Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Leo asks: My wife drives a 2013 Outback. We bought it slightly used with 13K in 2014. It now has 130K. Still a decent car It has been burning oil since the get go. Uses 0W20 Synthetic so not cheap. I always check the cars every 2 weeks or so. Usually add a quart to the Subaru. 2 weeks ago I forgot to replace the oil cap. My wife called me as she was going to work. “The light is still on.” I suggested she stop and look at the dip stick. She did. She found oil blowing out the top. My bad, first time I have ever forgotten to replace the cap. She put a couple quarts in and forgave me for my lapse. Now 2 weeks later it needs more oil. I googuhled it (probably should have done that sooner) and learned that there have been many oil burning issues with the Subaru. A class action lawsuit with a settlement extending the warranty to 10 K, we are outside the extension with 130K. My question is: Should I get rid of the car now? We routinely put 200K on our vehicles.
My reply: It’s important (I think) to start out by stating that all engines consume oil to some degree; so the issue is whether there is abnormal oil consumption. Depending on who you ask, this will be defined as more than 1 quart every 3,000 miles.
For me, the deciding issue would be mechanical issues, such as low compression due to poor cylinder sealing and (or) valvetrain problems, etc. If it is just that the engine uses a bit more oil and needs to be topped off every so often… and I liked the car… I’d keep driving it and topping it off. Even at $10 per quart for high-end synthetic, that’s cheaper and easier than buying a new car.
At the same time, I would also keep abreast of the class-action situation and I would personally write a letter to Subaru, telling them how much you like the care but are concerned about the oil use… you might be surprised by their reaction. There is a good chance you’ll hear from them – and a decent chance they will offer to do something to recover your trust (and business).
Please keep us posted!
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