Squirting oil thru spark plug holes to start 2019 subaru that hasn't moved in over a year

I have a 2009 subaru forester that hasn’t moved in over a year. In such cases, it is often a good idea to squirt some light engine oil through the spark plug holes and let sit for a couple of hours to soak through between the rings and cylinder walls to prevent a broken ring when finally re-starting.

Problem is, I just saw what it takes to remove the spark plugs and things look mighty tight. I don’t know if can maneuver an oiling can to make sure the whole circumference of the piston/wall interface is covered with oil so it can soak through-no room to rotate the oiling can. It doesn’t have to be engine oil, just a small dab of 3 in 1 or some other light oil will be fine.

Any ideas of a tool or setup I can use to squirt some oil around the circumference of the piston so I don’t break a ring when starting back up?

I’ve always done that procedure on V8 engines, so I haven’t had the issue you have. Another reason I’d never own a Subaru.

How about a spray can of light oil? The little skinny spray tube such as used on WD40 would distribute it all around.

Actually, I don’t think you need to do this at all. Modern oils have very good cling and anti-corrosion properties.


Maybe a fogging oil



if @PS85 is so concerned about startup procedure, I would recommend to get the crankshaft rotated with the wrecker bar for 1-2 turns to make sure it rotates freely, and I would also expect no problems whatsoever after only a year of no-use.
I would not mess with spark plugs, although accessing these on Subarus is not as hard as one might think.

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I agree, I’d just turn the engine over a bit with the ignition off. I wouldn’t spray anything into it.


My vote is with Mustangman. A year is not that long and this is a boxer engine with horizontal cylinders so oil would have more of a tendency to cling.

What I would do is remove the fuel pump relay and crank it over until the oil pressure light goes out. Reinstall pump relay and hopefully it starts up.
My bigger concern might be the gasoline in the tank.


I like @ok4450 's idea.

It’s actually my temporarily disabled sister’s car. I didn’t know it had horizontal cylinders. Thanks for the info.

Fogging oil sounds like just the ticket. Never knew such a thing existed. Definitely will try. Thanks.

I thought about WD40 but it’s a penetrating oil, even though it’s just a tiny amount I didn’t think mixing with engine oil would be a good idea.

Hold on, where would you be spraying the oil? This only works if you remove the spark plugs, or take apart some of the air intake system so you don’t gum up things.


That is what I was also thinking.

I don’t think WD40 is a penetrating oil or a lubricant. It forms a film to resist moisture (hence Water Dispersant) = WD. I would use Sea Foam spray or some other genuine penetrating oil.

But, the OP doesn’t want to remove the spark plugs, which leaves the question of how he would spray anything inside the cylinders.

Some of the replies suggest not taking the spark plugs out, but I don’t see where the OP said they were going to pass on doing that.

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I think all you’d have to do is put a couple tablespoons of engine oil into each cylinder and rotate the crankshaft a few times. The oil clings to surfaces & should move all the way around the piston rings, driven by the motion of the piston. I expect that would work even w/flat-orientated engines like the Subaru. There is probably an easy way to prove this method works. At the very least you’d end up with oil in the cylinders, and w/the spark plugs reinstalled the oil vapor would eventually coat everything.

That’s not what OP said.


I think more people should do things for themselves but this might be one of those have it towed to a shop and let them do what needs to be done. As OK said the fuel might be bad also. This is his sisters vehicle so If it does not run well after he gets it going he might never hear the end of it.


I am with @Mustangman though. Just start it.

But if I was really worried about it, I’d just disable the fuel pump (fuse/relay) and crank it over a couple times.

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