Low oil level on new Subaru - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-22-2012, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Low oil level on new Subaru

We purchased a 2013 Outback 2 weeks ago and have driven mostly interstate miles on 2 trips. With only 2500 miles, the low level oil sensor light came on 4 separate times approximately half an hour a part and went off a minute or two later by itself. It was flat interstate at slightly over 75 mph. When checking the oil levels, they appeared normal the best we could tell. Two days later, the local Subaru dealer checked out the car. They could find nothing wrong and indicated it was low a half quart and topped it off. They say it is normal for the car to burn a half quart every 1000 miles and nothing is wrong. The answer does not make sense and leads me to the conclusion that during a 7500 mile oil change interval recommended that I will be 3 1/2 quarts low. This is a brand new car, not a car with 100,000 miles. Does this make sense? Regardless, it doesn't paint a good picture for Subaru quality in my mind. I sincerely hope this is not a lemon or a sign of things to come.

Jbkabourek is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-22-2012, 06:47 PM
Registered User
Looby's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Philly 'burbs
Car: 2013 Legacy Lim CVT Car: 2011 OB Prem 6MT Car: 2006 Miata GT 6MT mc: 2003 Honda GL1800A * Reunite Gondwanaland *
Posts: 3,567
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
In 2500 miles on a brand new car you've checked the oil only once?

So, you don't know what the original level was -- and thus, you have
no idea as to whether it's actually using oil.

The dipstick is there for a reason.

All-time favorite boxers (chronological order):
2013 Subaru Legacy ...…... 2.5L H4
2011 Subaru Outback ...…. 2.5L H4
2003 Honda Goldwing ...… 1.8L H6
1960 Porsche 356B S90 …. 1.6L H4
1942 Muhammed Ali ...…... 6'3" H2
Looby is offline  
post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-22-2012, 07:07 PM
Registered User
Latigo's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Missoula, MT
Car: 2007 Chrysler 300C built 5.7
Posts: 396
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I wouldn't be worried. Odds are the oil level is the same as the day you drove it off the lot. The warning light would concern me I guess. Bad sensor, perhaps? Doesn't seem like even being a half quart low should trip that.

2013 Outback 2.5 Limited w/ Eyesight
Latigo is offline  
post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-22-2012, 07:36 PM
Registered User
Novablue's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: WA
Car: '15 FXT
Posts: 2,343
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Oil consumption is one of those things that most car manufacturer's consider anything less than one quart in 900 miles is "okay." I was surprised to find that out when we had a truck at work that was at one quart in 1000 miles. Amounts and miles vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Most cars don't consume this much oil if any so people just assume that no consumption is normal.

In your case we have no idea if your's is consuming oil because you have not established a baseline yet. Check your oil when you get gas and monitor it that way from now on. Once you can actually measure the consumption rate we can go from there. My guess is you are fine and won't see any consumption your next few fill ups.


Common sense, isn't common.

Current: '15 FXT
past '12 2.5L OB
Novablue is offline  
post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-22-2012, 10:55 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Oceanside, NY
Car: 2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
Posts: 7,355
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Send a message via AIM to nipper
It can take as much as 7000 miles for new engine rings to seat. You need to regularly check the oil levels once a week or during every highway drive.

As everyone has said we need a baseline first.
nipper is offline  
post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2012, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Thanks for all your comments and suggestions. I need to determine a baseline and monitor consumption going forward. It may not have been topped off when it rolled of the sales lot.
Jbkabourek is offline  
post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2012, 09:01 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Mountains of NM
Car: 2012 limited, white, no moonroof or nav
Posts: 1,698
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Originally Posted by LouBrooks View Post
I was going to ask a question, but instead.... I will close my account.
Someone is a bit sensitive.

Oil consumption in the first 5k miles can be 0 or up to a quart every 1k. If it does not drop off by then, I would be worried......Unless it was a German car. The Germans seem to like to use rings harder than an.......Old rental girl's heart.......And take forever to seat. 30k before it settles out is not unusual. My Subaru never used any, from the get go. I did do my usual throttle dance to insure that the rings had every chance to seat. Good luck.
4wheeldog is offline  
post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2012, 12:10 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ
Car: 2013 2.5i Premium, 6-speed
Posts: 3
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I checked oil level when I first picked up the car and it was fine. Didn't think there is a need to check more often as the recommended first oil change should be done at 7,500 miles. At about 4,000 low oil level warning light came on
I checked the oil and it was about half inch over the low level. About 500 miles later the light came back (I was 4 hrs away from home and it was on a weekend). When I pulled over to the nearest gas station, the oil at that time was below low
I added a whole qt of synthetic 5w-30 and found out that such combination should be changed to 0w-20 at next oil change..
Called the dealer on Monday to talk about this and the fun begun.

- I was told that the owners manual is wrong, needs updating
- that I should do the first oil change at 3,000 miles
- that there is nothing to worry about if I didn't do it on time and went over the recommended 3K
- and that they will take care of my oil change (turned out they took care of it for $70)

I bring the car for oil change and as Subaru enters my info on their system, they ask for car milage (I had 4,700 at that time) ...feeling guilty I opened my mouth and said that I had no idea that I was suppose to do oil change at 3k :/
The girl said it's in the owners manual.. I told her that mine is wrong and it says 7.5k
She looked at me funny and said, no it doesn't. I said yes it does lol
There were couple of mechanics behind the counter (I can understand why they had nothing to do.. They will not get any business from me from now on either) anyway, the mechanics get involved and look things up on computer - what year, what engine, transmission, and they say that I should change oil every 3k. One of the guys rotates the monitor to show me a chart.. I looked and it says: 1st oil change at 7.5k, just like my manual. I asked HIM to read it again. Now he is upset.
I told him he is looking at the wrong engine. Then the girl steps in and says - 7.5k for synthetic, but 3k regular oil.
I get frustrated at that point, and ask her what oil are they putting in my car because they should use synthetic!
She wiggled herself out and confirmed that I was put down for $69 oil change which is synthetic, but I asked her to verify with the technician.
I pay. I leave. I check the level at home.., and it is 3/4" over max!!
I went back to the dealer today (car wasn't driven since then) to find out that they always add more oil (wtf?!) I asked why? If the oil change requires 5 qt, why would they put "little more"? He said "This engine takes 6 qt" and told me he has to go back to work
I checked OM after i came back home, and mine says 5..

That garage is not getting near the Outback again

Unless they are right and Subaru USA printed my manual wrong

Though this could make you laugh.
At the time of oil change, guy behind the counter tried to wiggle the rest of his crew out of trouble, by explaining to me that under extreme driving conditions, oil should be changed every 3,000.
When I asked him to define extreme conditions, he had to look it up and he started to read aloud about towing heavy loads, temp changes that range 40 deg. As he was reading on, he was reading softer.., and quiter... Even his own mates gave him a funny look. That moment reminded me of Ricky Bobby at first intervew in Talladega Nights.
In the end he said "yep, that's us. Here in NJ we live in extreme weather conditions"

he abandoning their first escape plan, realizing they were reading the chart wrong :/ (I think)
Bad Habit is offline  
post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2012, 12:23 PM
Registered User
ron917's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: New Jersey
Car: 07 2.5i
Posts: 779
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Bad Habit,

It sounds like that dealer has no idea how to service your car. Find another shop (doesn't have to be a dealer) to do your oil maintenance. Or do it yourself.

Maybe call Subaru and ask if your manual is correct. Then let them know what your dealer is telling you.
ron917 is offline  
post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2012, 02:45 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ
Car: 2013 2.5i Premium, 6-speed
Posts: 3
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Thanks for the advice, mate!
I will call Subaru USA and see what they have to say about that.

As far as the maintenance, i do it on my own all the time..
(owning 2 bikes (my preferred way of transportation btw) it's not just more convenient, or quicker, but also I know it is done right).
Because it was the first time someone looked the car since new, I wanted the experts to take a look at it, and verify if everything checks OK :/


Bad Habit is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome