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2005 Mazda 6 && 2007 Outback 3.0 LLBean, WGO
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I test drove a 2011 3.6R with 151,000 miles today. Shockingly good interior. Some minor issues... and then two major ones.

This question is about the Oil Level MIL. (Oil can with squiggly line under it... not the same as the "low oil pressure" light apparently).

According to CarGurus.com, this car has been on sale here for over 100 days! I can vouch that it wasn't moved in a while, lots of spiderwebs and rotor surface rust. But it looked real good... I even checked the dipstick before starting it, and level was halfway between .low and .high. The CarFax shows it having gotten an oil change less than 2,000 miles ago; car came from an Auction to this dealer

So, started it up and this light was on. I showed the seller (used dealer), who thunk about it, looked under the hood (though not at the dipstick), and then told me to just go ahead and test drive it anyway. :( In hindsight, I do wish I got that in writing... play it safe.
Anyway, I went up and down the street twice, at low RPM, and the light went off after about 2 minutes.

Has anyone seen this Low Oil Level light on? Anyone had it for something other than... low oil? Do you know wThe CarFax shows it having gotten an oil change less than 2,000 miles ago; car came from an Auction to this dealer here it samples, and if it's plausible to have just sat so long and drained so much it was marginal, and triggered?

I think I like it enough to take it up the street to Village Subaru (Acton, MA) this week and have them look it over... either to reassure or warn me about the other potential issues I'm seeing. The price has barely budged in these 100 days, according to the Internet... so if the big issues aren't big, I'll see if they barter. Otherwise, I think I'm going with a G37x I saw this weekend. I'm so torn right now!

From the user's manual:
Engine low oil level warning light

The engine low oil level warning light illuminates when the ignition switch is turned to the “ON” position and turns off after approximately 2 seconds. This light also illuminates when the engine oil level decreases to the lower limit. The illuminating conditions and remaining oil level are shown in the following items.

2.5 L models:
when the ignition switch is in the “ON” position but the engine is not running:approximately 1.9 US qt (1.8 liters, 1.6 Imp qt)
while the engine is running: approxi-mately 3.2 US qt (3.0 liters, 2.6 Imp qt)
3.6 L models:
when the ignition switch is in the “ON” position but the engine is not running: approximately 4.0 US qt (3.8 liters, 3.3 Imp qt)
while the engine is running: approxi-mately 5.6 US qt (5.3 liters, 4.7 Imp qt)

If the engine low oil level warning light illuminates while driving, park the vehicle at a safe and level location, and then check the engine oil level. When the engine oil level is not within the normal range, refill with engine oil if necessary.
Refer to “Engine oil”
If the warning light does not turn off after refilling with engine oil or the warning light illuminates even though the engine oil level is within the normal range, have the system checked by a SUBARU dealer.
NOTE
The engine low oil level warning light will not turn off immediately even if you replace or add engine oil. It will turn off only when the vehicle is idling and the engine is warmed up comple-tely.

When the vehicle is considerably inclined on an uphill or steep slope, the warning light may illuminate tempora-rily due to the movement of engine oilin the engine.
 

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2005 Mazda 6 && 2007 Outback 3.0 LLBean, WGO
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Discussion Starter #2

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1999 30th Anniversary Legacy Outback DOHC 2.5L 4EAT, 2008 Impreza WRX 2.5L 5MT, 2008 Impreza Wagon 2.5L 4EAT
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1,224 Posts
That light is supposed to come on when it's a quart low (the lower dot on the stick?). It may be a bad sensor too. Add a quart of oil and see if it goes out.
 

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2005 Mazda 6 && 2007 Outback 3.0 LLBean, WGO
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402 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Alright, simple enough. Fil it up, and check for leaks (if it got filled up, where did the oil go?!).
At least it didn't look like it smoked, just an initial spot of steam.
 

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2013 Outback 3.6R Limited
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My 2013 Outback 3.6R exhibits this behavior. Oil is topped off. Oil light only comes on rarely when decelerating (almost stopped, low rpm) or when slowing to a stop while going down hill.
 

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My 2010 does this if I park nose down. On level the line reads full. Overnight in my driveway and light is on for 2 minutes
 

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Anyone still here examining this issue? Mine does the same thing, oil light comes on briefly, goes away...?
 

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2011 Outback 3.6R Limited 2013 Crosstrek Premium
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54 Posts
Mine has shown its face a few times. seems if parked leaning to the left maybe nose downhill slightly and cold while parked for a workday has been the times i've seen it come on. the first few times I immediately parked flat and checked oil and it was all good. hasn't come on in a while now. nice to know it is working though. It did came on for an actual low oil incident a few months ago for a drain plug gasket leak ( which is also now happening again, ARRRHHGGG). The light threw me off a few times when it came on every once in a while for a short while. but has not come on at all recently. i think at the time i was also using bulk 5w-40 vs. the recommended and currently used (expensive, but love it) 5w-30. maybe its a low oil or incorrect/unsatisfactory oil light in one???
 

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There is a TSB Technical Service Bulletin about this problem.

NHTSA ID: 10094109
TSB ID: 11-145-14R

Reprogramming file availability for oil level detection
 

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'13 2.5 Premium
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2,399 Posts
My '13 2.5 did this.

At about the midpoint between low and full I'd get an intermittent oil level indication. It usually showed up at the same place in my commute, a long downhill, and would turn off after a minute or two. In all cases, it would quit after I added 1/2 qt of oil. And it always coincided with when I was about due for an oil change, at that time I was always approx 1/2 qt below full.

The manual says the light should go on when approx 1/2 qt below the low line.

I took the vehicle into the dealer for something and mentioned it, the service mgr said they would reprogram with the new s/w. mentioned above by @skunkworks. I haven't gotten the oil level down to the mid-point to see if it works or not. But after having it done, I kind of regret it now. It was a good warning light to let me know oil levels were getting low before the level got below the "low" line.
 
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