Skip to main content

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.

MUST SEE: 2015 Subaru BRZ offers huge surprise in mpg marathon


david bellflower (not verified)    February 23, 2015 - 4:08PM

In reply to by Steve/Susan Blitz (not verified)

Do consuption test . Demand new engine not rebuild of old one. After that get rid of car if u want but car fax will show engine work and u will take beating on vehicle unless u get another subaru. I traded my 11 forester at a loss with 18k on it for 13 outback which goes thru 1 quart every 5 k which i can live with. GOOD LUCK

Jeffrey B. Smith (not verified)    March 9, 2015 - 7:15PM

Our 2013 Forester has had an oil consumption problem since we bought it, but just thought it was because of the light weight oil (0-W20). I change my own oil and keep a close eye on the level. We have 45,000 miles on the car now, and the oil consumption continues to get worse. I haven't contacted the dealership yet to see what their response will be. Wondering if Subaru is taking care of the problem yet?

kranmar (not verified)    March 11, 2015 - 10:16AM

2012 Impreza (my 3rd Subaru since 1993).
Had 4 tires ruined by 26K, excessive inside wear. Subaru - not dealer - helped get them replaced.
Now excess oil consumption. Awaiting test results today, but service manager says has to be more than 2 quarts down to warrant any remedial action!
What BS!
I have a lot of respect for Subaru and their cars. They need to make good on this defect.

G. Conway-Davenport (not verified)    March 11, 2015 - 4:12PM

OMG! This issue just came up for us last month heading out of town at the crack of dawn. We were on a big trip over the eastern sierras when our oil light came on. We had to pull over and find a gas station but no one in the area sold synthetic oil so we had to wait until an auto parts store opened to purchase our oil. Looks like we have to carry oil in the car. I just hope our car is okay. Makes me sooooo sad for our 2013 CrossTrek!. Our warrantee just expired in December. Is there anything I can do at this point?

David (not verified)    March 23, 2015 - 4:54PM

If you're having an oil consumption test done - be sure to monitor the oil levels yourself also. During my first oil consumption test - my reading showed 3/4 of a quart low at 1200 miles but when I got it to the dealer and (went into the waiting room) they came back and said it was spot on. I asked to see it and it was, indeed, spot on. I clearly waited long enough and was on flat terrain when I did the measurement. The second oil consumption test was when I decided to start checking it myself. When I got the car home, at the very start of the test, the oil level was about 1/2 quart ABOVE the full line. I cannot say this is not common practice but it certainly makes one wonder if they are really trying to fix the problem or going out of their way to avoid fixing it.

Mary (not verified)    March 25, 2015 - 8:05PM

In reply to by David (not verified)

I have a 2014 Subaru Forester and am going through the same tests for the second time. On the first test, they told me no oil was consumed in 1200 miles at all. After that test was done, it seems I am going through a quart every 1500 miles or so. After some emails, they are doing another test. I really wish I could monitor their work, but they have sealed every single access to the the oil, including the dip stick. When I asked them not to seal the dip stick they said that it is Subaru imposed rule for the integity of the test. I am tempted to break the seal and deal with the loss of integrity on the test later.

Mitre naumovski (not verified)    March 25, 2015 - 9:47PM

I have 2012 impreza with the oil problem as well. Today I spoke to near by service manager and he suggested that on the next oil change they will setup oil consumption monitoring program but he did say that there may be a problem with the engin. At that time I didn't know of the class action case.

Manuel Soto (not verified)    April 1, 2015 - 10:03PM

Just checked my oil this evening. 2012 Subaru Forester 2.5x 4cyl automatic transmission. It was down to 1-quart of oil! Thank god I checked it. Was getting ready to do oil change. Bought vehicle at Fitzgerald Subaru in MD just two(2) months ago! Was never informed of this issue! Told salesperson I needed a reliable vehicle and he said Subaru was fine. He lied. How can a vehicle that consumes 3-quarts of oil between oil changes be reliable? Please add me to lawsuit, I"m In! I want my engine repaired.

carl romolo (not verified)    April 4, 2015 - 8:29AM

I have a 2015 outback never opened the hood until 6000miles oil at full level.This engine is designed like small aircraft engine horizontally opposed they burn a quart every few hours and are designed to do so. Drive the car and quit complaining the benefits out weigh the little bit of oil consumption.

David (not verified)    April 4, 2015 - 1:46PM

In reply to by carl romolo (not verified)

Doesn't sound like you have the issues that others are having. Lucky for you. For the those that do have the issue, will it get worse? Will costly engine repairs be required after the engine is out of waranty? Or is it just a long term inconvenience? I've had cars with oil pan leaks that held oil better than the Outbacks. Many buy cars for safety, ease of use and reliability. Cars that burn excess oil could, arguably, classify as none of those three.

jean perrelli (not verified)    May 19, 2015 - 3:51PM

I have a 2015 Crosstrek...same BS. I've had a litany of vehicles before this and have never added oil between changes. I do believe they went to 0W - 20 to try and cover up this debacle. Never would add that type of oil before this...why now? Heard an ugly rumor...Ford bought American Subaru. If this is true, this all makes sense. Reminds me of the Chrysler - Jeep takeover. Jeep now a piece of crap. Subaru headed for crap heap too, I guess.

leo (not verified)    May 25, 2015 - 10:39PM

I have a subaru impreza 2013 with oil consumption and oil burn smell in the cab, after many visits to the subaru shop I end up calling the lemon law. No new car should consume oil or smell like that.

Hugh Rose (not verified)    June 4, 2015 - 11:42PM

Well it sounds like I have the same problem that most everyone else on this site has and that is a new Subaru that burns a ridiculous amount of oil. We are using in excess of a quart every 1000 miles (more like a quart in 800 miles). We have gotten the same run around from our Subaru dealer that this is"normal". I've owned a lot of vehicles in my life and that has included a few beaters and NONE of them burned/leaked that much oil. In fact right now I have a 1996 Toyota 4-runner with 135,000 and a VW Eurovan with 101K miles and neither use a quart of oil between changes! So for Subaru to say its normal for 2013 Outback with 22,0000 miles to burn a quart every 1,000 miles is ridiculous, but the response we got today when talking to a service rep from Kendall Subaru in Fairbanks Alaska where we live takes the cake. Here is a verbatim quote of what we were told today:
"So I did speak to one of the Subaru mechanics back there. So what he explains to me is that Subarus are designed a little bit differently and he used the term the crankcase doesn't quite hold the same amount of oil as other vehicles, he compared it to Toyota. So he said Yes you would burn a little bit more oil faster because you just don't have the amount in the crankcase that other vehicles may have. When you come in I would totally ask an advisor to please let a mechanic explain it to you. Once he explained it to me and I'm probably not using the right terms but it tottaly made sense"

Wow I can't wait to go talk to the mechanic and have him explain it to me like that! I've rebuilt a fair number of motors over the years and that is the biggest insult to my intelligence I have ever had! Subaru must think their customers are total morons or maybe they are that stupid!

Mike Brown (not verified)    June 6, 2015 - 2:15PM

We have a 2011 Forrester that just started losing oil after it turned 100,326 miles. We are losing almost two quarts between changes with no signs of leaks. The dealer agreed to perform a consumption test but is there any hope they will take any action to help fix the problem where the car is past the warranty ?

Barbara Kuntz (not verified)    July 7, 2015 - 8:46PM

I have the same issue with my 2009 Subaru Forester. I get my oil changed every 3k miles. The shop I took it to mentioned back in 2011 that my car was low on oil when I went a little longer than nornal between oil changes. I was surprised but didn't think much of it as there was no oil leaking. The problem has gotten progressively worse to where I know go through 1 quart of oil every 1,200 miles. And I'm told that this is normal! My only options are is to replace the short block or get rid of it. And my car is not included in the Class Action Lawsuit. I have always been a Subaru fan but this has left an extremely bad impressions and I will never buy another Subaru again!

Michael (not verified)    July 8, 2015 - 5:13PM

I have this problem with my 2006 Subaru legacy..which I bought new..I have less than 50,000 miles on it..I didn't notice the problem until I made a few road trips. ...this last trip really cost me I didn't check the oil on my return trip and my engine locked up costing me 5,500$..for a new engine...I'm going to call Subaru HQ about this issue , I shouldn't have to check my oil every month..

Deana (not verified)    July 13, 2015 - 8:38PM

2014 Forester is always first in line at the oil buffet. Multiple complaints to Subaru (corporate told me they knew nothing of the I now have a lemon law attorney and expect to have Subaru repurchase the car. Attorney said they've been settling regularly.....not sure why, since they "know nothing about the problem".

The fact the Subaru is lying and dodging the problem bothers me WAY more than the problem itself.

Whatever. First and last time Subie customer. I'll take my lemon law money and buy a car from a manufacturer that wants my business.

David Scarfo (not verified)    August 3, 2015 - 7:34PM

2014 Outback, I added a quart ~1000 miles ago and need to add another quart now. Has anybody had any luck with getting support or some sort of fix from Subaru?

Abraham beregovoy (not verified)    August 6, 2015 - 5:06PM

I have a 2012 impreza Wrx Sti and at 2000 Miles after the oil change my dipstick is dry. Had to get a brand new engine put in because a piston melted at 50k miles. 20k miles later it's burning oil insanely.

john (not verified)    August 11, 2015 - 4:11PM

We purchased the 2014 Subaru in March of 2013. It was during the first month of sales for the 14 model year. My wife is the one that loved it. I preferred the Honda CRV. My wife got caught up in the outdoors hype that they advertise. The first problem we noticed was that it is not meant for tall people. While there is plenty of head room, the seat bottom is too short and does not give any leg support. We noticed this on our first out of town trip. Shortly thereafter, it became our in-town car. The fit and finish is basic. I am used to Hondas where the fit and finish is excellent. The second issue is oil consumption. I followed all schedules described by Subaru. All Oil changes were done at a Subaru dealership. The oil was changed at 3750, 7500, and 15000 with no problems. At 21,500, the oil light came on. This was 1000 miles before the scheduled oil change. I went to Subaru and paid for an oil change, 1000 miles early. (I asked why it was burning oil (does not leak). They said it was within industry standards for oil consumption. In fact, they said that it was OK to use 1 quart every 1000 miles. If my car did use a quart every 1000 miles, I would be adding 7 quarts before the next oil change. This is considered acceptable by Subaru. My last car was a Honda accord. It was totaled at 176,000 miles and it never used any oil between oil changes. ) On the new window decal, they recommended bringing it back in at 27,500 miles. This was 6000 miles later instead of the original 7500 miles between oil changes. At 26,500 miles, the oil light came on again. This was only 5000 miles since the last oil change. I again paid early for an oil change. They started an oil consumption test. When I got home, I let the car sit for an hour and then checked the oil level. They had overfilled it, probably by about 1/4 of a quart. I could not believe that they would perform a scientific test where the starting point for oil level was not correct. I called Subaru customer support. They agreed to transfer this to a different dealership. The other dealership changed to oil for free and started the test. Once again the oil level was too high. At that point I gave up. Every Oil change I am getting about 1000 fewer miles before the oil light comes on. This is disturbing trend. When I purchase vehicles, I keep them for 10-15 years. I dumped this one at 2 years for a substantial loss. I was just glad to be done with it.

The third issue is the AWD design. We had a flat tire which was not repairable. When I went into a local tire shop, they said I needed to replace both tires on the axle where the flat occurred. this was due to the AWD. During one of my dealership visits for the many the Oil consumption issue listed above, the dealership noticed that two of the tires were new. They said I had to replace the older ones with new ones otherwise it would void the warranty and cause damage to the AWD. I cannot believe that Subaru has such poor engineering in their AWD where they require all 4 tires to be replaced at the same time. Word of caution. If you have a flat tire that is not repairable, Subaru thinks it is acceptable to replace all 4 even if the others have good tread. Good luck.

I went and bought a CRV. I suggest others do this too.

Walt Fish (not verified)    August 11, 2015 - 8:54PM

I've read through much of the posts here and just want to point out one thing. This issue has been know for a long...long time by Subaru. My 2002 Legacy outback starts out ok with new oil. At about 1,000 miles I have to start checking the dip stick every time I fill up with gas. By 2,000 miles I've added one and a half quarts. Between 2 and 3 thousand is where it really gets bad adding a half quart to full quart every 3 hundred miles. I've gone to having the oil changed at 2 thousand,

Terry Deppermann (not verified)    September 4, 2015 - 3:31PM

I bought a 2013 legacy it has the same problem it burns a Quart of oil every 2000 to 3000 miles. It is like I bought a 1990 chevy with 250000 mile on it.

Christine Elmendorf (not verified)    October 20, 2015 - 6:40PM

I have a 2006 Subaru Outback and I have to put oil in every 500 miles. My mechanic says it is typical but it sure is annoying!!

TC (not verified)    October 21, 2015 - 2:04PM

Christine -a quart every 500 miles is not really typical. My 2003 Forester with 200,000 miles uses oil at less than half that rate. If I fixed the head gasket oil leak it would be even lower but it is minor so I live with it.

JoyceR (not verified)    November 3, 2015 - 4:38PM

I had heard rumor of this problem but a Subaru dealer assured me it was fixed. I planned on buying a 2016 Forester this week but now wondering if it's a mistake.

TC (not verified)    November 4, 2015 - 11:56AM

I can't say if they "fixed" it for the 16's but as far as I know they have the same engine as the 15's. Ask them to put their claim in writing or show you documentation to that effect! If they have some sort of internal document that proves the oil consumption problem is actually solved and you get a copy, please share it with us!

Joseph (not verified)    December 13, 2015 - 7:33PM

Hi, I'm planning to purchase a brand new 2015 outback here in the Philippines, since subaru said it's all-new, do you guys think that there would still be oil consumption problems in the future on the 3.6 or 2.5 engines?

Peter (not verified)    December 21, 2015 - 5:49AM

I just blew up my 2011 Tribecca because I didn't check the oil for 3 months. It will cost 10 grand for reco engine. FML. Subaru never ever again!

James R Lee (not verified)    December 30, 2015 - 2:17PM

I have 2013 Subaru outback. I had engine oil consumption test, it was normal after 1200 miles check but the engine light on over 5000 miles every times. The dealer said "it is normal." My two different cars never have these problems. Do I have to trust the dealer? or Is there any problem within my 2013 outback? Thanks.