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2015 Outback 2.5 engine - oil consumption

Excessive oil consumption

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31 replies to this topic

#1 wall_e

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 10:46 AM

Greetings,

I hope I am posting this in the right forum ( newby here :) )

Here is the story:

- in october '14 I got a new Subaru Outback (2015 model) with 2.5 engine.

- until last week it all went flawlessly-  no issues whatsoever.

- Wile driving on HWY the "oil level is low ... " came up. I was just about 2500 miles from my previous oil change. 

I had to stop to a gas station and get some oil in to continue the journey. It took a quart to come up at the regular level.

Today I went to the "stealership" and they told me that it is "normal" for a car that has 53k miles to "use oil".

Now, I am no rocket scientist, but if the math adds up correctly, that would be 2 qt. of oil between oil changes( ??!). 

Based on your experience, would you consider the following:

a-) get rid of it - not worth the trouble

b-) try to find a dealership that would work on it ( if they want to acknowledge the issue ) ?

c-) as I have extended warranty from Subaru, run it till the wheels falls off ? and expect them to fix it in case the engine goes bust ?

Thank you in advance, and I appreciate if you can share your experience - if any .... or seen similar cases for this model.

 



#2 Mike104

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 11:24 AM

Take it to another dealer and ask for an oil consumption test.  If it burns more than 1/3 qt or 10.7 oz  quart in 1200 miles they will put in a new short block under warranty.  This is a well known issue and Subaru issued an extended warranty for the FB engine.

 

Oops, it did not apply to 2015 Outbacks 

 

https://www.girardgi...action-lawsuit/

 

https://www.cars.com...-1420683845519/

 

May want to check if it has any oil leaks.  How often do you change your oil and what oil do you use?


Edited by Mike104, 23 September 2017 - 12:36 PM.


#3 mikec03

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 12:21 PM

If it burns more than 1 quart in 1200 miles

No, no no.  If it burns 1/3 qt or 10.7 oz per 1200 miles, then surbaru will replace  your short block.  The Op should easily pass that test if his data is correct.

 

It's not entirely clear that OP car suddenly started to burn so much oil.  Although I have to say that my 2014 doubled the oil consumption at about 15K miles to about 9 oz/1200 mi.  It's held steady, up to the current 35K miles, which is about 1.1-1.2 qt/5k miles.

 

I measure the oil consumption very carefully when I change oil at 5K intervals.



#4 Mike104

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 12:37 PM

No, no no.  If it burns 1/3 qt or 10.7 oz per 1200 miles, then surbaru will replace  your short block.  The Op should easily pass that test if his data is correct.

 

It's not entirely clear that OP car suddenly started to burn so much oil.  Although I have to say that my 2014 doubled the oil consumption at about 15K miles to about 9 oz/1200 mi.  It's held steady, up to the current 35K miles, which is about 1.1-1.2 qt/5k miles.

 

I measure the oil consumption very carefully when I change oil at 5K intervals.

 

Thanks I edited my post, had a brain fart!



#5 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 02:55 PM

1 quart in 2500 miles is nothing. This is the price you pay for excellent fuel economy. If they replace the short block, besides having dealer monkeys strip your engine to the short block and back again, you will lose multiple miles per gallon in fuel economy and gain nothing in terms of reliability. A quart of synthetic oil is about $10 give or take. A loss of 1 MPG over 2500 miles is around 4 gallons of gasoline which is about $12 and it could be a lot more than 1 MPG.

Oil consumption on many modern engines disigned for ultra high efficiency is more than the old "tight" engines that burned nothing. Friction means lost efficiency and tight rings means more friction.

I say leave it alone and add oil. A responsible car owner should be checking fluids every time they get out to fill the tank. And even then - it has a low level warning. Use it.

You ARE using quality synthetic right? This engine requires it. Amsoil is our choice. And step it up to 5w30. The 0w20 stuff is too thin.

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder, 23 September 2017 - 02:59 PM.


#6 wall_e

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 03:17 PM

Thank you all for your quick responses.

I had dye added to the oil today and topped it to the level. I will give it till the next oil change ( btw- my oil changes are done in time / based on the indicator "time to change oil soon" - never late, always earlier, and I do it at the dealership with their oil ).

If it goes down again with the same message or the oil decreases with 1 qt. then I guess there is an oil consumption issue.

 

GD: with all respect "1 quart in 2500 miles is nothing"....yeah, I get your point - but.... is still don't sounds right to me. Look, I used to have a Yugo that did not used that much oil, and had a better MPG. Heck, my mower uses less oil.

Overall, I am a bit ( =lot) disappointed with Subaru. Don't get me wrong, I love the car, but having a bag of oil with me all the time.... not appealing. 

 

Again. thanks a lot for your support and help so far.



#7 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 06:40 PM

Dealer oil is crap. They don't use Subaru oil at the dealer level. The dealers have contracts with Valvoline, Pennzoil, etc. Who knows if they are even using synthetic. Dealers are for $hit when it comes to service and repair.

You cannot compare this to a Yugo or a lawn mower. It is manifestly neither and gets much higher mileage than either.

I'm sorry that it "don't sound right to you" but that's the state of modern internal combustion of the last 10 years. Higher economy DEMANDS reduced parasitic loss and the BIGGEST friction point in an engine, by far, is piston rings. Reduce that, and you increase economy. Which is great for sales. Unfortunately it WILL result in higher oil consumption - especially as the rings age and are treated to carbon build up from crap oil.

The mistake Subaru made, is not increasing the capacity to 7 quarts like the H6 and allowing 2 quarts low before the dipstick or driver alert goes off. This would mitigate customer concern and involvement. But that doesn't change the engineering of the rings.

Have the dealer touch it at your own risk. The least that will happen is a loss of 2-3 MPG. MUCH worse could be the result of their hackery. I have a customer that just had her 2011 Forester short block replaced (free) and it took 3 weeks because the engine had "noises" after the first attempt. Now she's getting rid of it because it lost a whole bunch of fuel economy and she's concerned about it's longevity.

This has nothing to do with Subaru specifically. It is an industry wide issue being experienced by all manufacturers. Those cars not yet having issues with oil consumption complaints are largely older design engines that have relatively poor economy. Check out the complaints about Prius oil consumption.

I get your concern. FWIW, the 305 in my 86 Trans Am uses not a single drop of oil (after a set of stem seals) with 160k original miles. I get it. But your concern is based on a lack of understanding on the most up to date internal combustion engineering. This is not a 30 year old Yugo or SBC. It's not a lawnmower either. It is an engineered solution to consumer and legislative pressure for ever increasing economy. Once you understand and respect what it's doing for you, you will gladly carry a quart of (high quality synthetic) oil in your trunk. It's not a bug, it's a feature.

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder, 23 September 2017 - 06:53 PM.


#8 wall_e

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 09:17 PM

GD - you make a good point. You really do.

However, I had a bit more faith in Subaru. Why ? well, I can't tell, but boy ! do I feel stupid now !

All the respect for this brand is now on par with the other manufacturers ... like close to 0.

You right, probably will not go to the stealership, but I do seriously think of getting rid of it while it still has some residual value left.

Thanks for all good advice.



#9 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 11:19 PM

I don't understand your loss of respect for the brand..... It uses oil - like virtually every economy engine designed in The last 10 years - notice I said designed, not built, because there are engines being built of older design and ones where economy is not of primary concern.

There is no real issue with this. It's all in your (and a lot of the uniformed car buying public's) head. Synthetic oils burn very cleanly leaving little deposits, and modern fuels are formulated with anti-deposit additives.

The only short term issue is educating the public - unfortunately there is a huge battle bringing the car buyers into the 21st century kicking and screaming about oil consumption when the engineers are designing them to do this. It's a salesmans nightmare trying to sell a car with this as a feature... So they don't tell them about it or explain it.... and then the customer goes and sues the manufacturer or some such ridiculous act.... It's just stupid. The whole thing.

It's really very simple. Consumption of oil means you are getting more fuel economy which is financially beneficial to you. The (excellent) Subaru engineers have done you great service. Thank them. And add some oil once a month. Is it so hard to do this? Why are you so against this simple act? When you have the oil changed (do not use the dealer for this, even if you have their free oil changes - it's not worth it trust me) ask for two extra quarts. Put them in the trunk. Check your oil every time you get gas. And look over other fluids, lights, tire pressure, etc. Your car and maybe your life will thank you for it.

In the Army we called this "Operator level maintenance" and every day you did a "PMCS" - Preventative Maintenance Checks & Services - before you drive that vehicle. This was not optional. This makes a lot of sense for the safety of everyone.

GD

#10 wall_e

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 07:45 AM

One thing I am curious about it then ... ok, that is the case: is by design ...ok. However, why is then this addressed (a.k.a. fixed ) in the newer models like '17 and '18 if is a great feature? Just curious...



#11 Bobaru71

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 09:44 AM

As General Disorder recommended, switch to 5w30 vice 0w20 as well as buy full synthetic at WalMart ~ much cheaper there than Autozone or Advance Auto. Get the best money can buy. Personally, I use Castrol Edge w/Titanium 5w30. If you don't want to do the change yourself just have the dealer do it but watch them pour it in. Otherwise, take it a reputable garage, search BBB, yelp any type of review you can find to locate the best one in your area and have them do it. Dont mess around with cheap maintenance items, maintaining your Sub with the best you can buy off the shelf will go a very long way for longevity and overall health of your engine. Pay a little more now or much more later on down the road always applies here. As for the oil loss, as GD explained, much has to do with the piston rings but its exacerbated by low viscosity oil such as 0w20 and someone may correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the oil consumption issue is not nearly as pronounced overseas as it is here due to the recommendation to use ultra low viscosity oil such as 0w20. I believe European Subarus and most of the rest of the world recommend 5w30. 

 

R



#12 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 10:42 AM

One thing I am curious about it then ... ok, that is the case: is by design ...ok. However, why is then this addressed (a.k.a. fixed ) in the newer models like '17 and '18 if is a great feature? Just curious...


They said that about the 11 and 12's also. "Its been addressed". Sure it has..... more marketing to ease the transision from "problem" to "normal". They need to strike a balance between conaumption, economy, capacity, and driver alert/dipstick reading..... and the engineering/manufacturing isn't quite there yet for the perfect, consistent balance. No lie - its VERY hard to get every single production engine to use the exact same amount of oil. It is super easy to get them to use nothing - just throw economy out the window. But to ride the fence - use a little, keep ring force low, but not use too much..... The mind boggles at what the production engineers must be going through between engine manufacturing tolerances, cylinder wall surface finishing, and working with the ring manufactures who are a separate entity. Then throw in ring wear, and predicting ring tension loss over engine life....

It's easy to sit here and throw rocks at these guys, but I wouldn't want their job.

They are left with giving people free engines and I guess building that into the product cost for now. Essentially to get them past the legislated Obama administration emissions and fuel economy guidelines they have to let them burn oil. Then when people complain they can dumb down the economy (to the customers detriment, but customers are fools so whatever) to yield zero oil consumption without this effecting their MPG rating with the EPA. As long as you build X number of short block replacements into the cost of the product I guess that works....

At any rate - this is a very complex subject. One that even I am not aware of all the variables I'm sure. But the math isn't that hard. The oil consumption costs less than the reduction in fuel consumption.

GD

#13 wall_e

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 04:47 PM

Bobaru71 - Is not that I can't afford to buy a gallon of oil, or change it myself, I just don't want to. Not for this car, or for any other. Well, if I buy it as advertised - you need to add oil to it so often - then yeah, I agreed with it from the begging, and I knew. But this is a deceiving technique in my book. Fool me once... 

GD : Ok, here is my way of looking at it:

- Subaru is one of the brands with excessive oil consumption ( other german cars are doing even worst ) - the more I look the more I find reports about that;

- the "engineered" oil consumption to "trick" a better MPG is done on my dime - not cool

- not ALL the cars have that issue and they still pass under the EPA rules and qualify as road worthy - with decent MPG rates

Now, your way of looking at this "It's easy to sit here and throw rocks at these guys, but I wouldn't want their job. " , I look at it differently : if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

All these tricks and gimmicks to give me a better MPG smells of "VW" engineering - agreed, not that deviant, but it is done on my dime, however that may cost.

Over all, at this point in time, I think I am done with Subaru. I do not know what the next vehicle will be, but I do know it ain't gonna be a Subaru again.

Tomorrow, I am going to sell it - seriously - CarMax or wherever I can break even and forget about it.

No, I am not extreme, but I did lost the confidence in this brand. Why ? probably because I trusted them more than others.... and I do realize that I was naive ... 

That being said, I really want to thank you all and appreciate the honest responses.



#14 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 06:05 PM

While I get what you are saying, the implicit assumption you are making is that some other brand of car would be better. Given the sate of current engineering against the state of current legislation, and what I know from my experience as a repair shop owner..... I'm afraid you will be disappointed.

Also - car manufacturers don't design their own rings. Hell, they don't even design their own engines much of the time. Rings are a speciality product made in a piston ring factory by their own piston ring engineers. Many car manufacturers use the same suppliers.... It's not a cut and dry "I don't like Brand X cars anymore".... Toyota and others use the same suppliers for their basic components like piston rings, bearing inserts, o-rings, gaskets, seals, etc. These are jelly-bean parts. Piston rings used to be by width, diameter, and profile and that was pretty much it. When a rebuilder needed new rings for a 1961 Plymouth Fury 383 you just measured ring width and matched up the diameter then grabbed whatever style/material/profile ring suited the engine builders fancy for the application and intended usage.

At any rate you should take a hard look at what it is you really want if it's out there to be had in today's market. It is NOT out there for me I can tell you that. I would rather sink thousands into parts to restore my classics than settle for the plastic disposable garbage being produced these days. Newest car I own is a 91 Legacy. And there's very good reasons for it.

GD

#15 wall_e

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 07:42 PM

" I would rather sink thousands into parts to restore my classics than settle for the plastic disposable garbage being produced these days. Newest car I own is a 91 Legacy. And there's very good reasons for it."

 


Absolutely agree with you !!! 100%

My best vehicle I owe now is a 2001 F350 with a 7.3L PSD engine. 

I told the wife to bury me in it when I die  :D . Never had an issue with it. Oil and diesel, that was all during this years. The other month, I did the front end ( ball joints and tierods ) - that after almost 17 years ....not bad, eh ?!

Oh, and it does not "eat up oil" like other newer vehicles.

At the moment I will probably ride my truck as a daily commute, until I may decide what next ...  



#16 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 04:02 PM

I hear good things about the old 7.3. Not so much the 6.0. And not much good on the gas engine side. Generally speaking we find Ford stuff to be overall pretty reliable but very hard to work on. They don't put enough time into designing for serviceability. Subaru is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum - their cars are very easy to service and have got easier the newer they are. 

 

Nothing beats my 69 GMC truck for serviceability. 

 

GD



#17 golucky66

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 04:09 PM

GD, slightly off topic question.

On the EJ series engines. As they develop oil consumption with age. In theory would you notice a difference in fuel economy? Or does it not make a difference because it's the oil drain back holes in the piston that create the issue.

Edited by golucky66, 25 September 2017 - 04:10 PM.


#18 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 04:48 PM

No because the ring tension doesn't change appreciably on the older high tension ring designs - the rings (oil control) stop working because of carbon build up from crappy non-synthetic oil. The carbon works as a fuel sponge and causes lean detonation, reduction in ignition timing advance, loss of power and economy. 

 

GD



#19 idosubaru

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 06:52 AM

No, I am not extreme, but I did lost the confidence in this brand. Why ? probably because I trusted them more than others.... and I do realize that I was naive ... 

 

 

I totally get that. I applaud you for having a reasonable discussion that brings some facts up and gives some perspectives about it and not some lame rant/vent session that happens on every car forum - good grief they get old.  thanks for not doing that!

 

That's too bad you had a bad experience.  That said - you could get a free engine with no oil losses if you have the test done under warranty?

 

A consumer that rules out every manufacturer that has ever created a vehicle with an issue - would be riding a horse.  The humorous thing is that consumers don't actually apply what they believe to be their own "logic" here.  They pick another manufacturer, who has created less desirable/problematic vehicles before (because they all have), and are just rolling the dice yet again.  The odds are low enough that this anecdotal approach usually goes fine.  You don't really appear to be doing that, blindly jumping ship, but I'd also say that all manufacturers have some great fits for consumers, including Subaru. 

 

The market isn't the same as it was 10-20 years ago.  MPG, insatiable consumer demands, and more create a market that requires frequent and many changes. Consumers are going to keep being uneducated, demanding, entitled, novelty and gadget driven - which means more and faster changes - which in terms of designing robust mechanical systems is stupid. No manufacturer, not even toyota and honda, has a process for avoiding that. 



#20 keith3267

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 12:12 PM

This is the first time you have had to add oil between oil changes, and you feel it is really too soon after the previous oil change?  If that is the case, I suspect that the issue you are having is with the oil change itself.  My suspicion is that someone over tightened either the oil filter or the drain plug, or did not replace the drain plug gasket.  A ring problem would not cause such a drastic change in oil consumption.

 

I have found that my Subaru (14 Legacy 2.5) tends to use oil when I'm on a road trip, about a qt/2k, maybe a little  more.  The rest of the year when the driving is mostly local, it only uses about a half quart in the 7500 mile oil change interval.

 

I would strongly urge you not to change to a different grade of oil, stay with the 0w20.  The bearings have tighter side clearances so the oil cannot get out between the bearings as fast.  A heavier grade of oil will remain trapped between the bearing surfaces longer and will get hotter as a result.  This will cause it to breakdown sooner.  Note: the bearing to journal clearance isn't changed, its the side clearance where the oil exits the gap between the bearing and the journal.

 

I have 63k on my car now and I don't see the engine as a problem.  I don't care much for the very noisy and rough riding suspension, the seat designed for a torture chamber, the CVT that tends to over rev the engine, the FOB that uses a hard to find battery and the charcoal canister that is easily damaged because it sucks up water when ever you go through a puddle,  but the engine seems to be OK.


Edited by keith3267, 26 September 2017 - 12:13 PM.


#21 wall_e

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 09:54 AM

Greetings everyone.

First of all, I want to thank every one for really good advice and really, and very good insight into Subaru. Like I said, I guess I am an old timer and I still believer in some brands more than others. No good reason for that. Subaru was one of them.

Regarding oil consumption: I do understand that some oil consumption is a necessary "evil", and that is not an electrical engine. However, when an engine is deemed "normal" to have a consumption of almost 1/2 of its oil capacity between oil changes, is beyond my acceptance level for "normal". Having that at ~55k miles, even worst.

Yes, I was getting fantastic MPG with that Outback, almost 32 MPG on HWY, but that is not everything on a car. I was planning to keep it for as much as I could. I really liked that car, but I can't pass that psychological threshold of oil consumption. 

To me this is another trick, gimmick, or name it what you want, to get a great MPG to the consumer detriment. VW cheated at the pipe to get you a good MPG. In my opinion Subaru is being more subtle is getting the oil to do the trick. May not show at the pipe but is on my dime ( regardless of price ). 

Anyways, I am not going to dwell much on the philosophical part of the problem...it is what it is. So, last week I got rid of my Subaru, and I did switched to a different vehicle ( which I am not going to name here ). 

Anyways, for me it was a fantastic vehicle, and I wish that Subaru had done the right thing and keep a good engine in it. But yeah, economics ... 

Thanks again and wish you all a great day. 



#22 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 10:18 AM

Problem with your logic is that it's not just Subaru. It's all brands. Nearly everyone is complaining of excessive oil consumption on all newer cars. This is industry wide.

GD

#23 Gloyale

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 12:37 PM

So, the car is overall saving you money in gas mileage that offsets the cost of the oil burned.?

 

And there is a light to tell you when it's low? hood opens easy and filler cap is right there on top no funnel needed.  So it's all of 30 seconds to add a quart or two between changes.

 

And the car hasn't broken down or given you any problems with other things so.....?

 

What exactly are you all worked up over?  having to buy a little more oil rather than alot more gas????

 

And you are getting rid of it and declaring subarus are garbage?

 

I do not see a logical lead to that conclusion.

 

You will lose even more money on the depreciation of the new car.  Why not just enjoy the cost savings?  It's not as if it matters wether it's burned off or gets dumped when you change it.  It's just old dirty oil.  Burning a little of it saves you burning alot more gas.


Edited by Gloyale, 08 October 2017 - 12:38 PM.


#24 wall_e

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 07:59 PM

GD: you are probably right, but from what I have read and researched not all of them have that much oil consumption. And yes, every manufacturer has some other issues, bigger or smaller.

Gloyale: no, the car did not broke down, and I wasn't planning to wait and see in what the excessive oil consumption would eventually evolve into. And, again, is not a little more oil buying. Is almost 1/2 of the engine capacity ( that is a bit more than I can accept ). I DID get rid of it, but never declared Subaru garbage. I think is a good car that got a bad management lately who is trying to save a buck in the wrong place ( at least for me ).

Am I going to loose more on depreciation of a new car ? Yeah, no doubt about it. But new is not always better... There are still good used cars out there, which already have the depreciation "built" in. Again, is not the "little" oil or more gas, for me is a matter of principle. Like I said, I might have expected too much from them. 



#25 idosubaru

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 09:36 PM

As a matter of principle then Toyota’s are ruled out:
http://www.toyotapro...il-consumption/
https://www.consumer...ption/index.htm

As are Honda’s:
https://www.consumer...ption/index.htm

As are Audi’s, BMWs....not that anyone caring about reliability should be buying those LOL

basically all the top manufacturers, and more, are now ruled out on principle.




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