Does Your New Car Burn Too Much Oil?


I’m going to describe a problem with my car, and I want you to take some guesses on what year and make of car I own.

I have the oil changed on my car about every 5,000 miles. I’m actually quite good at keeping to the schedule and making sure the maintenance is done on a timely basis. I use full synthetic oil in the car, and most of my family’s driving is on the highway. We live 30 minutes away from civilization, so the car rarely, if ever, does trips where it doesn’t reach operating temperature.

The problem is that the car burns at least a quart of oil between oil changes.

Any guesses on the year and make?

Any car can burn oil, but typically the worst offenders are high-mileage older cars that have been around the block more than a few times.

My car, though, is a 2013 Subaru Legacy with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine.

That thing should be able to run for 20,000 miles without losing a drop of oil, but the low-level light illuminates about halfway between oil changes, sometimes sooner. I’ve complained to the dealer but was simply told, “Yeah, those cars are known to burn oil. Just keep a few quarts with you.”

I got a little feisty and said that I’m driving a car that was purchased brand new, not a 1974 Datsun. I shouldn’t have to buy cases of synthetic oil to keep in my trunk.

It turns out my Subaru isn’t the only car to suffer this problem. Consumer Reports recently conducted a study and found at least two other automakers that burn oil at even faster rate. CR said,

We focused on 498,900 vehicles from the 2010 to 2014 model years, many of which are still under their powertrain warranty. Several engines emerged as the main offenders: Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and 3.0-liter V6, BMW’s 4.8-liter V8 and twin-­turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, and to a lesser extent Subaru’s 3.6-liter six-cylinder and 2.0- and 2.5-liter four-cylinders.

Consumer Reports said the automakers also told them it’s acceptable for a new car to burn oil.

No, it’s not.

All these automakers need to fix this problem by either issuing a recall or paying their customers for the trouble.

Does your new car burn too much oil?


Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.

Used Subaru Legacy

1 Comment

  1. If I told you that it’s acceptable for your nice new house to leak a few gallons of water through it’s roof every month would you consider that acceptable? Probably not.

    I hate cheaters. Car manufacturers need to get real and consumers need to stop buying this overpriced oil-guzzling junk. Consumer Reports must stop dancing to the corporate Kool-Aid by providing glowing reviews for cars KNOWINGLY built to fail. Consumers….maintain and keep (or buy) older cars, do your homework and refuse to purchase any vehicle that doesn’t measure up! It’s cheaper for you in the end, and hitting the cheaters in their own wallets is the only way to turn corporate greed on itself.

    Poor quality vehicles and service policies should never be rewarded with glowing investigative reviews or acceptance of mind-numbing deny-deny-accuse rhetoric from manufacturers. Enough is enough.
    They’ve made you pay. Now it’s time THEY do.

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