Common Reasons why your Engine May be Low on Oil - General Service Information in Seattle, WA

Today's internal combustion engines are complex works of engineering with metal parts moving against each other thousands of times per minute. Without constant lubrication, these parts could melt. That's why the oil in your engine is so important, and you'll want to make sure that there's always enough oil in it. Most vehicles on the road today still have a dipstick that you can use to check the oil.

To check your oil level, park on a level surface, wait until the engine cools, and locate the engine oil dipstick. It's probably yellow in color and your owner's manual should be able to help you identify it. First, pull the dipstick out and wipe it off. Then reinsert the dipstick all the way in. Then, pull it out again and look at where the oil is in relation to the markings on the dipstick. If the oil is below the full level, one or more of the following five things may be to blame.

If you have any questions about keeping an eye on your oil or why it may be low, please contact our authorized service center at Carter Subaru Ballard in Seattle. We want everyone to get the most from their vehicles, and proper maintenance is an important part of that. Our oil change prices are competitive with third-party mechanics and service chains, and be sure to check out our regularly updated special offers.

Carter Subaru Ballard offers sevice tips for why your Subaru engine oil may be low! 

5. Was the Last Oil Change Done Properly?

Sometimes, the simplest solution is the right one. If the engine wasn't properly filled with oil when it was changed last, you could find that the level is low. The best way to avoid this is to leave your car's oil changes to trusted experts at an authorized dealership service center like ours at Carter Subaru Ballard. This way, you know that the oil was changed by an experienced expert who doesn't make mistakes. The same can't always be said for those lube and tune franchise places.

4. There's an Engine Oil Leak Somewhere

This could also be placed at the top of reasons why your engine oil may be low, but we've found it to be a less common reason than others. If you notice a black or brown puddle under your vehicle, you likely have a significant enough oil leak to cause a noticeable drop in the oil level. However, a few spots in your driveway or parking spot probably isn't enough to cause real problems for some time. Any oil leak should be addressed, but the more important indication of whether you have enough oil is to keep an eye on what the dipstick says.

Learn how to check your engine oil and spot common oil leaks coming from your Subaru. 

3. The Engine's Head Gasket May Be Going Bad

You've probably heard of vehicles with head gasket issues, and these are big problems that require much of the engine to be disassembled during the repair. Head gaskets are responsible for sealing the cylinder head to the engine block while keeping oil and coolant separate from each other and the combustion chamber. If this gasket fails, oil could end up in the coolant system or the cylinder where it will be burned, leading to a low oil level.

Schedule a multi-point inspection service and save money with our monthly service and parts specials in Seattle, WA 

2. The Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) Valve Could Be Bad

The oil system in your engine operates under pressure, and the PCV valve is an important part of regulating the oil pressure. If this valve goes bad, the pressure could increase to the point that oil is pushed into the cylinders through the valves and other areas. Fortunately, this is typically an affordable and easy part to replace.

1. Oil is Being Burned in the Cylinders

We've mentioned a couple ways that engine oil can make its way into the cylinders to be burned. However, they're not the only possible reason. The rings that seal the pistons in the cylinders can go bad and allow oil in from the bottom of the engine, or valve guides can become compromised and allow engine oil into the cylinder from above. Determining exactly why your engine oil level is low is usually best done by a factory-authorized service center like ours at Carter Subaru Ballard.

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  1. Carter Subaru Ballard

    5201 Leary Ave NW
    Seattle, WA 98107

    • Sales: (888) 843-2701

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Carter Subaru Ballard

5201 Leary Ave NW
Directions Seattle, WA 98107

  • Sales: (206) 782-7475
  • Service: (877) 835-5240
  • Parts: (877) 884-0162