2012 Subaru Forester - More on oil burning Subies

Your reply to “Kirby” about oil burning in his 2013 Outback with the 2.5 engine was not correct. Subaru knows about the oil burning problem in 2012/2013 2.5 engines. They have replaced thousands of them at no cost to the owner. Engine # 3 (actually they just replace the short block) was recently installed in my friends 2012 Forester at 112K miles. He had oil burning from the day he purchased car new and really hounded them until the service manager admitted that Subaru knew it was a major problem. Kirby should start being a squeaky wheel at his dealer so he can get some grease for his oil burning Subaru. My friend also insisted they replace the Catalytic convertors as the long term oil burning clogged them. They did replace the cats when installing engine #3. You may look into this further and readvise “Kirby”. Keep up the good work Ray. I enjoy your column. John

If I remember correctly, Kirby was getting way over a thousand miles per quart. My understanding with problem Subaru engines is that oil consumption is much higher than that. How much oil was your using before replacement?

Subaru considers “normal” oil consumption at 1000/1200 miles per quart. That is excessive! Much has been written about the 2012/2013 2,5 engines having oil consumption problems with low miles. Subaru has “Quietly” replaced thousands of these engines when the owner is persistent at having it fixed. My friends 2012 Forester had high oil consumption from new. He was adding 1 qt. every 2000 miles. Subaru said so what. He documented through the dealership the usage over 2 years and 37k miles. They finally agreed to install a new short block. This was there fix. Oil consumption was even worse with new short block. 2 more years of dealership documentation and now at 67k miles they agreed to another short block. Oil consumption was back at the 2k miles per quart but the engine rain poorly. At time of install the engine management computer was reflashed and it changed the performance noticeably. Engine displayed pinging and down on power. Engine #3 installed at just under 100k miles. Now, along the way my friend paid separately for items like spark plugs, belts, hoses, timing belt, water pump, etc. to be installed while the dealership had the thing tore down. Engine #3 runs good. The catalytic convertors were replaced at the time of install. They had cracked the pipe taking it apart and putting back together so many times. They tried to patch weld it without him knowing. Well, the weld did not hold so he insisted they put on new cats since they tried to cover up the repair. The fact is that all that excessive oil consumption probably clogged them. So, he is now at about 120k miles and using 1 qt of oil every 4k miles. If you go to google and type in “2012/2013 Subaru 2.5 High Oil Consumption” all kinds of stuff comes up about this. There was at least 1 class action suit about this. My friend did purchase a new 2018 Chevy Colorado with the 3.6 V-6. No oil consumption problems as of 30k miles. I have a 2014 Chevy Cruze with a 1.4 turbo 4 cylinder and at 70k miles I never have had to add oil between changes. I take it only to local Chevy dealer for oil changes every 5k miles, tire rotation also. Subaru has a problem with this. They know it but unless you do something about it they sure are not going to volunteer to fix it. Most folks do not know any better and just keep dumping oil in when the light goes on. Typical clueless auto owner.

I know about the high oil consumption problems with some Subarus. But 1 quart per 2000 miles would not meet any manufacturer’s criteria for ‘high oil consumption’. Sounds like your fried complained a lot, and what did it get him? Nothing but trouble, it seems.


Trouble??? I think not. Yes, he had to be persistent at the dealer to document the oil usage but it paid off and Subaru admitted it had problems. He got 3 short blocks installed and finally got one that has somewhat reasonable oil consumption. Manufacturers have to be held accountable when they have product that is defective. Subaru knew there was a problem with the piston rings seating properly on some blocks as a result of poor or substandard assembly. Surely you do not think that if you buy a new vehicle these days that burning a quart of oil every 2k miles is acceptable? Tell me you know better. No modern vehicle today should burn oil at that rate after some break in miles. Many cars today come with synthetic oil from the factory and do not even recommend break in miles to seat rings.

Background…I have worked at 4 different dealerships (Infinite, Volvo, Hummer (long gone) and GMC. I was the Service Director at Volvo for over a year and held various positions in service at the other dealerships. I was a total gearhead from grade school on and have drag raced several different brands of cars from the time I could first drive. I have turned a few wrenches, Never ever would consumption of a quart of oil in 1000/1200 miles (Subaru standard) be acceptable at any of the dealerships I worked at. Period. That rate of oil consumption in a new vehicle indicates a problem. My 2013 Ford E150 XLT Premium van with 90k miles on the 5.4 2 valve engine requires no additional oil added between changes every 5k miles. If you paid $25/35/45k for a new car and you had to put in a quart of oil every 2k miles would you be happy with that? Of course not. You would take the car back and start a consumption test in the service department with sealed filler openings.

How many engines have you replaced under warranty that were burning a quart per 2000 miles?

  1. A 2012 Volvo XC90 6 cylinder was replaced with factory long block. Infiniti, Volvo, Hummers (long gone) and GMC trucks in my service experience do not have a huge history of being oil burners. Not that those brand do not suffer from other noted problems, but high oil consumption is not among them, again in my experience. The Volvo engine that was replaced was sent back to factory for inspection. It was determined that for whatever reason the final cylinder wall machining was not correct and the nickosil coating was not applied creating a no seal condition with the piston rings. In the case of Subaru please reference NHTSA ID#10144873 and Subaru Manufacturers Communication #02-157-14R (or TSB 02-157-14R). Interesting reading. Good Day!