2013 Subaru Outback Engine Oil Capacity

You’ll need almost 7.0 quarts of oil to fill the engine reserves of a 2013 Subaru Outback, but the exact amount depends on your powertrain.
Written by Jasmine Kanter
Reviewed by Hillary Kobayashi
A 2.5L Subaru Outback requires 5.1 quarts of engine oil, while a 3.6L model requires 6.9 US quarts.
Keeping your vehicle's engine lubricated with engine oil is essential. Without it, you run the risk of causing decreased fuel economy, reduced performance, higher emissions, and significant damage to your vehicle. Every vehicle draws motor oil from the oil tank—so how do you keep it from running dry?
We’ll tell you everything you need to know about the 2013 Subaru Outback’s engine oil capacity. Read on to find out how much oil you need, how to fill up the tank, and how often to check it.

2013 Subaru Outback engine oil capacity

The 2013 Subaru Outback's engine oil capacity depends on the size of its engine. You can pour a maximum of 5.1 quarts into the oil tank of every 2.5L four-cylinder-equipped model.
A model with a 3.6L V6, on the other hand, will need 6.9 quarts to fill its tank. It’ll also need to be topped off more frequently.
As you may have noticed, a vehicle’s engine size (also known as engine displacement) is measured in liters, while its oil tank is measured in quarts. While bigger engines tend to have bigger oil tanks, the two measurements aren’t interchangeable. If you poured 2.5L of oil into a 2013 Outback with a four-cylinder engine, you’d only fill it halfway.
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What kind of oil does a 2013 Subaru Outback need?

2013 Outback owner's manual
lists two recommended types of engine oil depending on your powertrain:
  • For 2.5L models: SAE 0W-20 conventional or synthetic motor oil
  • For 3.6L models: SAE 5W-30 conventional or synthetic motor oil
It also recommends sticking with either conventional or synthetic oil for the rest of the engine’s life, meaning you shouldn’t mix and match. And pay attention to the labels! The right type of oil is crucial to your car's performance and longevity.
Here’s what we mean by “SAE 0W-20” oil:
  • SAE indicates the oil’s viscosity using the rating system set by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Viscosity, or thickness, is the most important aspect of engine oil. You need to ensure that you get the right thickness of oil for your truck's lowest and highest operating temperatures.
  • 0W indicates the lowest temperature range at which the oil still performs its best. “W” stands for “winter” and “0” indicates a maximum cold operating temperature of -31°F, the “highest” cold rating possible.
  • 20 indicates the highest temperature range at which the oil still performs its best. SAE 20 oil is commonly used in North America.
Last but not least, keep an eye out for the API Certification Seal, which resembles a black starburst. Seals from the American Petroleum Institute certify that products meet performance standards. You'll get the most out of your crossover if you follow these recommendations.

How often to change the oil on a 2013 Subaru Outback

Subaru recommends an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but you might need one sooner than that. It all depends on how you drive.
For example, you'll need to add more oil more frequently if you take an all-wheel-drive model off-road or onto rough roads frequently. On the other hand, you might not need as much if you commute on the highway and live in an easy climate.
The best way to keep track of your car’s needs is to
check your engine oil
regularly. Schedule a check at least once a month or take a look at the dipstick every time you refuel.
Here are the signs that you need to change the oil immediately:
  • Motor oil that is dirty, dark brown, or black
  • Oil that is coarse or gritty
  • Unusual engine noises
  • The smell of oil, smoke, or burning
  • Performance changes in your car
Fortunately, the 2013 Outback has a low oil level warning light—a yellow lamp with a squiggly line underneath it that illuminates on the bottom right-hand corner of the instrument panel. If you see it, you’ll know you’ve got between 2.2 quarts (for 2.5L models) and 4.0 quarts (for 3.6L models) of oil remaining in the tank.
When you see this light, you’ll want to pull over and perform a check to be safe.
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How to change your oil and oil filter

To perform a Subaru Outback oil change, you’ll need a strap wrench, a 17mm socket wrench, a drain pan, and a funnel. You’ll also need at least five quarts of engine oil (based on your model) and a new oil filter (if you’re replacing yours). It couldn’t hurt to grab some rags and rubber gloves, too, since engine oil is almost impossible to wash out.
Got your supplies? Great! Here’s what to do:
  • Warm up your car for about five minutes and then turn the ignition off and remove the key.
  • Pop the hood and remove the engine oil filler cap from the lower left-hand corner of the engine compartment.
  • Get underneath the car, make sure you’ve got the drain pan in place, and remove the drain plug with your socket wrench. Allow all the oil to drain before replacing the plug.
  • If you’re replacing the oil filter, remove the old one with the strap wrench, put the new one in its place, and tighten it.
  • Fill the oil tank with new engine oil using the funnel and then put the oil filler cap back in place. Check the oil levels using a dipstick.
  • Put the key back in the ignition, turn on your car, and let it run for a few more minutes. Check for any messy leaks on your driveway.
At this point, the low oil level warning light should shut off. If it hasn’t, you might need to reset it:
  • Locate the fusebox inside the engine compartment and lift the cover.
  • Loosen the second fuse from the top on the right-hand side (the one with a small white tab) and plug it into the empty slot just above. 
  • Replace the fusebox cover and the hood.
Congratulations! Get yourself and your car cleaned up and bask in the glow of a job well done.
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