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Subaru Forester oil consumption. Honda CR-V vibration

I’m considering buying a Forester, but am feeling very turned off by the on-going problem with excessive oil consumption and what appears to be Subaru’s refusal to fix it or even acknowledge that it is a problem. (One person told me it has to do with the way the engine is designed. A salesman told it is pretty much restricted to cars with manual transmissions. Two people warned me to stay away from Subarus completely.)

I am hesitant about buying a car with a known problem, especially when that problem has existed for years and the company has not appeared to take steps to fix it. Is this just an issue with a small percentage of the cars or is it one that becomes a problem with more vehicles over time? Is adding oil every 1,000 or so miles as needed the best solution?

There have also been quite a few complaints about excessive vibration in the Honda CR-V. How much of an issue is the vibration? Is there a repair for it? (I’ve not read about one.)

That’s the first I’ve heard about the Subaru problem. Consumer reports rates them highly. They did switch to 0W20 oil which is thinner and will tend to get used up faster.

Sometimes a few reports get blown up all out of proportion on the internet… Every engine has a few examples of high oil consumption, due to normal tolerances in manufacturing.

I believe every manufacturer regards adding 1 quart of oil every 1000 miles to be acceptable. Some go as low as 1 per 400 miles.

Consumer Reports had an article about the excessive oil consumption in some cars (including some Subaru models) in 2015, and discussed how much oil use should be considered normal.

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It is really quite simple. In your other thread about what to buy if you are concerned about things you have heard or read about a vehicle just cross it off your list. Just start playing with the manufactures web sites and you may find a vehicle you had not even thought about.

Volvo-V70 thank you for the advice. All cars have problems and almost all of them can be fixed. Of the cars I’ve looked at, many share the same complaints: unexpected acceleration, failure to accelerate, brake failure, etc. Those I have crossed off my list. But the Subaru stands out for oil consumption and the Honda for vibration, and I’ve not read anywhere that either manufacturer has come up with a permanent solution. So, I’m asking the Car Talk community if they know of any repairs for these faults. I am hesitant about a car with a documented, unique problem if there is no known repair for it as it could be design flaw that will cost me a lot over the next ten years or more that I expect to own the vehicle.

My 2016 CR-V doesn’t vibrate at idle.

The internet is loaded with complaints, about everything it seems, so take it all with a grain of salt. These are cars that sell in very large numbers, to people with all kinds of different standards and who drive in all kinds of different ways. You will find complaints and if you don’t weed through them you’ll end up hiding in your cellar, surrounded with your survival stash of roots and berries you picked yourself. And end up with lung cancer from radon poisoning.

Have you looked at . . .?

It is just one tool of many

In other words, you should be looking at that, consumer reports, pay to log onto the various manufacturers’s technical websites to get the REAL dirt, etc.

If you’ve got half a brain in your head, as far as goes, you can weed out the crackpot conspiracy types from the legitimate people. And you can also weed out the guys that had a problem because they don’t take care of their cars properly

As I said, it should just be one tool in your arsenal

If you are looking for a vehicle that has no complaints made against it, I would suggest something from Schwinn. At least they are cheap enough to replace completely if something goes wrong!

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I’ve got a little over 16,000 miles on my 2015 Subaru Forester CVT and it has never used oil, Oil changed every 5,000 miles by the dealer, Seems to happen more with the manual transmission but even the forester specific forum’s aren’t sure exactly why.

Wolyrobb, my case is very similar, 2015 Subaru Forester CVT with 22k miles, never added oil.

I would hate to have to add oil to a new car between oil changes, but as noted there can be a variance in acceptable use. I wonder how many people toast their engine, Bluetooth training was the biggest part of our new car dealer experience, checking oil, not a Subaru was never even a conversation point. Are new car buyers alerted to the fact their car might need periodic oil checks like every 1000 miles or so?

That’s in the owner’s manual

shouldn’t have to tell people to read it

2014 Subaru Legacy 2.5L engine and CVT, 46k miles. Uses about a quart between changes.

Maybe some drivers rev higher than they need to, or some lug the engine.

Could very well be, how the owner drives during the first few thousand miles seems to be the main factor.

The one reason that comes to mind as to why a manual shift Subaru consumes more oil than an automatic is that some of the drivers of the manual shift Subarus downshift through the gears using the engine as a brake. This creates a high vacuum condition which may be sucking oil past the valve stem seals.


If you are worried about those issues on those 2 models, then don’t buy them-I wouldn’t either. Take a look at the RAV4.

The Hyundai Tucson keeps coming up in reviews but then it has a direct injection engine and a dual clutch automatic and if you search on issues about those your head would start to spin.

You have to eventually buy something (or use Uber forever) and it is going to need some repairs here and there. You are not going to get a car that has ALL the issues related to that model unless you get a lemon. If you are buying new, at least you have the warranty for a while.

The internet is a magnet for people with anecdotal complaints about specific items. They may be telling the truth about their experience but they are not able to generalize about the experience of millions of other owners. Consumer Reports and carcomplaints may be better sources of information than a forum for questions like yours.

We have a 2016 Subaru Outback with15k and hasn’t used a drop of oil. I know a lot of people with Subaru’s and I haven’t heard of an oil problem.

Thank you all for the replies. I think I took a fairly logical approach to this. (I first stumbled across carcomplaints, but then took that out of my process.) I looked at the total number of cars sold in the US for 2014 and 2015 for the specific models I was interested in and then looked up the total number of complaints about the cars from 2014 to the present on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website so I could find out the ratio of # of cars sold to # of complaints. Then I read through them and eliminated any that were one-offs or seemed to be due to owner-caused issues. I also eliminated any complaints that were shared across all the vehicles. So I was left with problems that were specific to that particular car. There were a lot of complaints about the CR-Vs vibration and and the Forester’s oil consumption. (Not just a hand full.) Unfortunately, the website did not specify manual vs automatic transmission, regular vs turbo charged, etc.

Unfortunately, so far, no one who has replied here has said there’s a solution to either problem (except adding oil to the Subaru as needed, which is a simple solution but can get expensive).

As an aside to Galant: I have also looked at the RAV4. They have reduced the ground clearance by a significant amount. My 2006 had 7.5", but the new model has either 5.5", 6.0", or 6.5" (I get different answers from different locations); and I’m not sure if the ability to paddle shift offers anything better than the Subaru Forester’s “Low” gear for when I need to get out of Drive and into a lower gear. But this is the repair forum.