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2012 Subaru Outback preferred oil type

I can’t seem to find a definitive answer as to whether I should be using synthetic oil in my 2011 Subaru Outback. If so, should I use straight synthetic or synthetic blend?

What, exactly, does your owners manual say?

+1 to texases comment. Your owners’ manual is the absolute authority.

Like texases said, follow what your manual says. According to this website, it sounds like synthetic may be “recommended” but not " required" for your engine.

“Required” means you void the warranty if you don’t use synthetic. “Recommended” means you can use non-synthetic without voiding the warranty. In that case, it comes down to your driving style, pocketbook, and maintenance preferences. I prefer to use non-synthetic oil and change it more frequently every 3-5k miles, because oil does absorb contaminants from combustion, and I’d rather have clean, newer conventional oil in my engine than older, dirtier synthetic.

But, if you prefer less frequent oil changes, then you may prefer the synthetic route.

Also do a search of this forum, this has been covered at least 2-3 times in the last few months on this VERY same car… Maybe Subby needs to make things more clear for there customers…

You did not say whether it has the 2.5L (with or without turbo) or the 3.6L engine. Without the turbo, you can use conventional (mineral) 5W-30 oil. Use synthetic (not synthetic blend) 5W30 if you have the turbo 2.5L engine.

My 2011 Outback’s specs call for conventional 5w-30 motor oil, but as far as I know, Subaru changed the spec for all 2012 models to synthetic oil. (Their turbo-charged engines have required synthetic for several years, but the turbo engine is not available on US-manufactured Outbacks. You can get a turbo-charged 2.5L in the Legacy sedan, but not in an Outback.)

I would be very surprised if your owner’s manual does not mention the type of oil that is required.
Have you looked in the manual?

The “Motor Oil” isle keeps getting longer and longer…But I have noticed they have found a couple of feet of shelf-space by removing the 10W-40 grade…

Well, now we’ve got the full synthetic, the blend, and the dino, all in all the different weights. Takes lots of isle space now.

I love these “What kind of oil should I use posts” They are always started by people who just bought a car with an engine that has a somewhat dubious reliability record…So they are hoping to make up for these engineering shortcomings by feeding it only the finest, most expensive Motor Oil…Subaru’s and Honda’s lead the pack, with Toyota coming in third…Ford and Chevy owners seldom if ever express any concerns about what kind of oil they should be using…Somehow their engines survive on any product labeled “Motor Oil”…

“Subaru changed the spec for all 2012 models to synthetic oil.”

I read the 2012 Impreza/Outback owner’s manual on line at the Subie site. Conventional oil is find for both engines in the Outback since there is no turbo.

According to what I read on the website, the spec was changed to synthetic after the manuals were printed, and owners were sent info on the new spec via e-mail and regular mail. However, I can’t confirm if that is true, and I am only reporting what I read on that site.

@VDCdriver, It seems like Subaru should have the most up-to-date PDF manuals on their web site, but I don’t know that for sure. All I did was take a couple minutes to find the 2012 owner’s manual.

If you have a turbo, you need synthetic. If not, you don’t, but IMHO, you would be better off using it if you plan on keeping the car for a long time, as it is just better oil. For less than $50 more per year, I think it’s worth it. (I hope I haven’t dredged up the oft repeated debate over the merits of synthetic vs. dino oil here)

Our 2012 Acura calls for 0-20 but doesn’t say syn is necessary. Only problem is there is no conventional oil in 0-20. I’ve never thought it necessary before but guess I’ll be using Mobil 1. At the parts counter I got a bottle of touch-up paint and a quart of oil for the trunk and it cost me $17. I thought the price of paint went up but was charged over $8 for a quart of syn oil.

I think the reason GM owners don’t ask is that the manuals are still calling for more standard weights available in conventional oil.

Doesn’t it say what oil to feed it right on the filler cap? Like just about every other car produced in the last 20 years.