Skip to main content

Subaru issues updated TSB for excessive oil consumption issue

2011-2014 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Impreza and Legacy oil consumption issue gets a new TSB. What will Subaru do now?

Join us...    

There’s good news for 2011-2014 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Impreza and Legacy who have been experiencing an oil consumption issue. Subaru has issued a new Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) to correct the problem. The problem is, some of these vehicles have been found to burn excessive amounts of oil. The old TSB from Subaru had an authorized dealer replacing just the engine rings if it was determined that an engine exhibited excessive oil consumption. In many cases, this was not correcting the problem and some owners continued to have problems after the rings were replaced. The new TSB issued from Subaru says they will now replace the entire short block.

What models and engines are effected?

2011-2014 Forester (with 2.5-liter engines)
2013-2014 Legacy (with 2.5-liter engines)
2013-2014 Outback (with 2.5-liter engines)
2012-2013 Impreza (with 2.0-liter engines)
2013 XV Crosstrek (with 2.0-liter engines)

What should you do if your vehicle is using excessive oil? Owners can contact their Subaru dealer and go in for an oil consumption test. If the dealer determines the oil consumption is found to exceed normal levels, dealers will replace the shortblock assembly.

Repairs will be made under the new vehicle warranty or powertrain warranty, whichever applies. If your vehicle is out of the new vehicle warranty coverage, and you have an extended warranty, the repairs may be covered, but the Subaru dealer will have to confirm this with the extended warranty company.

Owners should call their local dealer with their vehicle identification number (VIN) on their 2011-2014 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Impreza or Legacy to determine vehicle eligibility for this repair. Owners can also call Subaru Support at 800-782-2783 and reference Technical Service Bulletin # 02-157-14R. Go to the direct link to the bulletin here.

Media source: Subaru Technical Information

Join us...    


John Goreham    September 23, 2015 - 2:49PM

Serious question from a three time Subaru owner considering returning to the brand. When a customer brings in a Subaru for service like this, does every Subaru dealership provide a free loaner car? Any feedback from current owners appreciated.

richard foy (not verified)    August 30, 2016 - 6:58AM

In reply to by P GARY (not verified)

subaru does cover a loaner vehicle with all parts and labor for the short block replacement. I recommend contacting subaru directly if the dealership declines the use of a loaner.

Ken Benoit (not verified)    October 22, 2016 - 2:03PM

In reply to by John Goreham

I bought a used 2015 Outback 2.5 touring 6 sp Manual with 28 K in Jul of this year and immediately noticed an intermittent hammering noise from the engine. So I "googled" Subaru engine noise and discovered that it was a common concern as well as excessive oil consumption. Sure enough after only 1000Kms the low oil light came on. I then contacted the dealer where the maintenance had been done and found out that the previous owner had also had oil consumption problems but had never completed a comsumption test. So I contacted my local Subaru dealer and voiced my concerns. At first they gave me some hassel about waiting until the next oil change in 7000Kms before commencing the test but after i came back for the second time with my oil light on after only another 1000Kms they agreed to do the test.

I was just informed yesterday that they will be replacing the short block and will provide a loaner. However after reading all the comments below I do not have a warm fuzzy feeling as not one person has stated that replacing the short block has fixed the problem. Quite the opposite in fact as everyone seems to say that replacing the short block has made things worse.

Has anyone had a positive outcome from a new short block installation?


Dan Williams (not verified)    March 20, 2019 - 10:27PM

In reply to by Ken Benoit (not verified)

Older posting, but here goes-family member purchased 2013 forester 2.5-burned/leaked/otherwise used oil always, short block installed at approx. 35K, took back several times for leaks, gaskets etc, now at 68K leaking/blowing failed 4th oil test. Don't feel that we want to go for the 2nd short block as SOA is just using this as a roadblock to keep from replacing complete engine-they don't have qualified mechanics/techs that are Capable of re-building onsite at their dealerships so they do it with engineers on skype coaching people on "HOW TO" do it. Was told to take it to different dealership if I did not like their service! We want a complete engine, with heads, block, new cats and o2 sensors as these are coated with all the burnt oil which will start throwing codes if left in place. New engine and 100K start over! Good luck with your situation.

Mike (not verified)    October 24, 2016 - 11:20PM

In reply to by John Goreham

The dealership I bought my 2012 Impreza Sport in Kirkland, WA gave me a brand new 2017 Forester (42 miles on the odometer) for a loaner. Full tank of gas. They called back the next day and advised the short block was backordered with no estimated delivery time. They allowed me to drive the loaner for 3 weeks. I put about 2,400 miles on it. No issues. My Impreza's repaired under original warranty. No cost to me. Plus the car was vacuumed out, rubber mats washed, exterior washed, free multi-point inspection (brakes, tires, fluids, etc). Couldn't ask for better service. I'll by my 4th Sub from this dealership.

George (not verified)    January 15, 2021 - 5:43PM

In reply to by Katrina Wiseman (not verified)

My daughter has a 2011 Forester; was not aware of the replacement. I tried to get Subaru to replace it this past year; they refused, said it was outside of the window for doing so. Will never consider a Subaru ever again, and will warn everyone of the issue. I bought the vehicle from her as she needed a vehicle that ran decently; I now have a Forester that two dealers have said needs the short block replaced and gave me a bid for about $5000 to do so. Will drive it into a lake before I pay them $5000 for something that they should have fixed.

Margaret McGilvra (not verified)    July 17, 2021 - 9:42PM

In reply to by George (not verified)

I bought a 2011 Forester from a dealership last December. I wasn't aware of the excessive oil consumption problem, and they certainly didn't tell me. I need reliable transportation and I can't afford to buy another car. Now that I know about the problem I'm checking the oil frequently and keeping several quarts on hand. I believed Subaru's advertising and thought I was getting a good car. I'm so disappointed!

K L Thalin (not verified)    October 19, 2015 - 9:00PM

My 2013 Crosstrek drinks oil like a thirsty sailor. It was even worse after the short block replacement. As of this week, SOA is buying the car back for the maximum amount possible after deducting sales taxes and a small mileage stipend, as my car burned excessive oil from the moment I drove it off the lot. I'm done with Subaru. I don't trust any auto manufacturer that changes its standards and recommendations in order to mask a problem with their vehicles. (SOA considers it "normal" to burn a quart of oil in 1,200 miles. And with my car, they lowered the recommended mileage between oil changes from 7,500 to 3,000. Yeah, right, Subaru...)

Avel P (not verified)    November 7, 2015 - 11:25PM

I bought a certified pre-owned 2013 XV Crosstrek with 53,000 miles and the low oil light came on after I drove about 3,500 miles. I topped it off with oil and took it to the Subaru dealer the next day to start an oil consumption test. They changed the oil free of charge and told me to come back after 1200 miles. After 1200 miles I took it back and they determined that the oil level was still full. After the oil consumption test I drove another 1200 miles and the oil level light came on again for a brief period. I checked the oil after letting it sit for several hours and found that it was at the low level indicator on the dipstick. I took it straight to the same dealer that did the initial oil consumption. If you have this done, KEEP THE PAPERWORK YOU ARE PROVIDED. They initially tried telling me that I didn't bring the car back after the initial 1200 miles. Once I whipped out the consumption report that showed I had indeed brought it back at 1200 miles and it was still "full" at the time, they took the car in to check it again. After 30 minutes I was setup in a free loaner and told I was getting a short block replacement. Anyone being told that 1 quart every 1200 miles is "normal" should insist on getting a consumption test done. The consumption test paperwork specifically states that if the vehicle consumes 1/3 a quart of oil or more in the 1200 miles, that is considered excessive oil usage and the appropriate repairs must be made. I hope this helps anyone else that may be struggling with this issue and that the short block replacement fixes this issue.

Brian walsh (not verified)    November 26, 2015 - 1:05PM

In reply to by Avel P (not verified)

The oil consumption issue is not limited to just those model years. I have a 2015 Subaru legacy and have had two oil consumption tests, the dealer has told me it's within spec of course. I have been told to both add oil when it's low and do not add oil unless it's a quart low. The explanation given to me as to not add oil was something to do with molecular weight and adding new oil to old oil is not recommended. I have been lied to as well and after the second consumption test oil was added to the vehicle, this way the low oil light would not go on as I approach 5000 miles. The service manager continues to tell me "all"
new vehicles" have this oil consumption issue.
I cannot believe that a major auto manufacturer cannot get this resolved. There is no doubt a high level of incompetence up top here,and they are quite comfortable taking advantage of hard working consumers. Not for this issue I think the vehicle is good.

Larry Miller (not verified)    July 6, 2016 - 3:12PM

In reply to by Brian walsh (not verified)

We also have a 2015 Forester. At about 45000 miles we started seeing oil usage. We were given the run around. Did the oil consumption test. We found they gave us an extra quart of oil we we got home. Documented it and took back after 1200 miles. They checked it and said, "oil level okay, no usage" we said, well, we documented that you started the test with an extra quart of oil! Oh I wish you would have told me that, now the test is void. We will have to do it again.. He says, "people make mistakes.. Lying, you know what! Good thing is, I documented an oil loss greater than their limit, 1/3 quart/1200miles. So should get new short block after this test. I can't tell you the amount of deception that we have been through! Will not purchase another Subaru.

IL (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 8:26AM

In reply to by Larry Miller (not verified)

2017 Subaru Impreza 5 speed. Low oil level indicator came on at 3000 miles of run time after an oil change. Had to add one and a half quarts of oil and it was still below the full mark on the dipstick. Had oil consumption test done at dealership which showed that a shortblock was needed. Shortblock being replaced. Subaru still has the oil consumption issue. First Subaru... maybe my last.

Mike (not verified)    July 9, 2016 - 7:02PM

In reply to by Avel P (not verified)

Have you had any oil issues after the block was replaced? I'm looking at a 2012 Impreza that had the same issue and the block was replaced. Just wanna make sure I'm not wasting my money

KL Thalin (not verified)    July 9, 2016 - 10:25PM

In reply to by Mike (not verified)

Mike, saw your question and wanted to let you know that I had the short block replaced in my 2013 Crosstrek. It did NOT solve the problem, and in fact it was worse after the "repair." I now drive a Honda CR-V and I LOVE it. No more Subarus for me.

Pete (not verified)    August 28, 2017 - 7:24PM

In reply to by Mike (not verified)

Yes. I am on my 3rd change after SB replacement, and I have had my low oil light come on for each of the changes around 4000-5000 after my oil change. I have a 2013 Outback and 7500 is the recommended milage between changes under normal driving conditions (which I have) yeah I am getting back on the horn with SOA tomorrow to figure this crap out.

K L Thalin (not verified)    November 9, 2015 - 9:27PM

Subaru's EOC issue is far beyond frustrating and annoying. Nothing about it is "normal." If it were, NO ONE would buy these cars. And if Subaru can build cars that **don't** burn excessive oil, there should be none that do. They are screwing up, and/or they are using faulty parts in some of their vehicles. And they are fighting tooth and nail to pass the blame onto the consumer. As I've said in some previous posts, Subaru *implied* on several occasions that MY driving style might be the cause of the EOC I was experiencing with my 2013 Crosstrek, which I purchased new and which began searing through oil immediately. That "implication" was beyond ridiculous and bogus, and I told them so in no uncertain terms. After two OC tests, the short block was replaced in my car. It was worse after the repair. I filed a formal complaint, and after more than a month of "negotiations," the case was settled to my satisfaction. I'm done with Subaru.

Mase (not verified)    August 2, 2016 - 5:40PM

In reply to by K L Thalin (not verified)

My local dealership just ordered a new short block after my dipstick showed NOTHING after 1,200 miles. My 2011 Forester has 75k miles, I've owned it for a you have advice about moving forward with the engine block replacement? I've seen quite a few comments that the problem gets worse with a new short block - did you sell yours immediately after you discovered this? Is there anything Subaru will do if the problem persists after the "fix"? Any help is appreciated!

shutt (not verified)    November 18, 2015 - 10:22PM

I have a 2013 Subaru impreza. Had the OC test in the beginning of october and it showed I burned excessive oil. They replaced the short block in it and the car shows more than a quart low after 1300 miles. After reading these other comments, I'm not feeling confident about how this will be resolved, if ever.

Betty Engels (not verified)    March 8, 2016 - 12:12AM

I have a 2015 Forester that seemed to be burning a lot of oil. It only has 7000 miles on it. The dealer did an oil consumption test and told me they would be putting in a new engine block. It's under warranty and a loaner car is provided.

K L Thalin (not verified)    March 8, 2016 - 8:15AM

Betty, I hope this short block repair works for you. The SB was replaced in my 2013 Crosstrek and did not fix the problem. Don't give up or give in on this! If need be, fight them until you get your money back. Because I have an old Toyota Corolla that runs great, I have not yet replaced my Ctrek. But where I live, I really do need AWD and high clearance. I'll be replacing the Ctrek with a Honda CR-V.

Lori Marden (not verified)    May 30, 2016 - 4:52PM

I own a 2013 Impreza with an oil consumption problem. As part of the class action settlement, Subaru installed an oil consumption test device on my car, for a 1200-mile test. The comments I am reading are helpful.

Tamra (not verified)    August 12, 2016 - 4:30PM

I have owned Subarus in the past and now own a Forester. I purchased it used from a dealer. I was told it was a second vehicle and the previous owner did not drive it enough to keep it. Before I drove it 1200 miles, the oil light came on. I was told, "I" must have put the wrong oil in it-never put any oil in it, only the dealership. Then it was my driving and shifting, (manual). When I went on line, I found there was an issue so I took it back for an oil consumption test. It failed and now they replaced the short block. Has anyone had a positive outcome?

John Goreham    August 15, 2016 - 4:59PM

At the place I fish there is an Audubon building and two workers. Both have current gen Foresters. I asked the owners today if they have any oil consumption issues. The 2014 does not, but the 2015 does. As the woman who owns it put it when I asked if it consumes oil, "Oh yeah! Tons!" I own a new 2016 Forester and so far no trouble. I am now keeping a close eye on it. If it uses one drop I am driving to Mazda's closest dealer and buying a CX-5.