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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,653 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2012 Subaru Impreza engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Subaru Impreza Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Jun 122016


  • 67,000 miles


My son's 2012 Subaru Impreza, was bought used, with 59,000. Miles, with hope of owning a reliable, safe vehicle on 2/11/16. On 6/26/16 he went for a routine oil change and within one week the car was completely seized. He was driving home, no warning lights, or anything just made a loud sound then he was just barely able to make it to the side of a busy 3 lane road to call for a tow truck. At the time, we worried that the oil change may have been done improperly and caused the issue. We contacted the business, who then had a ase certified mechanic/inspector verify that it was not the oil change but an internal engine problem. We then had towed it again to Subaru dealer that was 7/12/16. Then we began calling- daily or every other day; to the service manager and emailing to corporate Subaru- asking what is wrong with his car" why did it happen? what can be done? what will it cost" finally, on 8/22/16, we heard from Subaru saying that the vehicle was outside the warranty -but will authorize a $2,000. Toward repair or new car. We called the dealer again because we still had not heard or received a reason/quote of repair. We were told that it was damage to a piston and it would cost at least $10,000. And they did not recommend it; better to talk to sales. The warranty is for 60,000 miles or 5 years on the powertrain, we are at 67,000 miles and 4 years. So now we still owe $8,000. And have $10,000. Repair, and they are offering $2,000. Money vs safety and now vs trust we want a safe reliable car, from a company that we could trust. We thought that was Subaru.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #22

Sep 102015


  • 45,750 miles
After last oil change at 43,000 miles the oil light came on within 2,000 miles. Oil level was over a quart low. I found no oil leak at the pan or filter and no oil on my garage floor. Oil light consistently comes on after 2,000 miles of driving. Oil is always low when I check it. Plan to address with dealership. This model was the first year for Subaru's newly designed engine. Hmmm?

- Port Byron, IL, USA

problem #21

Jul 012015


  • 29,000 miles
Purchased the car use at 28000 miles. Checked oil at time of purchase and it was full. Drove the car for approximately 1200 miles before a low oil light came on. Sought the help of Subaru and got an oil consumption test. Oil light came on again at 700 miles burning 16.5 quarts. Highly unacceptable. Car was oil changed and replacement short block ordered. Replaced short block and currently breaking in new block.

- Lafayette, CA, USA

problem #20

Jan 222012


  • 1,000 miles


I purchased this car brand new from the dealership in January 2012 and have consistently added 1 quart +/- approximately every 1,200 miles, more often and increased added oil volume during extended driving times. I have spoken directly with Subaru dealers/service managers in 3 different California cities whom have been alerted to this oil consumption issue and have casually explained the consumption of 3-5 quarts of oil between changes as normal. Research seems to show that some Subaru dealers have begun to replace the short block of the engines that are consuming too much oil, but only for those with documented oil loss. Those people that visit the dealer exclusively for their service are likely the ones who will have their engines replaced without cost, leaving the rest of us out to dry. Subaru needs to rectify this problem, not sweep the issue under the rug and force the Subaru customer base to pay too much for an engine that was not meant to last.

- Arcata, CA, USA

problem #19

Nov 242014


  • 7,600 miles
I purchased this car used back in November. Approximately every 1500 miles, it requires 1-2 quarts of oil. When I spoke to the sales rep, he said this model was known for having a problem with the pistons leaking. He said it seemed that a recall was in the works, so I just wanted to register the fact that I am also having the same issue as many other car owners are having with this model.

- Glen Gardner, NJ, USA

problem #18

Apr 152013


  • 5,500 miles
Since oil change number 1, the engine oil was down a little over a quart. This vehicle requires full synthetic oil 0/20. At every oil change the oil is a quart or more low. A few times the oil light has gone on well before the next oil change. A new car should not be burning oil, especially full synthetic oil.

- Brooklyn, CT, USA

problem #17

Mar 152012

Impreza 4-cyl

  • 8,000 miles


Oil keeps running dry before next oil change. It has been requiring about 1 quart every 3,000 miles. This has the ability for the engine to run without oil and seize. This can cause drastic damage and injury along with greater wear. I have been mitigating it with keeping oil in the trunk but no guarantees that you will always have it. The oil also ruined my trunk.

- Lexington, VA, USA

problem #16

Aug 052014


  • 26,586 miles
2012 Subaru Impreza has been needing an average of 1 quart of oil for every 1,000 miles driven since may of 2013. Oil consumption text started at North country Subaru in queensbury, NY on August 5, 2014 when the car had 26586 miles on it. New oil float switch was put into the car on September 24, 2014 at 28654 miles. Car continues to need 1 quart of oil for every 1,000 miles.

- Hudson Falls, NY, USA

problem #15

Aug 012012

Impreza 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
This Subaru takes synthetic oil, which should last a minimum of 6000 miles between oil changes. Every oil change I have had on this car (I change it every 7500 miles), I have had to add an extra quart of oil by about 3000 miles into an oil change. This has done this from the very beginning of ownership. A brand new car should not burn up oil so quickly. This can has been so many headaches from the moment I purchased it. Electrical failures, passenger airbags not working, gps system failure, brakes not responding as they should...the list goes on.

- Slippery Rock, PA, USA

problem #14

Oct 312013


  • 10,500 miles
Oil light came on. Subaru manual says to change oil every 7,500 miles. They use synthetic oil which is more expensive. Had to find a dealer who added a quart of oil. Had the 15,000 mile service and light came on again at 18,000 and at 19,800. Both times oil was added. Subaru says this is normal. However, I don't feel I can make a trip of any extensive mileage safely. Especially when Subaru is putting in a synthetic oil that might be difficult to find.

- Hagerstown, MD, USA

problem #13

Jul 012014

Impreza 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles


I sideswiped a parked car and the momentum caused my car to flip over and land on its roof. Have not heard from the adjuster but it is obvious the car is "totaled". writing to you to let you know that I also wrote to Subaru to advise them that I think that the airbags should have deployed but none of them did. The accident occurred in union, N.J.

- West Orange, NJ, USA

problem #12

Jan 152014

Impreza 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
Gas pedal is ultrasensitive leading to surging at low speed. Hard to control vehicle at low speed maneuvering in parking lot. Dealer says this is normal. You will find many discussions on the web if you search for "Subaru sensitive gas pedal, a generally known issue. Find many discussions about "remapping" and jack-rabbit starts.

- Lexington, MA, USA

problem #11

Jun 052014

Impreza 4-cyl

  • 40,300 miles
I have been having continuous issues with oil consumption in my 2012 Impreza 2.0I. I have only driven 2500 miles since my oil change and my low oil light is on. This is the third time I've had to top up the oil and the problem is only getting worse!

- The Woodlands, TX, USA

problem #10

Nov 302013

Impreza 4-cyl

  • 6,800 miles
11/30/2013 while I was driving I received a phone call on my iphone 4 at 9:35pm. The engine stopped but blower for heater, lights and radio remained functional. I pulled over coasted to a stop and restarted the vehicle. My phone was not connected via bluetooth to the vehicle. 1/24/2014 while I was waiting at a stop light (0 mph) at 7:45 am I unplugged a headphone cable from my iphone 4. the engine stopped but blower for heater, lights and radio remained functional. I restarted the vehicle. My phone was not connected via bluetooth to the vehicle.

- Portage, MI, USA

problem #9

Jan 052014

Impreza 4-cyl

  • 34,310 miles
While driving in normal circumstances, engine power cut out, and complete loss of throttle control occurred. The car could only accelerate extremely slowly, and not past 20-25 mph. Thankfully not on a high-speed road. Managed to get home (barely), car worked fine the next day. Dealer found obd code P0128, reprogrammed ECM to remove the code. The same problem had occurred ~1 year previously due to a faulty accelerator position sensor (NHTSA complaint recently filed). Dealer claims causes are unrelated. This can be a serious safety concern if it occurs on a highway, we no longer feel safe driving this car.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #8

Jan 012014


  • 26,500 miles
Addendum to 12/30/13 complaint: In addition to the previously outlined problems: 1. car is now loosing oil. At 26,500 miles the low oil level light came on. Checked oil level and revealed car had lost approx 1.5-2 qt since last regularly scheduled oil change. 2. brakes squeal when you first compress the pedal. I had the brakes inspected and was told nothing was wrong with them or the brake pad. I do not think this is normal to occur every time you touch the brakes unless something is wrong. Brakes did not start making noise until 25,000 miles. * confidence this car is trustworthy. Seriously worried about its reliability/ cost to repair after warranty expires.**

- Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #7

Jul 182012


  • 8,000 miles
2012 Impreza... bought new, nothing but headaches. All problems listed below occurred before I had even owned the car 2 years. 1. at 8-10K miles - while driving car would randomly turn off passenger airbags and illuminate no passenger seatbelt on the dash. Took car to dealer 3 times. Dealer refused to fix as the "error was not stored in the computer." Suggested cell phone was the problem even though cell phones were not near the seat during each of the multiple incidents. I had to complain to corporate who told the dealer to replace the sensor in the seat. No problems since. 2. at 15K miles - multiple times car would turn on check engine light and traction control light simultaneously. First incident dealer said "dirty camshaft sensor." Second incident I had to refuse to take the car back until they actually fixed a part. Dealer kept car a whole week and made calls to corporate engineers. Tests revealed it was a "failed oil pressure valve." Replaced the part and no more problems. 3. at 25K miles - bad battery. Had to replace when car was only 1 year and 10 months old.

- Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #6

Jun 092013

Impreza 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,500 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Subaru Impreza. The contact stated that he the vehicle exhibited excessive oil consumption. The contact added one quart of oil to the vehicle, which only lasted approximately 900 miles. The vehicle was inspected. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The failure mileage was 7,500 updated 01/14/14

- Danbury, CT, USA

problem #5

Apr 112013

Impreza 4-cyl

  • 16,200 miles
My Subaru imprera's low engine oil light has been on multiple times since April of this year and has been brought to the attention of Subaru dealer to no avail. Though the oil consumption rate is abnormal and the problem appears to be common among certain Subaru models, Subaru of America has been asserting that it is normal for an automobile to consume a quart of oil about every thousand miles.

- Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA

problem #4

Mar 182013


  • 11,054 miles
Low oil warning light on dash. Brought to dealer. No action. Oil warning light on 3 times since then. Still no action taken by dealer. Subaru dealer does not deny oil is being burned but states that this is normal for a new car. We have begun an oil consumption test but the car continues to burn oil. We will have to drive another 2400 miles to get the results of the test. The car only has 17,000 miles but oil warning light comes on indicating low oil every 1,200 to 1,500 miles. Still awaiting response from Subaru.

- New Haven, CT, USA

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