New-to-me Subaru, what oil to go with?

Joined
Aug 7, 2016
Messages
103
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New Hampshire
So I finally bit the bullet and wound up getting the old lady a new car to replace her soup ca-- I mean Dodge Caliber. Got a 1-owner 2012 Subaru Outback 2.5i with 165k miles on it. The Carfax was extensive and thorough with dealership service its whole life and about a year ago it had the head gasket, radiator, and thermostat done (which I know is a chronic Subaru issue). I know it calls for 5w30 however I'm looking to get ahead of any oil burning or overheating issues.
I've always been a Castrol man (Though I currently run PUP because of my HEMI still within warranty) but I'd like to run a thicker oil, of any brand really, for a couple reasons. I don't feel 100% comfortable running an Xw-40 weight but any 0/5w-30 is on the table.
1. Her daily commute is 140 miles round trip 1/3 interstate and 2/3 rural hilly state highways so lots of higher RPM and varying load due to the elevation changes. 2. Given the age/mileage there's enough chance of regular wear that having a little extra viscosity may aid in offsetting any changes to tolerance (The car does pass a compression test). and 3. She isn't great about telling me when she hits the mileage for an oil change so to offset fuel dilution.
Going with a full synthetic because we have inordinately harsh winters and I'll probably be throwing a Napa Gold on for filter.
Any suggestions, solutions, tricks, or other information as to what to go with is much appreciated.
 

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Joined
Aug 7, 2016
Messages
103
Location
New Hampshire
Literally any 5w30 will be just fine. I had that same engine in a 2010 Outback and ran conventional 5w30 every 5000 miles for 8 years without issue.

My question would be why would you think that there would be oil burning and/or overheating issues?
It's just a known quirk with Subaru (overheating issues and burning oil) so I'd like to make my choice with that in mind.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2005
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22,247
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Upper Midwest
I've always been a Castrol man (Though I currently run PUP because of my HEMI still within warranty) but I'd like to run a thicker oil, of any brand really, for a couple reasons. I don't feel 100% comfortable running an Xw-40 weight but any 0/5w-30 is on the table.
Why is that? Castrol 0W-40 is probably one of the best mainstream oils in the world.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Messages
1,747
Why is that? Castrol 0W-40 is probably one of the best mainstream oils in the world.
Probably not right now at $67 for 5 quarts. I was going to pick some up for my BMW at Walmart yesterday, but they had Mobil 1 0w-40 for $24.47 for 5 quarts.
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2007
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321
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NJ
PUP with the rebate is a good price. I got 4 jugs. Cost me ~$103 and got $50 back. Also M1 with the rebate is a good price too though not as good as last year. I do see that Pennzoil pricing has gone up since I got mine.
 
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Never hear of overheating issues other than ancient early, EJ motors. Get yourself a cup wrench that fits your filter choice. since the Filter is surrounded by the exhaust heat shields with just a "hole" to drop the filter out. At least it was this way on our '09.

That EJ engine design is truly easy on oil, Dry timing system, NO tappets, rollercam, jam nut valve lash.

I bet the Quaker State full synthetic 10W30 I am using currently on my Ford would do well in the Subaru. It would avoid the gum and varnish of a 5w30 and it has a minus 54 degrees pour point.

I would do a turkey baster Powersteering fluid change if the Outback still has Subaru excellent hydraulic steering.

I am in NH also, just 15 miles over the Haverhill. MA border. - Ken
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2018
Messages
504
Location
Northeast Texas
If it is consuming oil, you'll need an oil with esters or alkylated naphthalene to try and clean the ringlands.
When constricted to 30 weights, your options are:

Ester:
Mobil 1 ESP 5w-30
Some Motul lineups (including 300V) in xW-30 (edyvw might be familiar)
Red Line Performace in xW-30
High Performance Lubricants' in xW-30

AN:
Mobil 1 xW-30 weights
Mobil 1 HM xW-30 weights
Mobil 1 EP / EP HM xW-30 weights
High Performance Lubricants' in xW-30

HPL is the most potent option.
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Messages
994
Location
South Carolina
I service a 2012 Outback with the same engine for two years (co-worker.) Dealer serviced in Pittsburgh, PA it's whole life and then my co-worker got it from her parents. Went to give it it's first OCI since she got it and oil was at low mark on dipstick. Changed the oil and told her to keep an eye on it. Burned about a quart and a half between 5K OCI's.

She always bought STP Full Synthetic as it was convenient for her to grab near her house. Used the same oil filter as my Hyundai / Kia's, so it typically got a WIX as I had a bunch of them at the time.
 

FZ1

Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
5,722
Location
Texas
So I finally bit the bullet and wound up getting the old lady a new car to replace her soup ca-- I mean Dodge Caliber. Got a 1-owner 2012 Subaru Outback 2.5i with 165k miles on it. The Carfax was extensive and thorough with dealership service its whole life and about a year ago it had the head gasket, radiator, and thermostat done (which I know is a chronic Subaru issue). I know it calls for 5w30 however I'm looking to get ahead of any oil burning or overheating issues.
I've always been a Castrol man (Though I currently run PUP because of my HEMI still within warranty) but I'd like to run a thicker oil, of any brand really, for a couple reasons. I don't feel 100% comfortable running an Xw-40 weight but any 0/5w-30 is on the table.
1. Her daily commute is 140 miles round trip 1/3 interstate and 2/3 rural hilly state highways so lots of higher RPM and varying load due to the elevation changes. 2. Given the age/mileage there's enough chance of regular wear that having a little extra viscosity may aid in offsetting any changes to tolerance (The car does pass a compression test). and 3. She isn't great about telling me when she hits the mileage for an oil change so to offset fuel dilution.
Going with a full synthetic because we have inordinately harsh winters and I'll probably be throwing a Napa Gold on for filter.
Any suggestions, solutions, tricks, or other information as to what to go with is much appreciated.
Do a little PDS research and pick a vis on the higher side of 5w-30,if, you wish.
 
Joined
Nov 29, 2021
Messages
3,873
So I finally bit the bullet and wound up getting the old lady a new car to replace her soup ca-- I mean Dodge Caliber. Got a 1-owner 2012 Subaru Outback 2.5i with 165k miles on it. The Carfax was extensive and thorough with dealership service its whole life and about a year ago it had the head gasket, radiator, and thermostat done (which I know is a chronic Subaru issue). I know it calls for 5w30 however I'm looking to get ahead of any oil burning or overheating issues.
I've always been a Castrol man (Though I currently run PUP because of my HEMI still within warranty) but I'd like to run a thicker oil, of any brand really, for a couple reasons. I don't feel 100% comfortable running an Xw-40 weight but any 0/5w-30 is on the table.
1. Her daily commute is 140 miles round trip 1/3 interstate and 2/3 rural hilly state highways so lots of higher RPM and varying load due to the elevation changes. 2. Given the age/mileage there's enough chance of regular wear that having a little extra viscosity may aid in offsetting any changes to tolerance (The car does pass a compression test). and 3. She isn't great about telling me when she hits the mileage for an oil change so to offset fuel dilution.
Going with a full synthetic because we have inordinately harsh winters and I'll probably be throwing a Napa Gold on for filter.
Any suggestions, solutions, tricks, or other information as to what to go with is much appreciated.

Supertech 5W-30
 
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
3,095
Location
South Carolina
"Old Lady" really? After 50 years I still call my wife Princess and it works.
Don't know much about Subaru but with what I've read on their history and her driving I would look at any 0/5w-40.
I cannot rely on the wife telling me anything about how her car is running especially when/if it needs an oil change. That's my job!
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2020
Messages
577
Location
New Bedford, MA
"Old Lady" really? After 50 years I still call my wife Princess and it works.


Yeah, I’ve never understood the point of that. I’ve never had it in me or felt the need to call my wife or introduce her as my old lady 😂. I get why some do it and know it is not meant in a disrespectful way so…
 
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Nov 20, 2006
Messages
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MA, Mittelfranken.de
Because this engine uses 2 VVT (one on each head) solenoids the old 10mm EJ oil pump they have used forever isn't quite up to the job. They set the low oil pressure warning light at 2.5 psi and they can real close to that 3-5 psi at hot idle on 5w30 even when new, it is just enough to keep it alive.
I have done 3 of these engines since last year, all are running the 11mm pump and maintain 25-28 psi hot idle and at 3K rpm about 65 psi, all run either Mobil 1 ESP 5w30 or Mobil 1 0w40 Euro oil, it helps the stock pumps a lot and works perfectly fine in NE winters.
It will give the stock 10mm pump engine 8-10 psi hot idle and 50 psi at 3K rpm which is much better than an API 5w30. OE, Mazda RX or Wix filters are fine.

One of the causes for HG failure is broken ground straps from the head to the frame, check them when you do an oil change and replace them with heavier ones if broken. These cars are also known for ghost walking in snow and going right through stop signs in the snow even with dedicated snow tires, look into it or post the question.

This is under the car attached to each cyl head.

suby ground strap.jpg
 
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
314
Location
VA
Because this engine uses 2 VVT (one on each head) solenoids the old 10mm EJ oil pump they have used forever isn't quite up to the job. They set the low oil pressure warning light at 2.5 psi and they can real close to that 3-5 psi at hot idle on 5w30 even when new, it is just enough to keep it alive.
I have done 3 of these engines since last year, all are running the 11mm pump and maintain 25-28 psi hot idle and at 3K rpm about 65 psi, all run either Mobil 1 ESP 5w30 or Mobil 1 0w40 Euro oil, it helps the stock pumps a lot and works perfectly fine in NE winters.
It will give the stock 10mm pump engine 8-10 psi hot idle and 50 psi at 3K rpm which is much better than an API 5w30. OE, Mazda RX or Wix filters are fine.

One of the causes for HG failure is broken ground straps from the head to the frame, check them when you do an oil change and replace them with heavier ones if broken. These cars are also known for ghost walking in snow and going right through stop signs in the snow even with dedicated snow tires, look into it or post the question.

This is under the car attached to each cyl head.

View attachment 111085
Just out of curiosity, why would a broken ground strap cause the head gasket to blow? My BiL has a Subbie.
 
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