Skip to main content

Subaru settles in oil consumption lawsuit

Subaru has agreed to settle in the oil consumption lawsuit filed against them in 2014. What will Forester, Outback and Crosstrek owners get in return?


Owners of Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Impreza and Legacy are getting compensation from Subaru from the oil consumption lawsuit filed against them. According to Law360, Subaru of America (SOA) has agreed to compensate the drivers who filed the class action suit. SOA agreed to extend warranties and reimburse drivers for certain out-of-pocket costs from the alleged defect that is causing their vehicle’s engines to use excessive amounts of oil.

Last week, the drivers in the lawsuit told Law360, Subaru has agreed to extend its 5 year, 60,000-mile warranty in respect to the alleged defect to an 8 year, 100,000-mile warranty. SOA will also reimburse certain expenses for vehicle repairs, rental cars, towing and the purchase of up to six quarts of oil per vehicle with appropriate proof. According to the report, the drivers urged the court to grant preliminary approval of the settlement and schedule a final approval hearing.

Subaru owners are happy with the settlement

The Subaru owners appear to be happy with the settlement and said the agreement will provide most proposed class members with the same amount of compensation they would have obtained if the case went to trial. Subaru also agreed not to oppose up to $1.5 million in attorneys’ fees and costs associated with the case. They will also pay the nine named plaintiffs $3,500 each in incentive awards. Matthew D. Schelkopf, an attorney for the drivers, told Law360 in an email sent last week, “We are very pleased with the terms of the proposed relief for class members under the settlement agreement.”

Subaru makes it right with these nine named plaintiffs

Subaru knew there was a problem with certain Subaru engines and they needed to make things right with these customers. This settlement shows they are doing that. The report says, Subaru believes “the settlement is in the best interests of their respective clients.” What will this mean for Subaru owners who are still experiencing excessive oil consumption?

In the report by Law360, according to the proposed settlement of the lawsuit, Subaru also agreed to offer a free oil consumption test for all current owners and lessees and perform any technical service bulletin repairs connected to the alleged defect. Yet this is not anything more than Subaru has already been doing. Current owners who are having this issue will continue to deal with their Subaru dealer to get their individual problem addressed. This settlement will not help those still dealing with excessive oil consumption. 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). Check with your Subaru dealer for any new technical service bulletin repairs connected to the “alleged” defect.

Source: Law360


Aaron (not verified)    January 13, 2016 - 10:02PM

If you weren't part of the suit what do you do? Will you still be reimbursed for repairs or am I completely out of luck?

Phil (not verified)    November 2, 2016 - 11:54AM

In reply to by Aaron (not verified)

First, you have to bring it to the dealership for service. Then you have to bring it back every 1,000 miles, until such time as they are satisfied that the car is actually burning oil. No charge for this. Tgen, if it is found that your vehicle is burning oil, they will replace the engine.

Sam S (not verified)    February 15, 2017 - 10:31AM

In reply to by Phil (not verified)

Not quite correct. They will not necessarily replace your engine even if you are burning oil. You have to burn "enough" oil to make it so they replace their engine. I own a 2013 Legacy that burns 1.5 quarts every 3000 miles which started after 20,000 miles. They now overfill the oil instead of giving me 6 quarts (as the subaru owner's manual recommends) they give me 6.9 quarts (the most it will hold). I burn through those 1.5 quarts after 3000 miles and they want to change the oil then - not the recommended 7500 miles or the 5000 miles most say it should be changed. So according to the dealership, there is no problem. What I do now is carry a quart of oil in my garage, and check the oil level every 1000 miles. If it it needs oil (like it usually does after 3000 miles), I add a quart to it to make it to 5000 miles and the next oil change. So I use about 2.5 quarts every 5000 miles - not enough to warrant a new engine. I just keep oil around. Ironically, my older 2006 Saab 9-3 with the GM ecotec engine only now starting burning oil very slightly - it burns about 0.1 quarts every 5000 miles, but I have over 150,000 on that car now and it is normal - and I don't have to keep a quart of oil around. That car has been FAR more reliable than the Subaru I own.

Roger Custer (not verified)    February 15, 2017 - 11:30AM

In reply to by Sam S (not verified)

I use 4 to 5 quarts at 5000 miles with synthetic oil. I believe that is burning a little oil. But the bad thing is that I can't find any leaks. I have a 2012 Forester. And the oil light doesn't come on, I heard that they don't have one but not sure

Sam S (not verified)    February 16, 2017 - 9:57AM

In reply to by Roger Custer (not verified)

That is a LOT of oil to go through. If you have less than 100,000 a dealership test should get you a new engine. Far more than me. Synthetic can accelerate the burning in some cases (makes little difference in mine as I have tried it).

Ted Gill (not verified)    January 20, 2018 - 12:51AM

In reply to by Roger Custer (not verified)

Just today we picked up our 2013 Forester from the dealer after they had replaced the short block. You are not likely to find leaks. We had none, but wondered why the engine was ticking. The local mechanic found that it was 5 qrts low. We took it to the dealer, did their 1200 mile oil consumption test, and got the new block, no charge. You are correct about no oil light. That is rather odd, don't you think? Their is a warning light for low oil pressure, but it didn't come on.

M. K. Boase (not verified)    January 2, 2021 - 7:11PM

In reply to by Ted Gill (not verified)

This is what I found out too, the oil light is triggered by pressure, not volume of oil, which makes it useless to help with this oil usage problem with the Subaru Forester. The oil light comes on to indicate the oil pressure is critical, which the mechanic told me basically means if you see your oil light, it is already too late. I have had this on-going problem with my car as well, did not realize it was a common issue. Am now facing the replacement of the short block. I appreciate this forum of shared information which has better armed me to negotiate this with the dealer.

Brian W Walsh (not verified)    September 14, 2017 - 7:18PM

In reply to by Sam S (not verified)

Sam S is correct @ 3000 miles after the oil is changed I see a reduction on the dipstick. I add 1/2 quart, then another @ 4200. That gets me to 5000 miles.Subaru has also told me to use Super Unleaded fuel to reduce the engine knock I have. It does help BUT the manual says use 83 octane. Big Disappointment with this company, every time I bring my car( 2015 Legacy) in and tell them to test drive it without doing any service (to hear the knock) they go ahead and mask the problem by patching in an update or doing something else. Trust nothing. The customer does not come first.

Steven wonder (not verified)    October 14, 2018 - 10:32PM

In reply to by Sam S (not verified)

Your one of those customers expecting that an 100000 mile engine should still perform like a brand new engine. Not sure why you keep the Subaru and not go back to your gm product. You know 1qt every 3k miles is ok according to your gm

lol (not verified)    September 20, 2019 - 2:11PM

In reply to by Steven wonder (not verified)

My 2014 Forester has been using oil since the day it was driven off the lot with 11 miles on it. I have owned multiple Honda and Toyota vehicles with 150-200k miles on them and they never used a 1/2 quart of oil per 1,000 miles. It doesn't matter if the engine has 100k on it or 0 miles on - these engines use oil at an alarming rate. Get the fuck outta here with that "expect a 100k mile engine to perform like new"

D.M (not verified)    May 30, 2021 - 11:44PM

In reply to by Sam S (not verified)

This is still bad practice on behalf of the manufacturer and it will cost the customers in the late-stage of the car's life dearly. Burning oil will eventually lead to premature catalytic converter failure no matter how reliable the engine is, and above average consumption can make sure your emissions system doesn't see 100-120k. Furthermore, this throws off your entire ignition system since burning oil affects your O2 sensors in the long term. That can mean more fuel usage, less efficiency, more heat produced by the engine, etc.

Richard (not verified)    June 25, 2018 - 12:55AM

In reply to by Aaron (not verified)

I saw that this is an old thread but it is still relevant in 2018.

I have a 2014 Outback (OB) 4 cyl. Oil levels are checked regularly, 500 - 1000-mile intervals. Getting a consistent oil level reading on this Subaru and other Subaru’s seems to be very difficult ask. Consumers should NOT have to wait until their vehicle sits for extended periods of time, on perfectly level surfaces, at a specific temperature to get consistent and accurate readings. Yes. Oil level check results should convey a high degree of confidence--SHOULD.
Even though my OB’s oil level was/is checked frequently, the engine oil level idiot gage turned on twice. No good! After each incident, adding just a 1/2 qt. oil, caused the oil level to exceed the 1/2 full level. Why? Yesterday when I checked the oil level--the car had been sitting for 2 days—it did not register on the dipstick. Huh? One qt. of oil was added. After subsequent operation the OB’s the level indicated 1 (ONE) qt. OVERFULL. WHY?
An oil consumption test indicated NO oil (ZERO) consumption. (Strangely though, when I changed out the oil from that test, I felt as if that oil seemed have a generous viscosity--not 0-W 20-W by any means! Hummmmm. Why?) It has been 3000 miles since I changed out the "test" oil. The oil level has been checked multiple times since. Each time the OB was checked oil level was o.k. Yesterday I checked the oil, the car had been parked 2 days, and NO oil registered on the dip stick! One (1) qt. of oil was added. The OB was driven today. The oil level now indicates 1 qt. overfull? Why?
I can't help but feel that Subaru is trying to baffle us with bull…oney. So you know, the OB is now out of (60,000 mile) warranty. Subaru also advises Subaru that my 2014 OB is/was not part of the 100,000-mile extended oil over consumption/engine warranty. Yup. That is true.
I did not just fall off a turnip truck. I have been a car buff all my life. In addition, I am a retired Industrial Master Mechanic/Engineer with over 50 years of mechanical/technical expertise on large, complex, and advanced electro-mechanical systems. That experience has taught me a few things: 1. Engines need—no, require--adequate lubrication; 2. Oil level readings must instill a high confidence in their accuracy to be useful; 3. Smoke screens are intended for the ignorant who don’t remain that way for long!
It is my belief that Subaru has not only tried to snooker me but, just maybe; many others as well. I regret buying this vehicle for inclement weather conditions (which it handles nicely) and not a vehicle from another manufacturer. I sincerely hope that another class action is brought against Subaru and that this time it ends with a comprehensive and an exorbitantly high punitive judgement!!!!!!!!!!

Michelle (not verified)    January 1, 2020 - 11:24AM

In reply to by Richard (not verified)

My 2012 Forster took 3qt oil. 4000 miles after oil changed. Still 1000 miles away.
No leak at all but I smelled burnt after driving.
150,000 miles.
I am taking dealership but I do think extended warranty cover it. Japanese car with 150,000 miles still baby!
It seems I just need to check oil and keep pouring. I hope I don’t get any other issues because of it like spark plugs, O2...

Doreen johnson (not verified)    April 1, 2019 - 2:29PM

In reply to by Aaron (not verified)

I had problems with oil consumption but the mechanic found oil leaks in the engine which they repaired to the time of $2600.00
My ? Is could the problem with oil consumption problems contribute to the engine leaks?

Tallison (not verified)    January 23, 2020 - 2:04PM

In reply to by Aaron (not verified)

I have a 2012 Forrester I bought used 6 months ago 120,000 miles on it. I changed the oil right away using the recommended 0 -20w full synthetic oil. I'm at almost 3,000 miles and have used an additional 3 qts to keep it full. Took it to the dealer and they did find one small leak on the front cover but its not significant. They refuse to do anything more but tell me I should have them rebuild the motor. New short block etc. $5000. What a joke! This is the 4th Forrester I've owned. 03, 07, 2010 and now the 2012. WHAT CAN YOU DO?

UnhappyForesterOwner (not verified)    January 22, 2016 - 3:00PM

Now what for me? 2012 Forester with ~50K miles and engine is basically shot! Biggest mistake of my life buying a Subaru.

NIN8185 (not verified)    April 26, 2016 - 12:50PM

In reply to by UnhappyForesterOwner (not verified)

Your dealership should have replaced your block if you have had this issue. Also what makes your think your engine is shot and why havn't you used your warranty. Boxer engines burn oil. If you have to put MORE then a quart over your 6kmi? oil cycle then you have a problem but 1 quart spread out over 6kmi does not hurt your engine and is usual caused by engine breaking and is normal. Contact your dealer.

David (not verified)    June 13, 2016 - 2:18AM

In reply to by NIN8185 (not verified)

I have a 2012 Forester. Took it in last Friday. They are going to replace the engine block. After about 3k miles from last oil change, the car had consumed 5 quarts of oil. It was basically empty. They are going to replace the engine block. I have a loaner car for about 2 months.

ShawnJohn (not verified)    June 14, 2016 - 11:27PM

In reply to by David (not verified)

I have a 2014 WRX that has a rod knock after an impeccable service record (which I faxed to Subaru Customer Care) after towing the car to the dealer 165mi out of pocket. Cust Care agreed I took great care of the car and I'm now awaiting results of the tear down. Dealer has had the car 2 weeks and I'm told until they report the diagnosis to Cust Care (which could be upwards of $10k per the service manger) I'm on my own and have been denied a loaner car. Did Subaru at any time attempt to insist you pay for some/ all of repairs or just accept its an epidemic w/ Subies and offer to cover it all from the onset?

David (not verified)    June 15, 2016 - 9:22AM

In reply to by ShawnJohn (not verified)

If the comment is to me, the first time I took it in in July 2015 when they replaces the head and gasket, I would have had to pay $2900 for it...BUT i bought an extended warranty when I purchased the car used in August 2014 so it was covered. I guess I'm lucky.

Jim (not verified)    November 22, 2016 - 9:56AM

In reply to by ShawnJohn (not verified)

My "brand new" POS 2013 wrx premium suffered catastrophic engine failure after only 4k miles of operation. Before the flamers hop in - I refrained from indulging the turbo until after 2k miles per the owners manual and also changed the oil/filter at 1.8k miles with subaru spec oil and filter. Long story short, SOA covered the claim under warranty without much whimpering....because this is a known issue to them (ringland or cast piston failure) that is covered under the express bumper to bumper warranty of 3 year 36k miles. Do some research before buying any EJ series boxer engine, the lean AFR coupled with the unequal length header heating up cylinder #4 is a recipe for disaster that is not an "if" but a "when" for engine failure. That's a big reason for the switch to the FA20 series that sounds like a civic with a fart can....just like Metallica said, sad but true! Unfortunately, the STI is still fitted with a 12 year old dinosaur (EJ257 series) that is also plagued with the same issues - subaru is really losing their position as a sector leader from the perspective of AWD and rally oriented, turboed road machines. Ditch the barkelys and give me a reliable, functional and yes....a quirky styled hatchback that fits my needs but sets you and the kids back in the seat on the way home from soccer practice!

Dano (not verified)    October 30, 2017 - 5:29PM

In reply to by NIN8185 (not verified)

one quart x 360000 + and counting being pumped into the air. Did we NOT have a campaign in the past to erradicate the old in-efficient autos which they scrapped out so people would buy the new and improved autos?? Would differ with you on hurting your engine-how about all the yellowish baked-on oil if you pull your oxygen sensors and look into your CAT converter!! Why do they install EGR valves for? How much should be acceptable oil loss in a newer vehicle-as much as the car companies tell us? How much "Break-In" do you need-carry a 6 pack in the truck so you don't run out?? Read your owners manual and see what they tell you about ruining your cat converter!

Roger Croghan (not verified)    February 10, 2018 - 6:54PM

In reply to by NIN8185 (not verified)

What is this "Boxer engines burn oil" nonsense? Tell that to Volkswagen, Porsche, Corvair, Honda, BMW as well as the many thousands of aircraft owners flying "Boxer" engines. Boxer engines don't burn oil. Subaru Boxer engines burn oil. In spite of the lawsuit and the $ Millions in repairs the 2017's still burn oil.Stay away from this beast!

jody (not verified)    November 5, 2018 - 1:25PM

In reply to by Roger Croghan (not verified)

Worked in aviation for 25+ years and to address you comments that "Boxer engines don't use oil" is completely wrong. Regarding aircraft, any and all horizontally opposed (Boxer) engines do use oil. It is inherent in the design. Yes, some use more than others, but they all will and do use oil.

Tom Stewart (not verified)    July 25, 2016 - 10:11AM

In reply to by UnhappyForesterOwner (not verified)

2011 Forester, I knew it was burning excessive oil, about 2-3 quarts between oil changes, then the consumption increased dramatically and I have a kaput motor. Dealer says $6,400 to replace with used engine.

Is this reasonable? (I know I'm getting screwed, but is this at least a reasonable one?)