AT Oil Temp Flashing Light Subaru – What It Means and How To Fix It

by Carmelo PickelMay 20, 2022

The instrument panel of a modern vehicle provides a wealth of information about the vehicle. The check engine light and a few crucial old warning lights have been replaced by a self-diagnosis system that tells you exactly what's going on.

High AT oil temperature signifies that the automatic transmission oil temperature has exceeded the upper limit. A Subaru dealership or mechanic knows how to fix AT oil temp Subaru if the vehicle is driven or towed to the facility.

Why Is The AT Oil Temp Light Flashing?

The AT oil temperature light will illuminate and flash whenever the oil inside the transmission becomes too hot. An automatic transmission consists of gears enclosed within a housing. Through the clutch, power is transferred from the engine to the transmission.

The engine's crankshaft spins at different speeds but always produces the same power. When the transmission is in the fourth gear, the direct drive or 1:1 ratio is active. If the car lacked a transmission, it would always be in fourth gear, making getting it moving extraordinarily difficult and even impossible.

It is for this reason that lower gears exist. A single revolution of the wheels equals several engine revolutions. The gears at the top of the transmission, known as overdrive, spin faster than the engine to let the car reach higher speeds.

While knowing all of this is helpful, there is one fact you can take away - the transmission is a power converter, not a generator. Transmissions are designed to operate in enclosed environments with fixed conditions.

What To Do When AT Oil Temp Light Flashes?

Once you see an oil warning light, you should pull over and turn off the engine immediately. It is a rule that you cannot and must not question. There is some cooling of the transmission oil by the airflow underneath the vehicle, but it is not sufficient. It is best to stop moving the components as soon as possible.

How To Fix AT Oil Temp Problem?

With the DIY approach, you will be able to learn a new skill and equip your garage with new tools by spending what you would have spent on a mechanic. But some repairs are too challenging for you to do yourself. Transmission oil changes may seem like nothing more than engine oil changes, but they are entirely different. 

Before you learn how to fix AT oil temp Subaru, you should first realize that changing transmission oil at a set interval is imperative. You should keep a record in your service book of when you last changed your oil and when you should change it again. A mechanical issue inside the transmission is likely to cause overheating of the transmission oil, which a professional can only identify.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair Subaru Transmission?

Maintenance on Subarus is not cheap, especially if they have an automatic transmission. In this case, the cheapest option that answers the question: of how to fix AT oil temp Subaru is to change the transmission fluid, which will cost you around $200.

If you don't know what's broken, it isn’t easy to estimate the actual repair cost, but you should expect expenses to start at $1,000 and average around $2,000. As much as $3,500 can go into a complete transmission refurbishment or replacement.

One should always compare the vehicle's current value to the repair costs of several thousand dollars if the problem isn't solved. If the math does not add up, selling the car is a better option than repairing it and using the money to buy another car.


The following are the three frequently asked questions regarding the automatic transmission and oil change light.

Does The Subaru Have An Oil Change Light?

All Subaru vehicles feature an oil change indicator, or at the very least, an oil change light, as any responsible car maker would do. As a good practice, keeping personal records will help you stay on top of maintenance and ultimately increase the value of your car.

Why Is My Transmission Fluid Getting Hot?

If the transmission fluid is hot, it may indicate insufficient oil in the transmission or something causing friction and generating heat. Regardless of the problem, you should have a mechanic examine it and repair it instead of trying to do it yourself.

What Temperature Is Too Hot For A Transmission?

Generally, Subaru transmission fluid runs at a temperature of 175° Fahrenheit. Temperatures can go a bit higher, but anything more than 200° is considered hazardous.


Transmissions are far too complex for the average mechanic to handle, and even local mechanics who are jacks of all trades do not take on transmission repairs. Identifying and resolving the issue can be accomplished by an authorized dealership or a Subaru mechanic.

Are you interested in learning more about cars and their maintenance? Head over to the KeepDriving website and check out our blog post on how to remove small dents from the car’s bonnet.

Founder, Editor-in-Chief Carmelo Pickel is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Keep Driving, with almost 20 years of experience working in the industry. Before founding Keep Driving, Carmelo held leadership roles for over a decade on top automotive dealership corporations across North America, handling various leadership roles in Sales, Marketing, and Incentives.
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