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Subaru Repair Seattle: 2013 Subaru Legacy & Outback Oil Use Explained

 
I have been debating on whether or not I wanted to post another article about oil use in a Subaru, but I feel it’s important for you to be informed about your Subaru and have a little ammunition when dealing with a Subaru dealer.

First of all unless a car uses more than what is considered normal by both industry standards and the car maker there is nothing wrong in the car makers view.

There are so many variables as to why an engine may use oil, all of these are actually clearly stated in Subaru’s TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) on page 2 in regards to oil consumption, and they mirror TSB’s that have been put out by other car companies at different times in history. Subaru TSB 02-143-13R

Here is what we can factually talk about, some Subaru Outback and Legacy models, according to the TSB, 2013 models only, may suffer from piston oil control rings that did not seal during the break in period, the fix is to install a new set of piston rings with an updated ring surface.  The problem is that in order to install new rings the entire engine must come out and come apart to do that procedure.   The updated piston rings started being used in production as of May 8th 2013, so if you have a newer than that production date and are suffering from high oil consumption this TSB as currently written does not apply to your Subaru, it’s that simple.   If you own an affected vehicle that falls under this TSB you do have a little work cut out for you, as Subaru makes the Franchised Dealers jump through a few hoops before they authorize this large of a repair under warranty, some of this is also outlined in the TSB.

Some speculation.

One very probable situation is the use of 0w20 synthetic oil from the onset goes against what most experienced engine builders suggest for break in oil.  The reason car manufacturers have started using 0w20 is to help improve fuel economy.  The thing to keep in mind is that the internal tolerances of the current FB engine is designed for use with 0w20 oil, switching to 5w30 may cause engine failure and you do so at your own risk.

While its true that this can happen to cars regardless of the transmission, I have written before that the CVT transmission is not conducive to proper break-in without forcing you to drive different than just put it in gear and go.

The Federal government didn’t instruct car companies to build cars that don’t use oil, they instead told them you must reach fuel economy standards of 36 by 2017 and  54.5 MPG by 2025.  that’s the world we live in, we are here today talking about Subaru’s but don’t fool yourself into thinking Subaru is the only one taking lumps as there is a shift in how the car must function.  Subaru makes a limited number of models, they simply do not have a Prius, Insight, Fit or Focus etc. that achieve high fuel economy to offset the models that get much worse fuel economy, as such Subaru is just abut the only manufacture that has to increase fuel economy across all models rather than introduce a low end car that achieves 50 mpg to off set the models using more fuel.  The good news is that Subaru may very well become a market leader in fuel economy related technology as a result, or they may toss in the towel and make a 3 cylinder front wheel drive small car.

Buying a new car is not a guarantee that you will never have issues with it, instead it means that if there is an issue that is covered under warranty, it will be taken care of by the car maker. Subaru with this TSB is in fact acknowledging the issue and taking care of the cars with problems, once there is proof of such.  Subaru is a good car maker that will take care of this issue, but most warranty repairs are a hassle and this is a big hassle.

 

Thanks for reading.

Justin Stobb

Your Independent Subaru Expert

 

 

 

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49 Responses to Subaru Repair Seattle: 2013 Subaru Legacy & Outback Oil Use Explained

  1. George Braue July 19, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    Considering purchase of 2015 WRX. Should I be concerned about oil consumption issues with the new 2.0 engine or has Subaru addressed those with this engine?

    • Justin Stobb July 21, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

      Hello George,

      I am not aware of any Oil consumption issues with the 2015 WRX.

      -Justin

  2. John July 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    Thanks for the information! The news articles about this issue mention the Foresters from 2011-14 are included. Do you have any insight on the Forester models? My 2012 has 35,000 mi and I have never experienced excessive consumption or oil caution/warning lights.

    • Justin Stobb July 23, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

      Hi John,

      That’s great and most likely means the engine was broken in properly and you most likely wont have an issue.

      -Justin

  3. Jeff July 23, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    Considering purchase of 2015 Forester Limited with 2.5-liter DOHC engine, Should i be concerned about oil consumption issues ? start worry about it after see the news about Subaru Class-Action Lawsuit Targets Excessive Oil Consumption !!! thanks

    • Justin Stobb July 23, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

      Hi Jeff,

      I understand the concern. As far as the information I have been provided the piston oil control rings were updated May 8th 2013 as per the bulletin I provided. A 2015 Forester would have the updated piston rings. That’s really all I can tell you.

      To the Class action thing, I have many times received class action paper work in the mail from everything from cell phones warranty complaints to overcharges on dish network bills. I still use the same cell phone and I received a $10.00 credit from dish network.

      If Subaru wasn’t taking care of these cars under warranty I could see the suit going forward, but since they are I perceive at this point to be just noise that will be settled with a warranty extension as the fear is the issue wouldn’t show up until out of warranty.

      Honda and Toyota have also recently had this situation I am not aware of it ever really materializing into anything major. Honda had to extend the warranty and the original complainant received $1000 the settlement affected 1.6 million cars, the Toyota Oil use lawsuit was filed in march of this year as well, the Subaru thing will be much much smaller. The law firm will make out fantastic however.

      -Justin

  4. Kevin Larson July 29, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    It sure doesn’t seem the problem is over with. I just bought a 2014 outback in early June of this year and after the first 2200 miles, we had our light come on and found it was about a quart and a half low. When taking the car to the dealer in Bellevue WA the person in front of us had the same issue. I can understand using done oil on break in but to not even register on the dipstick ? so far the dealership has not eased any concerns and the car is still with them.

  5. Melvin August 24, 2014 at 1:23 am #

    Justin
    I am a member of two Subaru groups. subaruforester.org and subaruoutback.org. We have one member who lives in Germany and he has posted excerpts right out of the owners manual and it states that the recomended oil in the 2.5L FB engine is either 5W-30 or 10W-30, so internal tolerances aren’t designed just for 0W-20 oil. It looks like the only reason that Subaru is recommending 0W-20 oil here in North America is in order to squeeze out a little bit better fuel economy to to try to accomodate increasing stricter government fuel economy requirements. Also our German member states that all manufacturers recommend 15,000 KM oil changes. There are very few 2.5L FB engines in Europe. The most widely used engine is the NA 2.0L engine, which he states that there are no complaints in oil consumption between oil intervals of 15,000 KM. So it looks like the 2.5L FB engine definitely has a problem. Maybe the new oil rings solved it. But it would certainly help to use 5W-30 or 10W-30 oil as well as Subaru specifies it for Europe. Doesn’t even mention 0W-20 oil. Thoughts?

    • Justin Stobb August 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

      Hi Melvin,

      Thanks for the post. I love that you connect with Subaru owners around the Globe through your forums.

      First of all I just really don’t want to argue with you or anyone else about oil. I will point out the following however, the fuel used in Europe is better in quality than what we use here in the US, please don’t take my word only but do your own research you will find the truth startling. One positive attribute is that the oil change intervals are increased as a result of this, if you have read any of my posts about this I mention this very thing often, that all petroleum fuel products in the US are lower quality Vs most of the rest of the world. You must understand that the better the fuel used the better all of the conditions in the engine are going to be. Some of the issues Subaru has here do not exist in other countries for this very reason. The 15km thing equates to 10k and actually has some of the same stipulations except I think it called urban and ultra urban driving if I remember correctly.

      Next you need to research out the following;

      Part number differences for some of the internal engine components for the FB engines built for use in Europe and Australia Vs those produced for sale in the US. Until you have done that you can’t say there are no differences, you can only speculate that there is not a difference.

      What is the European equivalent of our C.A.F.E. standard, you are aware there is one right? 0W20 oil is about overall engine efficiency not just economy, the car sold in the US is sold with the requirement of 0W20, and deviation of this makes you not eligible for warranty repairs related to the engine if it’s learned you did not have the required oil. As such for our local customers we use the required oil and only the required oil as I can’t responsibly suggest anything else when the automaker is stating it’s required. I am not here to stop you from using 5w30 if that’s what your research leads you to do, I just wont ever jump on that bandwagon unless there is a TSB from Subaru stating it’s okay to do so, because until that happens it’s just not.

      I will close with I wish we had better fuel here, I wish the EPA and DOE would look at quantity of fuel used vs content of tailpipe only in making emissions standards, but I have no magic lamp.

      Thanks for posting

      -Justin

  6. David September 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    Great insightful article. I own a 2013 Outback with 28,000 miles. Having two documented oil consumption problems with my Outback, the dealer has decided not to replace rings but to replace the small block. I have concerns that something can go wrong and am not really pleased that my new car requires an engine replacement. How can I be sure of a complete and thorough job after I pick up my vehicle. What should I pay attention to when breaking in the new motor? Should new park plugs be included? I was told the small block is a new OEM part and not re-manufactured. The new small block only has a 1 year guarantee. I have a 70,000 mile extended warranty and convinced Subaru to upgrade to 100,000 miles when new Block is installed. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    David——Eureka, California

  7. robert gregg September 13, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    I have had two Subaru Outbacks with the same problem…an 2010 and a 2012. I use Mobile 1 synthethic 5w-30. I change oil every 5000 miles religiously. At about the 4000 miles I can check my oil level and it will be right on the full marker. Then I can take a 200 mile trip and all of the sudden my low oil warning light comes on and my Outback is a quart low or more. How can I lose that much oil in just a short trip. This has happened multiple times with both cars. I am baffled. Please help me understand.

    • Justin Stobb September 15, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

      Hi Robert,

      Reading this may help. https://allwheeldriveauto.com/why-does-my-subaru-use-oil/

      But I will also try to explain again the following.

      Over time unburnt fuel is collected in the crank case (where the oil is stored) and also over time this condition dilutes the oil with fuel and also carbon, both of which lower the flash point of the oil entering the combustion chamber (area where the air and fuel mixture is ignited) as the flash point becomes lower, the oil is now burnt or consumed as part of the combustion process at a higher rate then when the oil was new. Based on how you use the car, your car is telling you that the oil changes should happen a little sooner, I will also point out that the oil also loses some of it’s lubricating properties as well.

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

  8. Cheryl Walker September 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    I have a Forester 2011 and get regular services. My car seemed to be handling a little strangely at one point and making a roaring sound. When I checked the oil the dipstick gave no oil reading. After adding four quarts it showed a little oil. I took it in and they drained the oil and filled it. My local dealer is being very resistant though the car has an extended warrantee. No oil light ever came on though the manual claims there is a low oil light. The dealer demands four intervals of 1200 Miles each. I have now gone 1200 miles and it reads halfway between the two indicators, about 2 1/2 quarts. I don’t think it is fair to tell people this is a normal part of owning a car. I have had at least 6 cars in my life and only one ever had an oil problem and that was after I drove it 150,000 miles and the local filling station messed up the oil change.

    • Justin Stobb September 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

      Hello Cheryl,

      I am not sure how low oil level affected the way the car handled? It’s approximately 1 quart of oil from the low indicator to the full indicator so I am not sure where that misinformation is coming from, so it sounds to me like it used 1/2 a quart in 1200 miles?

      Sorry you are disappointed and best of luck.

      -Justin

  9. Michael September 24, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    Hi Justin, great and informative site. Are you aware of any oil consumption issues on the 2014 Imprezas?

    • Justin Stobb September 24, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

      Hello Michael,

      Thanks for the Question, at this time I am not aware of any wide spread issues with any 2014 Subaru model for oil use. There will always be a few regardless of manufacturer that just don’t break in properly or truly had a defect, either way that would be eligible for warranty.

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

  10. Michael September 25, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    Hi Justin, thanks for the above reply; one more question. Do you think the flat layout of the boxer engine makes it inherently prone to burning oil? The cylinders don’t have gravity to allow them to naturally drain of oil so I’d imagine there would be more oil just sitting in there when running and not running, as opposed to, say, an inline 4 engine. Thanks again.

    • Justin Stobb September 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

      Hello Michael,

      Yes under frequent trip type driving, where the engine is shut off repeatedly there is the possibility of using more oil then you might in an inline or V type design and yes this is due to some of the oil sometimes sitting in the cylinder liners rather than draining back into the crank case.

      Great Question!

      Thanks

      -Justin

  11. Michael September 26, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    Another question for you. Because of the flat layout, is it true that the undersides (the sides facing the road) of the pistons experience more friction, simply due to gravity? If so, could this cause the bottom halves of the piston rings to show more wear than the top halves? Furthermore, is it fair to say that the bottom halves of each cylinder receive more lubrication than the top halves, again, simply due to gravity and the flat layout? Are both these factors inherent design flaws of the boxer engine? I also read somewhere that because of the undersides of the pistons wearing out faster, that the pistons should be flipped over at some point to even the wear, akin to flipping over a mattress. Is this true? Thanks again. I find the mechanics of the boxer engine quite intriguing!

    • Justin Stobb September 26, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

      We take a lot of engines apart and have never really seen the pistons or rings worn more on one side than the other once the rotating mass begins moving under power there are a number of factors that out weigh the effect gravity.

      -Justin

  12. Bozon October 1, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    Hello Justin,
    I am from Chile (the biggest market for Subaru in South America), I just bought a Forester 2014, FB20 engine, and my car’s manual (Original MFG manual) states to use 0W-20 oil, however, the warranty and maintenance program (from Subaru Chile, the local importer) points to 5W-30, wich is the oil that is used by local dealers on maintenance schedules (every 15K Km).
    What do you think about what should be the correct oil for this car? If it’s 0W-20 as the MFG’s manuals dictate, it would be impossible to make the services and keep the warranty? Do you think that the maybe Subaru (JP) has provided Subaru Chile some technical authorization for the oil spec change? (local warranty is for 5 years, 100.000 KM)

    We have seen here a lot of XVs (FB20 engines) with oil consumption issues here. A big percentage are MT not CVTs so I believe issue it’s really not related to transmission.

    • Justin Stobb October 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

      Hello Bozon,

      I don’t know why there would be a discrepancy from one source to another on which oil to use, and you need to seek clarification from those two parties.

      As far as manual trans VS CVT and oil use, its very possible to not achieve break in with a manual as well, just seems to be more prevalent in the CVT’s over here but that’s also possible because the CVT is more common as no one likes to shift gears here as they would have to put the Phone or Latte down to drive.

      -Justin

  13. R October 7, 2014 at 4:54 am #

    Now that the 2015 Forester has been sold for a few months, have you heard of any more cases of oil consumption issues? I have seen some reports of them on various websites, but it is hard to tell how prevalent the problem is for the 2015s.

    I am looking at CVT and 2.5i if that makes a difference. I would strongly prefer not to buy a $25,000 oil burner but like the Forester otherwise…

    • Justin Stobb October 8, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

      Hello R,

      SO far nor issues I am aware of, they do have different piston rings. If you are that concerned I would give it another couple of months if you really want my opinion.

      -Justin

  14. Nat April 26, 2015 at 8:40 am #

    Dear Justin
    I am considering buying a used Subaru Forester to replace my 2001 Forester. After reading about the oil consumption problems with the FB engine in the 2011 models, I am thinking I should stick with a 2010 rather than a 2011 or 2012. Does my logic make sense?

    Many thanks for all the writing you do.

    • Justin Stobb April 27, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

      Hi Nat,

      A 2010 would be a good way to go, however the fuel economy increases with the FB and CVT in the current platform is compelling.

      There is a gamble when buying any used vehicle, knowing about a potential issue makes it even more confusing sometimes, I would love to be able to tell you to buy a 2012 and you will be fine as many of our customers are. But we see a few here and there that have problems.

      Which ever way you go just be sure to have a pre purchase inspection done.

      -Justin

  15. Dave December 21, 2015 at 9:57 am #

    Hi Justin,

    I’m considering a used 2010 – 2014 Legacy 2.5i with CVT as my next car (though I will miss my 03 WRX dearly). In your opinion would it be better to go for the earlier 2010 to 2012 Legacy with the revised EJ25 but suspect torque converter (apparently revised for 2013) OR the 2013-2014 with possible oil consumption issues? To me it sounds like the EJ might be the leaser evil as replacing a torque converter is easier and cheaper than replacing a shortblock. I’m just a little unsure if the CVT gives the EJ (or FB) a proper break-in as the engine speed isn’t allowed to vary enough.

    Cheers,

    Dave

    • Justin Stobb December 21, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

      Hello Dave,

      It’s always tough with a used car, but specifically for the FB series, as there will not be much anyone can do in terms of trying to determine oil consumption during a pre purchase inspection.

      So it’s difficult for me to suggest a used FB engine, I have never ever said that about a Subaru engine before, so I guess take that for what it is.

      I just worry about the gamble, 85 to 90% are going to be just fine, but a few of these wont. I would say the only way you can buy a used FB is if its still under the 5 year 60k power train warranty, and even then I am thinking your only buying it from a Subaru dealer. The issue is the repair method the early ones were repaired by having a flat rate tech replace the piston rings, after many instances of this not working out Subaru switched to replacing the short block. Two totally different repair methods, one good the other not so much. I wouldn’t want anyone buying one that had rings done only

      We haven’t seen to much problems with the Torque convertor, most have been repaired under warranty so that shouldn’t be to much of a concern.

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

  16. Dale McMurdo December 23, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    Hi Justin.
    After reading through all of the conversations here and in your other string “Why Does My Subaru Use Oil?” I’m totally amazed at not only your knowledge and descriptive ability but your patience and willingness to communicate with Subaru owners both nice and not so nice.
    My history includes years of operating different types of equipment and, the past 20 years, driving many different makes and models of vehicles in a high stress work application averaging 120,000 km per year. Changing oil every 5000km would result in my vehicle seeing the shop every other week. I’ve not seen an engine that didn’t use oil between changes. Ranging from a little bit to coming close to the add mark to needing a liter (or more) before the change. Also part of my role was the supervision of others operating a wide variety of equipment and I would often find that their negligence had resulted in the equipment being “low on oil”.
    So, to your readers, Be wise, check your fluids and listen to Justin with respect !!

    Now, having said all of that, My question is; you have mentioned your concerns with the breakin period and process of a Subaru with the CVT transmission… what would you recommend to an owner of this vehicle to achieve a decent break in?

    Cheers,
    Dale
    PS: I hope my grammar and spelling is acceptable as I too must go with the edjumacation that I have.

    • Justin Stobb December 23, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

      Hello Dale,

      Thanks for the post, I loved it!

      So with the Break in, the best way is to not just let the CVT just blindly control all of the Rpm ranges, I won’t call it shift points, Ill call it RPM ranges. It’s designed to be fuel efficient and keep the engine at a lower RPM range. Even though it’s a CVT you can still manually hold a range longer. What it needs to break in is a varying amount of drive cycles at different RPM ranges, other wise the piston rings never expand fully as they are seating, then (and I have no idea if it’s then, or than) and If I was talking rather then, or than typing it wouldn’t matter, anyone listening would get it. Couldn’t help my self.. Anyways so the rings expand lets say 40% at 1700 Rpm, 20% load and at pick a combustion temperature, and it’s driven that way for most of it’s first 500 miles, we then go up the mountain pass at say 60% load, 4000 rpms and the rings can’t seal as effectively as they could have if they would have been used like this a bit before, it’s actually a form of “metal memory”. The problem is the rings can wear and seat before they were ever allowed to expand fully and that’s the real issue.

      So varying RPM ranges, load and drive cycles for at least 500 miles. No get in and go on the freeway for 500 miles, no idle it around town for 300 miles either.

      “PS: I hope my grammar and spelling is acceptable as I too must go with the edjumacation that I have”

      Thanks for saying that, I sometimes wonder and worry about some of the internet grammar bullies, or Nazis as they are called.

      Hope that helps & Happy Holidays!

      -Justin

      • Dale McMurdo December 24, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

        Thanks Justin and it does help… tells me I did it right.

        FYI: https://www.torquenews.com/1084/subaru-oil-consumption-lawsuit-spreads-canada

        Hope you enjoy some off time.

        • Justin Stobb December 29, 2015 at 8:08 am #

          Thanks Dale,

          Yes I am aware, and if Subaru wasn’t replacing short blocks in the vehicles affected I would say it has merit. But I am not a lawyer, and have no idea how things work up in Canada.

          -Justin

  17. Adrian R. March 5, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

    Hi Justin!

    I just purchased a 2016 Subaru Impreza Sport (manual transmission). I live in St. Paul, MN. I’ve been aware of all these “oil consumption” issues many Subaru’s have had in the past few years. I have friends who are die-hard Subaru fans and would not drive anything else. Many of them are now plaintiffs in the class action lawsuits against Subaru and perhaps (some of them) no longer contemplating purchasing another Subaru in the future. This “oil consumption” problem is the reason why I had waited to purchase a 2016 Impreza and not an earlier model.

    The dealership absolutely assured me that previous high oil consumption between scheduled oil changes has been fixed with the 2016 vehicle lineup (I was mostly interested in the Impreza). They say to change the oil (as per manufacturer’s advice) every 6000 miles but the overall consensus (at least at this dealership) is to change it every 5000 miles and always use synthetic 0W20 oil.

    I have their statement in writing, which says:

    ” Subaru does have standards set for excessive oil consumption. We do have an oil consumption test where we change your oil and the tolerance is 10.7 ounces per 1,200 miles, but the cases of excessive consumption are rare on the 2016’s. I do remember talking to you about this and one of the factors is that the 0W-20 is so much thinner than a 5W grade”

    Again, after reading countless opinions, including your, well stated one, on this topic, I’m still in the dark on the question if this “sensible” and accepted oil consumption even at a 10.7 ounces/ 1,200 miles is something “normal” or if, in the long run, it might cause severe engine failures. I have never really had this issue with previous cars. I tent to keep my cars for a very long time.

    My previous vehicle was a VW Passat 2000 (bought new) and put about 125.000 miles on it in the almost 16 years of ownership (I don’t drive a lot thus I don’t rake in a lot of mileage). I had the water pump changed at about 100.000 miles and after the dealership’s mechanic opened up the engine block (or something like that, during the repair), the car started to burn a little bit more oil, but never really in the realm of “quarts” or even one quart between oil changes. In other words, for some reason, the car was never the way it was when that engine was put together new by the factory in Germany. Before that repair it would “maybe” burn less than a 1/4 of a quart of oil between every 5000 miles oil change and by the 125,000 mile mark and after that repair, the oil consumption when up a little over 1/4 and maybe, at times, to 1/2 of a quart every 5000 miles. That’s about 8-16 ounces of oil for every 5000 miles. I always used synthetic 5W40 oil and OEM filters.

    I have almost 1000 miles on this Impreza. I started at 7 miles and broke this car in so far very carefully and as per Subaru’s advice and break-in standards. I checked the oil the other day (at about 800 miles) and noticed that the level was a small notch bellow the MAX level. Should I worry?! I haven’t done any “tests”, etc. I’m a little worried that after only 800 miles, this new 2015 Impreza is already burning oil. Needless to say, I shall keep a very close eye on it and do something about it if something isn’t right. I don’t want to jump ahead of myself, which is why I’m just posting this here as a “FYI” because I haven’t seen much talk about the 2016 Subaru models in regards to this oil consumption issue.

    If I go by what the dealership told me (which I’m assuming is congruent with Subaru’s standards in general), the accepted tolerance is 10.7 ounces/1200 miles. One quart holds 32 ounces. What they’re telling me is that, the accepted tolerance at Subaru, is burning through 44.58 ounces of oil for every 5000 miles (or 10.7 ounces/1200 miles) , which marks another oil change. That’s over ONE quart of oil between oil changes!!!!!

    I’m at loss for words here and if that is the case, I reckon that the very same “accepted” oil consumption is what triggered these class action lawsuits in the first place. Is one thing to say “we fixed it and this is no longer an issue” and another when you’re told that “excessive oil consumption is — RARE — on 2016 Impreza’s BUT we have a accepted tolerance for this at a 10.6 ounces for every 1200 miles”.

    I have a friend who has a 2013 Impreza. I remember him and I talking about this issue at a point where this wasn’t even a Subaru accepted problem. He’s very meticulous and noticed this issue right away. The vehicle was new and started burning through oil like an old tractor. He got the same routine from Subaru and ALL Subaru Dealerships around NYS — blaming the oil (too thin) and following the same “accepted” tolerances. He’s now a plaintiff in the Class Action Lawsuit.

    • Justin Stobb March 21, 2016 at 11:58 am #

      Hello Adrian,

      I don’t think the 2016’s will have the same type of issues the ones involved in the class action suit, We also have not seen issues with the 2015 models. I do also want to bring up that there is a similar suit involving Honda.

      All you can do is monitor it as you should over the next few months and if you see an issue immediately bring it up to Subaru.

      -Justin

  18. JB April 15, 2016 at 7:19 pm #

    hi there Justin, Just wondering, if I was going to buy a new engine for my 2004 Outback 3.0R AWD Wagon 3.0lt Auto; which one would be the best one to get (in Australia)? Might there be a later model engine that would fit properly and would also avoid the head gasket and oil leak problems? Thanks in advance for your reply.
    PS If/when you do reply to my comment, how do I know to look for it? Will I receive an email? I left a comment on the HDpartII page too, but haven’t heard anything and wondering if I might have missed something or looking in wrong place. Tho, admittedly, that was only a couple of days ago, so I might be worrying too early 🙂
    Thanks Justin
    JB

    • Justin Stobb April 19, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

      Hello JB,

      You should get a notice when I reply, all comments are held for moderation so there is no spam, or just flat out craziness.

      While I can only speak to the US market, the 2004 does not accept a 2005 and newer longblock, there were changes made to the 3.0 in 2005. It’s just going to best to replace what you have with the proper year engine. The 2004 shouldn’t have needed HG until well over 150k?

      Sorry

      -Justin

  19. Don April 25, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

    The class action setlement letter arrived. Pretty sure my oil consumption is excess by their definition (1/3rd quart in 1,200 miles) although I am checking it again myself one more time before submitting to Subaru’s oil consumption test.
    I see the new TSB (TSB 02-157-14R dated 4-13-16) for the Forester requires replacing the short block (versus new rings).
    If I have to go this route – short block replacement – what things do I need to check for to be sure the dealer does it right? I PRESUME they will give me a remanufactured short block. Is that OK? Anything I should have done at same time? Things to watch out for?(Mileage is 50, 000).
    Thank you very much, Justin. I hope others will also benefit from your res

    • Justin Stobb April 25, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

      Hello Don,

      To the best of my knowledge 1/3 Quart in 1200 miles wouldn’t meet the definition of “Excessive Oil Consumption” you would be looking for something closer to over a quart in that same time frame.

      The Short block would be new, It’s a large job with lots of complexities, not as many as the piston ring repair, but still a lot. As far as things to look for? If it was to leak oil or is noisy, that would be a sign it wasn’t done properly. That’s about it.

      Not really much to be done at the same time other that the timing chains, and I am not sure you need to bother with those at 50k. By the way the short block is a much better way to go over having piston rings done.

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

  20. Don August 21, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

    Looks like I will fail the oil consumption test and therefore Subaru will install a new short block. I have 50k miles.
    What is the recommended way to break in this (mostly) new engine?
    Thanks

    • Justin Stobb August 24, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

      Hello Don,

      The key is to vary the engine speed, no prolonged runs at cruise speed or idle, do not accelerate at wide open throttle, try to keep the RPMS under 5000 for 500-1000 miles

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

  21. Chas November 26, 2018 at 5:05 pm #

    Hi Justin,
    I’m considering the purchase of a used 2011 Forester with an FB motor & 4-speed automatic. Is the oil consumption issue as common on non-CVT vehicles? And do you have any sense of what % of vehicles are affected?
    I like this generation of Forester, and am trying to balance the oil consumption issue on 2011-2013s vs the head gasket problems on 2009-2010s.
    Thanks!
    -Chas

    • Justin Stobb November 27, 2018 at 12:37 pm #

      Hello Chas,

      The 2011 Forester seemed to have less oil consumption issues than the 2012 to 2015 models, having said that it’s always abut the car in front of you and not a concept of what could be. I get your looking for odds, and the best I can say is there is a chance you buy something that uses some oil and there just isn’t anyway to track that. Even if I compiled data from our customers and narrowed it down to just that era Forester there would be so many variables I wouldn’t trust the data. I prefer the EJ and the predictability of a HG leaking oil over time and needing to be resolved at some point vs the surprise of oil consumption and needing to rebuild or replace a Short block its more than double the $ if you have concerns about putting money into a used car. Just my thoughts and its just to hard to try and figure out what % could be affected since its really about did the rings seat prior to wear or did they wear instead of seating. I will add there are tons of the FB engines driving around with zero issues. Really all you can do is buy the car you think suits your needs the best and that you will be the happiest driving. Any used car can be a gamble.

      -Justin

  22. Bill Munsell June 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    We have a 2013 Subaru Outback with 28,000 miles. While driving back to Michigan from the Denver area June 19 experienced a “low oil warning light” outside of Chicago. Upon checking the oil level, we found it was about a quart low. After adding a quart of oil the warning light went out and we completed our trip. This was the first time in my life (50 years of driving ) I experienced an oil warning light!

    We called our dealer (Subaru by the Bay in Petoskey,MI and they blew our concern off as “it happens all the time and we should not be concerned.”

    We are concerned and will follow up on our problem.

    Bill Munsell

  23. bfskinner October 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    So, I’m adding a quart every 4,000 miles in my 2013 Outback….this is a first issue for me after owning many cars.
    Ok,what happens to the car if I just tolerate this issue?
    Does high oil consumption, of the kind we see in our Subarus, harm yhe engine in any way?
    …ot is this just a matter of inconvenience and slight additional cost for oil?
    The prospect of having the entire engine removed sounds like a formula for even more problems.

  24. Rich October 14, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    I understand the oil consumption problem because I have a Subaru Forrester that I purchased new in 2013. After multiple trips to the dealer to buy the right oil, my dealer suggested me doing an oil consumption test. I did, and their recommendation is to replace the short block. It is under warranty. It seems like a comprehensive fix and my dealer has thus far made it very easy for me. Are there any concerns I should have in replacing the short block or is it reasonable to think that this fix should be a good one.

  25. Justin Stobb July 1, 2014 at 12:45 am #

    Hi Bill,

    You did not mention how many miles from the last oil change, if it was more than a few thousand miles or as found in the owners manual 1000 miles, you don’t most likely have a problem, welcome to 0W20 oil and summer driving.

    It’s a yellow (proceed with caution) low oil level light, do not confuse it with a red (stop driving now) oil pressure level light.

    -Justin

  26. Justin Stobb October 13, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    What if your car is trying to tell you that based on how you use it the oil should be changed every 4000 miles?

    I also am not a big fan of having a repair made at the Dealer under warranty as the quality always suffers.

    In most cases 1 quart every 4000 miles is not indicative of a bigger looming issue, I would just keep an eye on it and if you are really concerned as you approach the 60k powertrain warranty expiration, maybe mark ask Subaru to extend the warranty to 100k..

    -Justin

  27. Justin Stobb October 15, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    Hello Rich,

    Sounds like the right course of action and a good sign that in this case Subaru is taking care of you properly from the start.

    -Justin

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