Subaru Forester oil consumption
Denis Flierl's picture

The Subaru Forester Model Year Most Likely To Need An Expensive Engine Rebuild

Which Subaru Forester year is the most dependable? See which Forester is most likely to need an expensive engine rebuild.
Advertisement

With the cost of used cars rising, if you are shopping for a previously owned Subaru Forester, you want a dependable vehicle. There are some models to avoid, or it could cost you a lot of money in repairs. The most expensive repairs on an older vehicle are an engine rebuild and transmission replacement. Consumer Reports lists eleven cars most likely to need an engine rebuild.

CR lists the eleven cars most at risk for expensive engine repairs, ranked in order starting with the one with the highest problem rate. They are the 2014 Kia Optima, 2013 Kia Sorento, 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2012 Subaru Forester, 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, 2011 Audi A4, 2011 Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain, 2015 Ford Mustang, 2013 BMW X3, and 2015 Volvo XC60.

Subaru Forester oil consumption

The 2012 Subaru Forester is the number five most likely vehicle to need an engine rebuild. CR says the typical mileage for this to happen is between 81,000 to 129,000 miles.

According to Consumer Reports, some Subaru Forester owners chronicled their problems with oil consumption. One said: "Oil consumption was measured, proved to be excessive, and the engine block was replaced (by Subaru). This did fix the issue."

Subaru Forester oil consumption

Do Subaru vehicles have an oil consumption problem?

Torque News has documented Subaru's oil consumption problem in certain engines. The vehicles affected most seem to be 2011-2014 Forester (2.5-liter engine), 2013 Legacy (2.5-liter engine) 2013 Outback (2.5-liter engine) 2012-2013 Impreza (2.0-liter engine) and 2013 XV Crosstrek (2.0-liter engine).

A class-action lawsuit was filed against Subaru of America (SOA), and the Camden N.J. automaker agreed to settle the oil consumption lawsuit filed against them in 2014. SOA agreed to extend warranties and reimburse owners for certain out-of-pocket costs from the alleged defect causing their vehicle's engines to use excessive amounts of oil.

Did Subaru fix this problem in newer engines?

Starting in 2012, reports say the Japanese automaker redesigned the 2.5-liter engine in the Forester and Outback and has fixed the problem. Some 2012 Subaru Forester models could still have the older engine design before the automaker changed over to the next-generation 2.5-liter Boxer engine.

If you are looking to buy an older Subaru Forester, Outback, or Impreza, make sure you have a certified mechanic check the vehicle and ask the owner for maintenance records. If the car has been serviced regularly, it's far less likely to need expensive engine repairs.

You Might Also Like: Subaru Battery Drain Lawsuit - New Claims Now Include Forester, WRX And Legacy

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Subaru Report - We’ve got you covered! Check back tomorrow for more unique, informative SUBARU news, reviews, and previews you can trust.

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: Subaru USA


Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.


Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Comments

We had a 2011 Subaru Forester that died after 8 short years of ownership. It burned an insane amount of oil. We complained to the dealership and also Subaru Canada, but we're ignored until the class action lawsuit forced Subaru to replace the engine block. The problem never resolved itself. We brought the issue to our dealership and also Subaru Canada, but absolutely no one cared or offered any help. The engine finally blew, likely due to low oil, after 60k km on the new engine block. We filled that stupid car with fresh oil every single time we went on a road trip. We'd buy the synthetic oil from Costco in bulk due to the cost. But somehow, we must have run it dry, and the engine gave up. Very interesting to note that the car DOES NOT HAVE AN ENGINE OIL LIGHT. I find this highly suspicious. In any case, we tried to get some compensation from Subaru, but they were not helpful and, in fact, hostile. Long story short, I will never, ever buy another Subaru, and I would highly recommend that no one ever does!
My 2012 Forester seized up at 90,000 miles. Only warning was a light ticking noise. Car had oil, changed regularly, maintenance by the books. Factory short block cost me $6500 installed. No reimbursement from Subaru because I had not previously contacted them about excessive oils consumption. Thing is, the oil consumption was normal. Which frankly makes things worse in my mind. My 2001 Forester had a well know head gasket leak at 148,000 miles. Drank coolant by the gallon until I drove it into the ground because the repair was more than the car was worth. The 2012 is sold and replaced with a Honda CR-V. Bye-bye Subaru you fooled me twice.
Many Thanks for your post. Was debating on getting a Sub Forrester but will pass and go for either a RAV, CRV, or possibly a used Acura RDX!
I understand your concern, but to decide against a vehicle based on a couple people's bad experiences is definitely not a wise idea. As a proud owner of 4 Subarus, we have had excellent experience with all four of them. Also, of the 10 biggest vehicle recalls of all time, Toyota and Honda are in there, but Subaru is not!
Any motor will blow up if ran dry of oil especially turbo xt models. The new block still not fixed the issue along with horrible service should signaled you to sell it not go down with it. Not good customer care practice on part of subaru and worst yet not correcting.
Had the same issue with our 2014 Forester. Problem actually started when the oil cap was not replaced after an oil change which resulted in oil splashing all over the engine. Ultimately, Subaru of America covered the engine replacement less a deductible.
Mine is a 2011 Forester and it also started by consuming oil like never before. Suddenly it's the gear box and to fix it is not a child's play - very costly. I have made up my mind I am not going to buy a Subaru again!
At 118,000 miles, my 2010 Forester "exploded" one day, blowing apart the Air Intake system and setting the plastic airbox on fire! Luckily, this tiok place in my driveway and I had a Fire Extinguisher, just inside my back door. My insurance covered the damage, except for a small copay. After several failed attempts at repair, the dealer's mechanics finally discovered that the cylinder head was badly cracked, which I was told was very likely the cause of the explosion & resulting fire. Replacing the head would've been as costly as replacing the engine, so the latter was employed, as it was faster, easier and the remanufactured engine was warrantied. After nearly Seven Months in a rental car, my Forester was finally returned to me (minus a highly visible radio button), running like a Top! Recently a few months out of warranty, the remanufactured engine has developed a significant Oil Leak!
At 118,000 miles, my 2010 Forester "exploded" one day, blowing apart the Air Intake system and setting the plastic airbox on fire! Luckily, this tiok place in my driveway and I had a Fire Extinguisher, just inside my back door. My insurance covered the damage, except for a small copay. After several failed attempts at repair, the dealer's mechanics finally discovered that the cylinder head was badly cracked, which I was told was very likely the cause of the explosion & resulting fire. Replacing the head would've been as costly as replacing the engine, so the latter was employed, as it was faster, easier and the remanufactured engine was warrantied. After nearly Seven Months in a rental car, my Forester was finally returned to me (minus a highly visible radio button), running like a Top! Recently a few months out of warranty, the remanufactured engine has developed a significant Oil Leak! This is the only "problem" I've had with my 2010 Forester, but it has been a very significant problem! Just as big a problem, has been having the repair take Seven Months to complete!
2007 forester uses a quart of oil every 250 miles. Head gasket replaced at 80 k miles.
Korean cars are noted for reliability and half the cars on the list are Korean..Doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy.
We had a 2013 Outback 2.5 that we loved. At 119k miles it was burning through oil at an alarming rate. The CVT started to make an unusual whine, so we traded out of it, losing a few thousand dollars. Our 2010 2.5 and 2015 2.5 have both been perfect. With Subaru the year can REALLY make all the difference. Check out carcomplaints.com. Amazing site!
We had a 2013 Outback 2.5 that we loved. At 119k miles it was burning through oil at an alarming rate. The CVT started to make an unusual whine, so we traded out of it, losing a few thousand dollars. Our 2010 2.5 and 2015 2.5 have both been perfect. With Subaru the year can REALLY make all the difference. Check out carcomplaints.com. Amazing site!
I've been working on engines for nearly 50 years. Recently had to rebuild a boxer boobaroo for daughter. What a nightmare! I can't believe that people buy those things. Every part is designed for assembly and then disposal. You are never supposed to repair it. You're supposed to buy a new one. The boxer design was great in the days of pushrods, copper head gaskets, and cast iron, but it just isn't updatable and reliable at the same time. God help anyone who lives where the roads get salted.
I got 150,000 miles out of my 2010 Forester before head gasket went. I was adding a quart every oil change (3,500 miles). Dealer wanted $4K to fix.
Outside of the well-documented issues with rings and oil consumption for certain years, I think the one thing above all else that will determine how well an engine ages is how well it is treated during the break-in period. I have no doubt that many, many new cars get completely abused during test drives and that rings, pistons, and cylinder walls getting scarred for life contribute to oil consumption. I always special order my cars and have a salesman that locks them on the back lot so nobody can test drive them, but even that doesn't prevent the shipping handlers from abusing the cars. I had a 2017 Forester XT delivered with the boost gauge showing the highest reading was 15.5 psi -- way more than it would ever read at 3,000 rpm on a new engine. I also change the oil at about 1,500 miles and 3,000 miles on a new engine to get the ground-up metals out of the engine as soon as possible. I have a great picture of a new engine dipstick with pristine oil in the sun at 1,000 miles that looks like it was dipped in glitter. Anyone that thinks the oil filter catches all the tiny bits from the break-in period and that they won't artificially "sand down" the internal surfaces of the engine and seals is mistaken.
Helpful story & comment. My 2011 Forester had sporadic oil use spikes since January and just was down 1 quart then 2 quarts within 1000miles of an oil change. Bought at 70k miles with hail dings now 135k miles. Serviced at local shop oil every 3k miles not at dealer. Dealer didn’t tell me about consumption issue when it was under warranty or even at 125k miles low oil visit they did a visual inspection & said new short lock $4800. Or just keep an eye on it. It looks like a new engine isn’t a sure fix & tranny & other problems likely. My 2000 Camry has 240k miles needing basics & a water pump. How do I get rid of this car that hasn’t failed yet but feels like a time bomb? If I check oil every 100 miles is it safe to drive? I wanted to buy a newer Subaru but now will search for a 2018-20 CRV or RAV 4, safe reliable AWD. Maybe a Costco buying service or another to handle trade in & negotiations. Appreciate any advice.
Gee, a lot of these comments make me laugh a bit. Some of these cars lasted about 80 - 120K miles before self a destructing. I have a 2003 Forester in which the engine self-destructed without warning in 2010. It had about 47K miles, but was about 8 months past its warranty, based on time. It never burned oil. But it turns out 5 of the valve inserts (I'm not sure about what the official name for the part is) were 3.5 thousandths undersized. One slipped out of position and jambed the valve and dented the piston head. Subaru was uncooperative. I had the engine pulled and disassembled. I saw the damage. I had new inserts machined, installed a new timing belt, water pump, hoses, wires, spark plugs and drive belts. I spent $3,400. I still have the car. Now at 92K miles (I know, not a lot for an 18-year-old car! No other "major" problems since. Struts was the biggest. It still doesn't burn oil. I guess the older engines didn't have that problem. I'm still mad at Subaru, though.
Gee, a lot of these comments make me laugh a bit. Some of these cars lasted about 80 - 120K miles before self a destructing. I have a 2003 Forester in which the engine self-destructed without warning in 2010. It had about 47K miles, but was about 8 months past its warranty, based on time. It never burned oil. But it turns out 5 of the valve inserts (I'm not sure about what the official name for the part is) were 3.5 thousandths undersized. One slipped out of position and jambed the valve and dented the piston head. Subaru was uncooperative. I had the engine pulled and disassembled. I saw the damage. I had new inserts machined, installed a new timing belt, water pump, hoses, wires, spark plugs and drive belts. I spent $3,400. I still have the car. Now at 92K miles (I know, not a lot for an 18-year-old car! No other "major" problems since. Struts was the biggest. It still doesn't burn oil. I guess the older engines didn't have that problem. I'm still mad at Subaru, though.