How to Inspect the Drivetrain in a Subaru Outback

by Contributor

The 5-year/60,000 mile drivetrain warranty on the Subaru Outback covers your driveshaft, drive axles, transmission and engine. Your warranty doesn't cover parts that wear regularly, like belts and hoses, but it does cover most of the internal engine parts, like the bearings and pistons. You should inspect the drivetrain on your Subaru Outback every 12 months to stay safe.

Slide under the Subaru Outback on a creeper and inspect the components of the SUV's drivetrain visually. Look for any signs of breakage or wear on the axles that connect the driveshaft to the wheels. Check for seepage of fluids from the joints. At the outer end of the driveshaft, check the support brackets for the drivetrain, making sure they're tight.

Take your Subaru Outback for a test drive. Listen for any odd noises, like a clicking or clunking when you're cruising at a low speed, a clicking noise when you turn or clunks when you round a corner. Any of these noises could indicate trouble with the drivetrain.

Listen for a whining sound in the rear axles. Subaru has extended the warranty on rear axle bearings to eight years or 100,000 miles on 2005 and 2006 Outbacks, because they're finding that the bearings are wearing out prematurely. The sound doesn't affect the safety of the SUV, but it's annoying and can easily be fixed under this warranty.

Raise the hood on the SUV and check the oil and transmission fluid levels. Both have metal sticks that you pull out. The dipsticks on an Outback are on the driver's side of the engine block.

Wipe the dipsticks with an old rag and reinsert them into their respective holes. Gauge the levels of fluid in the containers as well as the color. Oil should be nearly clear and transmission fluid should be a light reddish color.

Check all the hoses and clamps attached to the air and oil filters and from the engine, because the warranty doesn't cover them and it could create bigger problems if they're allowed to break.


  • check Restart the van and run it for a minute after checking the fluids. Recheck the levels after they've had a chance to circulate.


  • close If you experience any shaking, rattling, drift or pull while driving your Subaru Outback, you may have damage to the steering or suspension.

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