The right differential oil for Subaru Forester

jerry_njOctober 28, 2006

I note in the 2004 Forester Owner's Manual that the front differential uses API GL-5, but warns that: "Each oil manufacturer has its own base oils and additives. Never use different brands together". Seems to say I have to either find out what Subaru uses or go to Subaru and get it directly from them. Then too, "each oil manufacturer" may advertize where their product can be used.

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If you plan to do all of your own servicing, as an alternative, you could drain the differential and refill with your favorite brand. Then, you would know what's in there. However, there exists a possibility that the lubricants would get mixed, anyway. Say, it's a cold winter day and you took the vehicle in to the dealer for some service work. Without asking, they'd probably check the lubricant levels of the differentials and add some if low. Sooo, your best bet is to find out what Subaru uses and keep a can or two in your garage.

At first brush, it would seem that so long as the lubricant met the specification required by Subaru, there would be no problem. Possibly, there could be trouble if the lubricant base types were different such as synthetic mixed with petroleum.

One place were additives can cause problems is the seals. Seal materials have been selected to survive in the particular fluid chosen by the manufacturer and the maker may not have run long term life tests on a variety of seal and lubricant mixes, but only tested the combinations they planned to use. To protect themselves from claims and customer discontent, they warn the user to use only the recommended lubricant. Mixing in an alternate lubricant may, or may not be ok.

Let us know. Did the dealership tell you what to use? They may not know if they are supplied by Subaru.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 2:23AM
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