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2022 Ascent Onyx, Ice Silver
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I also very rarely open the hood. Not my world. I do wrench on my Kubota, but do very little with the big vehicles. No real interest.
My main concern with the new generation of GDI engines is fuel dilution in the crankcase. The only 100% sure way of determining this condition is by an oil analysis from labs like Blackstone and similar.

Absent that, frequently checking the dipstick is the next best method, both visually and by smell. If the level seems to be increasing above the "full" mark, and you can smell the distinctive odor of gasoline on the dipstick, that is an indication of fuel dilution. Gasoline is not a good lubricant. A high level of fuel present in the oil can cause premature wear on all the parts that are lubricated by the oil.

It only takes a few minutes to open the hood, check the dipstick, and while you are there do a quick visual of the brake fluid level, and coolant in the reservoir. Catching problems early can avoid costly repairs later.
 

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@xydadx3 Thanks for the softball lob :) That chart has nothing to do with checking oil or other common fluids under the hood

A few minutes searching showed multiple Subaru sites recommending checking the oil: From every fuel stop to every 2nd fuel stop to once a month etc. Sport Subaru in Orlando says: "Subaru recommends that you check the oil level on your dipstick at every other fuel stop".

...But specifically speaking, my Ascent manual includes the following:

P.450: Check oil level every other fuel stop
P.453: Check coolant level every fuel stop
P.457: Check brake fluid level monthly

In the apparently rapidly fading old days, regardless of a manual, this would have been considered just plain old common sense. ..As would a cursory visual inspection of the engine compartment to look for abnormalities....like nesting material on top of an intercooler.
 

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2021 Ascent Limited Black/Black
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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Interesting that I've been on both sides of this whole "checking under the hood" debate. I grew up in a family that never did anything with cars but drive them. My dad made decent enough money and just drove a car til it was "done" and then bought a new one. So that was my background. Then in my early 20's when I bought my first Subaru (a used '82 GL wagon) I was super short on money, and the car already had 140,000 miles on it, so I bought the book "How to keep your Subaru alive" and it step by step taught me all the basics as well as a few more advance things I dared to learn. So with that old '82, and then with my '95 Outback (that I had for 24 years) I did all my own oil changes, checked the oil and everything else regularly, Pretty much was that was for most of the 24 years I had that Outback. (was stolen 3 times that last year and the 3rd time it was trashed badly, so sadly had to say goodbye) Since buying our Ascent, though, life is super busy, the car is obviously fairly new still, and we've got a beautiful 4 year old and life is super busy, so I don't think I've popped the hood open in months. But, as evidenced by this thread, my pendulum is about to swing the other direction again.
 

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2019 Ascent Limited, 2015 WRX, 2022 OB Onyx
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@xydadx3 Thanks for the softball lob :) That chart has nothing to do with checking oil or other common fluids under the hood

A few minutes searching showed multiple Subaru sites recommending checking the oil: From every fuel stop to every 2nd fuel stop to once a month etc. Sport Subaru in Orlando says: "Subaru recommends that you check the oil level on your dipstick at every other fuel stop".

...But specifically speaking, my Ascent manual includes the following:

P.450: Check oil level every other fuel stop
P.453: Check coolant level every fuel stop
P.457: Check brake fluid level monthly

In the apparently rapidly fading old days, regardless of a manual, this would have been considered just plain old common sense. ..As would a cursory visual inspection of the engine compartment to look for abnormalities....like nesting material on top of an intercooler.
As a kid working part time at a gas station, I can recall checking oil (toping off as necessary, washing windows, looking for obvious leaks from the top, checking tire pressure as the fuel was filling, at every fill up. I made very good tip money.
 

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@xydadx3 Thanks for the softball lob :) That chart has nothing to do with checking oil or other common fluids under the hood

...But specifically speaking, my Ascent manual includes the following:

P.450: Check oil level every other fuel stop
P.453: Check coolant level every fuel stop
P.457: Check brake fluid level monthly
@Steve70 thanks for taking my softball and looking up the info I didn’t have time to dig for 😉
 
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2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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It only takes a few minutes to open the hood, check the dipstick, and while you are there do a quick visual of the brake fluid level, and coolant in the reservoir. Catching problems early can avoid costly repairs later.
While I rarely open the hood, it's not "never" and in those rare moments, I do pull the oil dipstick and check the wiper fluid. I just have not felt the need to do this with any kind of frequency and have not had any of the "rising level" issues that some folks have experienced over the three years I've owned my Ascent to-date.
 

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@Steve70 thanks for taking my softball and looking up the info I didn’t have time to dig for 😉
I'm also old school enough to go through every new car's manual. I spent a couple hours on the eye sight book which was new stuff to me. I also knew I had seen the check fluids stuff in there somewhere. Per the index, it only took about a minute to find it.
 

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Interesting that I've been on both sides of this whole "checking under the hood" debate. I grew up in a family that never did anything with cars but drive them. My dad made decent enough money and just drove a car til it was "done" and then bought a new one. So that was my background.

Since buying our Ascent, though, life is super busy, the car is obviously fairly new still, and we've got a beautiful 4 year old and life is super busy, so I don't think I've popped the hood open in months. But, as evidenced by this thread, my pendulum is about to swing the other direction again.
That wasn't my upbringing, but it was certainly something you had no control over.

There is no car company, car site, car mag, Bob the oil guy etc... that would say it was OK to leave the hood shut for 6000 miles between openings... Which is why I jumped in here to start with

The checks I do take roughly 1.5 to 2 minutes from the time I pop the hood till done. I hope you go back to your 2nd set of 'roots' 👍🙂
 

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2022 Ascent Onyx, Ice Silver
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While I rarely open the hood, it's not "never" and in those rare moments, I do pull the oil dipstick and check the wiper fluid. I just have not felt the need to do this with any kind of frequency and have not had any of the "rising level" issues that some folks have experienced over the three years I've owned my Ascent to-date.
As I understand it, fuel dilution in GDI engines is often the result of fouled injectors. Instead of a fine mist of fuel at the time of injection, more of a "squirt" of raw gas is sprayed into the cylinder, some of which is unburned and migrates past the rings and into the crankcase. This condition usually occurs after many miles, and/or due to the use of poorer grades of fuel. As the miles tick by, frequent checking of the dipstick becomes more important. Buying top-tier gas, and regularly adding a bottle of Techron or another good injector cleaner can avoid the problem. Let's hope your next three years are as trouble free. (y)
 

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Like I mentioned, I do check it occasionally. I only use Top Tier from Costco 99% of the time. :)
 

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Like I mentioned, I do check it occasionally. I only use Top Tier from Costco 99% of the time. :)
Costco is also my primary source of fuel. Good product, good price, and importantly, a good turnover to assure fresh fuel. When on the road, I stick with name brands, and at stations that are likely to have a good turnover.
 

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2019 Subaru Ascent Limited 2010 Subaru Legacy GT limited
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Older Subaru's were required to have an OCI of 3k miles IIRC and a synthetic motor oil as the Turbo engine by design was considered severe duty, newer technology and better parts manufacturing has likely taken care of that by now, but old habits do die hard, and oil is cheaper than either a turbo or a short block. Coolant usage also use to be a precursor to headgasket woes, hence the warnings in the manual to check it regularly.
 

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Older Subaru's were required to have an OCI of 3k miles IIRC and a synthetic motor oil as the Turbo engine by design was considered severe duty, newer technology and better parts manufacturing has likely taken care of that by now, but old habits do die hard, and oil is cheaper than either a turbo or a short block. Coolant usage also use to be a precursor to headgasket woes, hence the warnings in the manual to check it regularly.
Very true. I believe a good portion of the change to longer OCIs, lifetime ATF, permanently sealed, non-lubable bushings and bearings is to be "greener" and use less fossil-based products. I consider myself environmentally responsible, and I doubt that my extra 5 qts of used motor oil every 3K miles when properly reclaimed or recycled will be a game changer in the overall scheme of things.
 

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Older Subaru's were required to have an OCI of 3k miles IIRC and a synthetic motor oil as the Turbo engine by design was considered severe duty, newer technology and better parts manufacturing has likely taken care of that by now, but old habits do die hard, and oil is cheaper than either a turbo or a short block. Coolant usage also use to be a precursor to headgasket woes, hence the warnings in the manual to check it regularly.
I'm new to the Subaru game, but long drain intervals are not new with synthetics. Mercedes, Porsche, BMW have been using them for maybe 20 years or so... and that would include some turbo applications I'm sure. I ran longer drains on our 1982 3-door SAAB Turbo with zero issues. I sold it at 125K miles. I believe that old SAAB is still running.

My question would be: Did Subaru not have it figured out right for a while?
 

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I'm new to the Subaru game, but long drain intervals are not new with synthetics. Mercedes, Porsche, BMW have been using them for maybe 20 years or so... and that would include some turbo applications I'm sure. I ran longer drains on our 1982 3-door SAAB Turbo with zero issues. I sold it at 125K miles. I believe that old SAAB is still running.

My question would be: Did Subaru not have it figured out right for a while?
The boxer engine has different requirements as far as maintenance goes. And to add some perspective the boxer has it's own quirks because of the design which other manufacturers didn't need to figure out, except maybe Porsche but thats an entirely different class of car-buyer. The headgaskets are bathed in oil and coolant constantly, the pistons settle to the bottom of the bore when cooled, the fuel circuit dead ends on one side of the engine rather making a continuous loop...small things that add up to different issues. And all of that on a relatively small 2.5 liter engine.

There is also the oil capacity of longer interval engines to contend with, the 2.5 engine has generally only needed 4.2-4.6 qts of oil, other makes with extended intervals have larger crankcases with more oil capacity. There was also the infamous BMW-provided leather case for your spare quart or oil due to consumption issues.
 

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The boxer engine has different requirements as far as maintenance goes. And to add some perspective the boxer has it's own quirks because of the design which other manufacturers didn't need to figure out, except maybe Porsche but thats an entirely different class of car-buyer. The headgaskets are bathed in oil and coolant constantly, the pistons settle to the bottom of the bore when cooled, the fuel circuit dead ends on one side of the engine rather making a continuous loop...small things that add up to different issues. And all of that on a relatively small 2.5 liter engine.

There is also the oil capacity of longer interval engines to contend with, the 2.5 engine has generally only needed 4.2-4.6 qts of oil, other makes with extended intervals have larger crankcases with more oil capacity. There was also the infamous BMW-provided leather case for your spare quart or oil due to consumption issues.
Other than several VWs and a Corvair, this is my first modern boxer engine. I can appreciate several ideocynchronies with the flat layout. Oil circulation and recovery, gravity causing more wear on the bottom side of the piston and cylinder, etc. Subaru seems to have it pretty well figured out. I'm pleased with the "little" 2.5L engine's ability to haul around 2.5 tons of SUV.
 

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Other than several VWs and a Corvair, this is my first modern boxer engine. I can appreciate several ideocynchronies with the flat layout. Oil circulation and recovery, gravity causing more wear on the bottom side of the piston and cylinder, etc. Subaru seems to have it pretty well figured out. I'm pleased with the "little" 2.5L engine's ability to haul around 2.5 tons of SUV.
Me too with the Subaru engine to date. I just questioned why the 3K oil change when using synthetics on Subaru turbos

We had a 71 VW convertible that I religiously set the valve lash on every 2000 miles. Not much more than a 45 minute job start to finish. Sold it in 1978 at 100K miles.. Never an issue with the engine. Had a 63 Corvair van, 3 on the column, that the rings got tired on around 100K miles. Had to hang a furniture blanket right behind the front bench seat in order to even have a semblance of heat. The VW required a scraper in my shift hand all the time in real cold weather
 

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Me too with the Subaru engine to date. I just questioned why the 3K oil change when using synthetics on Subaru turbos

We had a 71 VW convertible that I religiously set the valve lash on every 2000 miles. Not much more than a 45 minute job start to finish. Sold it in 1978 at 100K miles.. Never an issue with the engine. Had a 63 Corvair van, 3 on the column, that the rings got tired on around 100K miles. Had to hang a furniture blanket right behind the front bench seat in order to even have a semblance of heat. The VW required a scraper in my shift hand all the time in real cold weather
That brings back memories. In the 70's I had a wrecked Karmann Ghia that I turned into a dunebuggy with a 1600 dual port engine. I never hooked up the heater and foolishly took off in January with my dog on a trip to OK via I-80. I have never been so cold and had the dog on my lap with blankets around us both to get some heat. I thought I had it bad until somewhere in Colorado a guy riding a BMW road bike passed us......coulda been worse...lol
 

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Me too with the Subaru engine to date. I just questioned why the 3K oil change when using synthetics on Subaru turbos

We had a 71 VW convertible that I religiously set the valve lash on every 2000 miles. Not much more than a 45 minute job start to finish. Sold it in 1978 at 100K miles.. Never an issue with the engine. Had a 63 Corvair van, 3 on the column, that the rings got tired on around 100K miles. Had to hang a furniture blanket right behind the front bench seat in order to even have a semblance of heat. The VW required a scraper in my shift hand all the time in real cold weather
The older EJ engines were prone to turbo failure which could then cause engine failure as the metal bits circulated through the oiling system, the engine layout and turbo location had a lot to do with that. Subaru implemented oil filtering screens inline with the turbo, which led to even worse failures as the screens clogged with sediment. Finally, the OCI was remanded to 3k miles and synthetic was called for. There has been a lot of improvements since then so these failures are much much less of an issue in the EJ engines and were never an issue with the FA series. Even my Legacy with an ej255 and similar turbo setup as the Ascent has a much better reliability history than the previous side turbo application of the same engine.

The beetle engines were pretty special themselves back in their day, but as with most things mechanical over time more was asked of the design. The 2.5L put down 170 hp in NA versions and 220-305 Hp in turbo versions a far cry from the 60 hp the beetle made stock. The earlier Subaru engines were quite robust compared as well, though very little was asked of them either. The 2.2 engine was a closed deck and with some upgrades could support 5-600HP or more, there is also an H6 engine the EG33 which was basically a 2.2 with two cylinders added can support over 700 hp in stock form. But as time goes efficiency and emissions requirements necessitated modernized engines.
 

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The older EJ engines were prone to turbo failure which could then cause engine failure as the metal bits circulated through the oiling system, the engine layout and turbo location had a lot to do with that. Subaru implemented oil filtering screens inline with the turbo, which led to even worse failures as the screens clogged with sediment. Finally, the OCI was remanded to 3k miles and synthetic was called for. There has been a lot of improvements since then so these failures are much much less of an issue in the EJ engines and were never an issue with the FA series. Even my Legacy with an ej255 and similar turbo setup as the Ascent has a much better reliability history than the previous side turbo application of the same engine.

The beetle engines were pretty special themselves back in their day, but as with most things mechanical over time more was asked of the design. The 2.5L put down 170 hp in NA versions and 220-305 Hp in turbo versions a far cry from the 60 hp the beetle made stock. The earlier Subaru engines were quite robust compared as well, though very little was asked of them either. The 2.2 engine was a closed deck and with some upgrades could support 5-600HP or more, there is also an H6 engine the EG33 which was basically a 2.2 with two cylinders added can support over 700 hp in stock form. But as time goes efficiency and emissions requirements necessitated modernized engines.
Good info, thanks. I owned a few of the earlier Beetles with the factory rating of 36 HP. Any incline at highway speeds required a downshift to 3rd or even 2nd gear, depending on the % of incline and headwinds. You sort of "rowed" the car uphill with the gearshift lever...lol. (y)
 
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