I have an 02 Forester that has 413,000 miles. It needs appox 2 qts of oil @ 4500 mile intervals. Is that too much? Is it going to start needing more oil sooner? I guess I am asking if the end is near?
413K - wow, that’s very good. You heard of dog years? Well, in ‘car years’, I’d leak 2 quarts of oil if I was that age as well.
See where it is coming from.
It may not be the dreaded head gasket breach:
If it comes from between the transmission and engine case, it could be due to a cracked oil separator cover or oil seal.
On that vintage engine, the oil separator cover was made of plastic and it tends to crack and eventually weep oil. It is right behind the flexplate/driveplate so unfortunately the engine needs to slightly separate from the transmission to replace it. Subaru sells a cast aluminum replacement cover that solves the problem.
If it is the seal in that area, the engine also needs to separate.
If you’re doing it yourself, it is a bit of a job but perfectly doable. A mechanic will charge real money, though. If this is a stick, you could get either one (seal or cover) replaced next time you do a clutch job, I guess.
If it comes from in front of the engine, it could be one of its seals. If so, you could get it taken care of next time you get your timing belt replaced.
Regardless, that engine dropping oil is not pressing business.
At that mileage, just keep your eye on the oil, add when needed and drive on. No biggie. Oil is cheap.
A qt of oil every 2250 miles avg on an engine with 413K?
No, that isn’t normal. That is much, much, BETTER than normal!!! Most NEW cars consider a qt every 1000 miles acceptable, and that’s twice what you’re using at 400K++.
Continue to do whatever you’re doing. It’s working. Do no work on this engine that you would not have done had you not posted here.
The only caveat I’d add is that you need to check your oil level regularly, not wait for the oil change, and add when it gets one quart down rather than two.
I think that if your car starts and gets you where you want to go with 413,000 on the clock you are doing well. As long as you keep up on the checking of the oil level your car may just keep on going.
Your car is doing great for the mileage but from the sound of it, you’re not checking the oil level regularly. I read this as you’re discovering it’s 2 quarts down at every oil change.
If this is the case then you’re heading for disaster because at some point the engine is going to be so low on oil that it will give up.
The engine should not be allowed to operate while 2 quarts down so check the oil level every other tank of gas at least.
I agree. Buy a case of oil on sale, put it in the back, and check your oil every fillup or so. I would not try and fix anything, you’re on the last lap with it as it is.
WOW. Two quarts of oil in 4500 miles is fantastic at 413,000 miles. Is it leaking oil, or using it by burning it? In either case, you can buy a whole lot of oil for less than the cost of the repair. Just keep checking it regularly as has been pointed out above.
MountainBike has a really good point, saying that you should never let it go down two quarts.
Still, that mileage is very impressive.
Don’t worry, just top it off if needed with oil every 2-3 fuel fillups.
Out of curiosity has the head gasket made it fine all this time? My mom is only at half your mileage with 2000 forester and still running the original one.
You are doing great; at that mileage most cars would have bit the dust already. As advised, check the oil regularly, top up as necessary, and put a cookie sheet with cat litter on your garage floor.
A quick look at the floor of the average parkade or shopping center lot will show you that most cars leak oil. The average car on the road in the US is now 11 years old.
ecoan, are you bragging or complaining about your oil consumption?? Is this the original engine in this car?? If so, you are in the top 5% of Subaru longevity…
If that 4500 mile interval where you state it needs 2 quarts of oil . . . I’m assuming that’s your oil/filter change interval. My two cents is that you had better watch your oil level a little more closely . . . 2 quarts low is dangerous. Oil starvation will kill it. My congrats on your mileage . . I also have a senior citizen ('89 Accord with almost 560k) and I’m always looking for signs of death. My Accord drips a little, smokes a little, uses a quart to a quart and a half between oil changes. No big deal, but I keep an eye on fluids every week or two. Good luck! Rocketman
just think that if you had changed the oil more frequently than 4500 miles, how mahy miles you could get out of it!!!
“My Accord drips a little, smokes a little, uses a quart to a quart and a half”
Sounds like one of my uncles in his “golden” years!
I think most car manufacturers say oil loss is normal until it reaches one quart/1000 miles. Some say one quart/500 miles I think. I think your rate of oil loss is a-ok for a car with that many miles. I see no reason why it won’t go on for many more miles. You must be taking good care of the ol’ buggy. Good on you!
Thanks to all of you for giving me the advice about when to check the oil. I will get a case and keep it in the car and check it more often. There are no leaks under the car after it is parked so I think it is burning it. Someone asked about a head gasket, not sure what that is, so I am pretty sure it was never repaired. I love this car, and wanted to know if my emotional attachment to it needed to be overruled by the intelligence regarding when to give up the ghost. thanks all.
Headgaskets are the Achilles heels of Subarus.
They have a propensity to fail more often than necessary, especially of the 98-2002 vintage.
Your car clearly has good gaskets from the start.
They’ve since fixed that issue, though.
I’m partial to Subarus as well and am very happy to hear your car is doing so well.
I think the failure rate is still only about 30% of Subaru’s headgaskets. Not great but you have a 70% chance of no failure. Only 1 of 8 extended family’s Subaru’s(220k Forester) has had the failure with majority of cars with 150k-250k.
The I think the failure was self induced as my Phd relative ignored the temp guage on H and kept on going. Some magic seal kept the car going another 20k but (iffy fix) coupled to failed AC in the spring led to a newer Subaru.
Out of curiosity, where did you get that statistic, @Raj?
Not that I’m questioning it but just never actually seen numbers on the failure rate of head gaskets.