Low Oil Level Light On Between Oil Changes

03matrixr03matrixr Member Posts: 4
edited February 2014 in Subaru

I bought a brand new 2013 Subaru Legacy base in Nov. 2012 and have since changed the oil about four times. I did all the recommended oil changes. However, the past two times, I noticed that the Low Oil Level Light keeps turning on intermittently between my oil changes. My car is due for an oil change in one month and still is a good 1000 miles from the recommended oil change date on the sticker. When this happened last time, I brought the car into the Subaru dealership and they told me that such occurrence was normal as the Legacy typically consumes oil.

Now my question is whether or not they were telling me the truth. On some forums, I see that it is normal while other owners say it's abnormal. The general belief is that no brand new car should have oil consumption and something is wrong. Is there anything I can do (e.g., change oil type, escalate the problem beyond the dealership to Subaru, etc.)? How do I determine what's normal levels and how much oil my car consumed?

This problem sucks because the stress of having to continuously monitor my oil levels and potentially frying my engine is a bit too much to bear.

Any recommendations would be appreciated.


  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655

    @03matrixr said:

    The general belief is that no brand new car should have oil consumption and something is wrong.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    There are a lot of people that live in a dream world and think NO new car should consume oil. Some always will, the question is whether its excessive and beyond what is considered normal (or more then manufactures guidlines).

    I don't have a Subi but on my GM vehicles I believe the current guildlines are a quart every 2000 miles is acceptable.

    Number one I would check the level very often , fill when needed, and not let it go to were the light comes on.

    Then perhaps as dealer to do a oil comsumpton test if your adding say more then 2 quarts between oil changes ( and take it to dealer to add when needed during this time, again don't let it get low)

  • jfljfl Member Posts: 1,396

    Although the following article is about the Impreza, Some of the comments may apply to the Legacy.

    One comment in particular pertaining to fuel economy: "• Low-tension piston rings, lower piston weight and connecting-rod weight, roller rocker arms, and chain-driven valve system – all of which reduce friction"

    My old 2000 Legacy didn't need additional oil in its first 220,000 miles. In its last 50,000 miles, I added about a quart between oil changes.

    My new 2013 Impreza seems to need about a quart between oil changes from the beginning. I was wondering if the "Low-tension piston rings" allow more oil consumption than the old style piston rings.

    In any case, I'm getting 5 mpg better with the Impreza so the trade-off is worth it to me.

    Kinda like the old days when you checked the oil at every fill-up. (But I'll probably check every third fill-up.)

  • typesixtypesix Member Posts: 321

    The 4 cyl FB25 engine in your Legacy was introduced in the 2011 Forester and some owners have noted a tendency to consume oil. Some have gone as little as 1K miles before needing to add a quart of oil. Some, like me, will go 5-6K miles before the oil level is down 1 quart.

  • sepcsepc Member Posts: 2

    Had the same problem on my 2013 Legacy. One day at about 10000 miles the oil light just came on. I called the dealer and brought it over to them. I was told that this was a newly designed engine that used very thin synthetic oil and while this was not the plan there were beginning to be reports of cars with similar problems. I was also told that the problem should go away at about 20000 miles. I have not had an issue since then and am almost at 20000 miles

  • bora2bora2 Member Posts: 1

    I bought a brand new 2013 Subaru Legacy base in 2012. I did all the recommended oil changes. , I noticed that the Low Oil Level Light keeps turning on intermittently between 16k-17k miles and after 5000 of the last oil change. I added about 2 quarts recommended oil. looks leke we having problem with Subaru engine.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481

    There could be a tendency of boxer-type engines to use some oil, yes. But this consumption level shouldn't be extreme. If you have to add one quart between service intervals, I would say that is perfectly normal, especially for a boxer engine. More than that, and I'd start to be concerned, especially if the consumption increases gradually time and time again.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342

    You didn't say how many miles between oil changes before the light go's on.

    All cars will use some oil.

    Our son bought a 2009 Impreza brand new and took good care of it. when it had 25,000 miles on it he made a hard stop one day and the oil light came on. He checked the oil level and found it to be TWO quarts low! Luckily an Auto Parts store was across the street so he was able to add the two quarts.

    After that, he was diligent about checking the oil level and discovered it was using a quart every 400-500 miles. The Subaru Dealer was in the process of doing an Oil Consumption Test when
    his Impreza decided to throw a rod one dark rainy night on the freeway.

    A new (?) engine was installed under warranty. He traded it for a new Wrangler not long after that.

    The Subaru Service Manager made an offhand comment to me that they had seen others with the same problem.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342

    I have to admit something.

    I RARELY check the oil on our Hondas. I usually change oil around the 5000 mark and probably check it once. I know...I should check it more often but I have never owned a Honda
    that needed any oil between changes.

    Years ago, I bought a well used 1962 Rambler American convertible from the original owner.

    As he handed me the keys, he told me that a tank of gas was good for 300 miles and that it
    would need a quart of oil at that time. He was right! I think I kept that trusty little car
    around for a couple of years. It ran like a top! It didn't smoke one bit that I could see, it didn't leak a drop. It didn't smoke at start up like bad valve guides. It was a great little car!

    I ended up selling it to a young gal whose last name was Nash. We dubbed it "Nash's Rambler"

    She went to college in San Diego and drove it home to South Bay every weekend, a 250 mile round trip. I ran into her two years later. She still had the Rambler. She loved that little car and she told me it still ran perfectly and that it STILL used a quart of oil every 300 miles!

    Go figure!

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454

    Just saw this posted by @ruking1‌:

    Subaru sued over vehicles' oil burning (USA Today)

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