Ok Subaru owners.This is the first time that I have ever done something like this. After all these years of tuning and working on Subaru's, I can't understand why it is so common for guys to come in with low oil. Our recommendation has always been to check your oil at least once a week, or every time you get gas (which in a Subaru is pretty much once a week). Is it really that hard? As some of you might have noticed, our newest customer service approach has been taking pictures of owners that arrive with low oil. LOBS (Low Oil Bear of Shame) has also been introduced to our check your oil initiative as the Neetronics Ambassador. The goal is to raise awareness of this issues in the performance vehicle community.
At the arrival of the first snow fall we usually see a lot of cars being towed in with bearing issues. They run about 1/2 to 1 liter low on oil, do a few donuts (which sloshes all the oil into the cylinder heads away from the oil pickup), and bang the motor starts knocking. The whole situation could have easily been prevented if they checked their oil (money which could have been spent on upgrades or maintenance now has to be allocated to a "budget" rebuild). Most customers seem dumb founded when I tell them their car is low on oil and that "loud knocking noise" is catastrophic bearing damage. It doesn't matter if you own a Subaru, BMW, or Nissan GTR, all turbo cars burn oil if you drive them hard, heck even high compression N/A Honda motors burn oil. We had a customer come in from a dealership with a $100,000 BMW M6 low on oil, anything you drive hard consumes oil - the only difference is they warn you well before the level gets too low and damage the motor. Even with all the development and engineering money spent on high performance cars these days, they still need oil to survive and you need to check it's in there.
On the flip side, I have customers that have owed their bugeye WRX with the original motor with performance mods and over 300,000 kms still running strong. What's the secret? Regular maintenance!! Check your oil once a week, and running the proper oil. The Oil Market these days is full of garbage Marketing techniques and gimmicks, we have been though many different brands in our Subaru's over the years, we've found that Motul and Redline are good choices. We sent our oil in for analysis several times along with most of the other oils subaru owners choose to run, we found the biggest no no oils to go in a Subaru are Mobil 1, Royal Purple, and Rotella T6. Don't even get me started on Rotella T6. Most of you may not know that the "Rotella T6" bandwagon started back in 2008/2009 when Subaru's started having issues with ringland failures and consuming oil. Rotella T6 is extremely thick which helped it stick to the cylinder walls over the thinner oils. The high zinc and phosphorous levels in the oil makes rings and bearings unhappy and creates sticky sludge under extreme temperatures. We've pulled numerous motors at the shop with guys running T6 and it is disgusting with all the sludge build up. Several times we noticed rings sticking inside the ringlands on the pistons! (not the best idea of a perfect seal)
But enough of that, this whole rant is about our frustration with customers coming in with low oil. This is how we like to check engine oil at the shop (take notes), run the car for a minimum of 30 seconds, shut it off and check the level right a way. My personal thought on this method to check right after running is to make sure the oil is at the right level while it is running. If you leave for any length of time, the level will come up as the oil is running back into the pan from the heads giving you a false reading, thus while running less oil is available inside the oil pan which can lead to oil starvation during spirited driving. Stay tuned for the next edition of our blog for more