2013 Subaru Legacy engine problems: excessive oil consumption

Excessive Oil Consumption

2013 Subaru Legacy

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Subaru dealer.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
61,200 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. replace engine (2 reports)
2013 Subaru Legacy engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Subaru Legacy Owner Comments

problem #6

Dec 012016

Legacy Premium 2.5L H4

  • CVT transmission
  • 122,000 miles


I bought my 2013 Subaru Legacy Premium used, with ~25,000 miles on it back in October of 2013. Around 120K miles, I noticed the Oil Indicator light started illuminating, the result of which was that the engine was 1 quart low on oil. I now have 170k miles on the Legacy, and have to put 1 quart of oil in the engine every 2k miles between oil changes (high mileage full synthetic) that I do regularly at 5k miles. I find that consumption is greater in the winter months when the engine takes longer to warm up and run at temperature. I keep a quart of oil in my car at all times, and try to check it at least every 4th fuel fill-up. Since I buy the oil in a 5qt jug for $25 at Walmart and fill up the same 1 quart jug in my car, it only costs me $10 dollars in oil between oil changes to keep my motor topped off. It is an extreme annoyance more than anything, and I know others have greater oil consumption than me.

- Dante G E., Independence, IA, US

problem #5

May 122015

Legacy Manual 6-Speed

  • Manual transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I've had four brand new cars, all manual transmissions and this is the first time I've ever had to replace the clutch.This is my third clutch. My last car I had for 10 years, same clutch 258,000 miles, same engine and I've only had this care for just five years.My father was a mechanic and owned a shop that I worked in as a teenager so I know how to take care of a car.

I commute 60 miles to and from work a day and I needed a dependable care to drive, especially in the snow and everyone suggested I get a Subaru because of the 4WD. I'm so sorry I did. I've read many reviews regarding the oil consumption issue so I know this is not unique to my vehicle. You'd think the dealership and Subaru would do the right thing and issue a recall or at least come up with a solution to the problem, but that has not been the case.

This will be my last Subaru. I will find another maker who produces manual transmissions when this engine dies and never look back at Subaru. Replacing the engine is cheaper than buy a brand new car so all-in-all including the two new clutches I have "invested" about $4,200 in this piece of junk. You couldn't pay me to by another one of these cars and would not recommend it to anyone. I've made it all these years without 4WD and I will make it in the future.

- tmsmith, Wolcott, US

problem #4

Jun 012016

Legacy 3.6 3.6L H6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

Subaru corporate dealt with it as my local dealer would not address it. They forced the dealer to do a consumption test. The dealer did it - but not a way most would do it and others have reported the same issue. They overfilled the oil so instead of putting in 6 quarts they put in nearly 7 (6.9 quarts) and then told me I HAVE TO change the oil every 3000 miles. Of course with extra oil and a drastically shortened oil change interval, the oil consumption is masked.

Now I no longer use the dealer and recommend to everyone I know to avoid it like the plague. I monitor the oil on my low mileage car (now with 52,000) and every 1000 miles check it. I put in 6.9 quarts and it consumes about 1.5 quarts every 4000 miles. I change it at 5000 miles and use an independent mechanic I trust, and I put in additional oil at 4000 miles so I can make it to 5000 miles.

Subaru says they care about the environment - they don't. They just care about not paying for an engine that consumes oil. So I burn a lot of oil, pollute the environment, and don't bother to contact Subaru anymore. I am destroying the air quality thanks to Subaru and that is the truth - not their corporate message about how much they do for it. I will not bring it to the dealership again even though they send me coupons and beg me to come back.

- Sam S., Wilton, CT, US

problem #3

Mar 162016

Legacy Sport 2.4L

  • CVT transmission
  • 85,000 miles


Complained to service department when car used 3 quarts of motor oil between oil changes. Had me bring it back after 1500 miles and checked oil consumption. Called Subaru and they authorized replacement of engine at no charge due to class action lawsuit. Dealership gave me a loaner car while vehicle was repaired at no charge.

- wvnp, Springs, PA, US

problem #2

Dec 292015

Legacy Sport 2.5i

  • CVT transmission
  • 25,000 miles

About a week ago my low oil light came on, I ignored it at the time because I've been busy with the Holidays. Yesterday the light came on again, so I decided to check my oil manually. It was down to the bottom point on the dipstick. I called my dealership immediately, where the service manager had me come in last night to begin the oil consumption test. I asked how many miles I should get out of an oil change while using the synthetic oil, he responded about 6,000 miles. I drive about 40 miles a day commuting to work, not too pleased if I will have to get an oil change two or three times a year. It's rather expensive at about $102/oil change, not to mention a hassle to drive to the dealership which have hours very similar to mine. I have to return in 1,200 miles +/- 50 miles, I will post again as I receive the results from the oil consumption test. I really hope they figure out the issue, as I don't want to have my car taken apart for them to replace the block.

- Paul P., Pittsburgh, PA, US

problem #1

Apr 242015

Legacy Limited 2.5i

  • CVT transmission
  • 18,000 miles

click to see larger images

excessive oil consumption

The problem of the low engine oil light coming on began around 18,000 miles. As I become aware of this oil consumption issue, I started to carry oil in the trunk of my "new" car for that “just in case”. Google search results revealed that many other consumers are having the same oil consumption issues with their 2.5i Legacy’s and Outback’s. Oil consumption this early in the life time of the car really concerned me because an engine that burns oil will negatively impact performance, fuel economy, maintainability, and THE ENVIRONMENT.

Update from Nov 13, 2015: The low oil light came on again at about 22,000 miles and I pulled off of the interstate to add another quart of oil. As I was adding the oil, I had not noticed that a state trooper had pulled up behind me but in the corner of my eye I saw him standing just a few feet away in the tall grass. Of course this scared the #$%^@! out of me. He then asked what I was doing. I nervously told him that I was adding oil to my new car. Somehow it was believable and he moved on.

Update from Nov 13, 2015: Since the car was using nearly 2 quarts of oil between the 6000 mile oil change interval, I reported this to the dealer and Subaru customer service. Both recommended that I start an oil consumption test. I was told that a fail under warranty occurs when the engine consumes more than 1/3 of a quart of oil in 1200 miles. If failure is declared, then the engine short block must be replaced.

I brought it in to the dealer to begin the test. The oil was changed and the test was started. I always look at the underside of my car after any service to check for leaks and to be sure that all the panels and bolts are secured. I also check the oil level. To my dismay, ""THE CRANKCASE HAD BEEN OVERFILLED!" It was about one half inch above the full mark. I called the dealer and was informed that the mechanic was just in a hurry and that it was merely an accident. I remain suspicious. Meanwhile I contacted Subaru customer relations who helped to arrange a restart of the test.

The test was restarted a week or so later and after nearly 1200 miles had been traveled I returned to the dealership to obtain the test results. The shop manager pulled the dipstick and pointed out that it had indeed consumed oil as well as complained that I had come in about 50 miles too early (1200 miles minimum). So how much oil? I thought that the shop manager's method to measure the oil consumption was rather subjective and ambiguous as only the dipstick was read to determine the amount.

I went away with no determination made because the shop manager instructed me to return when the oil light came on again. So again I contacted Subaru customer relations. I was encouraged to return immediately to have the test finalized. However, because of the finger pointing between the shop manager and customer relations, I did not return. Instead, I waited for the low oil level light to come on and it did at 2657 miles. I decided that this would be the most accurate way to determine the rate of consumption anyway. By my calculations, the oil level light comes on at one quart low and the car was driven 2657 miles, therefore about 14.5 ounces of oil had been consumed in 1200 miles. This exceeded the 10.5 ounce limit (1/3 quart in 1200). Unfortunately Subaru customer relations was not satisfied with this so they declared the test invalid and insisted upon restarting again.

The test has been restarted and is now underway (3rd time is a charm?). Although Subaru does not respect my findings, I do expect failure to occur. My concerns are about the impact to the resale value and how much money that I stand to lose in trading this car.

If you have this problem, had your engine replaced, or have a story, please post it. There must be some way to investigate how many engines have been replaced and how much of a problem this really is for people. The wool cap award goes to Subaru for impressing us with their eco-friendly mantra while some of their cars are burning a half gallon or more of oil in every 6000 miles of travel.

Update from Nov 22, 2015: Made the mistake of not verifying the oil level before I left the dealership. Guess what? I discovered the crankcase OVERFILLED AGAIN!... Restarted test for the fourth time. Here we go again.

Update from Jan 3, 2016: Returned to the dealer after 1200 miles and the consumption test read by the shop chief. He commenced by reading the dipstick as being low off of the full mark and then proceeded to pour oil back into the crankcase until the level was again at the full mark. Then, while holding the plastic quart bottle up, he interpreted from the markings on the bottle how much oil was poured into the crankcase. At first glance he decided that it was exactly 10 ounces, then put the bottle down onto a bench to determine it be 11 ounces (10.7 ounces marks fail) Eureka, it was finally declared a fail under warranty! Now being nine months and 10000 miles later from the first appearance of the low oil level light, a new short block awaits for installation.

Along the way, Subaru offered me the Gold Plus extended warranty (7 years/100000 miles/0 deductible) if I were to decide to keep the car. I decided that this would not be my interest. The dealership also offered to buy my car for the Guaranteed Trade Value and allow me to go my own way. Subaru also offered to honor the Guaranteed Trade Value ($18,400) and to provide a $2500 loyalty incentive on a new car trade. The general manager also offered to go a step further and provide an additional discount of $2100 on the deal. So... I decided to proceed with this new car trade option. I did not really plan to go deeper into debt and buy a new car, but did not want a car that has had the short block replaced.

We picked out one that we liked and took the new 2016 Legacy 2.5i for a test drive before any paperwork was begun. In all of this madness, the crazy thing went into the shakes at 75 mph and is now in the shop for diagnostics. I find myself in pause mode....

Subaru has a hard and fast rate of oil consumption established (10.7 ounces/1200 miles), but a really sloppy and very subjective method of determining this rate of consumption. Keep in mind that one tablespoon equates to 1/2 ounce and is enough to qualify a fail under warranty. Who among us could see the addition of one tablespoon on the dipstick?

Besides, the rate of oil consumption appears to be nonlinear. Think of this... It is brand new oil during the first 1200 miles and after repeated exposure to heat it progressively breaks down. Hmmm?

I do have reasonable concern for most of the mechanically inept public who could find themselves outside of warranty once they realize that adding oil is not normal. Also look at how all of these false starts racked up the miles.... now at 32000 miles after nine months of delay.

- call the epa, Mahomet, IL, US

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