Can a Subaru Oil Filter be Used for Your Transmission? Here’s the Truth!

If you’re a Subaru owner who is into car maintenance, then you might have wondered whether you can use your car’s oil filter for your transmission. After all, it seems like the oil filter and the transmission filter do the same thing, right? Well, not exactly. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between the two filters, whether a Subaru oil filter can be used for the transmission, and the pros and cons of doing so. Let’s get started!

Oil Filter vs. Transmission Filter: What’s the Difference?

First things first, let’s define what an oil filter and a transmission filter are and what they do. An oil filter is a vital component of a car’s lubrication system, as it removes contaminants from the engine oil that circulates through the engine. A transmission filter, on the other hand, is responsible for filtering the transmission fluid that lubricates the transmission’s gears, clutch, and other components.

While both filters have a similar purpose, they are not interchangeable. Oil filters are designed to handle engine oil, which is thinner and flows more easily than transmission fluid. Transmission filters, in contrast, are designed to handle the more viscous transmission fluid, which is thicker and has different additive requirements than engine oil.

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Additionally, the two types of filters have different construction and mounting features. Oil filters typically have a threaded base, while transmission filters have a bolt-on design. Moreover, the threading and gasket dimensions of the two filters may differ, which means that you cannot simply swap one for the other.

Can a Subaru Oil Filter be Used for Transmission?

Now, let’s answer the question that brought you here: Can a Subaru oil filter be used for your car’s transmission? The short answer is no. While some car manufacturers may offer a "one-size-fits-all" filter that works for both the engine and transmission, Subaru does not.

Subaru’s oil filters are designed specifically for their engines and are not compatible with their transmissions. Attempting to use an oil filter for your transmission could result in leaks, clogs, or even damage to your transmission components. Needless to say, this could lead to costly repairs down the line.

Pros and Cons of Using an Oil Filter for Transmission

In case you’re still wondering why anyone would consider using an oil filter for the transmission, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of doing so:


  • Cost savings: An oil filter is generally cheaper than a transmission filter, so using an oil filter could save you some money on maintenance costs.

  • Availability: If you run out of transmission filters and don’t have time to get a proper replacement, using an oil filter might be a temporary solution.


  • Inadequate filtering: An oil filter is not designed to filter transmission fluid, and as such, it may not catch all the contaminants that a dedicated transmission filter would. This could lead to premature wear and tear on your transmission components.

  • Potential damage: As mentioned earlier, using an oil filter that is not designed for transmission use could cause leaks, clogs, or other damage to your transmission components. This could lead to costly repairs or even transmission failure.

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The Importance of Using the Right Filter for Your Transmission

All in all, the bottom line is that you should always use the right filter for your car’s transmission. This means using a filter that is designed specifically for your car’s transmission type, make, and model. Using an oil filter or any other substitute could compromise the performance and longevity of your transmission, which is a critical component of your car.

Don’t take risks with your car’s maintenance. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and use only quality filters that are designed for transmission use. Your car and your wallet will thank you in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any brand of transmission filter for my Subaru?

It’s best to use a transmission filter that is recommended by the manufacturer or a reputable aftermarket supplier that meets the OEM specifications for your Subaru’s make and model. Substituting a different brand or type of filter could lead to issues with fit, performance, or reliability.

What happens if I don’t change my transmission filter regularly?

If you don’t change your transmission filter regularly, the filter may become clogged with debris, which could compromise the flow of transmission fluid and lead to overheating, slippage, or other transmission problems. Additionally, the old filter may also release debris into the transmission fluid, causing additional wear and tear on the transmission components.

How often should I change my transmission filter?

The recommended interval for changing your transmission filter varies by make and model, but it typically ranges from 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Be sure to consult your car’s owner’s manual or a trusted mechanic for the manufacturer’s recommendations.

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Davis Bellew

As a Subaru owner and enthusiast, Davis has a deep understanding of the needs and concerns of Subaru drivers. He specializes in writing informative and engaging content about Subaru maintenance and repair, and his articles are always well-researched and easy to understand. When he's not writing, he enjoys hiking and photography.

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