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Hello! This is my first time on the forum. I've been consistent with maintenance on my car, even using a mechanic that specializes and only works on Subarus. After 10 years, but only 94,000 miles, it turns out that I need to have my engine replaced due to oil burning. I've done some research and learned that this has been a common problem in '11-'14 models. My engine light never came on, at any time, and it wasn't until I heard a knocking noise that I brought it in and learned that the short block needs to be replaced, at a $6000 price tag. My question is, has anyone experienced this and is there any kind of recourse that I can bring to Subaru's attention? I'm past my warranty, but I bought the Subaru because of their longevity and with the low mileage I have on my car, this is the last thing I was expecting. I appreciate your input and advice!
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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Did you run out of oil? If not just fill it up, and consider switching to a high mileage oil. Replacing the short-block is not without its own risks. Many Subarus will consume some oil under certain driving conditions, and older vehicles usually burn some. Unless there was physical damage, you can run a long time if you are willing to check the oil level every second fill-up or so and commit to adding some to keep it full.
I would think you have some options, and it's probably even cheaper to get a newer used replacement engine.
I use 5w30 high mileage synthetic on my 2011 with 260,000 km. Basically, it has stopped the engine seals from seeping, and I tend to add about half a quart every month to cover what burns. It still runs great.
 

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What exactly happened to the engine? There is so much missing information...

Did he drain the oil to see how much was in or just check the dipstick?
Did the engine start smoking, overheating?
Was the knocking getting worse and worse and you took it in or it actually locked up from lack of oil or?

You really need more information on what exactly happened to the engine before you agree to a full replacement in any scenario.

PS im sorry but simply switching to a high milage oil if catostruphic damage happened from a "dry engine run" will not fix anything... Back in the day people would put gear oil in to hide knocking but its a very strong and particular smell... and honestly just not as common anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so much for both replies. Nothing catastrophic has happened with my car. It was a recommendation, by my mechanic, to go ahead and replace the engine due to the ongoing issues with the oil. I think I may have misused burning oil- in my case, I meant that my car is continually low on oil. There's been no smoking or overheating because of it. Due to the loss of oil it's caused wear and tear on the engine, how extensive, I don't know. As @Quadraria10 mentioned, I've been regularly topping off the oil for the last couple of months and I'm not hearing the knocking sound or experiencing any other issues, so it makes me wonder if it's absolutely necessary to go ahead and take care of this or just ride it out, with regular oil toppings? For the record, I did also take the car to the auto shop at the dealership and they recommended the short block replacement as well (similar cost).
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i
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what you should do being the engine is'nt fried and it still runs good is try to figure out how much oil you are burning. if it's manageable just keep adding oil as needed and carry on with your business. you can always buy a 5qt container at walmart to keep cost down.
 

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I think you should just treat it as a manageable condition which is what I am doing until you notice something off in its performance or get a malfunction code, and even then it may be something else. At that age, if it's like mine the cam seals also weep a bit. I find using 5w30 high mileage synthetic vs 0w20 lessens the oil consumption.
I check mine every week or two, and FYI added half a quart of oil this morn as mine was close to the lower dot on the fill stick. If the object is to have it stop consuming extra oil then it requires a new short block, and reseal. If the object is to have a still useful and good car to drive around without spending 6K, do short oil change intervals and check it every second fill-up without letting it get too low.
You could also have your engine oil analyzed by Blackstone, and get some idea as to the health of your engine if you are really concerned about it.
 

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Im in agreement to find the average miles/oil used. there is a big difference in adding .5 quarts in 5k miles vs every 150 miles having to add 2 quarts etc. Also its just a personal expereince here. But if you do decide the oil use is low enough to not bust a budget just use the walmart brand supertech or costco brand kirkland and buy the 1 gallon jugs and keep a 1 quart in the trunk. I did that for YEARS with a beater pontiac grand am. I drove that thing it it caught fire but I was saving up for a truck and even the added oil cost was nothing in the long run. Talking maybe 1-2 gallons of oil in a whole year cost me like $22 from walmart. Thats an extreme case but the car ran perfect otherwise. Heat/AC worked etc.

1-find out your oil consumption because the owners manual will say somthing like this: Add line indicated x quarts needed. My F250s add line means its 2 quarts low but thats on a 14.75 qurt system vs another car the add line indicated .5qrts. Track it and get an average oil used in x miles.
2- test it out and buy the cheap oil. It wont hurt the car and its being burned off. I have millions of miles on generic brand oil for cars/trucks and equipment esp what I call my burners that just burn it up. I ran 10w-30 in the pontiac in the summer and no issues and went to 5w-30 in the winter because we see -25.

But this is not for everyone. Personally I would not spend $6k on an engine for something 10yrs old... See how much you are willing to spend time/money wise on oil or get a new car. I am just as cheap as the next person but $6k on a used car better mean its worth it or super sentimental.... I only paid $8.7k for the 2009 forester when it had 67k miles on it. vs you are EXPLORING the idea of $6k into just an engine so I would weigh your options
 

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Good advice above. I'll add: If it's indeed running good, top off the oil before it goes below ¼ quart low (as the oil level drops, the burning rate increases). Start a simple log of date/miles/oil added, to see where you are after 1,000 miles, and let us know. Accurately checking the @#$%! slanted dipstick can be difficult. Others have suggested pull out the dipstick when parking for the night, wipe clean, then check it ONCE the next morning.
 

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Just check the oil and top off if needed every fuel fill-up. I've literally gone 100k additional miles on our 03X (now my daughter's) doing this. Keep in mind on long highway trips, it can get away from you if you don't check each fill-up, I've fallen into that trap and gotten it lower than I should, thinking I'd be good since I checked it before I left home.
 

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It sounds like you may have a manageable oil consumption problem. My first few cars (circa 1970) were English sports cars, and I drove 3 of them through about 4 years and they never used LESS than a quart in 500 miles. Adding oil was not my favorite hobby, but it was cheaper than a new engine or short block.

One difference in the modern world is if your engine uses significant oil (say, more than a quart in 1000 miles), you may end up clogging the catalytic converters. Learn the check the oil, find a level spot, and see how many miles you are getting per quart of oil. If your Foz is at the point of blowing out clouds of blue oil smoke, that's definitely time for a major repair.
 

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I had a low mileage 2011 that started getting the ticking. VIN was just outside the recall range. Took it to the dealer, asked for an oil consumption test. They refused. Did a bunch of work to the car I didn't ask for, sent me on my way. 600 miles later, engine seized.

Tried fighting with the dealership and SOA, was pretty much told to f off. Keep topping it off but expect it to die soon. Or sell it. Used car market right now is pretty good.
 

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I had a low mileage 2011 that started getting the ticking. VIN was just outside the recall range. Took it to the dealer, asked for an oil consumption test. They refused. Did a bunch of work to the car I didn't ask for, sent me on my way. 600 miles later, engine seized.

Tried fighting with the dealership and SOA, was pretty much told to f off. Keep topping it off but expect it to die soon. Or sell it. Used car market right now is pretty good.
I have the same problem too, but have 108k miles. I did a little research and discovered thst there’s a class action suit that resulted in Subaru footing the repair if the car fails an oil consumption test (basically an oil change and they check it to see if there is oil loss after 1200 miles) there must be no other issues that can muddy the results of a small block issue. I had another bad leak and too many miles that the combined repairs exceeded the value of the car. So, since I’ve owned or leased 6 Subarus since 1999, they gave me a $2,500 voucher towards a new purchase of lease. Contact Subaru customer relations and thry can setup the test.
it pisses me off tho that I did all maintenances and this still occurred and my dealership was totally unaware or never said anything.
 

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After 10 years, but only 94,000 miles, it turns out that I need to have my engine replaced due to oil burning. My question is, has anyone experienced this and is there any kind of recourse that I can bring to Subaru's attention? I'm past my warranty, but I bought the Subaru because of their longevity and with the low mileage I have on my car, this is the last thing I was expecting.
Do you trust the shop/mechanic you are dealing with? If so, you could ask for more specific information. Needing a new engine due to oil burning is a pretty general diagnosis. You could ask if the mechanic thinks you can get by with topping off the oil level frequently as has been suggested on this forum. Is there some reason that's not a good idea? Does the mechanic see evidence of serious damage to the engine that would necessitate a short block, or just wants to ensure reliability for you, the customer, for the next ten years? You were after reliability when you bought a Subaru -- your mechanic may be advising the course of action that would best provide that moving forward. But you very well could get by for years by continually adding oil. As others have said, this can be, by far, the most economical option.

Another thing you can try is to change to a slightly heavier oil. On the new Subaru engines that are recommended to use 0-20w synthetic motor oil, some on this forum have reported that, by changing to 5-30w synthetic, their oil consumption became more manageable. However, if your oil consumption is pretty extreme, this probably won't help enough.

Eventually, it all comes down to what do you want. Driving a car with an oil burning problem is not everybody's cup of tea. You will need to check the oil level with every fill up and be prepared to add oil wherever you are. Sooner or later, you'll probably have to replace the catalytic converter. When it's all said and done, perhaps you don't want the hassle of constantly monitoring the engine's oil usage and adding oil.

If this is the case, and if you trust your mechanic's diagnosis, you could weigh the option of spending $6K on the car you have verses putting that money down on a new or lower mileage used car. Most people would probably want to spend the six thousand on a newer or better car, one that can give you the reliability you need. (Why spend $6K on a car that already has 94,000 miles on it?) However, not everyone can afford to do this. I know some people who just didn't have the money for a new car and opted to repair the one they had. If you choose to do this, you need to keep in mind that over the next ten years, you'll need the brakes renewed and other repairs that go with higher mileage on the car. Still you can pay for those as you go, and avoid the high cost of a newer car. In my mind, it all comes down to which option is best for you.
 

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Hello! This is my first time on the forum. I've been consistent with maintenance on my car, even using a mechanic that specializes and only works on Subarus. After 10 years, but only 94,000 miles, it turns out that I need to have my engine replaced due to oil burning. I've done some research and learned that this has been a common problem in '11-'14 models. My engine light never came on, at any time, and it wasn't until I heard a knocking noise that I brought it in and learned that the short block needs to be replaced, at a $6000 price tag. My question is, has anyone experienced this and is there any kind of recourse that I can bring to Subaru's attention? I'm past my warranty, but I bought the Subaru because of their longevity and with the low mileage I have on my car, this is the last thing I was expecting. I appreciate your input and advice!
Hi, in `18 i purchased a used short block from JDM engines on eBay for less than $700, put it in with youtube videos and it's been good. They say they have less than 50k on them. Maybe you could find a mechanic who would work with you for a reasonable amount.
 

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Just using oil won't inherently harm an engine. If it is leaking into the coolant, that becomes an issue. Leaking onto the timing belt would be an issue for that part. Running an engine low on oil is an issue. You can buy lots of oil for 6k (1200 quarts at $5 if you watch sales and rebates). If you use a quart every 1k, that would take you 1.2 million miles. If you have run low and there is internal damage, that will significantly change things. Then you want to evaluate your risk tolerance of doing it now or waiting for failure which could cause more damage (heads, loss of core).
 

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Thank you so much for both replies. Nothing catastrophic has happened with my car. It was a recommendation, by my mechanic, to go ahead and replace the engine due to the ongoing issues with the oil. I think I may have misused burning oil- in my case, I meant that my car is continually low on oil. There's been no smoking or overheating because of it. Due to the loss of oil it's caused wear and tear on the engine, how extensive, I don't know. As @Quadraria10 mentioned, I've been regularly topping off the oil for the last couple of months and I'm not hearing the knocking sound or experiencing any other issues, so it makes me wonder if it's absolutely necessary to go ahead and take care of this or just ride it out, with regular oil toppings? For the record, I did also take the car to the auto shop at the dealership and they recommended the short block replacement as well (similar cost).
You can buy oil by the 50-Gallon-Drum and still save lots compared to any version of an Engine -Overhaul !
 

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$6k on a 10 yr old veh for a motor? Really? Does not sound as if anyone's doing you any sort of decent service on your 10 yr old car. Good used cars are available for less. Good used motors are readily available and while you have it out for replacement, do the water pump, timing belt and drive it home that day. Shop price is around $1500 from dealer for a short block and it's up to him what he sells it to you for. Then you have valve job and head resurfacing along with gaskets, head bolts etc. As has been said, oil consumption will eventually clog your catalytic converter. And has been said, run low on oil and you will hear lots of odd noises but keep up on oil levels and likely drive for some time.
 

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If it's 6 grand for the short block, PLUS putting the parts from the old motor to the new motor and remove / insta. that's not too bad, HOWEVER, a common problem with these motors are oil LEAKS at the cam carriers and/or front cam belt cover... which does NOT warrant a short block (unless the motor got run out of oil and cooked) but yeah, it cost me $3000 for a used, junkyard motor for my 11 (when a relative ran the car out of oil and yeah, knock knock, who's there, Rods and mains...)

BTW The original motor had the cam carrier work done ($1600), the chain cover work done (another $1300), the O2 sensor (which lives under the leak prone cam chain cover) replaced twice, And THEN (because it burned oil, as these are known to do) it was run dry. The replacement motor had (apparently) none of this done, so guess what? Yep... I know what's coming.b And unfortunately, 2011 is a one year motor - so yeah...

If I had an engine puller, the gaskets, and the parts I would SO have a short block for that car on standby... Not sure if I'd want to spend $6 grand for it, but that's a lot more appealing than a used, "junkyard" motor where you don't know its history before you've run it...
 

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Look back at the first post, chaps...

The words "...I heard a knocking noise..." were in that post. That's what happens when the oil gets too low with the lightweight oils, you only get one flicker of the oil light but the damage is done, the bearings are no longer up to the job.

I heard only the faintest of tapping with mine when I simply forgot my routine of checking the oil regularly. I parked it, I didn't want to take any chances, and when I finally took it apart I found that the bearings were bad. Though they actually must have got worse the day I pulled the engine, I had to drive it uphill and it had old stale fuel (by then) and I had to rev it fairly hard to make it move.

But the good news was that the crank wasn't damaged, it's just bearings. And a lot of work, gaskets etc.

$6,000 for a 'short block' is in my opinion exorbitant. I recently paid $600 for a used engine which I'd readily trust to still have a lot of miles left in it. Complete, no sign of leaks, it has heads, injectors, intake manifold, wiring loom as attached to the engine, an easy thing to swap in. I could readily remove an engine from one of my cars and fit this within a day by myself.
 

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Do what you can afford to do-6k for new sb in a 10 year old car is difficult to justify for anyone. By continuing to add any oil you are going to get a error code on your cad. Converters and will not be able to pass emissions- might be a additional 4K to replace those?
Dollars and cents you might want to take that $ and buy a Toyota-Subaru and Nissan are and continue to be dismal failures with their cost cutting measures-they don’t care about their customers-just keep on pumping out the junk-general public just keeps on buying the cutesy commercials and paying a price after the fact! Wake up america-Subby lovers will fight back and go down with these statements as the TRUTH is to difficult to stomach.
 
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