Irene Asks: Why Is Our Subaru Consuming So Much Oil?

From: Irene asks: ” Subject: Oil Consumption on a Subaru Sent date: 06/14/2013 11:33:56 AM To: Hi Joe, We have had a problem with our 2nd Subaru. We bought a 2013 Subaru Legacy last Oct. 5, 2012, 4-door, 4-cylinder. It had major oil consumption problems at 2814 miles, it was down 2 qts. of oil. We were over to the dealership in Vt., about 8 times doing oil consumption tests on the car. The service manager admitted that there was definitely something wrong with the car. We took it over there for a final test and that showed that there was nothing wrong with the car, they said. This situation went on until there was 17,430 miles on the car. Five months of running over there. They said they couldn’t do anything for us. It just ate the oil and gas. I have all the paperwork on the work. We traded cars on March 11, 2013 to a Subaru Impreza, 4-door, 4-cylinder. (Much better on gas.) The dealership is telling us that the car should go 7,500 miles before changing the oil. (Synthetic oil) At 6,288 miles the yellow light came on. We checked the stick and there was barely anything showing on the stick. We didn’t wait until 7,500 miles, we went right over to the dealership and they did an oil change and 7,500 mile check-up on the car at that time. Now, we’re at 12,735, the yellow light comes on and nothing showing on the stick, so I went to the dealership here in Keene and bought 2 qts. of oil and put all of it in the car before the yellow light would go off. We went over to the dealership in Vt., again at 15,050 miles for the oil change and maintenance on the car that’s required. The dealership in Vt., says that it is synthetic oil and it should go longer. Everyone I talk to tells me that it should still be changed at every 3,000 miles regardless of what kind of oil I am using. Now the dealership wants us to go over there again for oil consumption tests on this car at another 1,000 miles. Also, I might add that all oil changes are free on this car, for the life of the car. Joe, at this point in time, I am so sick of running over there all the time. I feel that if the oil changes were done more often there wouldnt be a problem. Do you think that they have extended the time in between oil changes because the oil changes are free? I would like your opinion on this problem. I know you have had 30 years of experience working with cars and would appreciate your opinion. Sincerely, Irene & Lloyd

2013 Subaru Legacy

2013 Subaru Legacy

Okay Irene  here is what I think may be going on here. When an engine is new there is a break in period for your engine. It may vary from manufacturer but it is usually right around 1000 to 1500 miles or so. The first likely cause may be the piston rings, if the new piston rings do not seat, or wear in properly this could be your cause of oil consumption.I had a condition like this in the past with a new car and it stopped using oil when it hit around 15000 miles. Also an engine will use some oil due to the engine oil that lubricates the valve stems can leak past into the combustion chambers as well and is burned. It is unfortunate for you to have the same problem with your second new Subaru. If you keep your records and do exactly what the dealer says to they should take care of you and your concern with your car. Especially when your car  is that new. Going back 8 times for an oil consumption test is a bit much, three times would have been it for me personally. If you are not happy with what you hear you should find an 800 phone number somewhere in the back of your owners manual to voice your concern. Or you can make an appointment at the dealership to have a meeting with DSM (district service manager) the next time he or she visits the dealership and express your discontent with the product. You also are protected under the New Hampshire Lemon law you can read it HERE. In my personal vehicle I use synthetic oil and go 5000 miles between oil and filter changes. I check my oil level at about 3000 miles and I usually have to add a quart, most engines will use some oil some do not, but when it becomes an issue when it becomes excessive. The other problem is that an oil filter only works and filters the engine oil for 5000 miles,and then the dirty oil just “bypasses” the filter and does not protect your engine anymore.  So if you change your oil at 7500 miles you are likely driving around with an oil filter that has not been working for 2500 miles. What you may not know is that when your oil light comes on in your car it can be stored in your vehicles computer as a permanent “Event’ It is important that it is recorded on the repair order that when the oil light comes on it is not due to your neglect. I am for extended times between oil changes with synthetic oil, to reduce our “carbon’ footprint that we are putting on the earth. But I believe that what it really comes down to is the manufacturer that has the lowest stated cost of ownership wins! My personal recommendation for everyone out there is be  proactive and check your own oil level.

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