Blog Car Care Advice 5 Common Subaru AWD Problems and Fixes (+Maintenance Tips)
Car Care Advice

5 Common Subaru AWD Problems and Fixes (+Maintenance Tips)

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In the realm of all-wheel drive, Subaru is one of the undisputed champions. Legendary for its handling and performance, the Subaru Symmetrical AWD system provides traction and stability in rain and snow. 

However, like any mechanical system, it’s prone to challenges. Fortunately, if you’re experiencing Subaru AWD problems, you’re not alone. 

Let’s explore five common issues, fixes, and more. 

This Article Contains: 

Let’s dive in.

5 Prevalent Subaru AWD Problems (+Fixes)

Exploring the road less traveled is one of the best things about being a Subaru owner, but it’s essential to be aware of common AWD problems and what to do about them. 

1. CVT Issues 

Most Subaru models come equipped with continuously variable transmission (CVT) systems, which function similarly to automatic transmission. However, these systems can be susceptible to slipping, stalling, jerking, and sudden loss of acceleration. 

Additionally, because CVTs rely on belts to transmit power, the transmission can fail if these belts stretch or snap. 

The transmission is quite a complex system, so if you’re experiencing any transmission issues, it’s best to leave it to a trained mechanic.

2. AWD Warning Light Illuminates 

There are many potential contributors to an illuminated check AWD system light, including: 

Often, the AWD light illuminates when there’s an FWD fuse inserted in the front-wheel drive slot in the fuse box, disabling your AWD. Removing the FWD fuse should re-engage all-wheel drive. 

A faulty speed sensor is another common problem, leading to AWD issues. It often activates the check engine light, and you may notice transmission problems.

While these are relatively easy fixes, you could leave it to a mechanic if you’re unsure. 

3. Unusual Noises During Turns

There are several possible culprits for strange AWD noises, including: 

If your Subaru vehicle makes strange noises when turning, take it to a professional since the repairs likely require mechanical know-how and the correct tools. 

4. AWD System Not Engaging

If the check engine light activates and you notice the rear wheels are unpowered, it could be an issue with the transfer case. Because of the Subaru Symmetrical all-wheel drive, the transfer sits directly in the transmission housing.

Vibrations, fluid leaks, and unexpected AWD behavior can indicate a faulty transfer case. Given its tricky location, you should let a mechanic handle it. 

5. Differential Leaks 

Occasionally, an issue may create a leak in the rear differential, which can lead to a problem with the all-wheel drive system. The rear differential is a critical part of the AWD system, so fluid leaks can result in increased friction, reduced lubrication, and loss of traction. 

Likewise, issues can arise with the center differential, creating a similar problem. 

Now, a slight leak in the center differential or rear differential won’t necessarily make your AWD vehicle unsafe to drive. But being fundamental components, it’s best to avoid the risk and have a qualified mechanic take a look ASAP. 

Note: If the check engine light also activates, it may mean the car has automatically turned off AWD in case the detected fault damages the system.

Now that we’ve covered some of the most common problems encountered with Subaru’s AWD system, let’s look at how you can maintain it. 

3 Constructive Tips to Maintain Your Subaru AWD System

Keeping your Subaru’s AWD system in peak condition is vital to enjoying its full potential. Here are a few things you can do to extend the life of your Subaru’s AWD system: 

Note: Avoid driving with especially worn or damaged tires, as this can increase wear and tear on the AWD system and traction control. 

Curious about the most reliable Subarus?
We’ll uncover the top contenders and point out the models to watch out for.

The Most and Least Reliable Subaru Models and Years

While a little preventative maintenance goes a long way, it’s also important to consider the inherent reliability of a Subaru model.

Here are some of the most reliable Subaru vehicle models and years: 

If you’re thinking about becoming a Subaru owner, these years and models have experienced more problems than others: 

Make Every Subaru Adventure a Smooth One with AutoNation Mobile Service

Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive has a reputation for outstanding reliability and performance in snow (with snow tires) and muddy conditions (with all seasons). However, it’s not without potential issues — which often require technical knowledge and specialist tools to fix.

So, whether you have an old or new vehicle, it’s best to leave any potential Subaru AWD problems to a professional.

In this case, why not have the mechanic come to you? 
AutoNation Mobile Service is a mobile repair service that can tackle your Subaru AWD problems from your driveway. 

Contact us, and our expert mechanics will have all four wheels powered in no time.