Subaru Nightmare Oil Consumption


Asked by May 14, 2018 at 10:14 AM about the 2011 Subaru Forester

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Reading all the issues and want to say that my daughter has a 2012 Subaru
Impreza which has gone through 2 Oil Consumption tests from two separate
dealers.  All passed, but she is still is putting in 1.5 quarts between oil
changes.  I have a 2011 Subaru Forester.  My oil was 3.5 quarts low and the
oil light NEVER came on.  I did an oil consumption test and checked dipstick
immediately after and it was a quart over limit.  They are purposely over
filling.  Not sure if it is a SOA directive, but my daughter had 2 tests and even
if they over filled, it barely passed.  I am thinking they are skewing results
and I believe we need to collectively start another class action.  I reached out
to the attorney who did original class action.  Not sure if this violates the
terms of the original judgement.  They clearly are not a SAFE vehicle any
longer.  If you're driving at 70 MPH and your engine seizes, this is critical.  
Everything shuts down, power steering, brakes.  You and others can
seriously be injured!

23 Answers


1.5 quarts in how many miles? This is hardly nightmare territory,


Did you talk to SOA directly?


The older 2.5i SOHC in your '11 F uses a very conservative dipstick calibration. The motor calls for 4L (4.2qts) to cover the top (full) dot. Most wrenches put in 4.5, which quickly climbs the stick to where your photo shows. (5 qts would wet the "twist" in the stick...and STILL be ok for running without negative consequence.) So it's difficult to reconcile the incomplete data to know how much oil you consumed in what period of time (remember, hours of operation is a better indicator than mileage, but that's another topic). Your pic does NOT show a full quart overfill...just barely a half quart. Your daughter's '12 Imp uses a newer, smaller 2.0i with different design; I can't recall its dipstick calibration, as I eschew this wimpy motor. If she's adding 1.5qts over a 6000-7500mi interval that's really quite low, and indeed normal for a horizontally-opposed motor. If she wants to possibly reduce consumption she should switch away from Subaru's North American spec 0w20 oil to their international spec better 5w30 synth, as it would be better all around. NEITHER of your motors has a "one liter down" warning light like the newer 2.5i DOHC motor, of which the consumption clamor centers around. So DO monitor consumption maybe monthly to see if you need to add some, remembering that the BOTTOM dot on your stick is only one quart down...NOT dangerous to drive. (Even when the stick is barely wet at the very tip there's still 2-2.5qts in there, and the 2.5i will run ok. This very conservative design scares people into thinking they've no oil, but also serves to prompt topping up to the top dot (4qts). I know it's confusing.... If I were to perform a consumption test I'd drain and measure (either volumetrically or by weight) to confirm loss...NOT use just the stick unless the consumption is really egregious.


Really. You think it is actually normal to have to put oil in your car between oil changes. I have had many cars in my lifetime and never had to put oil in. My car was 3.5 quarts low before it registered and my light never came on. I am assuming since a class action suit was won, there is a definitive issue with the oil consumption of these two vehicles. The fact that my daughter is afraid to drive her car is another major issue. It may not seize the engine, but would you want your family member to take that chance? I was told the two open circles were where the engine oil should register. It appears to me that this is way over, but then again, I am not an expert. This reading was taken not 24 hours after Subaru's phase I of Oil Consumption and the car was only driven about 25 miles. Yes, I have contacted SOA a few times as did my daughter. She has a thesis on all the issue and all the fixes....full documentation.


Weather the dipstick read 1 qt or 1/2 qt over is not the issue! It was over full,.period! They are running an official test to check for oil consumption. They should be consistent with their procedures and actually show the customer where the level on the stick is when they begin the test. What happened here makes Subaru look like they have over filled it to give bogus readings at the conclusion of the test. and quite frankly, I would not trust that dealership as far as I could throw them,,There IS an issue with oil consumption in many Subarus and that needs to be corrected by Subaru. I have owned 2 Subarus in my life and my family has had several more. This problem is chronic,,,

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1. Yes. 2. Yes. 3. What chance?? 4. The dipstick's marks are NOT linear with capacity. Your mark is only about a half quart over normal "fill" at the top dot. The difference BETWEEN the dots is 1qt.


Adding some oil is pretty normal. Checking the oil level is easy and should be done at each fill up. Perhaps an electric is what Joanne needs.


I am going to be blunt. If you thought that the government forcing car builders to AVERAGE 54.5 mpg was a good idea then you basically voted for cars that use oil. Subaru and others have been going to extremes to get tiny improvements in fuel economy and it has caused a lot of problems and not just for Subaru.


Done with your corporate shilling. If you are willing to accept and defend a crappy car that will fall apart on you, fine. I’m not going to accept that, and it seems like in the past the courts have agreed with me. No matter how you look at it, my Oil level is OVER the required amount. This will skew the test.


And, a great company would take those requirements and make a safe car. That’s what a good R&D department does. They don’t cut corners on safety and their reputation and blame it on Government regulations.


Well said.

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Joanne, nobody's shilling here...calm down.


I am the last person to shill for Subaru. Mine has been a nightmare but credit should be given to ALL the guilty parties.


Joanne, I had an 09 Impreza and that car nearly drained all my enthusiasm for cars and driving. 3 engines, two transmissions, 3 clutches. The car was so fragile it was laughable. I defended it for a long time but I couldn't take it after so long. The engine is the worst part though. It eats oil like no tomorrow. I will say, when I had to get my second engine, the dealer said I'd still have to pay $1,800, but after writing a letter to the CEO, they did the whole repair under warranty. So they deserve some credit there. I've never heard of another car company that has so many oil consumption problems in the 21st century. I switched to an Infiniti, with twice the horsepower, not a drop of oil being consumed so far.

2 people found this helpful.

I am sorry F_O_R. It just seemed that you were defending Subaru. I am at a loss with this. My daughter went for another Oil Consumption test on Saturday because she only passed by .2 on the previous one and since they over filled my oil; I insisted she have another one. They actually overfilled hers and then tried to charge her for the test. I called SOA immediately and she sent in pictures to them. Waiting to hear what they will do. It's frustrating to drive an unreliable car and having Corporate not even care that their reputation will be impacted by this mess.


One thing to understand is Subaru uses a 5 minute rule on checking oil levels. If you let oil run down overnight it may show high. Try shutting off the engine and then wait 5 minutes to check the level.

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Be aware that German cars are worse than Subaru when it comes to oil consumption. Look up Consumer reports thirsty thirty.

1 people found this helpful.

Looks like there are parallel threads on this subject. See my further comments on the other one.

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I'm a little surprised too that this is not more advertised. I went on Consumer Reports and it had reviews of the Subaru Impreza by multiple years and not once was it mentioned about this issue. I am actually going to write to them about this. I don't see how a consumer can make an educated purchase if all the facts are not weighed. It doesn't take a whole lot of investigative analysis to get that there is an issue. Google is a powerful tool.


Lots of threads because there are so many problems.


Again, Joanne, your 2011 Forester does NOT have the FB DOHC engine in question. You're continuing to misinterpret and conflate the data.


I am also concerned about my daughter's 2012 Impreza. My sister in law also has a 2012 Outback. There are many Subarus in my family. Not really sure what data you think I am continuing to misinterpret and conflate. The issue is that Subaru has produced an unsafe car with multiple issues and refuses to fix the problems that we have all encountered. I am not misinterpreting that they are overfilling the oil (I have had many people attest to this and many pictures to document). I assure you that I will not stop until there is a resolution for my daughter's 2012 Impreza. I have already written off my Subaru 2011.


Sigh.... Again: the 2012 Impreza 2.0, 2011 whatever and 2012 OB have two different motors...BOTH previous designs that do NOT have the sub-population of oil drinkers plaguing 2013+ 2.5i DOHC motor production. Again, you're conflating and misinterpreting different source info.

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