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2010 Outback Premium 2.5
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is an update to my earlier posts on this subject in another thread. After what I found I thought it was worth starting a new thread. When I completed the first oil change in my 2010 Outback, the low oil level light stayed illuminated afterward and did not extinguish in 1-2 seconds as expected.

The only reference I see in the owner's manual to this is on page 3-15 where is talks about adding oil when it's gotten low enough to turn on the low oil level light. It says, 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 completely.

After checking the oil level 8 times or so :8: I took it for a drive to get it up to operating temperature as suggested in the manual. After 15 miles it was still on, but when I turned it off and re-started it the light went off as it should have originally.

I called my Subaru dealer to inquire about this event. The technician was very helpful - told me he had heard about this, it only affects 2010 models, but he had never seen it at his dealership. He called me back the following day with the results of his search. I have attached the Tech Tip he provided.

The Tech Tip is a way to turn off the light. I assume it works. I will try it the next time the light stays on. However I'd be more interested in finding out why this occurs, and what the actual fix is. I don't mind doing this each time I change the oil if it's supposed to be that way and everything is working as designed. But since it's not described in the owner’s manual with the oil change information, it’s infrequent enough that my local tech has never seen it, and there's not a ton of posts on here with people asking about it - I have to assume that it's an occasional thing that only occurs under certain circumstances, or with certain vehicles. Therefore, the low oil light staying on after an oil change until you insert and remove a fuse from a diagnostic circuit appears to me to be a defect.

This is my first Subaru ever after buying 20 or more new vehicles, and I really, really like it for what it is. But a big part of me is dissatisfied with a $30,000 machine that has software glitches. It makes me think about things like loose testing standards, and lack of attention to detail. It leaves me wondering something...if there's an obvious problem in the software/firmware that I can see, how do I know that there aren't software/firmware issues that I can't see, or can't see yet...

Does anyone else feel this way, or am I just too picky? And assuming others feel the same way, does anyone have a easy path into SOA to ask this question? Or do I just start with the dealer?
 

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2011 Outback 3.6R Limited--Sky Blue Metallic
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Yes, this is a bit disconcerting on a $30k+ vehicle, but it is a very good illustration of the types of glitches that are typical with the first production year of a "clean sheet" model like the 2010 Outback.

That being said, I am proud to see that the "fix" was discovered by one of the techs at Somerset Subaru! That is the dealership that I use, and I have to say that their techs are very good.
 

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Thanks for the update psdx, but it is way different than my service manager told me about why the light is staying on. I surely will try this at the next oil change if it stays on again.
 

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psdx said:


This is my first Subaru ever after buying 20 or more new vehicles, and I really, really like it for what it is. But a big part of me is dissatisfied with a $30,000 machine that has software glitches. It makes me think about things like loose testing standards, and lack of attention to detail. It leaves me wondering something...if there's an obvious problem in the software/firmware that I can see, how do I know that there aren't software/firmware issues that I can't see, or can't see yet...

Does anyone else feel this way, or am I just too picky?
Vehicle #73 for me and none have had clock spring problems or oil light problems. The bad almost outweigh the good mileage with this one. Far worse than the Forester. Can't get parts either, clock spring ordered over 2 weeks ago under warranty, nothing yet.
 

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Today was my third oil change, and the first time this happened to me. Something I did different this time, I turned the key to the on position with no oil in the car. (No, I didn't start it!) The light came on and did not go off after I added oil. I remembered reading about it here and found this post. I haven't driven anywhere, but I'll see it it goes out after the engine warms up, if not I'll try the fuse trick. This is my first hiccup, so I'm not concerned, but thanks for the post!
 

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2010 Outback 2.5 PZEV, Premium CVT/ADD
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I've done one oil change on my 2010 2.5 and the oil light went off immediately after starting. I drained the oil, removed and installed a new filter, and added the new oil back. Then started car - no light problem.
 

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Today was my third oil change, and the first time this happened to me. Something I did different this time, I turned the key to the on position with no oil in the car. (No, I didn't start it!) The light came on and did not go off after I added oil. I remembered reading about it here and found this post. I haven't driven anywhere, but I'll see it it goes out after the engine warms up, if not I'll try the fuse trick. This is my first hiccup, so I'm not concerned, but thanks for the post!
Quoting myself here. I figured I would drive into town, get the engine warm and see if the light went out before trying the fuse trick. It took about ten miles then the light went out on it's own. I guess it's a little like the under inflated tire light. I have had a couple of tire leaks (I swear they use flint on the gravel road I live on). At any rate, when I pump air in the tire it takes a couple of miles for the light to to off. All is well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Low Oil Light Light After Change

if not I'll try the fuse trick. This is my first hiccup, so I'm not concerned, but thanks for the post!
I've done another change since the initial post - same thing happened. The good news is that the fuse trick definitely works.
 

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2011 Outback 3.6R Limited--Sky Blue Metallic
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I just did my first oil change on my 2011 Outback 3.6R. The oil light is staying on, so apparently the problem is not only with 2010 models.
How far have you driven the car after the oil change?
More than likely, the light will go off after driving a few miles.
Just as a Check Engine Light will usually not extinguish itself immediately after rectifying the problem that caused the light to go on in the first place, driving a few miles (or a few driving cycles) should cause the "low oil" light to turn off.

Or, you could use the method recommended by the techs at my dealership, which was mentioned previously.
 

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I actually drove the car zero miles after the oil change. I let it warm up in my driveway, and the light went out once the engine was fully warmed up. I didn't have to shut down and re-start the engine for the light to go out.

I'm glad that I was able to find this forum-- I had a mild bit of panic trying to figure out why that blasted light was on :)
 

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2010 Outback 2.5i CVT Premium
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I've done four oil changes since buying the car. The low level light remained lit after the third change for almost 15 minutes after starting the engine - the other three times it went out immediately. I followed roughly the same procedure in changing the oil and filter each time, so I don't know what caused the light to get stuck in that one instance.

It's certainly unsettling to see that warning light, but I don't think it is a serious problem. I know I've got enough oil by the dipstick - as long as the light eventually goes out within a few miles I won't be too concerned.

On a similar warning light issue, I had the low tire pressure light come on last year. After stopping at a gas station and filling all four tires to 36 psi, the light remained on for another 30+ minutes of driving! You'd think these warning lights would reset much faster than that.
 

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Low Oil Level Light

Twice now in the first year of 2010 ownership I have had the low oil level light go on and it DID need a quart. Selling dealer didn't seem upset. Episode doesn't seem related to a recent oil change.
 

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Twice now in the first year of 2010 ownership I have had the low oil level light go on and it DID need a quart. Selling dealer didn't seem upset. Episode doesn't seem related to a recent oil change.
No it doesn't. My 2011 outback 3.6R with 2300 miles on it had the low oil light on this morning even the oil level is ok shown by the dipstick; there is no oil change has been ever done on this car. I drove it around to warm it up but the light is still on. Need to look at it a bit more tonight. I was suspecting the glass guy might screwed up something yesterday when he came over replaced my windshield. From the discussion here, it doesn't seem to be the case.
 

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2nd Subaru Outback 3.6R: Ruby Red Pearl 2011 then, Dark Blue Pearl 2018 now
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No it doesn't. My 2011 outback 3.6R with 2300 miles on it had the low oil light on this morning even the oil level is ok shown by the dipstick; there is no oil change has been ever done on this car. I drove it around to warm it up but the light is still on. Need to look at it a bit more tonight. I was suspecting the glass guy might screwed up something yesterday when he came over replaced my windshield. From the discussion here, it doesn't seem to be the case.
I had the light on last week, dipstick showed level just below the "low" notch: added some oil, drove around a bit, light went off as I was idling in line at a drive-thru coffee place.

You had your windshield replaced too? For what reason? I noticed chips the first time I handwashed the car and thought I got a few rock hits, but they ended up being on the inside surface. Took it in to get checked and the glass guy told me there was definitely something wrong with it just by looking through it, apparently his trained eye could tell by the way light was coming in.
 

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I had the light on last week, dipstick showed level just below the "low" notch: added some oil, drove around a bit, light went off as I was idling in line at a drive-thru coffee place.

You had your windshield replaced too? For what reason? I noticed chips the first time I handwashed the car and thought I got a few rock hits, but they ended up being on the inside surface. Took it in to get checked and the glass guy told me there was definitely something wrong with it just by looking through it, apparently his trained eye could tell by the way light was coming in.
It got hit by a rock on my way to a ski resort; it didn't crack at the time it was hit and the crack occurred when parked at the ski resort. The crack was over a foot long so it had to be replaced (crack under 6 inches can be patched up without replacing the entire windshield). For you case, if the crack is on the inside and there is no chip, manufacture warranty will cover it. In my case, there is clearly a small chip on the line of the crack so I have to claim it through insurance. My excitement on my new 2011 Outback has worn off by those small problems: buzzing sound from solenoid in transmission, easily cracked windshield, and now the malfunction engine oil indicator. I started feeling I should have stayed with Toyota or Honda.

There are a couple of threads on this forum discussing the weak windshield of Subaru cars. I drove my Toyota to the same ski resort for the past 10 years, got hit by rocks before but never had windshield cracked. The glass guy told me he saw quite some Subaru having cracked windshield, and his next job after mine was also a Subaru...
 

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No it isn't related to oil change. My 2011 outback 3.6R with 2300 miles on it had the low oil light on this morning even the oil level is ok shown by the dipstick; there is no oil change has been ever done on this car. I drove it around to warm it up but the light is still on. Need to look at it a bit more tonight. I was suspecting the glass guy might screwed up something yesterday when he came over replaced my windshield. From the discussion here, it doesn't seem to be the case.
I checked the oil level this morning; it right in the middle between F and L marks. With knowing I have enough oil in the engine, I warmed it up on the drive way and then drove off with the low oil light on; after about 2 miles, the light went off by itself while I stopped waiting for a traffic light.

I'm thinking if this has something to do when the car is not being driven for a while. In my case, it was parked on drive way for a bout a week while waiting the windshield to be replaced - in California, you will get a citation for driving a car with cracked windshield. Regardless, it seems to be a defect for sure, hope Subaru will fix it soon.
 
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