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I have a 2011 Subaru Outback. It has 175k miles and a CVT transmission. I’ve had a lot of work done on it this summer:

  • serpentine belt replaced
  • Front driver’s side wheel bearing replaced
  • Windshield wiper motor replaced due to recall
  • Rear brake rotors replaced
  • Both O2 sensors replaced

The car drives like a dream BUT there is now an intermittent squeak. I’ve taken it to the mechanic twice and they can’t reproduce or find anything wrong. Up until this morning, the squeak might happen once a week but I‘ve driven three hundred miles without it happening at all. Today it happened 4-5 times in a ten mile journey.

It sounds like a tire squeal. It seems like it may be coming from the center, possibly under the hood. It sounds the same whether you’re in the passenger seat or driver seat.

Before the squeak happens, the engine note changes and the RPM dial goes up by four or five hundred - but I’m not accelerating and the speed stays steady. The rpm drops back down right after the noise. When the squeak happens, the gas pedal depresses under your foot like a spring is loosening. Right on the squeak, you feel a loss of power and the movement of the car changes, sometimes like a lurch. It’s quick.

90% of the occurrences have been when going 60-65 mph, gas steady.

There was no heat or AC on when it squeaked 4-5 times this morning. The AC doesn’t seem to cut out when it happens.

Other observations which may not be accurate.

  • May happen more often in the morning.
  • May happen more often on new pavement.
  • May be a correlation between accelerating and the squeak happening a minute later.

Any ideas?

Update: My mechanic referred me to a transmission specialist. They can't reproduce it either. It is an unusual way for a transmission to start failing, if that is in fact what is happening. There are no codes, fluid looks good, no leaks. If it's not the transmission, it could be the ECM.

Also, here is the sound: https://soundcloud.com/user-827337134/new-recording-7

  • welcome, does this happen driving in a straight line, turning or both ? – ajayel Sep 29 at 23:04
  • Check your idler pulleys at the front of the engine. The revs getting higher, though, sound like a CVT issue. If it is, be prepared for a large bill; CVTs aren't known for being easy to fix. – PeteCon Sep 30 at 0:38
  • CVT is what I’m worried about :( – frailkitten Sep 30 at 2:12
  • @ajayel It usually happens when I’m going straight. – frailkitten Sep 30 at 2:13
  • Mice got in somehow? – Huesmann Oct 1 at 19:38

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