Using 5W-30 std oil instead of 0W-20 synthetic oil - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-14-2015, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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Using 5W-30 std oil instead of 0W-20 synthetic oil

My 2014 Forester specs calls for 0W-20 synthetic oil but I suspect my dealer is using conventional 5W-30 oil. So far I had 3 oil changes and everytime the service advisor mentions 5W-30 but quickly corrects himself when I question it. The sticker inside for next oil change always uses 5000 miles interval instead of 7500 miles. How can I tell if I got the right oil? Would the use of 5W30 cause any harm to the engine? Would it affect MPG?

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-14-2015, 06:39 AM
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I wouldn't think it would cause any harm unless you let it go way too long between changes. It will probably effect your fuel mileage because apparently the whole reason they spec 0W-20 in the first place is to improve fuel mileage. While the oil change interval for the 2014 model year 2.5L was 7,500 miles that has been reduced to 6,000 miles for the identical 2015 model year 2.5L Foresters mainly because of the excessive oil usage these engines have been experiencing. I've been doing my own oil changes every 5,000 miles just to be on the safe side and since the only way to know that it's being done right is to do it yourself. I have been using 0W-20 synthetics and so far seem to be experiencing less usage with Royal Purple than I did with Pennzoil Ultra Platinum. I do have a bunch of conventional 5W-30 laying around though and I may try an experiment with it at some point.


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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-14-2015, 06:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your reply. Interestingly that we got 30 mpg at 70-75 mph before the first oil change. Since then the best we've seen is 27 mpg at 70-75 mph. Do you think that the mpg will go back up if I make sure to get 0W-20 at the next oil change?
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-14-2015, 07:40 AM
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At highway speeds, wind resistance is what (mostly) determines MPG. The weight of oil doesn't have much effect. Cold dry winter air has more resistance than warm humid summer air.

At constant lower speeds (back roads etc) there will be a slight difference - but not much.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-14-2015, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by kentM View Post
Thank you for your reply. Interestingly that we got 30 mpg at 70-75 mph before the first oil change. Since then the best we've seen is 27 mpg at 70-75 mph. Do you think that the mpg will go back up if I make sure to get 0W-20 at the next oil change?

I had same experience back in October, 2014 when my mileage was about 4,500 miles for first free multipoint inspection including free oil change at dealership. After this oil change, my mpg dropped down to about 25 mph, before it was about 28~29 mph. I don't have evidence that they used 5w-30 but I am guessing. Now with 0w-20 mobil1 (that I changed myself) shows about 29~30 mph average (Now I have oil consumption issue though, dipstick shows that car is sucking up half an inch in a week...another headache after engine starting issue due to weak battery and rust)

Last edited by creavation; 04-14-2015 at 09:23 AM.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-14-2015, 09:08 AM
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maybe mpg will suffer a slight bit with 5w30. but you don't want to buy new crank bearings because of thin oil.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-14-2015, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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I definitely like to find out whether switching to 0W-20 makes a difference in mpg. I suppose to make sure that I got 0W20, I'll have to do the oil change myself.
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-14-2015, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by creavation View Post
I had same experience back in October, 2014 when my mileage was about 4,500 miles for first free multipoint inspection including free oil change at dealership. After this oil change, my mpg dropped down to about 25 mph, before it was about 28~29 mph. I don't have evidence that they used 5w-30 but I am guessing. Now with 0w-20 mobil1 (that I changed myself) shows about 29~30 mph average (Now I have oil consumption issue though, dipstick shows that car is sucking up half an inch in a week...another headache after engine starting issue due to weak battery and rust)
It would be very interesting, if your oil consumption issue disappeares - perhaps partly - using again 5W30 or even 10W30.
Both viscosities are allowed for European Foresters.

Or has it ever been tested by another driver experiencing the oil consumption issue to change to the two named oil viscosities and the oil consumption decreased?
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-15-2015, 09:13 AM
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It would be very interesting, if your oil consumption issue disappeares - perhaps partly - using again 5W30 or even 10W30.
Both viscosities are allowed for European Foresters.

Or has it ever been tested by another driver experiencing the oil consumption issue to change to the two named oil viscosities and the oil consumption decreased?
I don't know how much different viscosity will help oil consumption issue but according to some comments in oil site, heavier viscosity should improve oil consumption issue. That's all I know. Personally, I used only 0w-20on my forester 2015 but haven't used 10W-30 or 5W-30 yet.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-02-2015, 09:56 AM
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Reading 5w-30, it's the last number (30) that indicated the thickness of the oil at operational temperatures. When I mention 30 weight I'm talking about 0w-30 or 5w-30 or 10w-30.

5w-30 (Resource Conserving) oil after it shears isn't that much thicker than 20 weight oil. Resource conserving oils are usually on the thin side of 30 weight (cSt in the 10s) to start with and they shear (HTHS 3.1<) because of the friction modifiers put in them. American cars are built to meet CAFE mpg standards.

Motor Oil Viscosity Grades Explained in Layman's Terms

30 weight motor (Not Resource Conserving) oil for European cars is thicker and doesn't shear as much (HTHS 3.5>). If someone is having an oil consumption problem and wants to step up in thickness then German Castor 0w-30, Motul, etc...

I wouldn't worry that your dealer used the right oil. He probably did, and if not 5w-30 (Resource Conserving) is okay. You won't notice a difference on mpg. Most of your friction is in the form of wind resistance.

Subaru backed away from the 7,500 mile oil changes for 2015. The new guidance is 6,000 miles. I don't know why they did this, but I'd change my oil at no more than 6,000 miles. I'm debating 5,000 mile oil change intervals myself. Once my car has some miles on it, I'll send the oil in to Blackstone for analysis. Then I'll decide...

Check your oil level at least every other fill-up with gas. Having oil is most important. LOL


Last edited by 4Boxer; 05-02-2015 at 10:21 AM. Reason: Add info
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 04:16 PM
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We have an '11 Forester at work as a fleet vehicle, with just over 190K miles on the clock as of this week. It's no doubt been beaten like a rented mule since it was bought new.

It had been run on 0W-20 since new, and at around 165K miles it gradually started consuming oil up to a rate of a quart and a half per week. We pull maintenance on Sundays, and the thing couldn't go a whole week without adding oil.

Some of it was leaking at the block-to-head interfaces on both banks, some was being burned. The shop quoted over $3K to pull the engine and replace the seals.

We switched to Mobil-1 High Mileage 5W-20 last Fall and the consumption tapered down to a half quart per week. Still a bit wet at both heads but no puddles in the parking spot. No problems at cold startup with the slightly thicker oil.

As the weather warmed up this Spring, and after reading this forum and elsewhere, the mid-April oil change went to Quaker State Defy 5W-30 synthetic blend. It's put over 2K miles on that fill with no top-off needed. Same driver, same route with only minor deviations.

No engine misbehavior at cold startup...including a few sub-freezing mornings...and no noticeable change in fuel consumption. We get fueling reports from our wholesaler each month, the driver has to enter odometer readings at the pump station.

This vehicle's stellar performance compelled me to get a Forester last month. :)
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-07-2015, 06:47 AM
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We have an '11 Forester at work as a fleet vehicle, with just over 190K miles on the clock as of this week. It's no doubt been beaten like a rented mule since it was bought new.

It had been run on 0W-20 since new, and at around 165K miles it gradually started consuming oil up to a rate of a quart and a half per week. We pull maintenance on Sundays, and the thing couldn't go a whole week without adding oil.

Some of it was leaking at the block-to-head interfaces on both banks, some was being burned. The shop quoted over $3K to pull the engine and replace the seals.

We switched to Mobil-1 High Mileage 5W-20 last Fall and the consumption tapered down to a half quart per week. Still a bit wet at both heads but no puddles in the parking spot. No problems at cold startup with the slightly thicker oil.

As the weather warmed up this Spring, and after reading this forum and elsewhere, the mid-April oil change went to Quaker State Defy 5W-30 synthetic blend. It's put over 2K miles on that fill with no top-off needed. Same driver, same route with only minor deviations.

No engine misbehavior at cold startup...including a few sub-freezing mornings...and no noticeable change in fuel consumption. We get fueling reports from our wholesaler each month, the driver has to enter odometer readings at the pump station.

This vehicle's stellar performance compelled me to get a Forester last month. :)
Thank you for sharing your experiences with an FB with that many miles! To me anyway, this shows that any weight oil within reason will do the job.

Do you happen to recall when the seepage at the block to head interface reared it's head? Is it something you are concerned about or has it stabilized?

Thank you.
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-07-2015, 08:42 AM
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From personal experience and from what I have read about the oils,I understand Mobil 1 has a tendency to use or burn more than some other oils.
It dosen't mean its an inferior oil, it just may have the ability to get into spaces that other oils cant! Anyway from what was said by Waypoint the Quaker state
slowed or stopped the oil consumption,thats good info to know. I believe alot of the oil consumption problems on the 2.5i motors could be much reduced by using
a higher viscosity oil such as 5-30 or 10-30. ed
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-07-2015, 03:59 PM
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I've switched to Castrol Edge 5w40 for our 06, 10 and 15 Foresters.

The 06 has 35k on its engine, the 10 has 104,000 and the 15 has 20,000.

Randomly each used 1 qt every 5000. Most of the time the stick never is lower than 1/2 qt.

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'06 For X Prem, '10 For X Prem + WP, both 4EAT
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-11-2015, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by AWD View Post
Thank you for sharing your experiences with an FB with that many miles! To me anyway, this shows that any weight oil within reason will do the job.

Do you happen to recall when the seepage at the block to head interface reared it's head? Is it something you are concerned about or has it stabilized?

Thank you.
The head seepage hit the radar screen at the 165K-mile mark, but could have been doing it prior to then.

This Summer's run of 5W-30 found it needed average 1/2qt per month, best it's been in a long time.

We'll be changing back to Mobil-1 High Mileage 5W-20 next time it's in the shop in preparation for cooler temps ahead. Next year I'm thinking about sticking with Mobil-1 Hi Mile and going with their 5W-30 for Spring-Summer.
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