Asked by Jan 12, 2016 at 09:57 AM about the 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited Hatchback

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The CVT transmission on my 2012 Subaru Impreza completely failed at
55,000 miles and luckily was replaced under the 60,000 mile powertrain
warranty. It was $7500.00 job ! My 5th Subaru and the third to have a
tranny fail. First was a manual on my 2002 WRX, second the auto tranny on
my 2007 Impreza, now the CVT on my 2012 Impreza. Subie and their
trannys have problems, don't keep one past the 60,000 warranty limit !!!!

22 Answers


Sounds like you need to change to something a little more heavy duty than a Subuaru.


Hell I'm an old (64) year man and drive very easy. I guess Cadillac is my next purchase......LOL !


I'm 62 and just plain got tired of the newer foreign cars and the faults they seem to developed as mileage increases, so I no longer buy Foreign vehicles, and I am very picky about the US made vehicles too, so far I have had extremely good luck with Jeep and GM trucks and SUV's. HTH


Bonjour Monsieur Breyette! Ca va? CVT failures are starting to pile up, but it's early yet. Both the early manual and 4EAT boxes are pretty durable, but I do rarely see the latter wear from lack of clean ATF. Usually the AWD transfers get sticky, or a dried seal causes unsafe drivability from throttle-lag. I've seen a few torque-converter lockup failures in the 2.5i CVT, but only one screwed up, loudly buzzing 2.0 Imp CVT. How did your fail? I've a couple of 2011+ Legs w/ 125k on their CVTs with no issues; indeed the great majority of them are fine. I change the CVT fluid prophylactically. I don't think that idiosyncratic failure is about wear (mileage), but I do hear that there may be a "soft" bushing that's causing CVTs to bind up at idle. I'm hoping we're not trading old HG failure frequencies for CVT horror shows. The efficiency and drivability of the system is so good that I'm still recommending them (despite the 2.0 being a bit weak to wind it up; the 2.5i CVT is a FAR more optimized drivetrain). Tennis: Didn't know Indiana was a foreign country....

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My Subaru dealer does all the service and assured me that this CVT was sealed and did not require any maintenance for 100,000 miles. Mileage at failure was 55,500......???????

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My Subaru dealer recommends changing the CVT fluid regardless of what Subaru says. If you plan on keeping it then maintain it! My 2003 Forester automatic had 200,000 miles on it when I sold it and it worked perfectly.

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Stephen - what kind of driving do you do? Did your other cars fail at low miles?


I asked the dealer about changing the CVT fluid when I had the differentials done, they said it didn't need any servicing until 100,000 miles. I went with their expertise and now this! I'm 64 and drive city/highway about 50/50. No jackrabbit starts, I store it in a heated garage. Drive moderately but I do run 80 on the highway if it's a long trip. Car is always warmed up. My 2002 WRX had a recall which replaced the flywheel, pressure plate and clutch disc with STI parts under warranty @ 60,000. My 2007 Impreza had to have the auto tranny rebuilt before 36,000 miles, then my 2012 Impreza Limited had the CVT fail at 55,500 miles. Don't know what else I could do, all are always serviced according to schedule at the local Subaru Dealer??


I would love to hear from our resident Subaru cheerleader on this one.


Salut, Stephan. Be assured that there was NOTHING you could've done to prevent your CVT failure. It probably just had a goofy throttle body...which is the expensive electromechanical internal "brain". Somehow you've been extraordinarily unlucky. I'm not as familiar with the WRX driveline foibles, but suspect that the tranny couldn't handle the boost. That the '07 Imp 2.5i cooked a 4EAT is also idiosyncratic...fairly rare. But the CVT crapping out after 3 years scares me indeed. We'll see what the future portends. My understanding is that the actual CVT drive is ok, but only TB's are failing. probably typical Toyoburu cost-cutting. Sigh....

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Extended warranties for CVT's are probably a good idea.


I suspect that Subie will have to offer "soft" goodwill warranties for 8yrs/100k to "juicy" customers. Not good enough for me, as I need to have these be 200k trannies.

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I define a "good "car as being able to go a minimum of 200k with few if any major repairs if maintained properly and not abused. Most of my cars have been "good". Toyota's, Ford's and Subaru until the new lemon I got last year.


At $7,500 a pop, these had better be 400k tranmissions. If you have a CVT go out at 150k you might as well scrap the car.


I would hope that the market settles in at about $1500 for a good used one so that replacement could sit just under $2k. 4EATs are much less than that by now, but we'll see what the demand curve looks like soon enough!


Just a follow up here: The "new Reman CVT tranny" that Subaru installed failed catastrophically at 75 MPH after 8 days and less than 200 miles. This last CVT tranny mishap almost killed me. Subaru now has a brand new CVT trans coming for me. I have traded the car and once I finally get it back (it's been another 2 weeks without my car), hopefully the car will at least make it to the dealership where I have my new car ordered.

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Ha! Here comes the CVT failure's interesting to note that the prior indie SOA used for rebuilding 4EATs is no longer contracted to them. Hmmm.... An indie in Maine has successfully replaced throttle bodies in errant CVTs, as I would think that the mechanical drive system itself is robust...but I guess yours wasn't! Yech....


We just had the "clicking" sound in our 2014 Impreza Sportwagon with 48K miles. Dealer replaced the tranny under the warranty, and then the "new" tranny bit the big one 10 miles down the road. The differential locked up all four wheels at speed in the high speed lane of the interstate during high traffic time. Luckily my wife didn't get rear-ended, but the newly installed CVT tranny was locked completely, so she couldn't even move out of the high speed lane of travel. Towed back to the trying to decide if we trust this particular Subaru, as I'm concerned that the sudden lock up of the transmission may have damaged other components in some manner.

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I wouldn't be overly worried about peripheral driveline damage, and suspect that any such involvement would be audible. I'm fearing that CVT failures will follow the dastardly HG history. Still early....

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My 2012 Subaru Impreza hatch back has been one GIANT headache. We are a 5 subaru family, but this one has been a nightmare. First we had the oil consumption issues and (after about a years worth of oil consumption checks every week or so) the engine was rebuilt. How could anything else go wrong? Well at 90K the CVT has failed and the rear suspension needs to be replaced. The Subaru corporate says they will give -$2000 off of the estimated $9200 in repairs.... So DISAPPOINTED. When is the class action lawsuit going to start!?!?


I'd push SOA on the CVT. By rear suspension do you mean simply the sway bar bushings, perhaps a noisy wheel bearing (like the one I just replaced), or actually the struts (which would be much less far). If SOA won't help further you can find a used CVT and have it swapped in for $2-2.5k. Curious: SOA replace the short block or actually swapped out the rings?

I have a 2012 Subaru Outback with 73,000 miles and 5 years old. The car was working fine until I turned into my neighborhood and heard a noise. I made it home and then had to have it towed to the dealer. They said it failed internally and will cost $8900 to replace. No reason given why it failed. I called SOA and I am waiting to hear if they will pay. It is out of warranty. If they only offer $2000 I will have to put in a used one and sell it. I am not buying a Subaru again.

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