2013 Subaru Outback Acceleration Issues

Asked by Jan 10, 2017 at 08:21 PM about the 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I enjoy looking over this site for any vehicle issues
I may have.  Recently my Outback has had poor
acceleration, mpg, and a irregular shudder.  I have
cleaned the MAF, changed the sparkplugs, and
dumped some Chevron Tetron into the tank to
clean the injectors.  Acceleration has returned and
mpg has increased but still feel a little lag and
engine seems to plane out after take off for
several seconds then speeds up.  I'd appreciate
any advice or help y'all can offer.  I'd prefer to fix,
repair or clean before I replace.

20 Answers


Maybe you got some bad gas. I would continue to use the fuel system cleaner as you may not have cleaned everything out. I would also replace the fuel filter and air filter. Your choice of Techron is good.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Buddy- when you say poor acceleration, what do you mean exactly?? How many miles are on your car? Did this happen all of a sudden or gradually over a period of time? I hope it's not a CVT transmission problem?


Question, aren't the spark plugs on these cars supposed to last 100,000 miles?? Why didn't you just replace the MAF?? From what I've read, you service your own car??? OR, when was the last time you brought it in for a professional service? Finally, did you acquire this car second hand or are you the original owner??

It has 112,000 miles, I'm the second owner having bought it from a dealership, and the poor acceleration is the engine seems to hesitate when I give it gas. This was more of a gradual change. No issues stalling or rough idling. Yes I do like to self service my oil, plugs and other matinance jobs.


Buddy, that's a LOT of miles for a 2013 ... How many miles have you personally put on this car? At what mileage did you start noticing the problem and have you ever changed your CVT transmission fluid? Finally, what guarantee if any did you get from the dealership or even a mechanical breakdown warranty and was it a "USED or NEW car dealership??


When exactly did you purchase your car and at what price? That's an average of 28,000 miles per year? Are you driving that much??

93,000 original miles since I purchased it last year from a Honda dealership for $17,200. Only around 111,000 did I start to notice any issues. I have a three ( now two) year extended warranty and not I have not changed the CVT fluid. This transmission is somewhat new to me.

I believe this was a fleet vehicle previously.


If you have records, see if the transmission fluid has ever been changed, or you may want to get it done. Just because they say it's not required, doesn't mean it's not a good idea. Wouldn't be a warranty thing , but if something does happen you have the two year warranty.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
Best Answer Mark helpful

Am I right in saying there two filters for the transmission? And what is a recommended CVT fluid, again kinda new to the transmission? Thanks for your help Full_of_Regrets and Markw1952.


It's a VERY special transmission fluid, I don't think you can just go pick this up. In this case, have a Subaru expert or dealership, even better, do this for you. I did at 70,000 miles. Worked perfectly. YES, it's EXPENSIVE, but, you've got a lot invested in your car. The professionals will take care of any filters.


Buddy- when you talk about acceleration, you realize that the CVTs behave way different from a conventional automatic transmission. I kind of describe this as the same sensation you get when a jet takes off, you hear the engine spool up to a higher RPM as the plane or in this case your car gains speed. Once you are up to speed, the transmission readjusts itself to a lower RPM. This is what CVTs do, and it keeps the engine and transmission at the "sweet spot" for power. Now, you've had your car for 20,000 miles or so, does it behave so much different than when you first got it. Hopefully, you don't have a torque converter or valve body problem. So, how fast does it go before it just "planes out" as you described. One more thing, I noticed that if you try and rev past 4,000 RPMs, the engine doesn't seem to be as responsive. Seems like 4,000 is the best for speed.... It's also never a good idea to floor the car from a dead stop..I'm sure that you're not doing this? It's better to get rolling at least 10 MPH before opening it up.. just my opinion.


The fact that this was a gradual problem and that a fuel system cleaner cleared it mostly up is a clear indication that this is dirty fuel injectors, not a CVT problem.


Full_of_Regrets- maybe you are right, how gradual?? Changing the CVT transmission fluid is still a good idea.

I'm beginning to lean towards the fuel issue but believe the CVT fluid could be changed as well. I understand that this transmission doesn't take off like a bat outta hell, but I have noticed the gradual decline and now increase in my acceleration. I'm going to try another round of the Tetron and look into a local dealership to see what they say about CVT fluid change. I've heard some will and some say you shouldn't. I would rather go with some one who encourages it, plus there's a recall on the windshield wiper motor so I could essentially kill two birds with one expensive stone.


Buddy-don't know if your car is affected, but, I had the windshield wiper motor and the passenger side airbag replaced... I had the transmission fluid changed at the dealership, it wasn't inexpensive, but, I'm glad I did it. Of course, I did this around 70,000 miles and I have 82,000 miles on my 2010 Subaru Outback Limited. I'm sorry, what is Tetron?


Ah, Chevron fuel additives, is that really necessary with top tier gasoline??


Buddy-. Say, when does that irregular shudder occur???? Does it ever happen when you back up??

No issues when in reverse. I usually add a fuel system cleaner/stabilizer every other oil change (which is due).

Hi there. I have a 2013 Outback 2.5 limited and about 2 years ago I noticed a similar experience in my car that Buddy is experiencing. When I’m taking a left onto a busy street the car doesn’t seem to accelerate. It’s a scary feeling that you just have no gas left to give the car and you might get hit. I didn’t notice this the first few years of having the car. I’ve taken it into the dealer and they reprogrammed the computer but no difference. They mention the gas I used so for a month I bought top of the line gas. My work Prius behaves better than my outback from a stop. Buddy, did you ever figure out the cause?

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