A recently filed lawsuit in federal court against Subaru of America and its parent Fuji Heavy Industries claims that several recent models burn an excessive amount of oil. The case, which is seeking class-action status, covers examples of the 2011-2014 Forester, 2013 Legacy and 2013 Outback with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and the 2012-2013 Impreza and 2013 XV Crosstrek with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

The suit alleges that Subaru knew about the excessive oil consumption but didn't fix the problem, according to USA Today. It contends that owners have to spend an unreasonable amount of money to keep these models topped up with Texas tea, and that the people represented wouldn't have bought the vehicle if they had known that this could happen.

As proof of Subaru's knowledge of excessive oil use, the lawsuit cites four technical service bulletins from the company telling dealers about the issue, although, that would seem to partially invalidate the claim that the automaker hasn't attempted to fix things. The case was filed on behalf of two men, one with a 2014 Forester and the other with a 2013 Outback. "Following an extensive investigation, we now look forward to litigating the case," said Matthew Schelkopf, an attorney for the plaintiffs, to USA Today.

Autoblog reached out to Subaru of America for its response. "We're aware of the suit. We believe the oil use in our vehicles is in acceptable levels. We have worked with customers on this issue," said company spokesperson Michael McHale.


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  • 94 Comments
      Pinhead
      • 9 Months Ago
      "...we now look forward to litigating the case," said Matthew Schelkopf, an attorney for the plaintiffs. I bet he does. Or more precisely, he's looking forward to taking home 7 figures while each owner gets $50 and a coupon for a free oil change.
        Avinash Machado
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Pinhead
        Exactly.
        harrillharvey
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Pinhead

        My 2013 outback has 27000 miles 2.5 4 cyl and is a quart low of oil after the past 2 oil changes after driving about 1000 miles. joe123@sccoast.net 

      Jasonn
      • 9 Months Ago
      I have a 2012 Impreza as my daily driver and a 2013 outback as our family vehicle. I've never had an issue with low oil...
      evilspoons
      • 9 Months Ago
      I've been reading Subaru forums for the past two or three years and I haven't heard a whiff of this issue (I bought a 2012 STi). Weird.
        Jesse Lamb
        • 9 Months Ago
        @evilspoons
        It's all over the forester forums since the introduction of the 2.0L engine. In 2013 the 2.5L Outback started using 0w20 oil, the 2012 used 5w30. The only difference between the two engines was fuel economy as the 2013 gets better mileage. I am sure this has something to do with the oil consumption.
      Narom
      • 9 Months Ago
      Americans suing for oil? Its like two favourite past times coming together!
      omgcool
      • 9 Months Ago
      I occasionally hear people talking about how reliable Subarus are, but I haven't personally seen any evidence to persuade me. My best friend is a Subaru guy, and he admits that many (perhaps most) of the high-mileage folks have done considerable work to their engines; namely head-gaskets every 100k or so. I like Subaru's cars in concept, but believe they often fall-short on execution (mostly refinement)--the fancy AWD go-anywhere attitude allows owners to overlook it and claim their cars to be the greatest vehicles on four wheels. Even still, I'd love to pick up an older V6 Legacy GT. I don't know much about them, but they look like fun all-around cars.
        ikerex
        • 9 Months Ago
        @omgcool
        A V6 Legacy GT?? Subaru has never made a V6 engine. They've always made flat or horiziontally opposed engines. The Legacy GT at one time had a NA 2.5L Flat-4, and then a Turbo 2.5L Flat-4. As far as reliability, Subaru fixed the head gasket problem in about 2002-2003, so most newer Subarus don't have to have head gaskets done every 100K, and are rock-solid reliable. They are great cars, I can't say it enough. Great to drive, decent on gas, "AWD go-anywhere attitude".... I have 155K on my 04 WRX sport wagon with a stage 2 tune, and it still pulls hard and has had 0 issues.
          Erica
          • 6 Months Ago
          @ikerex
          I would have to disagree that Subaru fixed their head gasket issue in 02/03. As the owner of a garage that repairs a steep number of Subaru's, we have the 2.5 engine in ALL THE TIME for head gasket leakage, all the way through at least the 2009 model year. That being said, the WRX editions do not seem to have the same problem. I am curious to see how the "rebuilt" 2014 engine stands up, as they have finally switched to a timing chain. In regards to the article, I have also seen way too many 2013 Subaru's that burn a quart of oil every 1,500-3,000 miles. And that makes for many unhappy owners of new Subaru's. 
      Neez
      • 9 Months Ago
      The problem is that in most cars, the "low oil" alarm is a misnomer. It's actually a pressure switch after the oil pump, so when you're down to virtually no oil, the pressure obviously drops because you don't have enough oil in the sump for the pump to fill the tube. You basically have no oil in the engine, IMO. At that point, you are repumping the same small quart of oil over and over again, which makes it break down 4 times faster. That's just not good for the engine. This is unacceptable IMO, i think that the industry should use an oil level switch which activates when you're maybe 2 quarts low, long before the oil is cooked and broken down to an unacceptable level.
        Eric
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Neez
        Anyone that is stupid enough to let a five-quart sump get down to one quart deserves everything that they get, quite frankly!
        Eric
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Neez
        Wrong-o. The pressure sensor is on the top end, where you will notice a pressure drop first. Oil pressure and oil level are two different (but related) things.
        J Derek Mitchell
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Neez
        There's a reason their called IDIOT LIGHTS. Because by the time they come on, you're up a creek without a paddle and the damage is already done. Why do you think most performance and all Race cars use Gauges instead?
      jlafley
      • 9 Months Ago
      I have a 2014 Outback with the 2.5i engine. I have 12,000 miles and I have not seen any oil use between my first and second oil changes.
      Steven Scheller
      • 6 Months Ago

      I own a 2008 STi, I have spun two rod bearings in 55500 miles. Two brand new short blocks, 55500 miles... seriously? I'm not some idiot that doesnt change the oil or anything, i'm an engineer and understand the absolute necessity for oil. The first one under warranty after much arguing with subaru. The current spun bearing is not, to any future STi owners you better have at least $8k sitting around to replace a motor. 

      DLP5
      • 8 Months Ago
      I have a 2013 Outback with 70K. I am putting in 1/2 Qt. every 3500-4000 miles religiously. Just stopped in my local dealer after hearing of the recent Class Action Suit, and as soon as I said 2013 Outback/Oil Consumption it took him 3 seconds to hand me a Subaru Fact's about Engine Oil "Propaganda" sheet. The service advisor was very combative and basically blamed me for my driving habits and oil maintenance of the car? He admitted they are aware of the problem but told me to keep adding oil or change the oil sooner than the recommended 7500k..... say what??? He contradicted himself several times during our conversation. Very quick to offer me a " Oil Consumption Test" at there expense so they can overfill and tell me everything is normal!!?? When I asked if the 2014 or 2015 Outback's were experiencing any of the issues he said no?? mmmm??? And guess what... my Oil light came on this morning!! just added another 1/2 Qt. Anyone have any words of wisdom?? or Is it just me Mr. Subaru!?? I actually love the car...but not sure for how long after this crap..? Looking forward to my $50 "coo...pin"!!
      Patrick Benson
      • 8 Months Ago
      Got a 2013 Subaru Legacy and it's been a constant need to refill oil (around 1 quart each time) in between oil changes. Brought it to the dealer and got the typical run around that it was "normal". But now hearing that it's common problem, I'm pissed. To anyone in my situation, please go to http://www.chimicles.com/subaru-oil-consumption-class-action-lawsuit and fill out the "email us about this case". The more people come out, the more Subaru is likely to do right and repair our car.
        rickw
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Patrick Benson

        Patrick, Thanks for the info. I have an appointment at the dealership this week. My 2013 Impreza is burning more oil than it's supposed to for a car with 16,000 miles on it. It will be interesting to hear what the service manager says. I'll be heading for that website as well.

      thumerzs
      • 9 Months Ago
      This is a shame. I thought I found my (almost) perfect next car in a Forester, but I'm not going to risk having to deal with mechanics tearing down my engine - even if it is covered by warranty.
        Lab Ninja
        • 9 Months Ago
        @thumerzs
        I'm on my second Subaru. Its worth every penny, and the next car I get will be another. Get the Forester, you won't be sorry.
      charles
      • 9 Months Ago
      Sad Subaru states a quart of oil every 1000 miles is acceptable. I'm thinking of looking at a 2015 Legacy and I guarantee this would be Unacceptable. Hey Subaru, it's unacceptable. I haven't had an oil burner since 1970 something, and don't want one now.
        JSH
        • 9 Months Ago
        @charles
        Almost every manufacturer says that burning 1 quart every 1000 miles is acceptable.
        aquos6
        • 9 Months Ago
        @charles
        I am in the same camp for a '15 outback. Reconsidering my choices nightly. Subaru is getting very bad PR.
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