Oil consumption on new cars

Some new cars require oil every three to four tanks of gas

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From the February/March 2015 issue of the magazine.

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Oil consumption on new cars is often higher than you might expect. (Getty Images)

Q: When I performed my first oil change on my new 2011 Subaru, the oil level was so low, there was no reading on the dipstick. I didn’t think I’d have to check the oil before the first change. Subaru Canada says it’s normal, but is adding one or two litres of oil between changes really normal?—Paul Gauthier, Rosthern, Sask.

A: Many automakers say an oil consumption of one litre per 2,000 km or more under warranty is normal. That works out to adding a litre of oil with every third or fourth tank of fuel, which, in our view is not what most people expect with a new vehicle. If the issue persists and you want to take action, you’ll need a third-party mechanic to perform an oil consumption monitoring test. If the dealer won’t pay, an independent mechanic could undertake the repair and testify if you elect to sue Subaru. It might be worth pursuing because you could be looking at $3,000 or more to replace your piston rings.



8 comments on “Oil consumption on new cars

  1. This is not acceptable for a new car.

    In my experience, this is the result of poor design of a particular engine model.

    Buy used or, if buying new, ensure the model you’re buying uses an engine that was already in use on previous model years.

    Google is your friend. Search on common problems with cars that you’re considering buying.


    • @CJ

      I disagree, every car is different. Some engines use a lot of oil between changes, a good example of this is the popular 2.4 lt engine that was used in Sunfires/Grand Ams/Alero’s and other GM’s. This engine usually went through a few liters of oil between changes, some more some less. It also depends on how you drive it, the temperature, and how well you maintain your engine. A little care and maybe a water pump replacement and this engine will go 400,000 km’s with little problem for you. If you own a car learn to do a little maintenance, it’s part of car ownership.


  2. Just another reason to not buy a Subaru.


  3. My 2014 Honda Civic CVT sedan never needs oil added between oil changes that happen every 10,000 Km’s.


  4. Traded in my 2014 6 speed Outback at 6400 miles for excessive oil consumption and ridiculous excuses from Subaru. I loved these cars and this was my 4th, but last from this company. Traded for a Lexus and haven’t looked back. Would love to see Subaru crash and burn over lack of integrity and failure to stand behind their product.


    • I had a 2012 Impreza that was using a quart of oil every 2000 miles. Which Subaru and the dealer said is normal. This is just a cop out. The rings and or pistons on these cars have issues. Subaru are being sued and rightly so. They totally DO NOT stand behind their product in the least.
      My 2002 Focus has 171k miles and doesn’t use any oil. It also has colder ac and more comfortable seats. Did I mention that the focus is quieter and rattles a lot less?


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