outback has a problem with excessive oil consumption.

A class action lawsuit is pending that alleges Subaru's "FB" engine has defective piston rings which causes oil to leak past the rings & burn up at an excessive rate. More information about the class action is available here.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
106,200 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (7 reports)
2013 Subaru Outback transmission problems

transmission problem

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2013 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #7

Oct 242020

Outback 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 162,704 miles


First off, this is 2nd Subaru purchased - have a 2007 Subaru Forester, which I had to have the engine replaced at about 125K miles for crank bearing failure. Another complaint for another time { however I have to admit the Forester currently runs good, and works really well in snow and mud as it should, and has had no other issues/problems other than routine maintenance since}. The 2013 Outback, on the other hand, has the "Oil Consumption issue" since new - with no acknowledgement from Subaru and/or dealers/mechanics -- "its just normal oil use". Sure it is... at about a quart every 1000 - 1500 miles. I had to replace the exhaust system because it (burning oil) ruins the O2 Sensors and catalytic converts, which are a part of the Exhaust Manifold as a unit. Very pricey! and I'm sure it will have to be replaced again. I had to have all of the Suspension Bushings on the front end replaced and the lower Control arms replaced at about 100K miles, sure rear is about due -- I've got and had cars and trucks with more miles and a lot older that have never had to replace suspension bushings or control arms. Before the current Transmission failure, the car has had issues (since new) with the transmission not being able to speed up when pulling into traffic or from a red light, it hesitates when trying to go --- course it might be the 'traction control' programing causing the issue versus trans, never been able to get it worked out. The 2013 Outback's transmission failure @ 162K is supposedly caused by a faulty Torque converter lockup solenoid, which is attached to the 'valve body' located inside the transmission on top -- which in itself the solenoid is about $150, however, that one part actually costs about $900-1000 because Subaru only will sell the 'valve body' as a whole (no aftermarket parts): so $1000 for part, plus labor costs to remove engine components out of way, to simply get to top of transmission and then take apart to get to 'Valve body' itself. HOWEVER, for anyone who has ever worked on cars/trucks probably knows, the transmission is generally one part of the vehicle that more than likely replacing 1 simple part will only result in having to spend more money - meaning something caused it to fail which would more than likely cause it to fail again and/or damage some other parts in the transmission, if it has not done so already. It is rarely ever just a simple fix. So to replace the transmission with a rebuilt trans will cost about $7800 + tax, since Subaru does not 'offer' rebuild kits/parts to transmission shops (cannot get the parts} - or pay dealer price ($$$$) to make repairs and/or replace transmission -- other option is a cheap used Transmission out a wrecked car, but you take your chances on being good/bad and probably would have same issue around given mileage give/take few thousand miles..... At roughly $8000 to fix, a 2013 Subaru Outback (with 'oil consumption' issues) is pretty much not worth it to fix.... course the issue has now rendered the 2013 Outback pretty much WORTHLESS to either sale or trade.

- Tracy-Henry W., Atlanta, GA, US

problem #6

Aug 012019

Outback 2.8L V4

  • CVT transmission
  • 112,500 miles

Dealership says loud grinding noise from the transmission (CVT) is bearing problem. This noise started around 60K miles and has been slowly (on a geometrically escalating curve) been getting louder. At first, dealership said sound was normal. NOW they tell me the noise is a bearing going bad (just now the car is out of the extended warranty of course). Seems like a scam to me - they knew there were issues years ago and did not fess up when pressed about the noise. Granted I haven't had the stalling, bucking, or sudden lock-ups as most have had with this defective unit. This should have been addressed with a recall and replaced with a re-engineered unit. Unless Subaru steps up and does something significant - I will not buy another car from them.

- Greg D., St Petersburg, US

problem #5

Dec 202018

Outback 2.5L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

This car is my second and last Subaru. I had no idea that the CVC transmission was a problem and not only that is super expensive to replace. The cost quoted to me and verified by Subaru: $9000! The problem with the transmission has been documented numerous times with so many complaints that Subaru extended the warranty to 100,000 miles from 60,000.

When I contacted Subaru they gave me two reasons why they would do absolutely NOTHING to help. One, the car had over 100,000 miles (so we acknowledge there is a problem, but if it shows up past 100,000 miles and way before the car should have a problem, it's all on you!). Two, they told me that they had sent me notices about an extended warranty that I could have purchased. My mistake, I thought that those notices were a scam. But, in offering an extended warranty, they're again acknowledging there's a problem! Except they're putting it on the customer. I smell lawyers....

I've been driving for nearly 40 years and have never had a transmission go so quickly on a car. Most of my miles on this car have been highway.

So, my advice: NEVER buy a Subaru. They are NOT reliable and the company, like so many other's, is only interested in covering their a**. If you want reliability, Subaru cannot be counted on. The cvc transmission not only is bad, but when it goes, it's too expensive to pay for.

- joyfulmtbr, Conifer, US

problem #4

Jun 012018


  • CVT transmission
  • 115,000 miles


I started hearing a strange whining noise coming from the engine every time I took my foot off the gas, no matter what speed I had been going. I took it to my regular Subaru service and they said the noise was coming from the power steering pump and would cost about $750 to repair. I declined the repair as in my gut I knew there was nothing wrong with the steering as I knew where the noise was coming from.

I then took the car to my personal mechanic who said it was the transmission and he recommended I bring it to the dealer as there may be a warranty issue. At this point I did some on line investigating and found that Subaru extended the transmission warranty due to known problems. I called the corporate office told them the whole story and they said they could not abide by any random mechanic, they needed a diagnosis from a dealer.

At this point, it was determined that even the extended warranty would not cover me because I had 117K miles and the extension was 100K miles but the woman on the phone said that once I have a diagnosis from a dealer she would work with me. Well, I got the transmission failure diagnosis from a competent Subaru dealer who quoted a repair of $7130.

I called the corporate office right away to hear some representative say the extended warranty is as is and they can't do anything for me. The attitude from this kid is truly pathetic considering he is in customer service. He acted like it was coming out of his pocket. No sense of giving a little to make a loyal customer.

This is my first Subaru after driving Toyota for 15 years and prior to this incident I would swear I would only buy from Subaru. Also, offering an extended warranty instead of a recall does not give me great confidence in this company.

Update from Nov 5, 2018: After making a big stink with the corporate office, they took two weeks to review my case and offered to cover half the cost of the repair. I had the repair done and ended up paying just over $4K since I had to pay all the taxes. Hoping this car makes it to 200K miles which will hold me over for a few years. Next car is a Toyota.

- snowlake, Carmel, US

problem #3

Jan 232017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

2013 Outback bought brand new, transmission started making noise. Took to dealer today, they drained the oil and out came lots of metal. WTF? Only 59,000 miles, warranty expires at 60k. They have to replace the transmission. Dealer denied there are any problems with their transmissions. I can't be the only one.

- R R., Alameda, CA, US

problem #2

Jan 272016

Outback LX 2-5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

Car had trans overheat light from new- only would come on during longer trips (over 125 miles) taken to dealer many times light would go out over time or when stopping - would come on intermittently - dealer could find no codes- many checks were done- looking for kinked lines etc etc. resetting computer no help- checking fluid level -they did change radiator- no help- finally trans started to make small whine when coming to a stop or start below 10 mph. Still no codes- now they have to change trans- none available- 3 weeks till they can get one- I feel I'm not getting a good deal on this one.

Update from Oct 6, 2018: update on this- second trans has failed- 12-2017 just before extended warr. expires I guess 3rd time is a charm- have 9000 miles on it -ok so far- Dealer was very helpful

- Bryan C., Auburn, CA, US

problem #1

Feb 172015

Outback Premium 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 102,000 miles

I have a lot of miles on my car, but they are all highway miles. How can a current model transmission, with 90% highway miles fail at 100k miles??? Used to love my Subaru....Not anymore! I have a 2003 GMC Yukon with 260k miles. Problems? NO. Transmission issues, NO! Subaru, 2 years and YES! Where is this issue addressed? What would you think about reliability? I have no where near the money to repair this on a 2 year old car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- John C., Whispering Pines, NC, US

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