05 Common Subaru AWD Problems & Solutions

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On several occasions, people may encounter different Subaru AWD problems.

While this is a reliable manufacturer that can offer efficient vehicles, some of these problems can impair their proper use.

However, it can be challenging to determine where the problem lies.

That is why we have researched the situation and will mention what the most common problems that can occur in a Subaru are.

This way, it will be much easier to find the most appropriate solution and continue enjoying the best of Subaru.

Top 05 Common Subaru AWD Problems & Their Solutions

When it comes to a vehicle transfer case, it is possible to find various components such as actuators, sensors, shafts, chains, and gears.

As the number of components in a system increases, so does the variety of problems encountered in this type of situation.

01. Squeaking at high speeds

One of the most common drawbacks that can be encountered with all-wheel drive is related to inappropriate sounds.

Whenever a user hears sounds that should not be heard, it is a big drawback warning. This usually happens when driving a Subaru at a high speed, such as the speed needed to traverse a highway.

High speeds show that one of the components of the vehicle’s drive system has too much accelerated wear.

Hearing a squealing noise at high speeds means that a mechanic should check the entire system.

More often than not, a squeal is usually heard just before some mechanical failure occurs that costs more money.

02. Overheating

Overheating of the area is also another problem that can occur in this all-wheel-drive system. When there is overheating in the area, some parts present higher friction than the average level.

The higher level of friction of the parts is what causes the temperature to be too high.

Checking this issue can be very useful, as the high temperature is one of the main enemies of any vehicle. Too high a temperature can be more than enough to deform mechanical parts.

The metal expands with high temperatures, generating temporary or permanent problems in the vehicle’s traction system.

03. Flashing lights

Some vehicles have a transmission selector area, although this may vary depending on the model.

However, it is possible to detect a set of flashing lights that may indicate a traction system-related problem on certain occasions.

When this happens, serious consideration should be given to having the vehicle checked.

Paying attention to the flashing lights in this area of the vehicle can be very helpful in saving money. These flashing lights may indicate a mechanical problem that can be easily fixed.

When the traction system problem is not fixed in a short amount of time, the consequences or mechanical failures can escalate.

04. Pulling at high speed

When a person is using his Subaru at high speed, it is possible to feel a tugging. Usually, users claim to feel or hear something similar to a “bang, bang, bang.”

This can be checked simultaneously with the screeching at high speed as required on a highway or some lonely road.

Of course, this sensation should not occur when the vehicle’s all-wheel-drive system is not in any way impaired.

Paying attention to the sounds or sensations throughout the Subaru’s acceleration will allow you to detect this drawback and any other mechanical malfunctions that occur in the all-wheel-drive system.

05. Clogging

Another of the most common problems that can occur is the stalling of the vehicle. Stalling can occur at high speeds as well as at low speeds.

This can vary depending on the type of fault or the degree of damage to the Subaru’s drive system. When the first clogging occurs, it is an excellent opportunity to take care of the situation.

Jamming that should not happen only aggravates the situation further.

When a person gets stuck for a long time, the various parts that make up the drive system may be malfunction.

This can mean a much more accelerated deterioration of the mechanical parts, making total repair more difficult.

Subaru AWD System & the Types of AWD System

It is a permanent mode all-wheel-drive system that offers a much more efficient operation than other similar systems.

At all times, all four wheels of the vehicle get power. Power is diverted to all four wheels at all times and not only when the vehicle is losing traction.

In addition, Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system differs from other all-wheel-drive systems from different manufacturers.

In this case, it is not an all-wheel-drive system that moves only the front axle to the rear at certain times.

This system can move the power and transfer it from left to right or just from one wheel to the other.

So this is an excellent all-wheel-drive system because it can provide several apparent benefits. One of them is greater consistency in the timing of power distribution to all four wheels at all times.

Many people prefer the all-wheel-drive system over the 4-Wheel Drive. This is how we can find four AWD systems that are specific to Subaru.

Each of these traction systems seeks to provide specific use and benefits to the driver.

  • Viscous Center Differential, or VCD
  • Active Torque Split, or ATS
  • Variable Torque Distribution, or VTD
  • Driver Controlled Center Differential, or DCCD

Quick & Effective Solutions for the Subaru AWD Problems

There are very simple or somewhat complex solutions depending on the severity of each of the problems mentioned.

Here we will be able to specify each of these problems, although the solutions are usually similar.

  • Squeaking at high speeds

Hearing a squeaking noise in the transfer case requires professional artistry.

In this case, an expert mechanic needs to check the entire drive system to detect which parts are coming into contact with each other and producing too much friction.

  • Overheating

Overheating can be solved on several occasions with some lubricant. This can happen due to a loss of engine oil as a result of a leak.

So overheating can be solved by preventing the parts from operating improperly.

  • Flashing lights

Flashing lights require a quick check by a mechanic. This can be an obvious indication of something going on improperly inside.

Generally, a novice has no chance of knowing precisely what is going wrong with the transfer case or drive system.

  • Pulling at high speed

Another drawback of an all-wheel-drive system occurs at high speeds. Some of the parts may be worn out and produce pulling at high speeds.

In this case, it would be necessary to check the condition of the traction system parts and replace the deteriorated units.

  • Clogging

Clogging can cause the deformation of some parts, which in turn is caused by high temperatures.

After overheating the drive system, it is possible to expect the vehicle to stall. If this happens, the solution is to repair the deformed parts of the drive system.

Subaru AWD Testing: How to Deal with It?

Start the test

It is necessary to start the car and put one foot on the brake pedal to start the test.

Here it is possible to find a transmission problem when the driver wants to move the car forward or in reverse, and nothing happens.

When the vehicle starts, it is necessary to drive, and for this, a lonely or open road is recommended.

This is because it is necessary to reach a good speed, brake suddenly, and accelerate quickly. The transmission signal may be faulty if the user feels as if they are in quicksand.

Check the transfer case

The transfer case can be checked by driving slowly. It is necessary to drive in a full circle to the right and then a full circle to the left.

When there is a problem in the transfer case, it is possible to hear a squeaking noise in this situation.

Finalize the test

To finish the test of the all-wheel-drive system, you should once again get an open road. Sometimes a high-pitched howl can be heard at low speeds.

During acceleration or deceleration, a pitching change in the sound produced by the transfer case can also be heard. If this is the case, there is a problem.

How to Fix AWD Malfunction Subaru: the Solutions

  • Identify the problem

To repair the malfunctioning Subaru all-wheel-drive system, it is necessary to know what the problem is in the first place.

As we have mentioned, there is a wide variety of problems that can occur. The problem can be caused by inadequate lubrication that leads to high temperatures and overheating.

If the driver has detected any overheating in recent times, he will identify the problem more efficiently.

To repair the all-wheel-drive system, it is necessary to analyze the transfer case or the rest of the components related to the Subaru all-wheel-drive system.

  • Replace the damaged part

In this case, the parts can be replaced, and for this, it is necessary to know the design of the Subaru all-wheel-drive system.

This is why some mechanical knowledge is required to be able to perform this procedure.

This will allow identifying the damaged part to incorporate the replacement of the part without beginner’s inconvenience.

  • Check with a mechanic

When the problem is not easy to identify or repair, an expert mechanic is recommended. An expert mechanic may be the best way to fix the problem completely.

This is because a failure in the traction system can lead to other failures in other vehicle systems.

Most Searched FAQs about Subaru AWD Problems

What are the most common problems with a Subaru?

There are some inconveniences to be aware of when it comes to a Subaru vehicle.

Some of the problems that may appear are cracked windshields, rodents damaging the ignition wires, unintended acceleration, or inconveniences in using Starlink.

However, these are a set of inconveniences that are usually not very important in general.

How efficient is Subaru AWD?

On many occasions, it has been considered that different Subaru models with an all-wheel-drive system can be very efficient overall.

This efficiency level can be superior to other manufacturers that have incorporated an all-wheel-drive system in their vehicles.

In addition, this drive system can be found on a wide variety of Subaru models.

Does a Subaru have too many drawbacks?

Some Subaru models have been affected by common design flaws. These problems relate to the 2.5-liter SOHC engine implemented in several Subaru models between 1999 and 2004.

These models typically include the Legacy, Outback, Impreza, and Forester, among the most affected Subaru models.

However, not all of these models present the same problem or with the same level of severity.

The problems are usually related to excessive engine overheating due to constant engine head gasket failures. So when encountering this problem, it is necessary to avoid these Subaru models.

How does the Subaru AWD system stand out?

Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system allows it to stand out from other manufacturers’ all-wheel-drive systems.

This is because the vehicle has a better balance and optimization in this traction system.

In this case, the weight distribution is much more balanced, as is the distribution of power across all vehicle’s four wheels.

When is the Subaru AWD system on?

One of the reasons why many users prefer this Subaru symmetrical all-wheel-drive system is its operation.

This system is on at all times compared to other drive systems. So this all-wheel-drive system delivers power to all four wheels of the vehicle at all times, not just when the vehicle loses traction.

How to check the correct operation of Subaru AWD?

To efficiently test this Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system, some steps must be taken while driving.

One of the ways to check the operation of this traction system is to accelerate while another person checks the wheels’ behavior. In this case, the tires should show some specific behavior.

The tires should gain traction as the car is accelerating.

The traction system can be in good condition when all four wheels are in motion and show a certain level of balance and symmetry.

However, there may be a problem when the wheels are not all moving in the same way.


While there are many Subaru AWD problems, knowing each of them will allow a user to anticipate this situation.

Beyond these Subaru vehicle problems with this drive system, Subaru has demonstrated excellent superiority compared to other all-wheel-drive systems.

This is one of the features that Subaru drivers value the most. Many of Subaru’s models offer a superior driving style no matter what type of road must be traversed.

This shows that Subaru can be far superior if it has a good design.

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