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Subaru sued over excessive oil consumption: Is your car on the list?

The 2014 Subaru Forester, 2013 Outback, 2013 Legacy, 2013 XV Crosstrek and 2013 Impreza all have potential oil consumption issues. Now there's a Subaru Oil Consumption Lawsuit pending.


The two top selling Subaru models, the 2014 Subaru Forester and 2013 Outback both have potential oil consumption issues and Subaru of America is being sued over it. There is a law suit filed against the Japanese automaker that contends Subaru failed to let consumers know about a potentially dangerous excessive oil consumption issue in many of its popular models.

Subaru vehicles named in the lawsuit

In an article in the New Jersey Law Journal, the lawsuit claims the 2011-14 Forester, 2013 Legacy and 2013 Outback, with 2.5-liter engines, and 2012-13 Impreza and 2013 Crosstrek, with 2-liter engines are the culprits. The suit claims the vehicles "prematurely burn off and/or consume abnormal and excessive amounts of engine oil."

The article says that Subaru has failed to let consumers know of the oil consumption problem and it has cost some buyers thousands of dollars to repair. The lawsuit also contends that owners of these vehicles have to "constantly replenish engine oil at an unreasonably rapid pace." It says that this issue creates a safety hazard for owners because these engines potentially could fail "at any time and under any driving condition or speed." But the lawsuit doesn’t cite any specific instances of accidents or injury due to the oil issue.

Subaru aware of the problem

Michael McHale, Director of Corporate Communications for Subaru of America said, "While we believe the oil consumption of our vehicles to be within acceptable levels, we continually work to reduce the amount of consumable goods, such as oil, that our vehicles require to operate." He went on to say, "We have also worked with customers on this issue.”

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The New Jersey Law Journal article said the suit was filed on behalf of Keith Yaeger, who owns a 2014 Forester, and Michael Schuler, who says he traded in his 2013 Outback “at a loss” due to the excessive oil consumption problem. The lawsuit also says four "technical service bulletins" were issued to Subaru dealers in September and December 2013 alerting them to complaints from consumers, and that revised versions of those bulletins were reissued in May of this year.

Oil control piston rings is the root cause

The excessive oil consumption problem appears to be with "unanticipated wear of the oil control piston rings as the root cause of the oil consumption defect." Subaru is aware of the problem and says all of these affected models should still be covered under Subaru's powertrain warranty. If you own a 2011-2014 Forester, 2013 Legacy and 2013 Outback, with a 2.5-liter engine, and 2012-13 Impreza and 2013 Crosstrek, with a 2-liter engine and are experiencing these oil consumption issues, you can contact your nearest Subaru dealer for more information.

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Travis (not verified)    December 14, 2015 - 7:15PM

In reply to by brennan (not verified)

Ha yea a free oil change. Do yourself a favor and check your oil level before you leave or when you get home. They over filled my oil by an inch and I live 40 mins from the closest dealer. Pain in my a$$. 25k on the car and uses a qt every 6k miles. Not acceptable and bs when an oil change cost 50.00 for a car

Laura (not verified)    May 22, 2016 - 10:55AM

In reply to by Travis (not verified)

I just had the oil changed yesterday at the dealership after having had a quart added last week. My 2013 Impreza has been consuming oil fast. So I called Lemon Law.
At the dealership, I noticed on the paperwork says they put in 6 qts. Isn't it supposed to be 5 qts?
I am going to measure the oil in the car. Also, at the dealership they told me to come back after 1000 miles instead of 1200. This is crap on top of crap for the Subaru name. I am calling Lemon Law again.

aleksandra (not verified)    July 23, 2014 - 10:30PM

thanks Brennan! The problem is that I bought the car in the US and I live in Canada (not covered under lemon laws). They don't like it here and when I asked for an oil c. test, they refused to do so. They want me to keep coming for a year and they will monitor the consumption to "build" comprehensive file.
Your response has been very helpful for me and much appreciated. Thanks once again!

AT (not verified)    July 30, 2014 - 11:45AM

My XV Crosstrek recently started doing this. It's been less than 900 miles since my last oil change and i got the light on a couple of times. The car is barely a year old. Taking it to the dealer to see what they are going to do about it. If they won't fix it i'm going to add myself to that lawsuit or something. A car eating this much oil IS NOT NORMAL. I have a scion with over 100k miles and never once did i have to put oil. It's ridiculous.

TJ (not verified)    August 2, 2014 - 10:32PM

My 2014 2.5i Forrester is also burning oil. About 2 months ago I had my oil change and looking at the odometer from my last oil change around 4700 miles my oil light turned on and sure enough after checking the dipstick the oil was low added 1 quart of 0W20. I am very disappointed never had problems like this with my Subaru.

Amy Matchett (not verified)    August 4, 2014 - 3:52PM

I have a 2013 Crosstrek and needless to say I have the same issue with the oil. I keep getting the same story from the dealership... It's normal! It is very hard on the nerves when you are in the middle of no where and the oil light comes on! But where do we go from here?

Brennan (not verified)    August 5, 2014 - 5:06PM

Talk to the service manager and do not be a pushover. Let them know that this issue is NOT normal and that you would've never bought the vehicle knowing how much oil it uses. Tell them you'll be going somewhere else for your next vehicle. I had to make them know I was very unhappy and it worked.

Kim Morse (not verified)    August 7, 2014 - 4:24PM

I have a 2014 Forrester. Brand new! Since the FIRST oil change I have had the same problem. I have had a few oil changes and have expressed my concern regarding the oil issue and was told by the company I brokered the vehicle from (Hertz) that Subaru was allowing 1200 miles per quart...REALLY!! I keep my car serviced there because the salesman was wonderful and I wanted to keep my business there. When I called again to have them "top off the oil" (2nd time during this last change period) I was told by the service department that they "can't continue to top me off as it is expensive to them" I lost it! They called Subaru on the last oil change and told me it was nornal, well now that it is affecting their pocket it's not OK. I want in on this class action thing! If I had known this, I would have NEVER purchased the car!

John N Zingale (not verified)    August 21, 2014 - 7:21AM

I Bought 2012 Forester in July 2012. I when I drive Highway at speeds of 65+ I sometimes burn a quart in 800 miles. I was normally burning a quart ever 1400-1600 miles, The Dealer Liberty Subaru In Emerson NJ said that Subaru Said that was Acceptable. I said BS. But I didnt do The Test YOu Bet I an going to Do In Now!

Chris (not verified)    August 31, 2014 - 4:47PM

I have a 2013 subaru outback limited 2.5 and since the day bought it it has burned oil. I did contact the dealer twice about it and they said as long as it was less than a quart every 1500 miles it was within dealer spec. I say bs to that I've never had an issue with a brand new car burning oil. I believe I will be joining the class action suit and with the way subaru handled this I will also let anyone who is buying a new car know about the problems I have been having. My neighbor liked my outback so much she bought a forester and is having the same problem. I guess that subaru sells enough vehicles that they don't need to sell any more and that is the direction they are headed if they can't or won't stand behind their product.

Carol DiCenso (not verified)    September 3, 2014 - 6:38AM

Same thing here. I have a 2011 Forester which I got used, with a 100,000 mile warranty. Using oil. In process of 2nd oil consumption test. I have contacted Subaru of America, Lemon Law, the Class action law suit. The dealership is trying to get their Regional Manager to ok new piston rings. One thing for sure, I will dump this car before my warranty expires. In the meanwhile, I am a very familiar face at the dealership! Very disappointing. I thought I had bought the best, paid alot for it too. Now have a constant worry. I have not faith that it was fixed in the 2015 either. They didnt fix in 2014.....guess they just dont care.

michele (not verified)    September 3, 2014 - 8:41AM

I bought a 2013 Legacy. Dealer said oil change was done 6/2014. Oil light went on 2 weeks ago and was down a full quart. Dealer said "the oil life" wasn't set back to 100%. I've never heard of that and I will be checking with the people who work on my vehicles for verification.

Maxine (not verified)    September 4, 2014 - 12:50AM

Currently running the first "oil consumption" test from my dealer. I've had three oil changes since I purchased 2011 Forrester new. Complained each time to dealer about having to add as much as 3 1/2 to 4 quarts on a 1000 mile round trip to the beach. They told me it was impossible, and I received a roll of the eyre look. The third time after researching the issue on my own, I asked for this test. According to the dealer Subaru America has changed "normal" consumption rate from 1 quart per 1200 miles to 10 or 12 ounces. I used that much on a 300 mile trip!
The service manager actually asked if I would rather trade it off. I plan on doing just that, but not for a Subaru. Never again!!

Tony (not verified)    January 10, 2015 - 12:29PM

In reply to by Maxine (not verified)

My 13 outback has 63000 miles and after finding information about a global issue I took it into dealer. They agreed to oil test but made me pay claiming out of warranty. They did oil change and overfilled oil, I think on purpose to indicate loss not as bad. I took photos of dipstick at time of oil change and they said it was fine. I read that Subaru has been doing this to other folks, overfilling to hide oil consumption test actual results. Watch out. Subaru needs to be the honorable company they claim to be and take responsibility. My Honda had an issue and Honda stepped forward with integrity and fixed the issue. Watch that oil consumption test

Ellen (not verified)    October 18, 2015 - 5:11PM

In reply to by Tony (not verified)

Tony, I have a subaru cross trek, 2013. I bought it used at 15k. My first oil change, two weeks later, light came on and I had to put in a quart. Next oil change, mechanic left off cap on oil and dip stick was up, and 4 days later after noticiing oil on garage floor I find this out. I was livid. I go in wait 4 hrs and they change oil switch TSB and reprogram, powerwash off engine of oil and replenish fluids. i get home and check dip stick and Now they Overfilled the oil! I figure they don't want me back for a while. So sad, that my dealership has not only inconvenienced me but there is no integrity or competence in work performance no more.

jcortes (not verified)    September 7, 2014 - 11:19AM

Same problem with Subaru Forester 2012, running second oil consumption test, dealer keeps saying is normal to use 1 1/2 quarts every 2000 miles !!! I am planning to put an sticker indicating.

" This car make frequent stops "
" I need to put oil on it "

Steve (not verified)    September 13, 2014 - 10:55PM

Subaru brags about their "zero landfill" and yet they are OK with letting thousands of their cars run around 'burning' quarts of oil in a few hundred miles running like a two stroke engine. They should be ashamed and embarrassed.

Terry F. (not verified)    September 15, 2014 - 11:29PM

We have a2011 6 Cyl. Outback Ltd., brought it in at least 4times as the oil level light comes on sometimes it will stay on other times it will go on and off. After 3k was down a quart which I thought was odd. The car is driven easy and maintained regularly by the dealer. The dealer says there is no problem. Was paid off in June. Not sure I want to keep it Service Mgr. Was no help.

Theresa O (not verified)    September 21, 2014 - 3:58PM

I have the same problem . Mine is a 2010 Forester! I am very good at keeping oil change schedule, but came into the dealer with no read of oil at all. I have had this problem since the beginning so now I must check the oil all the time to keep ahead of it. I feel like that I am stuck with a lemon. Subaru should buy it back!

Maxine (not verified)    September 21, 2014 - 4:33PM

I'm updating to the post I made on September 4th.
My 2011 Forrester 2.5 is still under factory warranty. It has consumed 11 quarts for the 20000 miles I've driven it, in addition to oil added at regular change schedule. After voicing my concerns once again to my dealer, I agreed it was time for the "oil consumption test". It verified my findings, but before it was concluded, the engine light, stability light, and cruise control light came on. After the vehicle was towed to the dealer, where upon inspection, I was informed it did indeed need work. They did not only replace the rings, they replaced the entire short block, after they reprogrammed something so that the idiot lights wouldn't come on at random. I was impressed that replacing the short block only took a couple days. At least until the next morning when I turned the key. I once again need to bring it back to the dealer. It now makes a loud tapping noise for a few seconds after each cold start. I let my dealers mechanic listen to a recording I made. Said, "that doesn't sound good", and wanted me to set up a drop off date. That's where we stand now.
I'm so over this car! Did I get a lemon, or are they really all like this?

Jose Cortes (not verified)    September 23, 2014 - 10:54AM

I am under the same situation as indicated in a previous post, any body who can provide some advice in relation to lemon law? as fas as I know even if the car is still on warranty you can only apply to this up to 24 months after purchase date, that normally we spend between oil consumption test and oil consumption test.

David Barickman (not verified)    September 24, 2014 - 11:23AM

I looked at and drove a new 2014 Subaru Crosstrek XV Limited a couple of days ago, and am supposed to go by tonight to talk to them about possibly buying it. Now I'm iffy on getting one after finding out about the oil issue. Is anyone with a 2014 Crosstrek (or other Subaru 2014 model) having the oil issue, or is it just with 2013 and past model years? Thanks!

michelle (not verified)    September 26, 2014 - 8:59PM

In reply to by David Barickman (not verified)

Don't buy one I had a brand new with 5 miles on it a 2014 Imprezza within 5 days and 250 miles the oil light came on total BS for a brand new car to already have used that much oil in 250 miles. Went online and saw that Subaru's have a oil consumption problem, I took the car back dealership they had a 7 day 300 mile return policy so I gave it back to them no questions asked and I got a 2014 Honda CRV which I have 10000 miles and no problems.

jose cortes (not verified)    September 24, 2014 - 12:55PM

If you are having this problem and at the dealer they suggest to make an oil consumption test, be very careful that the car is filled only to the upper level of the oil stick, they usually overfill with oil which provide erroneous measures.

Jeff (not verified)    October 1, 2014 - 1:19PM

2013 Legacy, eating oil as well... Light comes on around 2800 miles between changes...the manual tells me to change it at 7000 miles!!! ...And Subaru says it's "NORMAL"...if it was, then why does it tell you to change it every 7000!!?? Does anyone else have the 'burning oil' smell at high revs...when going up a steep hill? I don't see anyone complaining about the smell, but THAT is not normal....I have scheduled a 'visit' with the delaership I purchased from and won't back down...

Richard (not verified)    October 9, 2014 - 10:41PM

I own a 2012 Forester in Australia, had the same problem with excessive oil consumption right from the beginning, have been having oil consumption tests for the past 12 months, continuously put off by the Subaru Dealer (where I had all the services) saying that this was within their acceptable range of oil usage. This week I had had enough when the oil was topped up by Subaru I went away on a holiday for a week, and the oil went off the dip stick after only 2,400 kms. Went in gave them the keys said I did not want it back until it was fixed. After a bit of toing & froing between the dealer & Subaru, they finally approved replacement of the engine rings under warranty (I still have 6 months warranty) I get the car back today, hopefully this fixes the problem, concerns me though that the whole engine has been pulled apart and put back together.

kevin smith (not verified)    March 10, 2015 - 7:11PM

In reply to by Richard (not verified)

gday our 011 forester blew the engine total oil loss cost us 6000 dollars to repair due to incomplete service history from dealer at 32.000 klms so keep an eye on subaru they are in a state of denial good luck.