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garyg7133 04-16-2019 09:37 AM

Is this the end? Oil Consumption and CEL
Hi everyone. Been forever since I posted and I hope this finds you all well.

I've had my '07 going on 10 years now. Got it with 36k or so on the clock. Had an exhaust replaced and had the HG replaced at 114k by the dealer. I am now at 164k. I've kept up on the oil changes and the like , overall have taken very good care of the car and have noticed no loss of power, no noises, leaks or foul odors outside of occasional coolant smell when the reservoir gets bounced around.

That said - my last 3 oil changes have come with mixed results. The first sign of trouble was at my regular oil change place. Tech said oil was "low" . No other description. After that I started monitoring it. No real change between oil changes. No smells or discoloration that would indicate an issue. Next oil change was at the dealer. No issue of any kind noted (and I figured if ANYONE would find a problem it would be the dealer). Last oil change - back to my oil change place and he said " your oil is sludgy ". Tried to sell me an engine flush. I said no thanks and left. I had gone over the 3k mark by about 100 miles. Usually I am right at the mark or slightly under with oil changes but life happened to have happened at the time.....

Since that time, I have watched the oil like a hawk. every fill up I am checking and the level hasn't moved. Then today I am driving to work and the CEL comes on with the blinking cruise light. I pull into the gas station and read up quick on what it could be and see that it's more or less ok until I can get it to my mechanic. BUT than I check the oil. It's low. Still on the dipstick, but below full . The car is going into the shop on Monday (local mechanic, Subaru specialist. Was going to let the dealer have a look but with the recalls they are booked out the wazoo) but am starting to wonder if this is the end for this car .

I know Subaru has certain tolerances that they have considered "acceptable" as far as oil consumption but even at high miles would the consumption come on over a 9k or so mile period?

Green Darter 04-16-2019 10:44 AM

Seems like your a bit O. C. about the oil.

Make sure your oil change shop uses filters with the correct bypass pressure and have the CEL checked out. Doesn't sound like your SF is near the end time.


garyg7133 04-16-2019 10:57 AM

I feel like I have to be now because I've already had a HG and can't really afford to do another one at the moment. The other aspect of it is I was trying to determine if the oil change place was just trying to upsell something or if the car has truly started consuming oil and there's a legitimate problem. Unfortunately I also have the type of personality that when something breaks it needs to be fixed yesterday.

bman400 04-16-2019 01:05 PM

Doubt the end is near. You need to find out what the CEL is about. I drive a MY'01 with 214,000 miles on the clock. And it's still running. The highest I have taken oil changes to is about 5000 miles. Never any issues with sludge, etc....The 2.5L is not a sludge prone engine. But then it really depends on the type of driving one does. If you average at least 10 miles per trip, sludge would not be an issue. However you drive between 2-5 miles per trip or even 1-3 miles per trip, then a higher chance for sludge, as the engine oil just does not get hot enough to boil out water.

UhOh 04-16-2019 01:25 PM

I've come to see that my Forester oil dipstick is read differently than other cars; I have to pull it out and let it set for ~4 minutes before reinserting it for the reading. So at gas station, do the tank fill-up during the 4 minute wait.

And at your oil change place ask them, up front in person before you give them the keys, if you can observe the drain of the old oil, because of concerns about oil quality in your car. They'll let you; if don't then go somewhere else. Make your own oil sludge judgement, even hi caliber shops sometimes fudge on 'upcoming disaster warnings.'


garyg7133 04-16-2019 01:38 PM

UhOh I may just start doing them myself if the car doesn't end up being a money pit at this point. The only reason I don't is that the filter position makes for a messy job but if the only way to make sure it is being done right is to do it myself then that is what I'm going to have to do.

It's going to kill me to have to drive around with the CEL on and REALLY kill me to not have cruise since twice a week I'm doing 144 miles round trip for work. Luckily I only have tonight and Saturday to have to stare at it before it goes in the shop. Also going to try to have the code read at auto zone or the like beforehand so the shop has an idea where to start looking.

oliovlov 04-16-2019 03:07 PM

I think you worry too much about oil in general. Every engine will consume oil. Every and every time. As far as CEL, Iím sure there are other things to worry about. Donít take this the wrong way but in the grand scheme of things, the pale blue dot, etc.

Itís a car itíll break, itíll need fixing and you may not get to it right away. Cruise control is probably a vacuum or vacuum pump or some such.


P.S. I do my oil changes 4x year for 45,000 km annual mileage (Volvo) and 2x for Forester that does 12000-15000 km per year.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

garyg7133 04-16-2019 06:32 PM

Stopped at AZ on the way home. P0456. Going to replace the gas cap tomorrow and go from there. If that isn't the case then it goes in the shop monday anyway for filler,vent,line and whatever other issues may cause the code. Am I correct that if it IS the cap it will clear after several cycles of use? I know that was the case with our 07 Trailblazer.

As far as worrying about oil consumption, the oil is going somewhere whether it's being burned off or getting into places it shouldn't be getting into. This car is my source of transportation to and from 2 jobs. If it ceases to function I am screwed. It also transports my kids to and from various places, usually not particularly close to home so again, if it ceases to function, I am screwed. I'll continue to watch the oil level until my mechanic has a chance to evaluate it as well.

TMX 04-17-2019 12:43 AM

Daft question but what oil are you using? And what grade is it ?

Are you doing a lot of highway miles at high engine speeds (Over 2750RPm) or country roads where a lot of varying speeds from 40mph-60mph and back again etc?

Those types of journeys will generally use more oil than taking it slow around town in traffic.

Subaru boxers do use a bit more oil compared to conventional engines -Monitor your useage and if it becomes 1 Quart/Litre per 1,000 Miles or more, then you have a reason to be concerned, if you're using a quart/litre every oil change at 3,000-5,000 miles etc, then I think you're fine, assuming you are still passing emissions fine and no signs of trouble like mayonnaise in the oil/coolant or smoke out the exhaust etc

Do you have an Android Smartphone? If so, you can download Torque App (Lite version is free but there is a Pro version that costs like $4 from memory) and get a Bluetooth OBD2 reader off Amazon/Ebay for like $10 and then you can read your own Engine codes, save them and clear them to see if they come back.

pliddle 04-17-2019 01:39 AM

[QUOTE=garyg7133;7529123]Stopped at AZ on the way home. P0456. Going to replace the gas cap tomorrow and go from there.

I was going to suggest a gas cap issue from your first post. Same thing happened to me a few years ago with an '05 Outback. I'd bet lunch it's unrelated to the oil issue you perceive. Best wishes.

garyg7133 04-17-2019 05:31 AM

TMX, my trips are usually as follows - 3 days/week 6 miles daily + whatever tooling around town I do after work. 2 days/week 2 140+ mile round trips usually at around 65-70 mph. Oil is Valvoline 5w30 conventional for 90% of oil changes with occasional oil changes at the dealership with whatever their oil of choice is ( I will find out for sure next time it goes in there but again, I may just start doing it myself so I know exactly what is coming out, going in, and what kind of filter is being used)).

Pliddle, I was REALLY hoping they weren't related but it was an AMAZING coincidence that the CEL came on AND it was low at the same time. Just gotta hope it's not the lines or dreaded canister I guess. Going to get under the car this weekend anyway to swap out ATF so while I'm under there I'm going to check for leaks and inspect all of the hoses and whatnot.

bman400 04-17-2019 07:25 AM

Given your concerns about oil consumption and CEL. I would stop what you are doing and just focus on those to 2 things. Why are you messing around with swapping out ATF? Is it shifting badly? Does the fluid look brown/burnt? Do you or have you pulled trailers? If not leave the ATF alone. Subaru automatic transmissions are robust and do not need a whole lot of "babying"/pampering. Many here will recommend draining and swapping out the ATF filter. My Subaru has had it's ATF changed about 3 times in its life. ATF filter never changed, still the original factory ATF filter. The guys that have changed the ATF filter some have report issues with using the wrong filter. The ATF filter itself is large, Auto Trannie's in general do not produce crud that would plug the filter up. The only "crud" produced is clutch material. If your trannie is producing enough crud to clog the ATF filter, you have major problems with your trannie and changing the fluid and ATF filter will not help matters.

And changing oil on the Subaru is very very easy. So not sure why you are even letting the dealer do the oil change. Unless this is a lowered Subaru, oil changes do not require ramps or jacks. Just remove the drain plug if you have one, and make sure you have a new crush washer. Otherwise just drain the oil, remove and replace the oil filter. Put drain plug back on and put in 4L of oil......Takes all of 15mins-20mins, depending on how long you let the oil drain out of the pan. Takes more time to get to the dealer and wait there for them to change the oil......

garyg7133 04-17-2019 09:54 AM

I have done the drop and fill trans fluid change yearly since I bought the vehicle. I will continue to do so until such time as I trade the car in or it dies. I don't like driving the fluid until it's cooked. Never had a tranny issue and don't intend to start now. The oil filter is not in the best spot to not be a mess when taken off which is why I do not do it myself. Doing it without ramps? Have fun. My car isn't lowered and it's tight even trying to get under for the tranny bolt.

I've had the car 10 years and with the exception of when I got a flat have never seen the CEL go on except at ignition. Having it go on AND having the stupid cruise control blinking and not functioning was double panic inducing at 3:00 a.m. while going to work on a 70 mile trip. Now that i have an idea what the CEL is I will continue my fluid changes as scheduled and if the CEL doesn't cycle off over the weekend it gets looked at by the local Subie shop on monday.

Shrkb8 04-17-2019 11:59 AM

I have 205K on my 09 XT. It began slowly using oil about a year ago. Got to the point I was adding about a quart every 4K. Began scratching my chin and getting a little concerned. At the suggestion of my local Subaru service dept. I changed out the PCV valve and ran a can of Subaru oil system cleaner through.....and wallah, no more oil consumption between changes. May not be your problem, maybe it will help. Good luck! Hope things work out.

UhOh 04-17-2019 07:54 PM

Warning, old school comments below:

Well, if you're going to do the oil changes yourself and it's a pain, look to:
1 - the aftermarket oil drain valves, what's the name?, forget - Fumoto?. I've had them on 2 cars, not Forester, and they makes draining oil a breeze. You can drain the oil in a nice clothes and not get dirty.
2 - use a high quality oil filter and change it just once a year, even though you drain/fill oil 3x. Was my approach.

My CEL has been on for about 40,000 miles now; still runs OK. Little square of black electrician's tape could cover it up nicely, BTW. In my low mileage years, wiping the gas cap rubber seal and the mating tank tube surface with a damp cloth would clear CEL's 50% of the time after couple/three days.

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