2012 Subaru Impreza Long Term Road Test


2012 Subaru Impreza Sport: Ridiculously Easy DIY Oil Change

November 06, 2012

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A few weeks back I postulated that a do-it-yourself oil change on the 2012 Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S twins would be a piece of cake because of the in-your-face positioning of the oil filter in plain sight under the hood.

It turns out the same oil filter position can be found under the bonnet of our 2012 Subaru Impreza Sport, which is also powered by a 2.0-liter Subaru flat-4 engine, albiet without the high-zoot direct-and-port fuel injection of its sportier cousins.

But the higher riding Impreza may go them one better, because I found that I only needed to drive the Impreza's front tires up onto some 2x4 scraps to gain enough clearance to slip my oil drain pan in there and reach underneath to remove the oil drain plug -- no floor jack or jack stands required, in other words.  

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I like to start by loosening the oil fill cap so the oil flows out unimpeded and doesn't come out in a series of glugs. I'm not sure if it has the same effect as taking your thumb off the top of a drinking straw loaded with liquid, but that's the theory I'm operating under. It probably makes no difference. At the very least the loose cap serves as a reminder to add the new oil later on.

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The 17-mm drain bolt is easy to get at through an opening in the belly pan that runs beneath the engine. I broke it loose with the box-end wrench you see here but I switched to a 17-mm socket on a short extension so I could gain room to move the oil pan in position before I spun the drain plug out the last couple of threads.

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Drip drip drip. Turns out it's hard to get your hands cleaned off and find your camera before the bulk of the oil runs out.

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Access is so good it doesn't much matter what sort of oil filter wrench you use to loosen the filter.

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Because it stands straight up, the oil filter starts draining as soon as I kill the engine, which is why there's almost no oil left in the filter when I remove it. Consequently, very little of the stuff makes its way beyond the gasket sealing surface ...

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... which makes cleanup a breeze.

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Now it's time to prepare the new oil filter by smearing a little new oil on its gasket.

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Because this filter is so visible, Subaru was able to print eight numbered position indicators spaced 1/8 of a turn around the perimeter of the filter to aid tightening. Instructions on the filter itself request it be tightened the usual 3/4 of a turn after the seal makes first contact, so all I need to do is choose a starting number and advance the filter 6 positions from there as I tighten it.

They printed the reference numerals in the wrong order for right-hand threads, however, so my six steps started at 3 and ended at 5, as in 3-2-1-8-7-6-5. Still, it's a pretty nifty feature.

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Now it's time to reinstall the drain plug, but first we must replace the drain plug washer because Subaru uses a crush washer. The difference between old (left) and new (right) is pretty obvious, and it's probably a good idea to buy them from the dealer if you have any doubt about finding the right kind elsewhere. I paid $1.20 for this one at my local dealer. The factory oil filter with the clocking marks was another $7.85. A bit more than a generic, perhaps, but I'm OK with paying a couple of bucks extra, especially if I'm going to the dealer for the washer anyway.

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Once the new filter and drain plug are tight it's time to add the oil. Our Subaru calls for 5.3 quarts of 0W-20 synthetic motor oil. At my local Autozone the only 0W-20 synthetic choice was Mobil 1 at $8.99 per quart.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 8,788 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Subaru Impreza in VA is:

$126 per month*
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