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2012 Outback 3.6R Limited +M/R +HK
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

I'm a new Gen 4 owner, with a 2012 Ouback 3.6R and I have looked over the manual and it has some cryptic recommendation that I am unaware of for oil. Some special approvals or something? I'm guessing that is because most newer cars have moved to some super viscous synthetic oil. Well, that said I like to keep a little extra oil in the car and plan to run as close to what the manual (which I don't exactly have?) suggests if anyone could help me out with brand and weight.
 

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2013 3.6R Limited
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823 Posts
I follow my owners manual recommendation and run conventional 5W30 (Castrol GTX) in my 2013 3.6R. No issues at 43,700 miles.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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25,977 Posts

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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12,301 Posts
There is no such thing as a "best oil", there are too many metrics to go by. Best at extended drain intervals, best at staying in grade, best at wear protection, best so on and so forth.

The owner's manual lists a very common spec for you: API SN or newer. Pick your favorite name brand bottle color and go by factory intervals under warranty. If I'm not mistaken, the oil filler cap has 5w30 printed on it.
 

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Super Moderator
2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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2,550 Posts
Best is relative.

If you want a name brand oil from one of the biggies, M1 5w-30 meets a ton of specs including A5/B5, HT06 and it's dex1G2 approved.

Others too but it's one stop shopping if you're inclined to use M1. Bruceys Supertech oil also meets a lot of specs so you do have choices. There is no universal best.
 

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SubaruOutback.org Founder
2018 Outbacks, Grey Premium & Silver Limited
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4,805 Posts
Walmart Super tech 5w30 conventional.

It is the cheapest I can find that meets spec
.
This is the only criteria I use, that being said I like synthetics and it is usually a toss up between Mobil 1 and whatever the cheapest full synthetic is at Walmart in a five quart jug. I am a big fan of getting the best filter though, Fram's synthetic oil filter seems to be the best available at this time and I say that not being the biggest fan of Fram historically.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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10,689 Posts
This is the only criteria I use, that being said I like synthetics and it is usually a toss up between Mobil 1 and whatever the cheapest full synthetic is at Walmart in a five quart jug. I am a big fan of getting the best filter though, Fram's synthetic oil filter seems to be the best available at this time and I say that not being the biggest fan of Fram historically.
You saw my used oil analysis right, boss?

https://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/89-oil-fuel-discussion/498327-blackstone-labs-used-oil-analysis-3-6-a.html

I was just using an OEM filter since there isn't much debate over whether it's quality or not.

Just whether it's the absolute best available.

Edit: Also should we merge this thread with the irreconcilable differences discussion?
 

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2011 Outback 3.6R ruby red, 2020 WRX Sport magnetite grey metallic
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158 Posts
The 3.6Rs can run on dino oil, but since I live in a cold climate and the wife does frequent short trips in our 2011 3.6R, I use Castrol Edge synthetic 5W30, along with the Subaru filter, which is not much more expensive than aftermarket models. No problems so far, sometimes a little oil consumption from off-roading.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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12,301 Posts
Quaker

The 3.6 is not very picky, and can run conventional or synthetic. That said, I prefer to run synthetic oils in timing chain engines just for the extra shear stability.

My go to synthetic oil is Quaker State Ultimate Durability. It meets a lot of specs and is usually in the cheapish price point.
 

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Super Moderator
2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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2,550 Posts
I prefer to run synthetic oils in timing chain engines just for the extra shear stability.

The dexos1Gen2 spec was established just to address timing chain wear. There's some debate on whether GM did this to address timing wear on poorly designed engines vs doing a voluntary recall to replace parts.


Regardless, the spec is a good one and we benefit if we have timing chains. The certification will be on the front of oil bottles.
 

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2001 OBW VDC, 2004 WRX, 1999 LEGACY L (in a heap)
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1,270 Posts
Wally SN synthetic is fine. I just wish I knew when Walmart changes companies that supply it.
 

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2005 Outback Wagon 3.0 L.L. Bean
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709 Posts
I like the favorite bottle color comment... I'm stealing that one.
There are really only 5 different oils due to 5 different base stocks of crude oil. (Red Line is the only Base 5 I know of.) Base stock is about 90% of the end product. Antioxidants, detergents, rust/corrosion inhibitors, anti-foaming agents, viscosity improvers makes up the rest. As far as comparing brands, they all start with the same base stocks. (itdoesntreallymatter) That's why I'm stealing the favorite bottle color comment for future use.
It must obviously be 5W30. The most important thing with fluids is changing them on time. Nothing is wrong with conventional oil as long as you change it at the right time. Synthetic Or Syn Blends are better, (a lot better if it's cold enough to see your breath), and last longer. An upgraded filter with synthetics is recommend because of the longer change interval.
Consider a Synthetic or a blend. They cost more, but you don't have to change as often as conventional. The money you spend almost evens out as far as miles per $. It's only slightly higher but has superior characteristics.
 

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2012 Outback Ltd 3.6r
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438 Posts
I've used synthetic on nearly all my vehicles for 15+ years. Just seem to crank better in cold weather, and if you've ever seen the comparison of Dino vs Synthetic oil being poured cold, you'd never use Dino again if you live in an area that actually has a winter. (Dino gets thick like molasses, while the Synth oils pour more like anti-freeze).

I just look for whatever the latest Dexos emblem looks like, as GM's Dexos spec is pretty demanding. Having used Mobil 1, Castrol Edge, Pennzoil, and even Super-Tech from Walmart, honestly never saw any discernible difference. Even Blackstone Labs doesn't really see a difference when using reasonable oil change intervals. I'm 6 mo or 6k miles religiously, which really means every 6 months.

Important thing is to use a SUBARU filter. The Genuine OEM filter has a higher pressure bypass valve spring, and most aftermarkets don't.
 

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Super Moderator
2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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2,550 Posts
I love those pour tests because for all the titillating entertaiment they provide about cold oil, they are highly inapplicable. Truly are a pile of wasted 1's and 0's.


That's because oil pumps are positive displacement. That's the only testing that's worthwhile and none of the pour tests that we all use to affirm our oil choices do that.



Under pressure a lot of oil flows really well and what you see at 0 F for RP, Castrol, M1 or Amsoil in these vids doesn't reflect what's going on. It's a relative comparison to each other but not under actual engine running conditions. There are a few vids that show the engine running but they are rare.
 

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2013 3.6R Limited
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823 Posts
fishe1me,

Only 2 drivers in our household with 4 vehicles until mid-May 2018 when I sold my 2005 Jaguar S-Type sedan at 106,500 miles. It was my daily driver. My wife's daily driver is a 2006 Jaguar XK8 convertible with 116,200 miles. I am now daily-driving the 2013 3.6R. It will probably do around 7,500 miles per year now. I also have a 1999 Dodge Ram 5.9-litre 1500-series pickup that was built 20 years ago this month. I hit 70,000 miles on it last month.

Until I took over the 2013 3.6R as my daily driver, it served primarily as our dog hauler / snow vehicle / wife's shopping vehicle. When we spread the miles around amongst multiple vehicles, they tend to last much longer for us. We have been doing this for more than 30 years. It also helps that we are both retired. There has been no job commute in our household since October 2013.
 

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2008 Outback H6 LL Bean , 94 Ford Aerostar
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108 Posts
91 Toyota V6, 94 Ford Aeorstar V6, 08 H6 Outback, 01 Hundia Ascent. Mobil 1 oil and filters in all. Most are at or over 100K.

When the change from SM to SN occurred I looked into it and found the only biggie was the vertual elimination of the 4 main anti wear additives. The reason given was the car companies wanted these additives gone as they were making a lot of motors that consumed a quart every thousand miles. That means in a 100K mileage smog cert test 100 quarts run thru the catalitic converter. Those additives were great for the motor but bad for the converters, so out they went. Lots of Subie shops around here like the Castrol Syn also.
As for filters, after reading online about it I called the 800 # for Wix and was told that the "better " for syn oil and extended changes was passing larger particles than the standard one. Theory was all the filters partially get finer as they age getting plugged up somewhat so for extended changes this would prevent the filter from getting to the point where the bypass valve would open. I'm not running anywhere near that so no thanks.
just my .002 $ probably worth less :)
 
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