2013 Subaru Outback Needed Oil

  • 7,530 MILES
At approximately 6500 miled the oil light came on and I needed to add a quart of oil. Never noticed any oil leaking (garage floor is clean) or any "bluish" exhaust or oil buring smell. Called dealership --service department indicated that "it's very commong to have this happen before the first 7500 mile requierd oil change". I've heard of such a thing and this is my fifth new car. Is this legitimate or a cover-up for a big problem?
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Friday, July 19th, 2013 AT 12:41 PM

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It has always been common for new engines to use some oil during the break-in period. What is not common is waiting that long to change the oil. Ford and GM are famous for specifying really long oil change intervals to make their cost of maintenance appear lower than that of their competitors, but if you look closely you'll see those schedules are for "normal" duty which is impossible to meet. If you drive a lot on the highway, a lot in the city, in cold weather, in hot weather, etc, you fall under the "severe" duty and the oil is supposed to be changed every 3,000 miles. There is no oil made that I would leave in for 6,500 miles. Oil is oil and that's not going to change. What DOES change is blowby, gas, and condensation get into it, and the additives like detergents, seal conditioners, and anti-corrosive agents wear out. We change oil to get the bad stuff out and put more good additives in. Those things are independent of the quality of the oil.

Also, since the 1990s you will no longer see "add" and "full" on the oil dip sticks because all engines use some oil between oil changes. To address the complaints about that oil usage most manufacturers have "min" and "max" now. As long as the level is above "min", you're okay. If you had changed the oil at 3,000 miles you would have been down half a quart which is normal. You have a problem if the oil consumption increases over time. If you don't see anything obvious, you can add a small bottle of dark purple dye to the oil, then after a few days search with a black light, including at the tail pipe. The dye will show up as a bright yellow stain that you can follow back to the source.
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Friday, July 19th, 2013 AT 1:52 PM

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