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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.”

DON'T MISS: Why Subaru’s excessive oil consumption issue could spoil their party

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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Maxine (not verified)    October 10, 2014 - 12:42PM

After 20K miles, and complaining each time I had to add oil to my 2011 Forrester, the dealer finally did an oil consumption test. It not only failed, but also just before bringing it in for them to check the last time, the engine, cruise, and stability lights came on. It was towed to the dealer. They reprogrammed the software to fix the lights issue? Then replaced the entire short block. Said I was the lucky ones, that they needed short blocks to study?
The very first time I started it "cold", it made a loud tapping noise for a few seconds before idling like normal. has done this every time since. Now they're replacing a timing chain tentioner rod? Waiting for them to call now to see if that took care of this issue. I'm ready to be rid of it!! I have no faith in it as safe, sound, dependable transportation.
Are there more of you with this many problems?

Lynn N. Brown (not verified)    October 12, 2014 - 12:46PM

We bought our 2014 Crosstrek in July. After a road trip and 3934 miles the oil was at the add mark. I was concerned. I had not heard about Subaru's problem with oil consumption. I called the dealer and the national customer service line. Both told me that this oil use was normal for the Crosstrek because of high engine heat necessary to achieve near zero engine emissions. Does it make sense to achieve near zero emissions while burning off excessive amounts of oil? What a disappointment in a name I trusted! Subaru fix this problem!

Richard Aichinger (not verified)    October 13, 2014 - 6:55PM

In reply to by Lynn N. Brown (not verified)

I got the same sort of line from the dealer and it would seem this is their standard line, but I pushed and pushed and in the end they fixed it under warranty by putting in new engine rings. Although it would seem that mine was using more oil than yours. Mine went from the full mark to the add mark, in about 1700 miles. It had been using varying amounts of oil since I bought it new. It used more when I went on longer trips, such as a family holiday trip, where we were driving for longer periods at higher speeds. I would keep a close eye on it, and if it continues to use too much oil or is of concern, take it to the dealer for oil consumption tests. They will top up the oil and keep a record of how much they add, I would suggest that you keep a record too. That's what I did, they put me through that for a year, before I got any action out of them. And then I had to walk in put the keys on the counter, tell them I did not want the car back until they fixed it, and just walk out. At least they knew I was serious about it. The new engine rings were only fitted last week so I don't know if it has fixed the problem yet, but I am back off to the dealer today, because since they fixed it, there is a rattle / knock in the engine for a few seconds when I start it after it has been sitting for a few hours. Disappointing that Subaru seem to be trying to sweep this oil consumption problem under the carpet

Steven Scheller (not verified)    October 13, 2014 - 2:23PM

I have much to add to these comments.... I'm the owner of a 2008 STi. I bought the car in 2010 with 3000 miles on the clock. My father and I are avid autocrossers and track day enthusiasts. We had always witnessed the older STi's dominating the autocross world so we decided to try one out for ourselves. We had always heard how great subaru's were to own. My god, we were so wrong. At just over 30k miles the car shuts off mid autocross run. I turn it back on, only to hear that noise that no car owner wants to hear. *Knock Knock Knock Knock*, the car was limped off of the track and flat bedded immediately to subaru. The car spun a rod bearing, circulated shavings through the filter, into the turbo and mangled everything in its path. Subaru's warranty is 5yr 60k for the powertrain, they rejected my claim on 3 different occasions. Luckily I know the service manager of this dealership, after months of fighting with subaru the car was returned to me in working condition. They put in a whole new short block (bottom end), and turbo. The car was subsequently retired from all racing after seeing the amount of money it would have cost to fix it. I babied this thing after the rebuild, oil change every ~3500 miles with mobil 1, I even set my rev limit light 1500 rpm low. I'm driving to work a couple weeks ago, thought I heard a strange noise. When I got to work I listened to the motor at idle, sounded fine... While on my 10 minute drive home..... that was back... *Knock Knock* guess whats back. Another spun rod bearing.... only 55500 on the clock. Not covered under warranty this time.... I tried to get subaru to help pay for my second motor failure, even part. Its absolutely ridiculous to go through 2 motors in 55500 miles. I loved this car... this thing was my baby. Now I have no money to pay for the fix, no warranty, no car. Thanks for your SUPERIOR workmanship subaru.... not. Feel free to ask questions.

Oh P.S Subaru wanted 8k+ for the replacement of the shortblock, I found a reliable shop on the subaru forums that said he would do it for 5k with all subaru parts. The owner told me he sees 1-2 STi's a week with a spun bearing.

marsha Krigsvold (not verified)    October 13, 2014 - 9:52PM

I have a 2014 Subaru purchased in Roanoke VA that first showed its oil light to me on a trip to Charleston SC while climbing the Cooper River Bridge. The light went off on the other side. On the way back to ROA, the light came on and stayed as we climbed the I-77-Fancy Gap corridor. I stopped when we reached Hillsville and tried to find the rare 0W20 oil - late in the afternoon. Called the Subaru dealer, came on in the next day and they did the first 3,000 mile oil change. In the next scheduled maintenance at 7,500 miles, the car had only used 6 oz of oil from their first change. This week I drove to Florida. This time we got to Brunswick, GA and the light came on as we climbed the bridge from Jekyll Island to Brunswick. A quick look at the oil stick revealed that it was down to Fill. This time I was prepared and filled it with half quart of oil purchased in August (just in case, eh). I got in to Wellington FL. Checked the oil level the next day and added to the rest of the oil. I am back in VA today-no light came on but the oil level has dropped. I will check the level tomorrow and call the dealer to get it to the shop.

It seems to get around alright at low rpms under low speeds more usual for our rural setting but the oil consumption starts to ramp up under long interstate trips at higher speeds. I slowed down on the trip back, which probably the only reason that I got here without getting stuck somewhere.

I bought this car in December, 2013 and was not aware of the oil issues. The mechanic obviously knows about it but at my questioning him about oil use in the first oil change his answer was just that all cars use oil (ridiculous). Now that I have read this article, which I found while researching this problem. Thanks for keeping the driving community informed!!! I am carrying a copy with me to the dealer shop tomorrow!!!!

Richard Aichinger (not verified)    October 14, 2014 - 7:56PM

In reply to by marsha Krigsvold (not verified)

I wonder how many Subarus are affected. Getting information out of Subaru service is like pulling teeth. In the beginning they said my oil usage was withing their acceptable parameters, and made out like my problem was a rare one. They had only had a couple of other cases where they had to replace part of the engine (a short block, being the main part of the engine ) in an attempt to resolve the problem. But as the months / years passed, there were more and more stories of other owners with exactly the same problems / complaints as mine. Hard to imagine given today's manufacturing tolerances, that possibly this problem is widespread, and may in fact affect all the affected Subaru Models. Keeping a lid on the extent of the problem could be the combined result of a few factors, the deaf ear being given by dealers, telling the owners that this is acceptable, and the owners not being informed well enough, or assertive enough to take the dealers / Subaru on over the oil use issue with their car. Also many owners could be unaware of the problem, simply because thinking they bought a new car, they may not be checking their oil levels between services, or some owners may only be doing local driving, short trips or low kilometres. My biggest disappointment is with the way Subaru are treating this problem I have been a loyal customer for many years, this being my 2nd new Forester, and I have owned 6 other Subarus before that which I bought 2nd hand. My Dad over 30 years has purchased 5 new Subarus, and two late model 2nd hand from the same Subaru dealer, and this is the way Subaru treats a loyal customer. I put all this to the dealer during the time I was lobbying them to fix my problem. Anyway, they pulled my engine completely apart to put in new piston rings last week. This is their current fix for the problem apparently. I was told that these are different to the original rings, so one can imagine that Subaru is well aware of the problem and this is a solution that they have come up with. In saying all of this I must report that my car is back at the Subaru Service this week. Since the work they did last week, engine is running normally except that at every cold start up, I now have a moderately loud knock in the engine which lasts for a few seconds and was not there before their repair. I dropped it back off yesterday and I am waiting to hear back from them.

Bill (not verified)    December 28, 2014 - 12:59PM

In reply to by marsha Krigsvold (not verified)

We also bought our 2010 Forester in Roanoke, probably from the same dealer 1st Team. ...and got the SAME answer when I brought up the burning oil smell. That car got traded for a 2011, figuring we just got a bad one... who knows??. I've never been accused of vehicle abuse / neglect before, or not "taking care of a vehicle properly". What we have figured out, hwy speed driving has been the culprit for us. Putzing around in town, anything under 60mph and it appears to be just fine. We carry a gallon jug with us & check it often.

The short of the story, we still have a vehicle that throws oil... all over the driver's side of the engine, at 65+mph, and it doesn't matter which dealer you talk to, Nelson, 1st Team or whoever - they're all giving you the Subaru line, "the driver is at fault for ..... " (fill in the blank).

Rob Mcginley (not verified)    October 14, 2014 - 8:46PM

I was goi g to buy a new XV BUT NOT NOW...
When will these people learn you can't hide anymore now that bad news travels at light speed over the Internet .....
Subaru a good motor will not use oil between changes.....
You will loose a lot of customers over this...

Who ever runs Subaru should resign now ... Your to stupid to run the company....

NTRussell (not verified)    October 17, 2014 - 2:23PM

We have the same issue with our 2014 Outback 2.5l. We bought it new, 3 miles on the odometer and followed the break in procedure in the manual. Our Outback has been bringing oil at about a quest every 1000 miles, so we have been taking it to the Subaru service center for top off and eventually per our request and oil consumption test,

All we get from the dealer (Diablo Subaru in Walnut Creek, Ca) is the run around that Subaru considers it normal and the oil consumption test results were inconclusive. We are now in the middle of a finger pointing contest between Subaru of America who agrees there is an issue with our Outback and the local service department who lies about what SOA is telling him. The service department demanded the consumption test be run again, we checked the oil before leaving the dealership and it had been overfilled by them by 1/4 to 1/3 qts of oil. Now add deception to the lies and disregard by the dealer.

All of this is clearly documented with SOA but they will still take no action to get this resolved and even if they do take the next step of replacing rings or block, we still have the issue of dealing with this incompetent service department and a devalued and rebuilt 'new' car.

Buying a Subaru has been by far the worst manufacture/service experience I have ever encountered, and I have purchased more than 30 vehicles from various manufactures in my driving years. Never again.

ellen (not verified)    October 18, 2015 - 5:35PM

In reply to by NTRussell (not verified)

I can totally relate with you. My xv sube was overfilled and this is only my second oil change. Both times , were bad experiences.mechanic left cap off of oil and oil spilled everywhere but luckily i caught it 4 days later. So, where does one go from here? How do you trust anyone who says a new car will burn oil and tops off the oil high so, they don't see you or hope that you don't notice. Shabby treatment.

Bill J (not verified)    October 17, 2014 - 7:01PM

I was responding to a Yelp request for feedback on my recent experience with buying a new 2015 Subaru Forester. While I was OK with the sales experience, I noticed that Yelp had a number of very unfavorable reviews of Diablo Subaru’s service department. And then a comment recommending that anyone considering a Subaru should Google “Subaru Oil Consumption Lawsuit” caught my eye. That brought me to this website, and now I am concerned. I purchased the vehicle because Consumer Reports had rated the 2014 model as the “Best Small SUV” in their most recent issue. So I guess my question is, why would they rate it so highly if there is such a widespread and known problem? I will be watching the oil consumption very carefully.

Pete (not verified)    October 18, 2014 - 6:36PM

I was at the dealer today looking at 2015 Forresters and they said that there is only an issue with the standard transmission vehicles that the automatic transmission vehicles do not have any problem with oil burning. Is this true? Are all these complaints about excessive oil burning with standard transmission vehicles only?

I am very hesitant to buy a Forster after reading all these comments.

Richard Aichinger (not verified)    October 19, 2014 - 5:19PM

In reply to by Pete (not verified)

Hi. I don't see how the auto transmission would have any affect, all the engines are the same, and the problem has been with the engines burning / using excessive oil, not the auto transmission. The transmission whether standard or auto is separate from the engine. The oil in an engine is different from, and completely separate from any lubricants in a transmission. In any case the majority of cars sold are with auto transmission. I don't see how this seemingly widespread problem would be resolved unless Subaru admit that there is a problem, and they have updated the manufacture of the engine to address the problem. I haven't heard that they have announced / done either. It's bad enough / disappointing that Subaru has such a problem, even more disappointing about their attitudes toward customers. Why don't they put it in their sales brochures about the high oil usage. I had my oil level topped up by the dealer, went away for a weeks family holiday did 1600 miles and 1 week later, no oil on the stick, it took a litre. So if you did not check your oil very regularly,you could run low and damage your engine. Who would Subaru blame then? And the oil itself 0W20 is hard to find, and expensive, best sourced from the Subaru dealer, and carry some with you in the car.

Rob McGinley (not verified)    October 20, 2014 - 12:22AM

In reply to by Richard Aichinger (not verified)

0-20 oil is very thin. It is only used to increase gas milage.
If I owned a Subaru I would switch to 5-30 and see of that runs through the motor as fast. I bet it will not.
If it still burnt oil I would try 10-40.
What's the sense getting better milage if it's costing you a fortune in oil costs..........

2011max (not verified)    October 19, 2014 - 10:06AM

I have a 2011 with an auto transmission, and have had a new short block installed due to horrendously excessive oil consumption, now having to deal with cold start noise after the switch. Dealer has told me more than once that Subaru is aware of the issue. Told me the reason I recieved a short block instead of just new rings, is that they needed to the blocks to study the issue. I haven't found any research from owners where the issue has been resolved for any year after 2011.
I wish I had bought a Honda!

arnold mandelstam md (not verified)    October 19, 2014 - 8:59PM

Have a 2013 MT Crosstrek with 16,500 miles. Appears to be "consuming" one qt of oil every 1500 miles. An oil consumption test is in progress. Have pointed out the issue to dealer and they are polite and seemingly concerned. While the expenxe and nuisance of adding oil does exist, it isn't a major issue for me. How likely is the excessive oil consumption a problem re: engine life, catalytic converter life, and overall functioning of the car? If it isn't a big deal perhaps SOA could extend warranties and pay for the excessive oil. If reporting for the Lemon Law and/or class action lawsuits does tis help or hurt relationship with
soa in movimg forward with this issue?

Richard Aichinger (not verified)    October 19, 2014 - 11:34PM

In reply to by arnold mandelstam md (not verified)

Surprised that you don't consider it a major issue when you paid for a new car, and the oil usage is more akin to a very well worn one. Keeping in mind that the oil usage issue is to do with piston rings wearing, confirmed to me as the reason by my dealer when they replaced them under warranty in my Subaru Forester. If your oil usage is so much after 16,500 miles, how much worse might it be in another 16,500 miles. The oil usage you quoted of one quart per 1500 miles is more than a sump full between scheduled services. That is ridiculous oil usage, not acceptable. If people are prepared to put up with this, just accept this, then Subaru Japan, or Subaru America, will likely not do too much to fix the problem.

Rob Mcginley (not verified)    October 20, 2014 - 12:15AM

How can these cars pass EPA while burning this much oil?
That alone should be enough to force Subaru to fix the issue.
Maybe you owners need to get Goverment to force Subaru to come out of the closet on this and fix these cars.
And buddy are you crazy? You think Subaru will fix this issue without being sued? They even wrote in the manual that they burn oil.... In the
Get EPA involed. These cars are polluting the air we breath ...... POS....

Josh (not verified)    November 20, 2014 - 1:42PM

In reply to by Rob Mcginley (not verified)

Exactly! The space between the near-zero and zero emissions is in fact the oil that these thousands of affected vehicles are spewing out! I bet this vehicle generation by Subaru won't make it to 100k miles....toppling the "most cars still on the road over 100k miles" or whatever that saying was they claimed!

Stephen Welch (not verified)    October 21, 2014 - 7:39AM

2014 Forester- All comments seem to be relevant to my vehicle! Currently has 11,300 miles. Last oil change was at 8905. Cannot determine oil consumption as dealership oil change was over the full mark!

Phil Pantaleo (not verified)    June 11, 2015 - 1:30PM

In reply to by George (not verified)

I bought a 2015 Forester, that was used for a demo car. It was in great shape.
I took it home and as part of familiarizing myself with the car pulled the dip stick on the engine.
It was about an inch (1") over the full mark, and even cold it was still very high.
Took it back and they changed the oil, apologized and I went home.
Took the dip stick out the very next day, and the dam oil is over the full mark again.
Are they setting us up with overfilling to say the burning is not so great? I will have to keep a sharp eye on the oil situation. I only found this site because I was looking for problems with High oil levels, not burning oil.
I am pissed, I had a 2007 Forester and not one problem yet. (My son has the car in Conn., and I live in Florida).

Ellen (not verified)    October 18, 2015 - 5:50PM

In reply to by Phil Pantaleo (not verified)

This is happening to me too. i am getting tired of leaving without checking under the hood first.Each time i get home it is always a disappointment. Last oil change they left cap off of oil. Luckily caught it by the 4th day. went in irrate and now my new engine is covered in oil and has already had its first bath, all because of incompetence! and just to make matters worse, they over fill it! Ugh!

Arthurbostonmass (not verified)    October 27, 2014 - 8:31PM

I own a 2013 XV Crosstrek. Currently it has 22,000 miles on the odometer. While driving home on the highway the "low oil" indicator light came on. I thought I was seeing things.
So, I pulled over, waited about 15 minutes and checked the oil level. According to the manual the dipstick was showing that between 1 to 1.1( if I remember right ) qts of engine oil may be required.
On a new vehicle????!!!! Are you nuts???
I booked an appointment with the service dept where I bought the car. Then I found this site!
Thank you! Thank you!

EDHforester (not verified)    November 2, 2014 - 12:00AM

I had the short block replaced last week in my 2011 2.5L Forester. I took it in for an oil change at 68,000 miles. The last oil change was at 62,000 miles when I had the 60,000 mile service. When we bought the car the salesman said that we should change the oil every 7000 miles but I brought it in early because it was making a slight knocking sound. An hour after I had dropped it off the technician called and said that there was no oil registering on the dipstick. He said I would have to leave it overnight. Later that day he called to say that I needed a new engine! I was blown away because all I was expecting was an oil change! I'm wondering now why I never got a warning light if there was so much wrong with my car. I drive 90 percent of my miles on the freeway. What if I had a catastrophic engine failure while driving at 70 mph? After three days of keeping me hanging by a thread, Subaru went ahead and honored my warranty when they replaced the short block but they did charge me for the oil change! Talk about a bad taste in my mouth. My question now is how reliable is this car going to be? I'm guessing it is now devalued with a new short block. Please help me understand what I should do now. Thanks!

Michele (not verified)    November 4, 2014 - 10:04AM

What is wrong with Subaru? I've been a Subaru fan for ages. I realize all car makers have their issues but at least the others admit to them, do the recalls and fix it. It's not a wonder Toyota has such a huge following even after all the problems recently. They still stand behind their vehicles! Subaru WAKE UP. You've had a good thing for a long time - don't ruin it now!

Keith Spaulding (not verified)    November 7, 2014 - 11:25AM

As so many people here, I purchased a 2015 Subaru Forester and at 1200 miles the oil light came on. It took a full quart and I brought it to the dealer. I was surprised that the service guy and an admin person said the same thing, almost word for word as if it is something they have been told to say. Then I saw this forum and saw that I am not alone. I will be following up with the dealer for an oil consumption test but I saw one post mentioning that using 5w30 or 10w40 may make the oil consumption less because the oil is thicker and less likely to seep into faulty rings.

Will the 5w30 or 10w40 cause any other problem to the engine? Is there any other reason not to use this oil besides poorer fuel efficiency?

dave bell (not verified)    November 7, 2014 - 5:27PM

In reply to by Keith Spaulding (not verified)

do not change viscosity you will void warranty. demand new block if consumption is too high. mech at my dealer said after new rings problem popped back up after 6 months on some cars.

John (not verified)    December 28, 2016 - 6:02PM

In reply to by dave bell (not verified)

Changing the viscosity a little will not hurt the engine. When I purchased my 2013 Outback 2.5i Premium in late 2012, the dealer tech(s) told me that the Subaru branded synthetic oil was garbage and that they were using the Toyota branded synthetic oil in the Subarus.

I did some research and made a few calls and found that using a 5W-20 synthetic oil would be fine. Further research yielded the fact that 0W-20 synthetic oil had far more vaporization and burn off than a 5W-20 synthetic motor oil. All other values in terms of viscosity testing, etc. are within a few points of each other (0W-20 versus 5W-20). I am toying with the idea of going to a 5W-30 synthetic in warmer weather.

I have 57.5K miles on my 2013 Outback and change the oil every 4000 miles. Oil consumption is about 0.5 quarts per 3000 miles. I do top off with that 0.5 quart to keep the crankcase full.