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Subaru Forester oil consumption

  • By Graham Smith
  • Herald Sun

David Hogben


I recently purchased a Subaru Forester and while I am very pleased with it, I am disappointed with what I hear and read about this model's oil consumption. How much do they consume and why, and what oil do I use to top it up? Surely such a modern engine should not consume much oil?

Graham Smith
Ask Smithy


The oil consumption is a result of the engine design, being horizontally opposed, and it's not limited to Subaru. Oil accumulates in the rings when it's sitting and you'll sometimes see a puff of smoke from the tailpipe on start-up. It's not something to be concerned about if you check the oil on a regular basis, as you should do on all cars. Use the Subaru recommended oil when topping it up. You'll find that in the owner's manual.

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 5 comments

  • We have an 2011 forester on a recent trip to mildura from geelong 600klms my wife rang to inform me the car was very noisy 4.5 litres of oil later no more noise. still awaiting the outcome of repair enquirey wife and car still in mildura Such a shame i really like the car has done 60.000 klms

    kevin smith of ocean grove Posted on 19 August 2013 6:50pm
  • Subaru has a problem with the 2012 Forester using Engine oil excessively. Was on vacation a couple of weeks ago and decided to check the oil at a fuel stop. Was shocked to find no oil on the dip stick. 6000 miles on the oil change. $18.00 dollars later for Mobil one 0/20wt oil as prescribed. Went to the dealer for a planned oil chg and discussed the issue. Their fix is to add more oil when it’s low.  We traded it in on a Honda CRV this afternoon, No Subaru issues no more.

    disgruntled Posted on 03 August 2013 2:43pm
  • My 2012 Forester has used a quart of expensive oil every 1200 miles. I was told this is “normal”. I guess my 2010 Outback isn’t normal, cause like every other new auto I’ve owned, it doesn’t require oil between changes. Do people really buy into this nonsense?

    Mike Musich of Minnesota Posted on 09 July 2013 1:10am
  • I also have a 2012 Subaru Forester X, I noticed within 3 months of purchase the oil seemed low but I wasn’t totally sure, and on my first trip to Sydney from Melbourne, I called in at Seymour Subaru to make sure everything was OK, I was shocked to discover that the car had already used 1 litre of oil. The Subaru dealer told me the engine was bedding down after running in. It’s now June 2013, I’ve had a service at Christmas and in April topped up the engine with another litre of oil at Doncaster Subaru and now again in June I need to top up again yet another litre of Oil! My last car a 1999 Subaru GX Impreza Hatch never required oil top ups between service intervals. This is extremely disappointing and when I query the Subaru dealer I just get fobbed off with “oh that’s normal for these new boxer engines”. I have searched numerous online forums and discovered this is a common problem with the Forester engines that use the new synthetic OW-20 Oils, apparently the new piston design and poor quality rings are responsible for the high oil consumption.

    Dave Posted on 10 June 2013 11:34pm
  • I have a 2012 Forester with about 10,000 miles on it. When first purchased it used a quart of 0W20 about every 3,000 mi. Now it uses a quart about every 1500 mi. The oil change period is 7500 miles. This appears very excessive to me. I am having an oil consumption test done through the dealer. Anyone else have this problem?

    Reed Loring of Oregon Posted on 31 May 2013 8:53am
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