Car Care Tips

The Thruth about Engine Oil Consumption


. Subaru designed today's engines to operate longer between oil changes. After decades of reminding owners to change engine oil every 3,000 miles, engine and oil technologies now allow for up to six month or 6,000-mile maintenance intervals.


. Oil consumption between 6,000-mile oil changes is acceptable, even expected. In the shorter maintenance intervals of the past, the engines consumed oil, but owners didn't notice it for two reasons:

  • ・No warning lights illuminated to indicate that the oil level was low
  • ・Shorter intervals between oil changes would mask oil consumption – unless owners checked engine oil regularly between services


. Engines consume oil during normal operation. How much they consume varies based on manufacturing tolerances, wear, and most importantly, usage.
Usage includes:

  • ・Driving patterns such as frequent engine braking (downshifting the transmission in order to decelerate the vehicle)
  • ・Engine operation at sustained high rpm (i.e., sustained highway driving or driving in hilly terrain)
  • ・Frequent acceleration and deceleration (i.e., stop-and-go freeway traffic)
  • ・Severe thermal conditions (extreme heat or cold)
  • ・Idling for extended periods of time (i.e., frequent and sustained remote engine-start operation)
  • ・New-engine break-in period (up to the first 3,000 miles)

All will result in increased engine oil consumption. However, the need to add oil should not be interpreted as a need for more frequent servicing.