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I have a 2006 Outback 2.5i. I took it in to an independent shop that takes care of a lot of Subarus and was recommended by a friend. I asked for an inspection because the dealer said several fluids needed replacing and an independent shop did not identify any of those, but identified a different problem that the dealer never mentioned. It sounded like they were two different cars, if you compared the reports. I figured I would get a third opinion. Well, when I picked up the car, they had done an oil change, which I hadn't asked for and it didn't need. They put in a totally different kind of oil. So now I'm worried about the engine.

I am also confused now about what kind of oil I should be using. Service history: When my daughter had the oil changed when they owned the car, I noticed that she took it for most of the oil changes to a quick lube place, who put in Chevron Supreme 5/30. I think that was a synthetic, am I right? My husband changed it himself at least a couple of times and used Mobil 1 10/40. When the shop recently changed the oil by mistake, they used Castrol Gtx 5/30, which I guess is not a synthetic? The service manager seemed a little dismayed. He said it should not have synthetic, but in the case that we already had synthetic in it, it should not have been switched to a non-synthetic. He said he hoped it would be ok, or something to that effect.

So it just occurred to me, the owner's manual says what kind of fluids to use for different parts of the car (transmission, differentials, power steering, etc.), so it must say what kind of engine oil. But I can't figure it out! It says use API classification GL-5, then has a diagram to show you what viscosity to use for different temperatures. I can't figure it out. It indicates from -20 degrees F up to 85 degrees F, then below that temperature chart, has four arrows with different figures: 90, 85W, 80W, and 75W/90. That is totally confusing to me, since all the oil I've heard of is like 0W/20. 5W/50, 10W/40, etc. I don't know what those higher figures in the arrows mean. So now I have no idea what kind of oil my car should use. I looked on the bottle of Mobil 1 and the bottle of Castrol GTX, and found reference to API, but nowhere could I find anything about GL-5. Clarification on my engine oil confusion would be appreciated! And is my engine in trouble because of the shop putting in a different kind of oil?
 

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the 5w-30 is preferred (According to the owner's manual for that year). You can use a slightly heavier oil if you're not operating in really cold temps all the time (the 5w30 is used to get a little better fuel economy, per the owner's manual "energy conserving")

The oil they used will be fine. I'd leave it in there, unless you're rolling in money and want to spend it on something.

The numbers you reference here are for the gear oil - for the differentials. (or maybe a manual transmission). :

"temperature chart, has four arrows with different figures: 90, 85W, 80W, and 75W/90. "​


Using a synthetic is a personal preference, personally, I wouldn't spend the extra money. I would use either a 5w30, 10w30 or a 10w40 oil. Shell rotella (not synthetic), or the walmart/amazon oil. Or whatever conventional oil the oil change place uses (if you go that way).

The service grade is either API - SM or ILSAC GF-4

470485

470486
 

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Discussion Starter #3
the 5w-30 is preferred (According to the owner's manual for that year). You can use a slightly heavier oil if you're not operating in really cold temps all the time (the 5w30 is used to get a little better fuel economy, per the owner's manual "energy conserving")

The oil they used will be fine. I'd leave it in there, unless you're rolling in money and want to spend it on something.

The numbers you reference here are for the gear oil - for the differentials. (or maybe a manual transmission). :

"temperature chart, has four arrows with different figures: 90, 85W, 80W, and 75W/90. "​


Using a synthetic is a personal preference, personally, I wouldn't spend the extra money. I would use either a 5w30, 10w30 or a 10w40 oil. Shell rotella (not synthetic), or the walmart/amazon oil. Or whatever conventional oil the oil change place uses (if you go that way).

The service grade is either API - SM or ILSAC GF-4

View attachment 470485
View attachment 470486
Oh yes, I was looking at the wrong page. Thank you!
 

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It's no big deal, just don't leave the conventional oil in there very long. Change it at 3k.

You can run that car 200,000 miles on conventional oil but they're not very forgiving of towing, racing, overheating, long oil change intervals, forgetting to change the oil, getting low on oil....etc.
 

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Or, let's be honest - just change to synthetic now if you're worried about it. For less than $50 you can have zero concerns.

You can always post here for concerns over your quoted repairs/inspections.
 

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Or, let's be honest - just change to synthetic now if you're worried about it. For less than $50 you can have zero concerns.

You can always post here for concerns over your quoted repairs/inspections.
Thanks, idosubaru. I'm not overly worried about it, like, it doesn't sound like the engine will be ruined or anything. But it sounds like there is some disagreement about conventional vs. synthetic. How do others out there weigh in on this issue?
 

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Thanks, idosubaru. I'm not overly worried about it, like, it doesn't sound like the engine will be ruined or anything. But it sounds like there is some disagreement about conventional vs. synthetic. How do others out there weigh in on this issue?
There's a section of the forum where threads like that go.... threads like that go on and on and on and on....

One note - the owner's manual for that car doesn't list synthetic as a requirement. Doesn't mention the word synthetic.
 

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There's a section of the forum where threads like that go.... threads like that go on and on and on and on....

One note - the owner's manual for that car doesn't list synthetic as a requirement. Doesn't mention the word synthetic.
After reading your last post, walker, I went to a thread entitled, what is the best oil/filter? I was a little amused at the word, "boutique" being used in reference to oil, good grief, I've just recently heard that word used to refer to dog food. So now I have to figure out which dog food will not give my dog dilated cardiomyopathy, and which oil will not give my car the automotive equivalent (I'm just kidding about equivalent). Sometimes life just seems too complicated!o_O;)But yes, I noticed that it did not say in the owner's manual that either synthetic or conventional is a requirement.

I haven't yet figured out exactly how to hunt for a topic. I tried once without success. Will try again, so hopefully will be able to view a discussion before I open a similar one.
 

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You can use synthetic. It will not hurt anything, unless your engine is all sludged up (but it isn't, because you've been changing it regularly). Conventional is also fine, just needs to be changed a little more often. There's not much else to say about this topic.
 

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You can use synthetic. It will not hurt anything, unless your engine is all sludged up (but it isn't, because you've been changing it regularly). Conventional is also fine, just needs to be changed a little more often. There's not much else to say about this topic.
Thanks, 03LLBean!
 

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After reading your last post, walker, I went to a thread entitled, what is the best oil/filter? I was a little amused at the word, "boutique" being used in reference to oil, good grief, I've just recently heard that word used to refer to dog food. So now I have to figure out which dog food will not give my dog dilated cardiomyopathy, and which oil will not give my car the automotive equivalent (I'm just kidding about equivalent). Sometimes life just seems too complicated!o_O;)But yes, I noticed that it did not say in the owner's manual that either synthetic or conventional is a requirement.

I haven't yet figured out exactly how to hunt for a topic. I tried once without success. Will try again, so hopefully will be able to view a discussion before I open a similar one.
well, with the new format of the forums... it's hard to search for anything really... I just know where some topics are located.

The synthetic vs non-synthetic discussions go on and on and on and are the same on most any car/motorcycle/engine forum you'll visit. 03LLbean is pretty much spot on with what the outcome of any of those discussions are.

whatever oil you use - just needs to meet the service spec given (at a minimum). The more entertaining forums are where there are even more specs required (like volvo, or VW diesel, and so on). Those are fun.
 

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Oil is really simple. Besides changing it often it doesn’t really matter on average daily driver non turbo vehicles. So everyone is right - but there’s TMI so there’s almost no way to process all the anecdotes and jargon.

The brand and weight and synthetic, by themselves aren’t that important. Follow the owners manual.

You don’t need synthetic. If you change it often and check it frequently you’ll never never have oil induced issues on an average daily driver Subaru. Some people check oil at every gas fill up. Just easy mindless routine.

Yet synthetic is better - it’s more forgiving and less likely to lead to build up internally.

Oil issues largely come from comprising events - running hot, running low on oil or forgetting to change the oil. Synthetic is more forgiving in those situations.

If you don’t overheat it, don’t let oil level get low, and don’t forget oil changes, or delay necessary repairs, and change the oil often then conventional is fine.

Cost and convenience benefits:

If the car isn’t consuming any oil you can get extended oil change intervals with synthetic and it ends up being cheaper as you don’t have to go as often and pay for gas, wait, etc. so financially there isn’t much difference any more.

But changing the oil often on a 17 year old car has its advantages too just laying eyes on the oil level and engine more often and for shorter intervals particularly for drivers who never check their oil.
 

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Oil is really simple. Besides changing it often it doesn’t really matter on average daily driver non turbo vehicles. So everyone is right - but there’s TMI so there’s almost no way to process all the anecdotes and jargon.

The brand and weight and synthetic, by themselves aren’t that important. Follow the owners manual.

You don’t need synthetic. If you change it often and check it frequently you’ll never never have oil induced issues on an average daily driver Subaru. Some people check oil at every gas fill up. Just easy mindless routine.

Yet synthetic is better - it’s more forgiving and less likely to lead to build up internally.

Oil issues largely come from comprising events - running hot, running low on oil or forgetting to change the oil. Synthetic is more forgiving in those situations.

If you don’t overheat it, don’t let oil level get low, and don’t forget oil changes, or delay necessary repairs, and change the oil often then conventional is fine.

Cost and convenience benefits:

If the car isn’t consuming any oil you can get extended oil change intervals with synthetic and it ends up being cheaper as you don’t have to go as often and pay for gas, wait, etc. so financially there isn’t much difference any more.

But changing the oil often on a 17 year old car has its advantages too just laying eyes on the oil level and engine more often and for shorter intervals particularly for drivers who never check their oil.
Thanks!
 
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