Asked by Jun 07, 2015 at 03:12 PM about the 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

Question type: General

SUBARU WITH CVT?  Do you have one and what model and year is it?

35 Answers


I have an 2001 Outback and it burns oil or at least leak oil i cans,ell it on the manifold , it has 218000 miles on it I only paid $950.00 for it two years ago( I not sure if this is a ""CVT"" or not

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Hi Kinker, thank you for following and replying to my question. Your 2001 Outback has a conventional four speed automatic transmission, definitely not a CVT. In case you were unaware, there are a lot of later model 2013 to 2015 Outbacks, Forresters and Imprezza's out there with oil burning issues. It looks like this all occurred when Subaru changed their engine design from the EJ 25 Series to the FB series a few years ago. Seems like all of the people I've read about online who have this oil burning problem are folks with the "manual transmission" and the new engine. I don't recall reading people with CVT transmissions having this problem or if I did see that, there was only a handful. So, I wanted to get input from folks on this issue. You are definitely getting your money's worth on that 2001 you paid only $950 for despite the fact that you had to put some money into your car. So, keep driving that until the wheels fall off. Have you joined the Subaru high mileage club, you've certainly earned it driving a car over 200,000 miles. Yeah, it burns or leaks oil, so what, it's going on 15 years old and it's got a hell of a lot of miles. I guess you're shooting for 300,000 miles, correct? Hey, at least in Massachusetts you can take advantage of the all wheel drive in the winter. Out here in LA, we don't get snow! Of course, that wasn't the reason I purchased my car. (LOL)

I have a 2012 Subaru outback with the CVT. It began losing oil at a rate of about 1 quart per 2000 miles within the first year. The miles per gallon also abruptly dropped off about 5 miles per gallon. I complained twice when taking the car in for regular maintenance. The service personnel told me all engines lose oil, and provided me with a pamphlet from Subaru to that effect. I do not believe that the oil burning issue has anything to do with the cvt. I have, however blown the engine out on it. I believe it is due to the known issues with the head gasket and piston rings. I also believe that Subaru instructs their people to not diagnose this issue, as it is not likely to become a problem until after their pathetic 50000 mile warranty has expired. No record of my complaints about pool mpg or oil consumption appear on my service records with Subaru.


xcalibur1000- Hi, exactly how many miles were on your car when the engine blew?



xcalibur1000, I imagine that the CVT transmission was fine and unaffected by this incident? So, let me ask, did the engine fail because the car overheated and blew the head gaskets? What environment were you actually driving in when this all happened? . What did they quote you to fix the car and have you had the work done?. I'm really surprised that you had this problem, since the 2010s and later had the multi layered head gaskets, something that was not featured on the 2009 and older generation of cars,


xcalibur1000, actually, it's a known fact that many times brand new cars burn some extra oil during break in period while the rings seat. I'm sure that this subsided after that. Yes, all cars burn some oil and the design of the boxer engines probably contributes to this since the cylinders are horizontally opposed. I'm not concerned about a little oil consumption, but, excessive-oil- consumption would be a different story. Excessive oil consumption is a quart or more of oil every 1,200 miles. Your car, the 2012 Subaru Outback, 2.5L is the last year of the EJ25 Series 2 engines. I don't see how it would be so bad when compared to the 2013 model with the problem motor.

Subaru told me to go jump in a lake, so II was unwilling to pay them the 800 dollars they quoted me as a diagnostic fee. I'm doing the work myself as I cannot afford both my new car payment and Bennet Subaru's extortionist prices. It is in my garage awaiting a new engine. Looks like I will be spending 2 to 3 thousand for a salvaged engine. I'm certain Subaru would have wanted between 5 and 7 grand to replace the engine or short block. I will have to get the replacement installed to see if there was any damage to the cvt. The culprit according to my research would have to be the head gasket leaking and/or faulty piston rings. The car was driven for about an hour in summer with the overheating light on which is the reason the whole engine is shot instead if just a blown gasket. Subaru has simultaneously denied there is a problem while claiming to have fixed it every two years or so since 2001. I have read that the newer multilayered gaskets are still sub-par.

The oil consumption was a constant issue, addind between 2 and 3 quarts between 5000 mile oil changes.


I'm sorry to hear that, how many miles were on the car when the engine failure occurred?


See this, Gasket-Set/product-reviews/B000C2AISU

Yeah, I plan to replace the head gasket with an aftermarket one before I install my salvaged engine.


Also, read this,

I appreciate that. Did you also have bad oil consumption?


You wrote, "The oil consumption was a constant issue, addind between 2 and 3 quarts between 5000 mile oil changes." I'm really sorry, my 2010 Subaru Outback Limited with the CVT transmission has not experienced any significant oil burning issues. Do you drive a lot of heavy loads and mountainous driving?

Probably 40000 of it is flat cold highway commuting in MT. 20000 family trips flat and cold. Maybe 5000 mountain miles. No towing.


xcalibur1000, the only time I noticed some oil consumption was when I took my car up to Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, it was hot and I was climbing and descending long grades and used engine braking on the CVTtransmission, which worked remarkably well. Also, I took my car and teardrop trailer to Death Valley, but, didn't notice any oil consumption problems on that trip. The consumption in Sequoia Kings Canyon was about a quart or less, not terrible. Here's a picture of my rig,


Where's MT? Not sure what that refers to?

Nice. Glad it's working out for you. As soon as I can afford to be rid if mine I'm getting a Honda. Lol.

Montana. Mostly the flat part.


I have just a little more than 73,000 miles and I do tow my teardrop trailer, it's only 1,000 pounds, as for mountain driving, only on three trips so far, North Rim of the Grand Canyon ( 9,000 feet ), Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, around 5,000 feet, and Death Valley National Park, up and down mountains, 5,000 feet. Otherwise, it's a mixture of city and highway miles.


Montana, I see. I wonder if the extreme cold and hot temperatures are prematurely aging the car? Kinda like being on the moon, sorry! I live in Los Angeles. It gets hot here in the summer, but, winters are mild. We also have a vacation home in Michigan, but, I think it's colder in your region? I had a 1995 Honda Accord for 19 years before purchasing this car as a CPO vehicle in May 2014 with 66,000 miles. We were having problems with the Honda Accord and ground issues on the Honda, otherwise, it was a great car. In the late 90s and into the 2000s until 2009, Honda Accord cars had many problems. Make sure that you get a newer model than 2010 or get a new one. Seems like cars, like fine wine have certain vintage years and others are a disaster. And, in many cases, there's no guarantee that the past few years is any indication of what's coming with changes. That's the case with some late model Subaru cars.


So, the CVT transmission is fine and no problems?


xcalibur1000, for the short term, I would imagine fixing the car is the best and least expensive option. Look at it this way, the sales tax on any new vehicle is going to be more than the price of repairs. I normally keep my cars at least 10 or more years to get the best service out of them and enjoy no car payments. No matter what you spend on repairs, it's less expensive than 60 months of car payments. All cars require maintenance , so, once you have paid off your vehicle, actual repairs are not likely to exceed the amount you would pay for car payments.


I purchased the extended warranty for my car to 100,000 miles. I'm hoping that I don't have to use it. It's a mechanical breakdown warranty with a $100 deductible. It's a good idea, even if you decide to buy a new Honda Accord. Great peace of mind. My mechanical breakdown coverage would cover my transmission, head gaskets or other major systems. It does not cover normal wear and tear items like brakes, tires, etc.

Yeah. I'll have to stick with it for a while. I'll post when I get the new engine in it, and let you know about the cvt. I assume it's alright, as it had no apparent role in this breakdown.

I don't plan to buy new again, but if I do, I'll keep an extended warranty until I work the bugs out. Next time.


xcalibur1000, good luck to you. One of the things on the car that seems inadequate, is the warning light for overheating! In 2015, Subaru restored the temperature gauge in the Outback. The official response from Subaru on these 2010 to 2014 models was "most people will notice a warning light first". Also, the warning light has two stages, it blinks in stage one, telling you that the car is about to overheat, and stage two, the light remains lit, telling you that the car is starting to actually overheat. This gives me an idea, I'm going to look into the possibility of having an audible alarm installed if the first warning light comes on. That would call your attention even faster.


Also, find a good independent mechanic, they can save money over the dealer.

I have a 2007 Subaru outback and noticed at 100 thousand I started leaking oil I was told by Subaru that this is normal I also have a cvt but don't think that's the reason for the oil leak this is a problem with some Subaru especially between the yrs of 05_09. My 07 has 250 thousand it still leaks. The motor is still good .normal wear and tear fix keep up on the oil changes.I'm looking into getting a newer Subaru 2010 hope this year is better


kcatchword1- Hi, FYI, Subaru first introduced the CVT transmission on the Outback in 2010.. Other improvements on the 2010 Outback are the multi layered head gaskets and there has not been widespread problems with head gaskets since the new versions. I have over 76,000 miles on my 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5 with the CVT and had the CVT transmission fluid changed at the dealership, I recommend it and YES, they know what they're doing. Subaru got rid of the old 4EAT and 5 EAT (electronic automatic transmission) they had on the previous vehicles.. The CVT transmission is a variable speed gearbox that has a continuous speed unit that will adjust the engine speed on a continuous range of gears at every speed to give the best advantageous acceleration for whatever situation your driving in.. I like it. I've noticed on Hills that the engine speed just revs up and the car NEVER lugs or slows down and I'm talking some pretty steep climbs.. I pulled my teardrop trailer all the way to the top of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon with no problems at all. The 2010 has the EJ25 Series 2 engine, its a SOHC with a timing belt. Unfortunately, Subaru changed the design of the Subaru Outback engine in 2013 with the new FB Series engine, DOHC and timing chain.. The timing chain was an improvement, but, the changes they made to the position of the valves in the head and the subsequent oil burning issues on the 2013 with the 0-20 oil viscosity requirements was NOT good. Since then, Subaru settled a class action lawsuit extending the warranty for the cars involved to 8 years and 100,000 miles. According to "car complaints. com", the 2010 Subaru Outback was one of their " awesome years ". And, I've read similarly favorable reviews on the 2006-2010 years which is WHY you got 250,000 miles from your 2007.. Good job! Plus, there's plenty of people with high mileage Subaru cars out there.. Good luck...


Bought my 2015 Legacy with 2.5 L and a CVT on 2/2/2015. NO oil consumption problems at 7,300 miles. I checked the dipstick today on 4/25/2016; it's still at the max level. I think oil consumption problems are mainly engine problems, not transmission problems. I like this current CVT. and found the manual selective gear feature useful in the snow.


ETHANALLEN1- yes, oil consumption is always only an engine issue, not a transmission issue.. BUT, my point is that most of the cars from 2013 and 2014 Subaru Outbacks with the new FB series engine and the "manual transmission" are the cars predominantly with the oil burning issues.. All Subaru Outback cars sold in the US from 2015 and 2016 have the CVT transmission. You would have to go to Canada to purchase a 2015 or newer to get the manual transmission. Who wants it anyway? The fuel economy is worse and it's really not a great transmission in my opinion anyway. I personally think that the oil burning issues are strongly tied to people racing their engines. Good luck and I'm sure you won't have any problems with your 2015 . Yes, I think the CVT is an excellent choice and Subaru made the decision to jettison the older 4 and 5 speed electronic automatic transmissions in their cars 2009 and earlier.. There's a few people who demonize the current CVT, and they just don't understand the simplicity of this system. Years ago, an engineer told me that CVTs are mechanically superior to older planetary automatic transmission technology. If you drive normally, the transmission should last 150,000 or 200,000 miles. I knew someone on the forum who drove 300,000 miles on his 2010 Subaru Outback with the CVT. I would advise you to get the fluid changed on the transmission every 60,000 miles... My understanding is Subaru builds their own in-house transmission which is distinctly different from the ones used by Nissan and much better... Be happy and enjoy many miles of motoring...

1 people found this helpful.

Markw1952 Thank you for your reply and best wishes. :-)


ETHANALLEN1-- you're welcome..

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