2020 Subaru Outback, Forester, Ascent, Crosstrek, best oil, how often shouold I change my oil?
Denis Flierl's picture

The Best Oil For Your New Subaru Engine And How To Get The Longest Life

What is the best oil for your new Subaru and how often should you change it? Here are tips to get the longest life from your engine.
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The most critical part of ensuring your new Subaru Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, Ascent, Impreza, Legacy, WRX /STI or BRZ engine will be reliable for years to come is to remain vigilant on the oil changes. Oil is the lifeblood of your engine and the least expensive maintenance you can do to keep your Subaru running well. The three Cs and main functions of your engine’s oil are to Cushion (lubricates), Clean (removes contaminants), and to keep your Subaru Boxer engine Cool.

How often should I change my engine oil?

Subaru recommends getting your first oil change at 6 months and not more than 6,000 miles. However, it’s a good idea to change it at 3,000-4,000 miles since the engine will have just come through the initial break-in period (3,000 miles). Especially since a new engine will experience slightly more wear during this time.

Subaru oil change schedule and how often you should change it
Regular maintenance is the key

After your first oil change, Subaru says you should change it every 6,000 miles using synthetic oil. But this is if you drive in "normal" conditions. Driving habits and conditions will affect how often you should change your oil.

What are the extreme driving conditions?

Driving patterns such as frequent engine braking (downshifting the transmission in order to decelerate the vehicle), engine operation at sustained high rpm (sustained highway driving or driving in mountainous terrain), frequent acceleration and deceleration (stop-and-go freeway traffic) Severe thermal conditions (extreme heat or cold), and idling for extended periods of time (frequent and sustained remote engine-start operation).

change your oil more often in extreme conditions
Extreme conditions require more frequent oil changes

If your vehicle has any of these extreme driving conditions you will need to change your oil more frequently. We would recommend changing it every 4,000-5,000 especially if you have more than one of the extremes above.

What oil should I use?

If your Subaru is a 2011 or newer Forester, a 2012 or newer Impreza, or a 2013 or newer Outback, Legacy, Crosstrek, Ascent, or BRZ, it is required to use synthetic oil. Subaru recommends using Genuine Subaru oil and 0W-20 viscosity in all of these engines, designed for improved fuel economy and increased power. 5W-30 is formulated for the turbocharged engine in the WRX and WRX STI, which runs at higher temperatures. It has increased protection against breakdown, and superior lubrication for optimal fuel economy.

Why does my Subaru engine use oil between changes?

Because many manufacturers are now using these “skinny” zero weight synthetic oils to squeeze out tiny improvements in fuel economy, you may experience some oil consumption between oil changes. It’s a good idea to check the oil level in your vehicle often, about once a month if you drive an average of 12,000 miles year.

Check your oil once a month or every 1000 miles
Check the oil level often

If your driving patterns involve any extreme conditions, you will likely experience some oil consumption and need to “top off” your oil between oil changes. Don’t let your Subaru engine go below the bottom dot on your dipstick, or your engine can overheat and you will experience premature engine wear or engine failure.

The best way to ensure your new Subaru Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, Ascent, Impreza, WRX /STI or BRZ engine will be reliable for years to come is to remain vigilant on the oil changes.

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Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on FacebookTwitterInstagramSubaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates!

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Comments

What is the original oil used by subaru in Japan? When I got my forester, it was green. Then I got my 1st oil change and it changed to brown.
It's Idemitsu brand. It should be light Amber when put in, not green. If it was green, my bet would be assembly line.
Subaru oil is rebranded Idemitsu oil. Not the best, not the worst, just adequate. It should be amber when new, and turn black in a few miles, as will all oil. If it was green, my bet would be assembly lube washing off the internals.
I use 5w 40 full synthic with my 2008 forester xt ej255 engine and never let oil get more than 5000km / 3000miles old.
What is this crap, there is no recommendation, no real insight, just Subaru advertising. "The Best Oil For Your New Subaru Engine And How To Get The Longest Life... " What is the recommendation? Use Subaru branded oil, which is just relabeled Idemitsu oil, with a price markup. I find it funny that most stealerships don't even use it, opting for Castrol Edge in many cases. Also, Subaru replaced many 2014-2015 FA20DIT WRX and Forester XT blocks because of excessive oil consumption. Excessive was listed as over 1 quart in an oil change internal. The difference between the high mark and low mark on the dipstick is 1.1 quarts, or over Subaru's excessive mark, so if you're having to "top off" between oil changes, you have a problem and needed to have it addressed. I also find it funny that both my 2015 Forester XT 2.0DIT and 1999 Forester NA 2.5 use more oil than my 1964 Chevy C10 with it's 454 (7.4L) drag engine, and use nearly as much gasoline.
Just to let you know, the new FA24F motor in the Ascent and in the Outback XT uses 0W20 motor oil.
Re: "Full synthetic ..." When this is on the label it sounds like this would be the best engine lube money can buy. Not all synthetics are the same. When a dealer's service department threatens to void warranty if you don't use their oil remind the guy on the other side of the counter that is required to provide it at no charge. Another thing, Magnassun-Moss Act is on your side if voiding your warranty becomes an issue.
The best oil?......this story takes me back decades ago when everybody had their favorite oil, as well as oils they would never use. We are going forward to the past with this oil debate and I love it! Rudy H is spot on with his M-M Act quote. Can't be compelled to use a specific oil brand. Use the proper oil weight recommended. Just look at new car service departments. They use factory or a name brand oil. And as pointed out, factory is just rebranded name brand oil. I have an '09 Toyota Corolla with almost 186,000. I use Mobil 1 synthetic 0w-20 and a Toyota oil filter. I change the oil by 5,000 miles since that is the factory recommended oil change interval. The engine uses about a pint of oil between changes.....the same as when new. So if your engine uses oil, don't immediately blame the oil. Mobil 1 has taken really good care of my engine. When I change my oil, looking into the filler hole in the valve cover, I can see a bit of the valve train. It looks as clean as it did when new. Absolutely amazing. Oil has come a long way over the decades.
In my opinion the design of horizontally opposed engines will always see increasing oli consumption over a vertical engine. As well...investigate 100% synthetic oil....in my opinion (as opposed to genuine or even 'empirical' research) it isn't as adequate as mineral oil.