How To Do A Subaru Transmission Fluid Change

Transmission fluid is a vital part of any car. It helps cool and lubricate the various moving parts in your transmission. Without it, those parts won’t get the lubrication and cooling properties they need. The transmission will overheat and fail. This in turn would lead to a large repair bill. When the fluid gets too dirty, it can no longer lubricate and cool the transmission.

Subaru transmission fluid

It's necessary to follow the maintenance recommendation in your owner's manual. It will tell you what type of transmission fluid to get, as well as how often it needs to be changed. The most common transmission fluid change interval for older cars is about 30K miles. For newer vehicles, it's about 100K miles. It depends on several factors, like:

  • Your Subaru's age
  • The type of transmission your Subaru has

So if you believe that your transmission fluid needs changing, it's best to change it ASAP.

Signs Of Bad Transmission Fluid

When your transmission fluid gets too dirty, you’ll notice some transmission issues, such as:

  • Hard shifts
  • Trouble going into gear
  • Thumps between gears
  • Slipping or jumping gears
  • Sluggish shifting

The best way to confirm that your transmission fluid is dirty is to check it. This guide will walk you through the process.

How To Change Your Subaru’s Transmission Fluid

Change transmission fluid

Image Credit: erealpe13

If you're unfamiliar with the process of changing your transmission fluid, it's important to learn how to do it correctly and safely. Here’s a basic overview of changing your transmission fluid:

1. Find The Right Transmission Fluid For Your Subaru

Vehicle fluids vary between make, model, and even model year. So consult your owner's manual for the correct transmission fluid to use. A manual transmission Subaru will use a different fluid than one with an automatic.

Don't forget to get a replacement transmission filter, too! We have OEM Subaru transmission filters available at wholesale pricing.

2. Drain The Transmission Fluid

The first thing you need to do is to get all the dirty transmission fluid out of the vehicle. To do this, jack up the front of the car. You can do this with a floor jack and jack stands, or with a lift.

Next, find and remove the transmission oil dipstick. In some Subaru models, you can find it on the passenger side of the transmission. It may be near the turbo, under the intercooler.

When the dipstick is removed, find the transmission drain plug. It can usually be found at the bottom of your vehicle. Look for the drain pan under the vehicle. The drain plug is located at the bottom of the drain pan.

Place a container underneath the drain plug. Remove the drain plug. You may need to use a hex socket to remove it. The transmission fluid will come out and into the container.

3. Clean The Drain Plug And Drain Hole

With a piece of clean cloth, wipe down the:

  • Drain plug
  • The surfaces around the drain hole

This will keep the threads clean and undamaged.

4. Fill The Transmission With Fresh Transmission Fluid

Torque the drain plug back in. Your owner's manual should give you the torque specs for these plugs. It's important to follow the torque specs to avoid over-tightening or under-torquing the plug.

You'll need a funnel and a bendy tube that can reach down to the transmission dipstick hole to fill it back up. Stick one end of the bendy tube into the dipstick hole and attach the funnel to the other end. Carefully pour in the transmission fluid. Be careful not to overfill the transmission with fluid.

The owner's manual should tell you how many quarts of transmission fluid you should put into your vehicle. Keep checking the fill level as you fill it up with transmission fluid.

Changing your transmission fluid can sometimes be a time-consuming task. Yet, it keeps your Subaru transmission fluid change costs down because you won't have to pay for labor. It's a pretty easy DIY job as long as you have the right tools and this tutorial. One last thing to know is that draining and refilling the transmission fluid is different from a transmission fluid flush. To perform a flush, a dealer or shop uses a specialized pump to push fluid backwards into the transmission. They prefer this because it is faster for them.