How often do you check your oil? How often should you change your oil? If you’re a Subaru owner, how you answer these questions will impact the life of your car in significant ways.
Subarus are great cars and are known for being reliable, safe, and fun to drive (especially if you want a vehicle with all-wheel drive). However, it is widely acknowledged that Subarus burn oil. The amount of oil that each Subaru burns is dependent upon the age of the car, whether or not it has been well maintained, and if you frequently put a lot of around-town miles on your car or mostly stick to highways.
For Subarus built between 2000 and 2010, Subaru recommends that you change your car’s oil every three months or 3,750 miles under more severe conditions. This is also our recommendation, as the more frequent oil changes help keep the oil cleaner, which helps seals and gaskets last longer.). This is more frequently than you would need to change your oil on a newer car.
In addition to changing your oil frequently, we also recommend that you make it a habit to check your oil every 1,000 miles. This is because Subarus burn a little bit of oil and by checking your oil regularly, you will get a sense as to how much oil your Subaru typically burns. If you notice that your car is has started to burn more oil than it has in the past, that is a sign to (first) top off the oil in your car and then call your mechanic and ask what this could mean based on your car’s previous mechanical history. Older cars tend to burn more oil and this does not always indicate that there is a significant mechanical issue — it could just be that your car will need to be topped off more often. It is not unusual for a Subaru to use or burn one quart of oil every 1,000-1,200 miles. Consumer Reports recently identified this as an issue with Subarus and a few other brands. While Subaru is working to improve future engines, the best thing the current Subaru owner can do is to make sure that they check their oil regularly.
If you are planning to take a long road trip and you know that your car tends to burn a little oil, definitely consider carrying a quart or two of oil in your car just in case you need to top off the oil along the way.
Want a copy of your owners manual? You can find an electronic copy here on the Subaru website.
The point of all of this is to make Subaru buyers and owners aware that this is a typical issue that other owners encounter. By checking your oil every 1000 miles, you can prevent any problems and, as we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.