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Subaru burning oil

Need help. I have a 2016 Subaru Forester with 80,000 miles that goes through a quart of oil at about 4000-5000 miles. I am the original owner and had a oil consumption test done with the Subaru dealer where I bought the car and was told that this is normal. Never had a car before that ate this much oil and it just does not sound right. What could be causing this and what are long term problems that might arise . Thanks for the help.

Consuming 1 qt of oil in 4,000-5,000 miles can be considered to be within a normal range, even if your previous cars didn’t consume oil at that rate.

By comparison, when owners of late-model Audis complain about their engines consuming oil at a rate of 1 qt every 600 miles, they are told by the Audi folks that this is normal–so obviously every mfr has a different definition of “normal”.

In any event, I don’t think that this is anything to worry about–as long as you monitor the oil level on a regular basis. I would be much more worried about the length of your oil change intervals than I would be by the consumption of 1 qt in 4k-5k miles.


RELAX!!! That type of oil consumption is entirely normal! Neither the dealer nor manufacturer will give you much of a hearing.

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Agreed there’s not much to worry about.

But; the questions I have involve the mileage on your oil change regimen and how often do you raise the hood to check the engine oil level between oil changes.

Both of those could have an effect on oil consumption.

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I used to have 5 Subarus in the past, and your consumption is well within the limits.

Subaru manual tells not to worry if you are under one quart for 1000 miles, but it is a little bit… over normal expectations in my view. My last Impreza was around half quart for 5000, my wife’s Outback used to be 1.5 quarts for 5000.

In my experience, Subaru opposite engine design makes it picky on the kind of oil you use.

If you want some theory, you can look for “The Motor Oil Bible” over internet and read through, but let me give you some quick advise which worked well for my Subarus.

Essentially, other than viscosity grade, API grade, etc…, “volatility” (NOACK) is what is quite important for your engine. The test is checking how much oil would evaporate at fixed temperature over fixed time, and it ranges between 6-7 to 15% and even more for different oils brands, making huge difference in that you will see as oil consumption in your opposite engine.

Out of what you can buy at Walmart, I settled on Valvoline SyperSyn 10w30, which had under 10% volatility, and it reduced my Subaru oil consumption immediately (not to mention, engine runs smoother on it). Only some types of Mobile 1 synthetics are as good on volatility (mostly the ones marked for European brands), so Valvoline was kinda “bullet-proof choice” for me.

If you really want to go for the best, look at Amsoil oils: these have very low volatility and work great, but even lazy choice like Valvoline will do better that “noname at chain store”

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I would not use any oil except that listed in the owner’s manual. You would void the warrantee.

I believe that is 0w20 full synthetic,

well, the rest of the logic still applies. you want to have as low volatility as possible among valid choices on viscosity and API grade

10W30 used to be the one for EJ engines before

FB seems to require 0W20:

here is spec for Valvoline:

I would not loose my sleep about warranty on the car with 80K miles, BTW

based on this, I would use 5W20, unless you are close to arctic circle :slight_smile:
0W20 has 2% more on NOACK, which is quite expected from the thiner basestock

It isn’t normal on a Subie with 80K on the clock. It’s excellent.
The only thing I’d recommend is making sure you never let the oil run low. Since you’re already monitoring it, I suspect preaching to the converted. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

There are reputed to be some rare engines that burn zero oil, although I’ve never actually seen one, however some usage should be considered absolutely normal. Your engine’s cylinders are treated in manufacture to cross-pattern scratches controlled in their depth, pattern, density, width, and length that are there specifically to hold a slight film of oil on the walls of the cylinders after the oil “wiper” rings go by, so that the compression rings aren’t driven down the cylinders “dry”. They’re called “honing”. Without this film the engine would self destruct. After the combustion rings go over it in the power stroke, much of it gets burned up by the combustion gasses. It gets pushed out the exhaust ports without harm to the engine (unless, obviously, it becomes excessive).

What would be too much? A quart every 1,000 miles is considered by most manufacturers to be acceptable. With your vehicle, I’d start being concerned at a quart every 1200 miles, since it’s been so good for the first 80,000 miles of its life.

Enjoy your Subie. And keep up the good work. :grin:


Frankly, my first instinct was that you are pulling our collective leg. A quart every 4-5K miles? Having 80K miles on a 2016? Do you ever get out of your car??

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Isn’t that a good question!

Concur, that’s not just normal oil usage, that is an oil usage rate everyone would like to have for their vehicles. Especially newer ones, which tend to use more oil b/c of the thinner oils they use to boost mpg. Put this worry behind you.

0w20 synthetic blend has been available for several years

Great, thanks everyone,this has put me at ease. I do spend a lot of time in the car, but it is quite enjoyable .

Boy, that is a lot of miles for a car that is under two years old. I have to disagree with the group here. Having owned 20 cars and a truck, and never having had any of them, including four Subarus, consume a single drop of oil, to me, a quart per oil change means that oil is being consumed. Subaru’s 2.5 engine is notorious for oil consumption problems. My advice to you is to start to log your oil usage carefully. As I am sure you are aware, there is a class action suit settlement on the Subaru 2.5 engines including the Forester, for earlier years. The settlement was reached in 2016. At that time the 2016 cars were too new to have been included. You can read more at this CarTalk link. Personally, if my 2016 Forester starts to burn oil, I am immediately driving to the nearest Mazda, Toyota, Honda, or Nissan dealer and I am trading it in on a similar model. Mine is a 2.5i Premium.