Subaru Oil Consumption

Subaru Oil Consumption – Why Is It Burning So Much Oil?

In the distant past, Subaru stood out consisting of highly reliable cars (and among the list of the most reliable cars). But in the 2000s, quite a few controversies started to pop up – with thirsty Subaru oil consumption being just one of them.

It started to dull down until only recently when they started to resurface again in 2016. Excessive Subaru oil consumption was just one of the foremost issues that owners and drivers had to face.

But is there any merit to this story, or was it just a gross exaggeration? Indeed, there have been quite a lot of cases where motor oil was being consumed by certain Subaru models like a mad drunkard.

So, let’s try to break this down one-by-one, and see if we find a solution to it. On top of that, we’ll look at what you should be looking out for if you’re thinking of getting a Subaru.

Subaru Oil Burning

Subaru Oil Consumption

Ever since the 2010s, Subaru has constantly had complaints regarding the fact that their cars burned too much oil. Often, it would drink through motor oil faster than any other vehicle, leading to more publicity around Subaru oil consumption being an issue. Are these allegations filed by owners and diehard fans of Subaru true?

In fact, there’s certainly truth behind these complaints. Subaru and their 1.5-liter engine have long been rather consistent regarding oil consumption. But the same can’t be said for its larger 2.0-liter, 2.5-liter, 3.0-liter, and 3.6-liter engines. Most cars from the time period, in general, required regular oil changes every 3,000 or so miles.

Meanwhile, later automobiles of today could run upwards of 10,000 miles before needing an oil change. This is all thanks to present-day advancements in sciences and automotive technology, thus enabling motor oil to last longer. On average, 5,000 or 7,500 miles is the median interval when you should be expecting an oil change.

But with Subaru, that threshold is significantly lower. Certain Subaru engines, like the ones we’ve mentioned earlier, often needed an oil change every 1,000 to 1,200 miles.

This isn’t normal, as it clearly proved that there were some design flaws made by Subaru. As a consequence, Subaru faced a lawsuit on this outrageous Subaru oil consumption problem back in 2014.

Why Is Engine Oil Important

Since we’re looking at motor oil, we may as well iterate its importance for any vehicle. With that in mind, we can get behind understanding why so many Subaru owners are understandably quite upset about this. The primary use of engine oil is to prevent friction between the many parts inside the engine. Thus, it aids in lubrication, as well as a bit of cooling.

Without any motor oil, just imagine the grinding of all those metal parts every time your engine starts working. To avoid this metal-on-metal contact – which can lead to engine damage and failure – the motor oil plays a crucial role. It can monumentally reduce friction within the engine, thus enabling it to run smoothly and without grinding itself to oblivion in the process.

As a natural side effect of reducing friction, the motor oil also cools down the build-up of heat within the engine. Since motor oil is an insulator, it can control the heat transfer through conduction inside the engine. Therefore, motor oil doubles somewhat as a pseudo-coolant for your car’s motor. But there’s even more to this story.

How Does Engine Oil Work

On top of all this, the engine also leaves a ton of residue in its inner workings. Here, the viscosity of the engine oil comes into play, as it drags away all the dirt and debris along with it as it circulates the engine. Motor oil hence acts as a sort of cleaner for the engine, washing away debris so it can maintain the engine’s overall well-being.

As a result, this helps to improve the engine’s performance, fuel efficiency, and longevity. For all the combustion that occurs inside the engine, it continues to suck up a lot of air.

This means there’s a strong presence of oxygen as a requirement for combustion. By design, motor oil prevents this mix of oxygen and moisture from oxidizing – or rusting away – the iron compound of metal in the engine.

All things said it’s obvious that engine oil is vital for the operations, performance, and health of any motor. It can’t be ignored, and it’s a must to maintain and change it regularly.

However, it’s incredibly inconvenient if you have to change the oil frequently. This is mostly a problem with some Subaru models, which have a strong thirst for motor oil. Every 1,000 miles, remember.

Which Subaru Models Are Known For Excessive Oil Consumption

Here are some of the models that are most impacted by this high Subaru oil consumption issue. If you’ve owned any of these cars, then chances are, you’ve had to chew through a surreal amount of engine oil in your ownership period.

Class Action Lawsuit Subaru

Subaru Oil Consumption

So, since we’ve mentioned that lawsuit from earlier, what came of it? Initially, Subaru didn’t accept the allegations made against them. They claimed that a lot of cars required an oil change every 1,000 to 1,200 miles and that Subaru isn’t an exception. Well, we’ve already proven that this is false, as most cars could at least go through 3,000 or more miles before needing an oil change.

Owners of Subaru cars at the time also didn’t buy this argument either which led to a date in court for Subaru. An appointment of which… They lost. The court concluded that owing to some Subaru cars burning through more oil than most ordinary vehicles at the time, they had defective engines. This is an issue that could lead to an affected Subaru’s engine stalling, and suffering poor gas mileage.

So, what’s the solution that Subaru offered as an outcome of this court edict? Well, they offered the owners of some models that were affected an extended warranty. This program increased the period of warranty coverage from 5 years or 60,000 miles, up to 8 years or 100,000 miles. While it didn’t solve the heavy oil consumption issue, it at least made the bitter pill easier to swallow.

What Causes Oil Consumption

There could be numerous causes for why the Subaru oil consumption problem appeared in the first place. Here are just a few of the most common ones.

Subaru Oil Consumption, Possible Causes #1: Oil Leaks

If you notice an oil stain under your parked car (and forcing you to learn how to get oil stains out of concrete and how to get oil off driveway, as well as how to clean oil off driveway) when you pull it out of the driveway in the morning, it could be a sign of an oil leak. Of course, this puddle dribbling away could be any one of the other many fluids that your car has. However, if the engine is truly the cause of the leak, there are some signs that you could look out for.

For the most part, and if the engine is leaking motor oil, the shade of the fluid should be of a black or dark brown color. You could also check the engine oil reservoir to determine the fluid levels, as well. Most engine oil leaks are caused by a faulty gasket or loosened seal. The engine block is rarely the main source of the issue unless the car’s been wrecked in the past.

More often than not, the problem is the gasket and seals inside of the engine that are worn out. Over time, they can harden and crack, owing to how much heat these rubber pieces are exposed to sitting inside of the engine. The best solution for this is to have it looked into by a professional. It will cost you a few hundred bucks to replace the gaskets.

Symptoms of Oil Leaks

  • Black or dark brown puddles beneath your car.
  • Lower oil levels in the reservoir.
  • Engine overheating.
  • An unpleasant burning smell, especially after driving.

Why Do Oil Leaks Occur?

  • Faulty Gaskets or Seals: As vehicles age, the gaskets and seals can deteriorate, leading to leaks. These rubber components harden and crack because they are constantly exposed to the engine’s heat.
  • Physical Damage: If a vehicle has been in an accident, there might be damage to the engine block or surrounding areas which could result in oil leaks.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting

  1. Check the ground where you usually park for signs of oil.
  2. Inspect the oil reservoir level frequently.
  3. Look beneath the engine for signs of leakage.
  4. Seek professional help if unsure about the source.

DIY Repairs for Oil Leaks

  • Replace worn-out gaskets and seals.
  • Ensure all components are tightened and secured.
  • Clean the area to prevent contamination from old oil residues.

Costs of Repairing Oil Leaks

  • Gasket or Seal Replacement: $200-$500, depending on the specific gasket or seal.
  • Labor: $100-$300, depending on the duration and complexity.
  • Diagnostic Fees: Typically around $50-$100.

Subaru Oil Consumption, Possible Causes #2: Increased Oil Pressure

The primary cause for the oil pressure increase can be attributed to the engine temperature. The heat in the engine gets more intense upon ignition, or while left idling. However, it could also be caused by a blockage in the channels through which motor oil flows. In this case, you’d have to disassemble the hoses, cooling jets, plugs, and more to remove the debris from them.

Another culprit would be the oil filter. The purpose of this is to remove impurities from the oil before it flows into the engine block. Over time, the filter might clog due to dirt and contaminants that may have been building up. When this happens, it reduces the oil flow to the engine, which increases engine temperature. In turn, this increases the oil pressure.

Commonly, you have to swap out the oil filter after every oil change for this very reason. The oil can pick up contaminants or debris, before thickening into a viscous sludge.

These could easily block the oil flow, as well as wear out any seals or gaskets along the way, as the oil pressure rises. Combined with the cost of a new oil filter, it’s no wonder why the Subaru oil consumption problems can be costly.

Symptoms of Increased Oil Pressure

  • Oil pressure warning light illumination.
  • Increased engine temperature.
  • Whining or ticking noise from the engine.
  • Delayed engine response.

Reasons for Increased Oil Pressure

  • Engine Temperature: Oil pressure can rise with increasing engine temperature.
  • Blockages: Debris in oil channels or a clogged oil filter can restrict oil flow, raising the pressure.
  • Aged Oil: Over time, oil can degrade, thicken, and form sludge which impacts its flow.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting

  1. Monitor the oil pressure gauge or light.
  2. Regularly check and replace the oil filter.
  3. Examine the oil for signs of degradation or thickening.
  4. Inspect for blockages in oil channels.

DIY Repairs for Increased Oil Pressure

  • Change the engine oil and filter regularly.
  • Clean the oil channels using specialized flushing agents.
  • Avoid prolonged idling which can increase engine temperature.
  • Ensure the engine is well-ventilated and cooling systems are functional.

Costs of Addressing Increased Oil Pressure

  • Oil and Filter Change: $50-$100, depending on the oil type and filter brand.
  • Labor: $50-$200, depending on the service required.
  • Cleaning and Flushing: $100-$200, inclusive of labor and materials.
  • Diagnostic Fees: Generally, $50-$100.

Subaru Oil Consumption, Possible Causes #3: Piston Damage

Damage in the piston rings is another cause of excessive oil consumption. Piston rings are supposed to seal the gap between the piston and cylinder. However, these rings can wear out and fail after a while, leading oil to seep through. If not replaced promptly, the gaps that have been worn down may get big enough for motor oil to start flooding the cylinders.

One side effect of this is an increasing amount of oil being burnt. To detect any damage in the piston rings, you can use a leak-down test. This measures the amount of air leaking into the crankcase from the area above the piston. Such problems are primarily caused by oil flooding into the cylinders, incomplete combustion, impure oil, or debris lodged between the piston rings.

Symptoms of Piston Damage

  • Blue or gray exhaust smoke, indicating burning oil.
  • Decreased engine performance and power.
  • Abnormal noise, like a knocking or tapping sound.
  • Increased oil consumption without obvious leaks.

Why Does Piston Damage Occur?

  • Oil Flooding in Cylinders: Too much oil entering the combustion chamber can lead to a lack of proper sealing.
  • Impure Oil: Contaminants can cause wear and tear on the piston rings.
  • Incomplete Combustion: Not burning all fuel can lead to deposits that might affect the piston rings.
  • Foreign Debris: Small particles can get lodged between the piston rings, accelerating wear.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting

  1. Conduct a leak-down test to determine the extent of air leakage.
  2. Check for blue or gray exhaust smoke.
  3. Monitor engine performance and note any unusual noises.

DIY Repairs for Piston Damage

  • Regular oil changes to ensure the oil remains uncontaminated.
  • Use quality fuel to ensure complete combustion.
  • A professional may be required for actual piston ring replacement.

Costs of Addressing Piston Damage

  • Piston Ring Replacement: $40-$200 for parts.
  • Labor: $500-$1000, given the extensive nature of the repair.
  • Diagnostic Fees: Typically around $50-$100.

Subaru Oil Consumption, Possible Causes #4: Type Of Oil Used

A lot of debate can be stirred when looking at what type of oil should be used in your car. Might it be synthetic, or conventional motor oil? There are pros and cons to each, but in the case of Subaru oil consumption woes, synthetic engine oil is a big no-no. Using synthetic oils to lubricate a Subaru-made engine may result in oil leakage. But, how could this be?

Both kinds of oil – synthetic and conventional – are formulated to lubricate the engine, which ensures that the motor runs smoothly and avoids wear. Synthetic oil is made from chemical compounds and can include power additives, as well as base oil. It may contain some petroleum, but it’s not whole crude oil.

Though synthetic oils have more upsides to their chemistry, they can bring about trouble with some Subaru models. The finer particles of the synthetic oil can escape through tiny gaps and leak within the engine of these Subaru cars. If you use synthetic oil and experience heavy oil consumption, you should think about switching to a more conventional oil mixture.

Symptoms of Using Incorrect Oil Type

  • Noticeable oil leaks without any apparent damage.
  • The engine running rougher than usual.
  • Oil levels decreasing faster than expected.

Why Does Oil Type Matter?

  • Synthetic vs. Conventional: While synthetic oil offers more protection and lasts longer, it might not be suitable for all Subaru models. The smaller molecules can seep through tiny engine gaps.
  • Chemical Composition: Synthetic oils can sometimes react differently with specific engine components.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting

  1. Monitor the rate of oil consumption.
  2. Check for leaks in the absence of physical engine damage.
  3. Note any changes after switching oil types.

DIY Fixes for Issues Caused by Oil Type

  • Switch back to the manufacturer-recommended oil type.
  • Ensure oil changes are done regularly to maintain engine health.
  • Double-check the oil type before each change.

Costs Related to Incorrect Oil Type

  • Oil Change: $30-$70 for conventional oil, depending on brand and grade.
  • Labor: $50-$100 for a professional oil change service.
  • Potential Engine Repair: Varies based on damage but can range from $100-$1000+.

Subaru Oil Consumption

Subaru Oil Consumption, Possible Causes #5: Quality Of Oil

Most engine oils are made to meet a set of quality standards. That said, their qualities can still vary wildly. While there are plenty of high-quality motor oils out there, poor ones can be found on store shelves, too. The reason for their existence is tied to reducing production costs, while also catering to a market of consumers that just want any kind of oil in their vehicles.

It can be inoffensive in some instances, but you’re better off spending more on higher-quality motor oil. But how can you tell the difference between low-quality oil and good ones? It’s not an easy task, and for most people, you might think they’re all the same. There are, however, a few things that customers can look out for while shopping for motor oil.

First, check the label for the API (American Petroleum Institute) standard. You can find that circular certificate of approval from the API on the side of the container. Secondly, look at the properties of the engine oil that you’re thinking of buying. Depending on the climate that you drive in, and the mileage of the car, the make-up of the motor oil can make a huge difference.

If your car’s mileage is 100,000 miles or more, it’s better to opt for oils with higher viscosity. Some examples include 10w40 or 20w50. Also, if you live in colder climates, you should choose an oil with a lower viscosity. Vice versa, you should choose more viscous oils if you’re driving in hotter weather. Lastly, make sure that the oil meets the recommendations set by Subaru.

Symptoms of Poor Oil Quality

  • Increased engine wear and noise.
  • Darkened or thickened oil even after a recent change.
  • Reduced engine performance and power.

Why Quality Matters

  • Engine Wear and Tear: Low-quality oil may not lubricate as effectively, leading to faster engine wear.
  • Overheating: Inferior oil might not dissipate heat effectively.
  • Engine Sludge: Poor oil can lead to a build-up of sludge, affecting overall engine health.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting

  1. Inspect the oil’s color and consistency. Dark and thick oil might indicate inferior quality.
  2. Look for increased engine noise or performance issues.
  3. Examine the API certification on the oil container.

DIY Fixes for Poor Oil Quality

  • Opt for a reputable oil brand with clear API certification.
  • Regularly change the oil, following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Check the recommended oil type for your Subaru model and the driving conditions you usually encounter.

Costs of Poor Oil Quality

  • High-Quality Oil Change: $40-$100 depending on the brand.
  • Labor: $50-$100 for professional service.
  • Potential Engine Repair Due to Poor Oil: $100-$2000+, depending on the extent of the damage.

Subaru Oil Consumption, Possible Causes #6: Faulty PCV System

The Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system in your Subaru helps in regulating harmful emissions. It redirects the crankcase blow-by gases back to the engine’s combustion chamber, thereby reducing air pollution. However, a malfunctioning PCV system can become a cause for excessive oil consumption.

When the PCV valve or related components malfunction, it can lead to excessive oil being sucked from the oil pan into the engine. Over time, this can significantly reduce oil levels. A clear sign of a faulty PCV system is the presence of a milky substance on the dipstick or oil cap, which indicates moisture mixing with the oil. In such cases, it’s essential to address the issue swiftly and replace the faulty components.

Symptoms of a Faulty PCV System

  • Presence of a milky substance on the oil dipstick or cap.
  • Increased oil consumption without visible leaks.
  • Possible check engine light illumination.

Why PCV System Matters

  • Emission Control: It helps in reducing harmful emissions by redirecting blow-by gases.
  • Oil Consumption: A malfunctioning PCV can lead to oil being pulled into the combustion chamber.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting

  1. Regularly check the oil dipstick and cap for any milky substance.
  2. Listen for abnormal noises from the engine.
  3. Use a PCV valve tester or shake the PCV valve; if you don’t hear a rattling sound, it might be faulty.

DIY Fixes for a Faulty PCV System

  • Replace the PCV valve; this is typically an easy and affordable fix.
  • Regularly inspect hoses connected to the PCV system for cracks or disconnections.
  • Consider using a cleaner to address mild sludge issues.

Costs of Addressing a Faulty PCV System

  • PCV Valve Replacement: $10-$50 for the part.
  • Labor: $50-$150, as it’s relatively straightforward.
  • System Cleaner: Around $10-$20.

Subaru Oil Consumption, Possible Causes #7: Engine Wear and Age

As cars age, so do their components. Engines are not immune to the wear and tear of daily driving. Over time, internal engine components might wear down, leading to increased oil consumption. When internal components lose their tightness and precision fit, gaps can form, allowing oil to pass through and burn off during combustion.

Regular maintenance and timely repairs can help in minimizing these wear and tear issues. However, for particularly old Subaru vehicles, some level of increased oil consumption can be expected. It’s essential to monitor and adjust your oil change intervals accordingly.

Symptoms of Engine Wear due to Age

  • Increased oil consumption without visible leaks.
  • Reduced engine performance.
  • Unusual noises from the engine compartment.

Why Engine Wear and Age Matter

  • Engine Health: As an engine wears, its efficiency can decline, leading to increased oil use.
  • Vehicle Longevity: Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of an aging vehicle.
  • Performance: Aging components may not function optimally, leading to diminished engine performance.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting

  1. Regular oil level checks and noting the frequency of top-ups.
  2. Listen for unusual engine noises, such as knocking or pinging.
  3. Perform regular engine health checks or diagnostics.

DIY Fixes for Engine Wear and Age

  • Ensure timely oil changes using the recommended oil type.
  • Consider using high-mileage oils specifically designed for older engines.
  • Regularly inspect and replace worn engine components.

Costs of Addressing Engine Wear and Age

  • Regular Maintenance: $100-$500 annually, depending on the age and condition.
  • High-Mileage Oil Change: $40-$80.
  • Engine Repair or Rebuild: $500-$4000+, depending on the severity of wear.

Subaru Oil Consumption, Possible Causes #8: Turbochargers

Some Subaru models come equipped with turbochargers, which can elevate performance levels. These turbochargers rely on engine oil for both lubrication and cooling. However, a malfunctioning turbocharger, or one that’s beginning to wear out, can consume more oil than usual.

Excessive oil consumption linked to turbochargers often results in blue smoke coming out of the exhaust. It’s an indication that oil is seeping into the combustion chamber. Addressing turbocharger issues promptly can prevent further damage and reduce excessive oil consumption.

Symptoms of Faulty Turbochargers

  • Blue smoke from the exhaust.
  • Whining or siren-like noise from the turbocharger.
  • Reduced engine power and poor acceleration.

Why Turbochargers Matter

  • Performance Boost: Turbochargers increase engine power and efficiency.
  • Oil Consumption: A malfunctioning turbo can lead to increased oil use.
  • Engine Health: Oil leaking into the combustion chamber can cause damage over time.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting

  1. Monitor exhaust for blue smoke, especially during acceleration.
  2. Listen for unusual noises coming from the turbocharger area.
  3. Check for excessive play in the turbo shaft or signs of oil in the turbo inlet.

DIY Fixes for Faulty Turbochargers

  • Regularly check and clean the turbocharger.
  • Replace damaged or worn seals and bearings.
  • In extreme cases, consider replacing the entire turbocharger unit.

Costs of Addressing Turbocharger Issues

  • Turbocharger Cleaning: $100-$200.
  • Turbocharger Repair: $500-$1500, depending on the issue.
  • Turbocharger Replacement: $1000-$4000, including parts and labor.

Subaru Oil Consumption, Possible Causes #9: Infrequent Oil Changes

Maintaining a routine oil change schedule is essential for the longevity and health of your Subaru’s engine. Delaying oil changes or using inferior-quality oil can lead to the buildup of sludge and other contaminants in the engine. These contaminants can clog oil passages, leading to increased oil consumption and potential damage.

For optimal engine performance and longevity, it’s advisable to stick to Subaru’s recommended oil change intervals. Moreover, always ensure you’re using the right type and quality of oil, as discussed earlier.

Symptoms of Infrequent Oil Changes

  • Dark or dirty oil when checked.
  • Sludge buildup is visible through the oil fill cap.
  • Reduced engine performance.
  • Increased engine noise.

Why Regular Oil Changes Matter

  • Engine Cleanliness: Fresh oil removes contaminants and keeps the engine clean.
  • Performance: Clean oil ensures smoother engine operations and better fuel efficiency.
  • Longevity: Regular oil changes extend the life of engine components.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting

  1. Check oil regularly; if it appears dark or thick, it’s time for a change.
  2. Monitor the engine’s performance and listen for unusual noises.
  3. Keep track of mileage and service intervals.

DIY Fixes for Infrequent Oil Changes

  • Change oil and filter based on Subaru’s recommended intervals.
  • If sludge is suspected, consider an engine flush (with caution) or consult a professional.
  • Regularly inspect and clean oil filters and other related components.

Costs of Addressing Infrequent Oil Changes

  • Regular Oil Change: $30-$70 depending on oil type and location.
  • Engine Flush: $100-$200, including labor.
  • Engine Repair due to Damage from Neglect: $500-$5000+, depending on severity.

Subaru Oil Consumption, Possible Causes #10: Cylinder Deformation

The shape and integrity of engine cylinders play a crucial role in maintaining optimal oil consumption. Cylinders can sometimes become deformed due to excessive heat or mechanical stress. When this happens, oil can seep into the combustion chamber, leading to increased oil consumption.

Identifying cylinder deformation requires professional tools and expertise. If you suspect this might be a cause for your Subaru’s excessive oil consumption, it’s crucial to consult with an automotive professional.

Symptoms of Cylinder Deformation

  • Increased oil consumption with no visible external leaks.
  • Blue smoke from the exhaust.
  • Reduced engine compression and power.
  • Engine misfires or rough idling.

Why Cylinder Integrity Matters

  • Efficiency: Properly shaped cylinders ensure optimal combustion and fuel efficiency.
  • Oil Consumption: Deformed cylinders can cause oil to leak into the combustion chamber.
  • Engine Health: Cylinder deformities can cause long-term damage if left unchecked.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting

  1. Conduct a compression test to evaluate cylinder health.
  2. Monitor exhaust for blue smoke, especially during acceleration.
  3. Check for engine misfires or irregular idling.

DIY Fixes for Cylinder Deformation

  • DIY solutions are limited due to the complexity of the problem; professional consultation is recommended.
  • Ensure regular engine maintenance to prevent such issues in the first place.

Costs of Addressing Cylinder Deformation

  • Compression Test: $100-$200.
  • Cylinder Resurfacing/Reconditioning: $500-$1500 per cylinder, depending on severity and location.
  • Complete Engine Overhaul: $2000-$7000+, depending on the extent of damage and labor costs.

In conclusion, while Subaru vehicles are known for their reliability, like all cars, they can face issues related to oil consumption. Being aware of these potential causes and maintaining a regular service schedule can help ensure your Subaru remains efficient and dependable. Remember, regular checks and preventive maintenance are key.

Problems With Subarus

If you’re unfazed by the wave of complaints about thirsty Subaru oil consumption, then you might still want to get that dream Subaru of yours. So, is there anything else, aside from oil use, that you want to be looking out for? Well, if you were to purchase a used Impreza, Forester, Legacy, Outback, or the Baja, they are known for their head gasket problems.

These issues began when Subaru started using composite gaskets back in the late 90s. Even until the early 2010s, it still had numerous reliability issues. Hence, the aforementioned Subaru models should be inspected carefully before you pull the trigger on that purchase. Thankfully, there are some signs that you could notice.

Firstly, check and see if there’s any trickling in between the engine block. The leak could eventually get even bigger, which may lead to a coolant leak, and possibly even engine failure. A smell akin to sulfur is also another red alert, accompanied by higher readings in the temperature gauge. Last but not least, you can take it for a drive to see if it’s overheating.

Recurring engine heating could point to a faulty gasket. This can be somewhat prevented if you regularly change the oil. You ought to have the battery terminals and the surrounding areas cleaned now and then to prevent an accumulation of corrosion. Oh, and make sure the coolant is fresh and clean, with it changed up when it’s dirty.

Here are a few other things to look out for

1. Transmission

Listen out for any whines or clunks while shifting through the gears. On top of that, check the rear differentials for any, and when did that particular Subaru get its transmission fluid changed?

2. Suspension

Check the rear struts, as they can suffer issues as the damper rod seals dry out and lose lubrication. In addition, check all the other suspension components, and enquire as to when was the last time they’ve been replaced or serviced.

3. Brakes

Inspect to make sure that there’s still some life in the brake pads left, as well as the calipers and brake rotors. If the brake pads are worn, you need to have them replaced as soon as possible.

4. Exterior

Along the outer bodywork, you need to gaze at whether there’s any rust. Corrosion is a big problem, as it can easily travel and bring rust to other parts of the body. If it’s rusted through, you’ll have to replace an entire section of the body panels. Most especially, you should look around for any rust near the wheel arches, front, and rear.

The front radiator support panels are another place where rust could form easily, following a build-up of moisture. Apart from this, you can look at the rest of the bodywork, as it could tell you if it’s been in an accident. Unaligned panels, large panel gaps, or color variations may be a sign that the vehicle has been involved in a collision, and was repaired.

5. Interior

While you’re inside of your dream Subaru, you should also check out for any damage there. For example, damaged trim pieces or panels can be costly to replace.

6. Service History

Perhaps the most important aspect of buying any car is reading through its service history. This can tell us if the previous owner has – or hasn’t – been diligent about maintaining their car. You can ask the seller for receipts, invoices, as well as records of any past servicing done on that car. It’ll give you a good idea of how it’s been treated over the years.

Subaru Reliability

Given that we’ve spent all this time looking at how excessive Subaru oil consumption is, are they as unreliable as it seems? Historically, Subaru was well-known for its focus on performance, off-road capabilities, unique boxer engines, and also their reliability. But since the early 2000s, it’s been plagued by bad engineering and constant issues, which have tarnished this reputation.

In the 1990s, Subaru was known to be extremely dependable and over-engineered. Proof of this is its World Rally Championship wins with Colin McCrae behind the wheel, having only further boosted the popularity of Subaru in the general public. However, then came the blown head gaskets, which were prevalent in the 2000s. It’s worryingly common with Subaru engines with over 75,000 miles on them.

Subaru managed to up its sales figures in the 2010s, as it solidified its line-up. Just as they were rebuilding their image for reliability, they took another huge blow in 2016.

This coincided with cases around the 4th-generation Forester suffering from axle and suspension problems. That includes a few other woes such as engine problems, turbo failure, and a defective starter motor.

In the reliability rankings, Subaru dropped to 18th place out of 36 manufacturers in 2015, as more and more angry customers started piling up. But what about the Subaru of today?

Well in 2019, they were ranked as one of the best brands for performance and value. But they also ranked 7th when looking at repairs and reliability. Overall, it’s a few steps in the right direction, at least.

Is A Subaru Worth It

If you were to buy a Subaru, it means you should be willing to spend on it, as well. After all, all this talk of Subaru oil consumption concerns isn’t cheap. On average, $1,000 worth of repairs and other maintenance work should be done each year. For most people, it might not be considered a good choice for a car. That’s especially so if you lack knowledge and preparedness in automotive care.

You’d have to visit the mechanic frequently unless you know what to look out for when your car is acting up. High oil consumption is just one of many other problems that Subaru is known to face.

For example, cars like Audi’s A3, A4, A5, A6, and Q5 models as well as BMW’s 5, 6, 7 Series, and X5 models are also known to burn through more engine oil than other similar vehicles in its class.

Yet, the only reason why we’re not treating these cars with the same amount of scrutiny as Subaru is that they don’t exhibit too many worries besides that. If you own a Subaru Forester, Impreza, Legacy, or Outback, you can take steps to reduce that heavy Subaru oil consumption. One of them is making sure your car is following its routine servicing.

If you take good care of it, your Subaru could easily last upwards of 200,000 miles with ease. But if you don’t have a Subaru yet, then it might be safer for you to stay away from the 2.5-liter engines, which can be problematic. As a whole though, and while we do love our Subarus, these are cars that you need to be very wary of before you go ahead and let them accompany you for life.

Facts: Fixing Your Subaru’s High Oil Consumption

  • Subaru, along with other vehicle manufacturers, has been embroiled in a controversy surrounding the manufacture of engines that burn through excessive amounts of engine oil.
  • Four of Subaru’s cars landed themselves in the top 30 for oil consumption in a survey on oil consumption held by Consumer Reports, with the worst offender being the models with 3.6-liter six-cylinder and 2.0- and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines.
  • A class-action lawsuit was brought against Subaru in 2014 regarding this issue, and the case is still ongoing.
  • The vehicles most likely to be affected by high oil consumption include the Subaru Forester 4th Gen (2014-18), Subaru Legacy 5th Gen (2010-14), Subaru Forester 2nd Gen (2003-08), Subaru 6.82 4th Gen (2014-18), and Subaru XV Crosstrek 1st Gen (2013-15).
  • Subaru’s advice to resolve the issue is to seek a replacement of the piston rings, which Subaru will cover under the vehicle’s warranty.
  • Six key factors that can cause a Subaru to consume oil more quickly include wear to the seals or gaskets resulting in oil leaks, poor oil quality, worn piston rings allowing oil to escape and be burned inside the combustion chamber, high oil pressure causing the oil to flood the engine excessively, an aged engine allowing oil to leak through tiny spots of natural wear and tear, and synthetic oil formulated differently than normal oil and can often escape through much smaller holes.
  • Investing in quality engine oil can help keep oil consumption down as much as possible.
  • Regularly scheduled maintenance can help ensure the Subaru is kept leak-free and give it the best chance of holding on to its oil for longer.
  • Responding quickly to any and all oil leaks is important to avoid severe issues that could arise from running out of oil entirely.
  • The replacement of the piston rings is expensive, but it is a goodwill gesture by Subaru and may save the brand’s reputation.

FAQs On Subaru Oil Consumption

If you’re still curious to learn more about Subaru oil consumption, our FAQs here might help…

How Long Do Subarus Last

With good care and regular maintenance, a typical Subaru should handily last at least 150,000 miles. On average, it’s certainly more common to see a Subaru running for at least 200,000 miles or more. Given that the average American drives around 15,000 miles per year, this equates to about 13+ years of ownership. Once you’ve passed that, you’ll need a thorough restoration and rebuild of your Subaru to keep it going for much longer. In addition to their relatively solid reputation for reliability, it’s among the reasons why a Subaru usually commands very strong brand loyalty and a lot of love from Subaru owners.

How To Stop Engine From Burning Oil

If your Subaru is burning too much oil, there are ways to slow down excessive oil consumption. One of those fixes would be adding some oil additives that might prevent the oils from burning too easily. However, these products can sometimes be hit or miss, depending on where you get them from. Otherwise, a more permanent solution would be finding the underlying cause of the oil burning and fixing it for good. For example, you could replace the head gaskets, prevent overheating, replace bad spark plugs, replace piston rings, patch up a leaking oil pan, or change the type of oil that you’re using.

Why Does My Car Burn Oil

Excessive oil consumption and burning might be caused by numerous factors. A blown head gasket, for example, would cause oil to leak into the cylinders, where it’s then burned alongside the fuel and air inside the combustion chamber. Otherwise, a damaged oil pan might allow for engine oil to leak out of your car entirely. Bad piston rings too, would permit oil to leak past the gaps between the cylinder walls and pistons, leading them into the combustion chamber. In addition, a clogged or faulty PCV valve might induce more pressure within the crankcase, forcing oil through and into the cylinders.

Does Synthetic Oil Burn

Just like conventional motor oil, synthetic engine oils will still burn. However, the rate at which it burns is significantly slower than traditional oils. This is because most synthetic oils are designed and formulated with special additives that not only ensure that they last for a long time between oil changes. But also, making sure that it’s more resistant to excessive oil consumption and burning. Beyond that, synthetic oils offer better lubrication qualities and maintain reliable lubrication even after long hours of engine operation. Still, it’s worth checking every once in a while to make sure that it’s not burning too much.

How Much Oil Should A Car Burn Between Oil Changes

It’s normal for an engine to burn oil. However, the rate at which motor oil burns will vary from one car to another, and it may seem unacceptable for some. Usually, a new and fresh engine that’s accrued less than 50,000 miles shouldn’t burn more than a quart of oil between its expected oil change intervals. Meanwhile, experts agree that burning an entire quart of oil every 3,000 or so miles is a good benchmark for acceptable oil burning. Although, some automakers claim that it’s normal for their engines to burn a quart of oil every 1,000 to 1,500 miles. And that’s especially so for higher-performance vehicles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *