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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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Al (not verified)    January 1, 2016 - 3:38PM

I bought a new 2013 Crosstrek, my first Subaru ever.

It burned about 1 litre of oil every 2,500 kms. According to the dealer this is normal. I had to always carry oil in the car. It was a real pain in the neck worrying about oil in the motor all the time. I have owned about 12 cars some new, some several years old and have never had an oil consumption issue.

I initiated the oil consumption test. When I went in after 2,000 km for them to check, they showed me the high end of the dip stick which was 1/2 way down. The low end of the dip stick ( on the other side ) was much lower. Dealer argued that the oil reading should be taken from the high side and anyway my car was not using enough oil to warrant anything being done. It was normal consumption.

After that encounter I started to look for a new car. In September the dealership phoned and invited me to a Subaru owners' special event where I could get a deal on the next year's Subarus. I told them one Subaru was enough for me and that I would never buy another one ever!

I have now gone back to Honda, what a relief!!!

Eric (not verified)    January 12, 2016 - 12:35AM

Thanks for nothing. My engine just blew at 72000 miles and that was after monitoring the oil carefully. I'll never buy another subby

yashodara (not verified)    February 22, 2016 - 5:50PM

I've had the same problem with my 2013 outback. I started seeing high oil consumtion after 20k miles or so. I get the oil changed every 5k miles and they always tell me its low. More recently i ran low on oil after driving about 2000 miles. I'm taking the car in for an oil change at the dealer to start the oil consumption test. The dealer said i have to pay for the oil change. will post updates

ken` (not verified)    February 27, 2016 - 11:58AM

Does anyone's low oil indicator work right? I can be 2 quarts low and it doesn't indicate .
. Also, oil consumption varies, Some weeks it needs a quart, others only 1/4 with same miles driven.

Betty Engels (not verified)    March 7, 2016 - 5:38PM

They just completed an oil consumption test on my 2015 Subaru Forester. It was not within normal limits and they are going to replace the block, hopefully the new one wont have issues. My Subaru only has 7000 miles on it and was using upwards of 1 quart for every 1000 miles. So far I'm happy with how its being handled.

J. D. (not verified)    March 25, 2016 - 6:15PM

I have the same issue. My car using a quart every 5000 miles. The dealership says this "is within normal manufacturer specifications for this vehicle" --- a 2013 with 30,000 miles. I say bull. If it had 130K maybe, not 30k. I read that there was a class action suit. How do I sign up?

Beska (not verified)    June 4, 2016 - 4:11AM

These consumers by action class are really getting a bad deal, the class action case will not compensate consumers for the loss of value in their car that comes from frequent repairs engine. All they're getting is the repair covered. What happens when they want to sell their car and they get thousands of dollars less? The car not build for 8 years or for 100000 miles. What owner will do after 100000 miles put their car in garbage box?

Jackie (not verified)    June 5, 2016 - 8:41PM

I just experienced this in my recently purchased three months ago 2009 Impreza Outback Sport. ZERO oil, but not a single check engine light, and briefly an oil light when I pulled in to get a windshield replaced. Glad I was in a safe spot. Put in 2 quarts as advised by the dealership, but nothing read on the dipstick still. Went the next day to the local oil changers and no oil registered on the dipstick. My dealership is 1.5 hours away. Now I am scared to drive it and it smells terrible, like burning oil. I have a 6 year loan on this car sadly, and may need to trade and carry forward the negative equity before the problem worsens. My 2003 Outback is at 205K miles and does not have that issue which I could accept in an older car with high mileage. That's why I bought the newer, low miles Impreza. It seem ALL models need to be included in the class action suits, and perhaps a recall demanded.

Russ Lay (not verified)    June 9, 2016 - 4:25PM

Had 6 Subaru's. Two were oil burners. the last, a 2012 Impreza Sport Premium was part of the suit. They ask me to supply proof of purchase (5 years ago) and they will replace up to 6 quarts.

WOW! How about compensation for the 1/2 hour walk at 4 AM in the rain to find synthetic at $10.95 a quart? Don't believe all the friendly crap. They're GREAT....until you have a problem.

Fairly good car (I have a 2016 Crosstreck-5, leaks) terrible company.

Russ Lay

cathy field (not verified)    October 9, 2016 - 8:51AM

theengineon my 2012 Subaru Forrester went out while driving 75 miles per hour on cruise control. It simply stopped. I didn't have the last couple receipts for oil changes, so the dealership said it wasn't covered. I am 6,000 miles over the 60,000 limit on warranty but within the 5 years, any ideas?

Cynthia (not verified)    December 27, 2016 - 9:37AM

Having the same problem w my 2015 forester 2. Lost 1 quart of oil between oil changes. Now have ptsd that the oil light will go on when I'm on some dark lonely road out of cell phone service. Sitting in Subaru dealership right now awaiting results of oil consumption test. We'll see

Christos (not verified)    December 28, 2016 - 11:30AM

Hello there . I have a 2014 Subaru Forester . My last oil change was this June (2016) right before my 3 year warranty expired . It's December and I have low engine oil level warning . Does anyone have the same issue , what should I do next ?

Jenny (not verified)    January 17, 2017 - 6:49PM

I have a Subaru liberty (2014) purchased in Australia I am constantly topping up oil between services.
So add the liberty to the list.

John Shepard iv (not verified)    February 3, 2017 - 6:08PM

My 2013 uses oil and also makes noise like the lifters are out of runs great but uses a lot of Oki I never smell or see smoke.only thing you see is steam when you start it when it's cold.what do I do.I change my oil more than normal to get more life out of my car.can you help.

Barbara Allen (not verified)    February 14, 2017 - 12:40PM

We purchased a used 2012 subaru impreza and it seems to be eating oil after 800 miles. And I am being told that I need a oil change every 3000 miles. Something is wrong with that picture. The dealership is trying to cover it up. I guess I will be printing all information off regarding these issues. I wish I had done research on this car. Subaru used to be a great car. What happened?

ND (not verified)    June 13, 2017 - 12:33PM

Bought a 2012 Impreza (with 30,000 miles) in 2013, was a dealership car. Had an oil issue (leaking/) since about 60K. Dealer said it was cracked oil pan, then it was smashed gasket. This went on for about 2 years. Took it in for my 105K Dealer recommended service said the oil leak was from the oil level sight gas. Oil leak fixed! Made it about 1600 miles and my low oil light came on. Did the oil consumption test, said it was not burning oil. Just drove 1800 miles since the test and now my oil light is on, again. Sounds like they won't cover it because it doesn't fall under the 1200 mile oil consumption standards. I'm at right bang on 116k so I don'[t fall under the warranty anymore (over on mileage ). I'm emotionally exhausted from this and looking to trade my car in for a different brand. Makes me sad. This is my 3rd Subaru. I made my husband buy an Outback since I liked my car so.This one will not be making it to 300K like my last one.

Ted (not verified)    January 29, 2018 - 6:02PM

Subaru is total crap, and lawsuit it self is total crap. Just another bunch of freeloading lawyers lining their pockets, and not addressing problems as usual. I ave a 2011 Outback that i cant tell you how many times it has been back to dealer for various issues. AND yes it is not named in the oil burning lawsuit, but burns oil uncharacteristically and has only 70k miles on car.

Eli Tirado (not verified)    June 21, 2018 - 12:50AM

I have a 2013 Subaru STI, IN Perfect condition. on 5/29 I got some codes and I made an appointment for next Tuesday since Monday was a holiday. Car was making a weird noise so I stop. called a tow truck and went to Subaru. Next day they said that the engine only had 1 qtr of oil. My extended warranty just denied my claim because I drove the car with almost no oil. I never had the oil light come on, Car wasn't smoking and it has no leaks what so ever, Subaru told me that they have seen this before and it was the piston rings . Now I am in a battle since the estimate is $9,000.00 to fix it.

Jim C. (not verified)    June 22, 2023 - 8:55PM

Hi all,
I'm responding to this thread late as the year is now 2023 and my 2011 Forester is 12 years old. I bought the car used in 2017 and at first didn't know about the high oil consumption issue until I noticed the oil light on the dash came on only a month after purchasing it. I drove the car to the dealership to explain the problem but they were mum about any type of oil issue. The one thought going through my mind was that I was screwed. I researched the problem and found out about the extended warranty to replace the short block but I had gone past it. After haggling with my Subaru dealership they finally agreed to an oil consumption test at their expense, which was a good sign because now I had their attention. At that time I always made sure to keep a quart of oil in the car in case of an emergency. I don't care what type of car you have but in my 50+ years of car ownership I had never owned a car with this issue. Can you imagine buying a car and the salesperson tells you to always keep extra oil for this model? I could see this gravitating toward the sales department getting involved and offering to sell me a new car but that wasn't an option for me. When I bought the car I was just outside the warranty coverage and at that point I knew I was in trouble because Subaru wasn't obligated to fix the problem at their expense. Since I was a regular customer at this particular dealership, they agreed to a free oil consumption test. That was about the time I discovered the class action suit brought against Subaru to do the right thing and replace the short block. Obviously Subaru was aware of the problem and not once admitted any culpability. Subaru did nothing but back-pedal, deny, and shrug their shoulders. I nagged the service department and told them that I couldn't afford to buy a new car and asked if there was anything they could do. They got Subaru USA involved and they agreed to replace the short block in my car for a $500 deductible. I still wasn't thrilled about it but to put into perspective it was a lot better than paying $5-7,000 out of pocket. I'm good with Subaru now and still drive my 2011 Forester. It's still reliable (165,000 mi.) and with the newer short block hope I can keep on driving it for another 3-5 years. So, if you're driving around town in a 2011 Forester with the oil issue, all is not lost. If you bought the car at a Subaru dealership throw yourself at their mercy. This has a better chance for a positive outcome if it's where you purchased your car or take it for service. If they see you're a loyal customer they may be more inclined to work with you, at least that's the intended outcome. It's at least worth a shot if you have nowhere else to turn,