2011 Forester and 0W 20 oil

mountaindogmountaindog Member Posts: 23
edited September 2014 in Subaru
I have a new 2011 Forester with the new engine. The car now has 3800 miles on it.

I do all the maintenance and service on all my cars and trucks. For years I have run 10W-30 synthetic oil in all my cars and trucks for over 700,000 miles and no engine troubles of any kind.

My Subaru dealer has not given me any reasonable answer as to why this engine needs this thin 0w-20 oil. What could possible be so different about this engine out of 100s of millions of engines that it requires this oil? The timing chain can't possible have anything to do with it.

What is so weak is that the service department person I talked with had no answer. "well it's a warranty requirement". Then he said the engine tolerances were so close it required this oil. I asked what parts and what tolerances, cam bearings, crank shaft bearings, what? He didn't have a clue. That's one service department that will never touch one of my cars.

Anyone out there have an idea. Is is just a thinner oil to reduce pump load with the idea of better millage which would be kind of lame.



  • saedavesaedave Member Posts: 694
    That's one service department that will never touch one of my cars

    You don't really have a choice during warranty. It's either your selling dealer or another Subaru dealer.

    A service writer has a very limited amount of knowledge other than what he has been told.....just enough to write a service order.

    Subaru 0w20 synthetic may have high temperature viscosity at least as good as the oil you have always used. Don't second guess the manufacturer unless you don't need the warranty.
  • mountaindogmountaindog Member Posts: 23
    You didn't answer the question ether. Why would this engine require 0w-20 when 10w-30 works in 250 million other engines. If you don't know that's fine. I am just looking for answers.

    I can't imaging anything which could be different. Crank shaft main bearings, cam shaft bearings, connecting rod bearings, oil spray from the crank, piston rings, oil to the valve lifters. What could possible be different? I have rebuilt all kinds of engines, 2 cycle outboards, motor cycles, 4, 6, 8 cylinder auto and truck engines. A piston is a piston and a crank shaft bearing is a bearing.

    As for warranties they are worthless anyway. No matter what product I have ever owned when I have tried to get warranty service it was like cutting off my arm. I couldn't care less about the warranty. If it brakes I fix it. If I did take it to the dealer they would just say "well, you didn't use official Subaru oil". What a load. If a dealer gives me any crap about warranty service I will inform them I will take my business to another company. If they feel it is in their best interest to screw their customers I will enjoy watching them go under.

    Does any one have an answer? A dealer service person who answers the phone should have a reasonable answer and if they do not they should get it from a knowledgeable person. Car dealers have become lower then the rat in the food chain. Ask them a simple question about oil and I get nothing. I paid 23,000 dollars for this car and I can't get an answer to a very simple question.
  • saedavesaedave Member Posts: 694
    You didn't answer the question ether. Why would this engine require 0w-20 when 10w-30 works in 250 million other engines. If you don't know that's fine. I am just looking for answers.

    The manufacturer submits a vehicle for fuel consumption testing in a defined configuration including specified fuel and oil viscosity. We all know that reduced viscosity can marginally improve fuel economy and every fraction of a mpg counts. Synthetic oils can (if properly formulated) provide adequate protective films at higher pressures and temperatures than conventional distillates.

    Even my lawnmower shows different acceptable viscosity labels for natural and synthetic! 30 weight for natural and 20 weight for synthetic. It also comments on harder starting (pull start) in cool weather with 30w.

    We will all need to get used to the changes that are mandated by CAFE.
  • mountaindogmountaindog Member Posts: 23
    I had a feeling this was at the core of the issue.

    What you are saying, and what the dealer did not tell me is that the lower viscosity will lower the oil pump pressure and lower the load on the engine in order to increase MPG.

    A lighter, lower power car with a 6 speed manual trans would have a greater effect but that no longer seems to be an option in this market. It is coming down to the issue of trusting a lighter oil to provide the same lubrication and heat removal as the 10w-30 oils.

    For me cars costing 25000 are a big, big investment. I need to get 250,000 mile out of them if i am to survive economically.

    The information you provided was what I expected for the Subaru dealers service department. Instead they blow smoke in my face about warranty stuff.

    Thanks for your viewpoint and it makes sense.

    --- as a side note on the fuel consumption issue.

    I got my first Subaru in 1977. Front drive only. That car got 41 MPG. In the last 34 years my wife and I have owned the following year Subarus years. 1977, 1979, 1980, 1994, 1995, 2007, 2011. The best by far were the 94 and 95 Imprezas. Both went over 250,000 and one is now in the hands of a friend who still drives it. By far the worst is the 2007 Impreza which I am now stuck with since my wife got the new Forester. The 07 is plastic everything and a really rattle trap. The engine is okay but the rest of the car is not.

    With each newer model the fuel consumption gets worse. The new Forester is the worst of the 7 Subarus I have had in 34 years. It is a nice comfortable car but not economical.
  • fnamowiczfnamowicz Member Posts: 196
    I use 5W-30 in my 2011 and will continue to use it.
    According to the Subaru latest addendum you can use 5W-30 or 5W-40
    if Subaru oil is not available.

    Subaru claims that their approved oil will give you optimum millage.

    There is no legal Subaru documentation that warranty work will be denied if Subaru approved oil is not used.
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,298
    edited May 2011
    No, you do not have to use "Subaru" oil, nor do you have to have it serviced at a dealership, but you do have to meet (or exceed) the API standards that are built into the 5w-30 (or listed) rating and stay within the specified change intervals.

    I use a synthetic 0w-30 on my 2010 Forester.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • mountaindogmountaindog Member Posts: 23
    This is a direct quote from Page 9 of the 2011 Forester Addendum booklet.

    "0W-20 synthetic oil is the required oil for optimum engine performance and protection. Conventional my be used if synthetic oil is unavailable.

    *:If 0W-20 synthetic oil is not available, 5W-30 or 5W-40 conventional oil may be used in replenishment if needed BUT SHOULD E CHANGED TO 0W-20 SYNTHETIC OIL AT THE NEXT OIL CHANGE."

    Have an engine oil pump failure due to any defect which would be a warranty issue and if the dealer asks what oil was used and I tell them I used 5W-30, I'll bet the cost of the rebuild my dealer will try to get out of the warranty repair.

    I have a friend who paid for an extended warranty on an Acura. The timing belt broke and bent valves and sent metal into the cylinder. She did not understand the damage which had been done. A valve had broken and apparently fell into the cylinder causing major cylinder wall damage. After replacing the cylinder head the engine smoked badly. The dealer strung her along for months until she got frustrated and sold the car for a low value. I told her to higher a lawyer and stand up to them and get what she paid for. This is not uncommon. I don't feel any dealer I have ever dealt with could be trusted. My last dealer issue was with with a faulty cam shaft sensor. The service manage and then the president of the dealership lied to me about the circumstances of the problem. All I had to do was connect the brown and green wires under the dash to read out the fault code and they would not provide me with a procedure when I directly asked them how I could help them diagnose the problem. I had to spend hours doing research to find out on my own how a 5 minute process could diagnose the issue. That car left me stranded more times then I can count and all that was required was to plug 2 connectors together and replace a 25 dollar censor in 10 minutes.

    Toyota once tried to charge me 7 dollars for a barrel bolt to adjust a parking bake cable which would need to be ordered requiring another trip back to the parts department. It should have been included with the broken cable which was being replaced. At any rate a simple nut and a stack of washers was all that was needed. Think a person at a parts counter could have helped me with a solution, no way. I directly asked "can we come up with something with simple parts so I don't have to spend another 10 bucks driving back here to pick up one bolt. The wouldn't lift a finger to help me solve a problem.

    There may come a day when I find a reputable auto dealer who will work with me and help me keep my car on the road. For now, after more unacceptable poor business behavior then I will list they are all low lifes until one steps up and earns my respect.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I'm sure the primary motivation was CAFE mileage, but the FB25 probably has tighter tolerances to allow for the use of the thinner oil. At least you'd hope so...
  • saedavesaedave Member Posts: 694
    I'm sure the primary motivation was CAFE mileage, but the FB25 probably has tighter tolerances to allow for the use of the thinner oil. At least you'd hope so...

    The longer stroke combined with less favorable geometry that was required to keep the engine width down may have increased bearing and cylinder wall loads, thus the need for synthetic.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I wouldn't mind the synthetic requirement given the longer intervals...you change oil half as often as I have to.
  • saedavesaedave Member Posts: 694
    I wouldn't mind the synthetic requirement given the longer intervals...you change oil half as often as I have to.

    Agreed, but 2010 Forester XTs like mine still require short intervals; I still might change to synthetic when my oil change package deal runs out.

    It depends on the prices for regular and synthetic that my dealer offers for the next package.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I complain but the wife got a coupon book for the dealer, so each oil change ends up costing something like $5. That's cheaper than I can do it myself, so she's letting them do the service.

    The catch? Upsell...

    They always push unneeded services.
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